The Eastern Union (EU) is a political-social cultural organisation of old East Central States , based in Nigeria and abroad with members across the South East and South-South zones of the country championing the course of the old East Central States. In this interview with Dailymandate in Abuja, National Chairman of the group, Hon. Charles Anike, gives reasons why South East and South-South zones are clamouring for presidential ambition of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and other issues. Excerpts
How do you see the recent search of PDP’s Presidential flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar and his private jet at the Abuja Airport by security agents?
We consider that search on the awaiting President, as an act of recklessness and vendetta by the overzealous security agents. That was not the first time the awaiting President is jetting into the country with his private jet. We believed the search was also an act of sabotage, resulting from the obvious frustration the APC government is going through now, especially since the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the PDP standard bearer.
Since the inception of the APC government, the security agents have abandoned their core mandate duty to become tools for harassment and intimidation of innocent citizens. They have so involved themselves in the political intrigues to such extent that they now ranked third major political party in Nigeria after the APC and the PDP. They often form alliance with the ruling party to harass members of the opposition and also used to rig elections.
Our security agents have been over politicized, especially under the APC led federal government and one of the consequences of their over involvement in politics is that the security agencies in Nigeria has largely lost focus and lost the people’s confidence. The zeal to please their pay masters at all cost has resulted in their recklessness and abuse and or breach of protocols.
What is your take on APC’s call of a probe of Atiku’s trip to Dubai with the Principal members of his campaign organization for a crucial meeting?
What do they want to Probe? Or are any of them barred from traveling? The call for a probe of Atiku’s trip to Dubai with his team must be borne out of FEAR and FRUSTRATION by the ruling party. Recall that the APC since after the successful PDP Presidential Primary and other primaries have been very frustrated and disorganized, this coupled with fallouts of its disgraceful primaries across the country.
Therefore the call for a probe of the awaiting President’s trip abroad should be seen as a cry of a drowning man. The APC sine after its primaries, have been enmeshed in endless crisis. Recall that we told you sometimes ago that the emergence of Adams Oshiohmole as the APC national Chairman will mark the end of the congregation of the strange bed fellows. The accusations and counter accusations that followed the outcome of the APC primaries across the country finally let the cat out of the bag, that the party is well constituted and lacks knowledge of democratic principles, and still ongoing.
However, whatever probe on the awaiting President and his team will amount to effort in futility. The main thrust of the ruling party for the 2019 general election is hinged on harassment, intimidation and use of security agents to rig elections.
All Progressive Congress (APC) national Chair man, Adams Oshiohmole, is enmeshed in crisis with some state governors, even as he has been quizzed by the Department of State Security (DSS) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). How do you see the development?
My dear, you must agree with us that no bad tree can bear good fruits. And more so, our people correctly put it that he, who gathered firewood full of ants, has automatically invited the fowls to his or her compound.
What have been happening in the APC, even before the emergence of Adams Oshiomole as the national Chairman confirms that it was not a well constituted political party in the real sense. It is simply a congregation of strange bed fellows that have no ideas of the democratic principles and the workings of democracy. They are autocrats that have no democratic culture.
The emergence of Oshiohmole clearly exposed the imbalances in the party, and confirmed the fears of many Nigerians, especially from the Christian community, otherwise, the party leadership should have appointed another Christian believer as its national chairman to take over from chief John Odige Oyegun, but rather than doing that, they take everything and everyone for granted. You need to check out the list of the leadership of the APC and you will be shocked. The APC is a party that undermines the constitution because they appear to want to run the country as a theocratic state. For example, the constitution have it that every state of the federation must have a slot in the ministerial cabinet and for that we expected the president to appoint a replacement of Mrs Kemi Adeosun from Ogun State and a replacement of Mr.Kayode Fayemi from Ekiti State after they both resigned. But what do we have today?. Replacements of the two from the North, why? These and many more other reasons are why the party is experiencing no peace. According to late chief MKO Abiola, any society that does not do justice, will never know peace, except the peace of the grave yard. Is that not the case of the APC now?. From the inception, we know that the emergence of Oshiohmole will mark the end of the APC, because this is a man that lacks patience and the tactical wisdom to manage a well constituted political party, talk less of the APC. And more so, he has too many allegations of corruption around him when he was the governor of Edo state. Everything about Adams Oshiohmole has always been staged managed, so we knew he won’t stand the test of time. Oshiohmole with all his noise could be rated as fraud personified.
