Hon Agbo Dennis Nnamdi is representing Igbo-eze north/Udenu federal constituency of Enugu State and in this interview with RUTH CHOJI, he said the PDP will take power back in 2019, hence one of the reasons for the crisis in the PDP. He also spoke on other national issues.
Are you worried about the crises in the PDP?
I wish things were better. Don’t forget that everything is politics. Politics is not a quiet thing, it is a very boisterous activity. It is a struggle for control of power. So whether we are struggling to control power in the state or ward, it is politics especially now that people are seeing that this government has nothing to offer them. Everybody knows that Nigeria will vote PDP in 2019. That means that those who want to get to power in the future are planning ahead. So you don’t expect the equation in PDP to be quiet. People are going to be contending and struggling because they know that once you have a hold on PDP, you might be having a hold on the future. Things will sort themselves out. The caretaker committee was allowed to source for our candidate in Edo State. The moment a leader does not have a follower again, he is not a leader and I think that is what is happening to Sheriff. Once upon a time, our leaders invited Sheriff to come and lead us for an interim time, which does not mean he should hold the PDP to ransom. If the national convention committee of the party has said something, then we should respect it.
With the attacks of Niger Delta avengers, Fulani/farmers clashes, MASSOB/IPOB in the south east, do you think Nigeria should be restructured?
Nigerians gathered hundreds of our best in the national conference and brain stormed after which they came out with recommendations without voting. They took decisions which, if implemented, will take care of our problems. Do not throw those decisions away, implement what they have said. If you think you are smart or you are more intelligent than them, then throw that recommendation away. But if you want this country to grow and develop, they should implement the recommendations of the national conference. We cannot discountenance that report.
But is the south-east carried along by this administration?
You know we are not being carried along. The new Inspector general of police is from Niger. That means the south-east does not have any contribution in the management of our security in Nigeria. Nobody can say they can dispense with the south-east because we have something to contribute to Nigeria. It is like saying you don’t need women. The biggest cost of insecurity is political exclusion. When people feel that their inputs don’t count, it can bring discontentment. Even in the names on the ministers’ list, head of MDAs, we were not fully represented. The president said something I regard as wrong. He said, the south-east did not vote for him so he has to finish attending to the zones that voted for him before he will consider the south-east. It is a most unfortunate statement coming from a president. Whether south-east voted for him or not, they have a right to choose what they want, that does not make them less Nigerians. The constitution of Nigeria mandates whoever is elected to govern according to the laid down principles which includes federal character. We must spread resources and appointments according to federal character principles. In fact what the president is doing is impeachable.
Giving another opportunity, do you think the south-east will vote for the PDP?
That is a leading question because after the elections, we needed to be shown that what we did was wrong but that has not happened. If light had improved and life has improved, then we wouldn’t have regretted our action. If after one year in office, we have food at lesser prices, light, good hospitals and respect for human life. If things had become better, the south-east would have been somewhere asking if they made the right decision. But with what is happening now, if you were from the south-east, what would you be saying? Other people who voted the other way are regretting it now. I don’t think anybody in the south-east is regretting having voted for the PDP.
Nigeria’s economy is in recession, do you harbour any fears for our future?
I am worried by the state of the Nigerian economy for good reasons. The economy is not being managed well. One example is, why is there a wide disparity on the exchange with the parallel market? That alone is institutional corruption because you now say some eligible transaction will be qualified to access foreign exchange through the official window, while other people will go and buy at #360 plus at the parallel market. That is institutionalisation of corruption because anybody who will be his prerogative to allocate the foreign exchange will be neck deep in corruption. So we see corruption being fought with one hand and another hand is building corruption. This created economic distortion, they have further devalued the strength of our naira. It chases out autonomic sources from the purview of the CBN because every person that is in export started going through the back way window to source for his foreign exchange and you cannot capture this from the source. Now they have brought out a new policy that we have been hammering on and you can see that the naira is getting stronger by the day.
Are you contented with some of the changes that took place in the oil sector?
They should allow the market forces to determine the price of our PMS. The price of diesel is going haywire and government is not doing anything about it. The response time of this administration is very slow. They said they want to encourage diversification. We want government to walk their talk by reflecting it in the budget. They mouth that they are diversifying into Agriculture but the ministry of information got more than what agriculture got this year. What are they doing in ministry of information when Nigerians are hungry? The economic policies are very inarticulate and they have still gone ahead to talk about an economic team. Why is it that every pressman and woman is still asking the question about the teams or the people managing the economy?
The economy cannot be managed by intuition. Even in solid mineral, you will still see a lot of inactivity. We have coal in Enugu State and by constitutional provision, it is in the hands of the FG. So many people called shadow investors acquired the concession of our coal reserves, and so we cannot bring any person as a state and say, we want to partner with them.
Why is the government not in a hurry to free these mineral resources form the hands of the shadow investors who hold the license and yet don’t have money to explore it? Recently, they said power had risen to two thousand megawatts but is that rising or falling? When they took over power, it was over four thousand. But they said that was as a result of vandalisaton and the rest, yet they have not taken any serious measure to ensure that the restiveness in the Niger Delta is contained so that we don’t have it again.
From your analysis now, what is your perception of this government?
If I say anything now, they will say it is because of opposition but as a Nigerian, nobody is happy with what is happening. This has gone beyond opposition politics, it is now survival of the fittest. If the government is sincere and is grappling with issues, all of us would be there to solve but nothing concrete is being done. We see that the greatest threat to our national democracy in this day and age is the threat of separation of powers. They don’t want the national assembly to operate as a separate arm of government. If you bring all the legislators, judiciary and executive together as one, we can solve the problem of Nigeria. But if you think that you can do it alone by decapitating the national assembly, it will not work. The distraction that has been visited on the senate is wrong, it should be left alone to face its mandate.
But the APC has been blaming the PDP for the state of the economy?
We have allowed them a whole 365 days to blame the past government, now we are saying it is time to move forward. We want Nigerians to judge and they are saying, leave PDP alone and let’s see what you have brought to the table. If food is cheap, price of fuel is better, you can forget or continue to blame the PDP. So I think enough is enough. It is over a year now, start implementing your policies, PDP has not interfered in anything you are doing. The threat of insecurity is putting the Nigerian people on the line. Fighting corruption is not a government program. There is no government in Nigeria that has not tried to fight corruption. Jonathan’s administration fought corruption institutionally. Jonathan said he wanted to observe the rule of law. You cannot fight corruption like a military man. We are in democracy. You cannot fight corruption by arresting and detaining people, freezing their accounts. We are not in the jungle. We must respect people’s human rights. You are just overheating the system. We already have so many people, government should not create new problems. I look at the case against the senate president and his deputy. There is nothing in the sheet that shows they have done something wrong. These are the third and fourth citizens in Nigeria and then we are distracting them. If you ever remove the legislature from democracy, what you have is autocracy.