INEC recently removed 300,000 names from voter’s register,What is your view on this?
Well it would have been a good thing to do but how?. How did they know who is who is dead or who double registered when they don’t even have the equipment and commitment to carry out such due diligence.
We can tell you that INEC don’t have any information on the death rate, birth, emigrants, immigrants etc: So the opposition has every reason to cry out or suspect some grand conspiracy, coupled with the lack of trust that is already established in the mind of Nigerians by the present leadership of INEC.
With the experiences of Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections, would you say the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct free and fair elections in 2019?
From the experiences in Ekiti, Osun, Edo .etc, it is very clear that the present leadership of INEC lacked courage and capacity to conduct anything near free and fair elections come 2019. From the body languages of the commission, we have seen that they are set to plug the country into crisis by their inconclusiveness. They are a lot of bad influences and people with vested interests who ordinarily should not be there in INEC. The INEC is supposed to be seen as truly independent, and not having around it people that have personal relationship with the president, or his family members at the top echelon of the commission. Already Nigerians have come to know and refer to the present INEC as inconclusive INEC. They use inconclusiveness to confuse and achieve their goals. The only way out is if they can go back to adopt a modified option A4. If not so, with their card reader and unavailable PVC, we will not see anything near free, talk less fair elections in 2019.
How do you see the seven point demand by the Niger Delta youths to the Federal Government after a meeting at Bori in Khana local government area as a prerequisite for peaceful elections in 2019.
The seven point demands of Niger Delta youths are consistent to the ever vital demand of the people of the Niger Delta region. But this is not time to bye cut elections or be involved in any form of electoral violence, because that will give this insensitive government excuses or opportunity to derail the process. This government has failed in every department and every areas of governance and the solution is for the youths to show their grievances with their PVCs and not to bye cut any election. The government has not fulfilled any of its promises to the people of the Niger Delta, ranging from Ogoni clean up, and funding of the amnesty programs. For example the monies that were meant for the ex militants have been hijacked by the head of the militant groups with some agents of the government and other such programs in the region. We gathered that the ex militants have not been receiving their allowances for over two years now. The only thing the youths should do is to get organized and vote out any insensitive government, especially incumbent.
Why are you supporting Atiku Abubakar?
The Eastern Union is going extra mile to support Atiku with both their means and talent. Recall that we were at Port Harcourt during the presidential primary to canvas delegates( people living with disabilities) to vote Atiku. This is because we see Atiku as an Iroko tree and an umbrella that can provide shade for everyone, irrespective of tribe or religion, unlike what we have today. Through out the length and breadth of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have mentored many people, especially in the political arena. He is behind the rise of people like Mallam El Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu, Osita Chidoka to mention but a few. His network cuts across all works of life. He is a who always give FOOD to the hungry . And yet some people say that he is corrupt…. well if that’s how to be corrupt, then that is certainly the type of corruption that Nigeria needs now. A corruption that feeds the hungry, a corruption that provides employments.
May ask…who has Buhari mentored since his days in the public of services and now in politics?. Oooh maybe people like Kemi Adeosun and host of others. A woman who supposed to be deported to face trial.
Further more, we are supporting Atiku, because we believe he will re-position the Country. Atiku is a bridge builder that will surely ensure adequate security, create enabling environment, level playing field for all Nigerians, which is what our people needs to excel. His appointment of Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate is also an indication that our people will no longer be marginalized. We also believe that with Atiku as a President of Nigeria, he will implement the end of civil war agreement…the 3Rs( Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Ndigbo in Nigeria). We also believe that he will balance our quota in the armed forces, and police, civil service, and top political appointments. And by his promise of restructuring the Country, will go a long way to end the activities of political demagogues in the East.