Chief Emma Nkwocha is a politician and former Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Culture. In this interview, he x-rays some current political issues. Excerpts…
Sir the election is barely here, what are your expectations from, the governments, the political parties, candidates and the people?
With all my heart I envisage free, fair and credible general elections this year just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured the nation repeatedly. And I sincerely hope so. The electorates should be properly tutored on the voting pattern. This is because a situation where voters are now being lured with cash doesn’t augur well for our democracy.
Though it’s understandable when viewed from the angle that the voting population that determines who wins are the most impoverished, hence would hardly resist the temptation of those offering them cash in exchange of their votes.
From my investigations, these account for the progressively increasing number of voided votes; while some go as far as collecting money from multiple candidates and parties. They then go ahead to vote for the highest bidder. The intentional voiding of the ballot when viewed from the traditional beliefs was meant to absolve the perpetrators from the consequences of their indiscretion and financial misdemeanour and repercussions.
I wish the rest part of the country would emulate Anambra during the last governorship poll in 2017 where two out of the three major parties and their candidates were sharing large sums of money and I stopped it in my ward. I wish INEC would be more at alert like they did in Osun and Ekiti States, that resulted in the apprehension of PDP and APC people red handed buying votes as if at the floor of a stock market.
More so, the Federal Government must endeavour to alleviate the harsh economic climate in the country. That’s why every four years these leaders come back to buy the people’s votes with pieces of wrappers, bags of rice and some cash. At the end they disappear till the next four years. To me, this is unacceptable.
This is the same country where some governors claim they won’t be able to pay N30,000 minimum wage. To me those governors are not saying so because they cannot pay. They can afford it, but were just simply wicked. I will urge the electorates in such states to use the opportunity of this coming election to vote such leaders, especially the governors out.
I know the people cannot muster enough unity and cohesion to do it. Because the governors would muster the power of incumbency, manipulate other relevant organs of government to have their way.
Who do you blame, the constitution?
There is nothing wrong with our constitution, it’s the implementation. Where those who would checkmate the executive are corrupt, they won’t have any moral strength to speak. So, for us to stamp out corruption decisively, the constitution must be tinkered for some of the overbearing powers of the president to be clipped. Also, so that where either the president or a governor for example did not perform well in the first four years the voters would simply vote him out and he won’t be able to handle the action.
This entire INEC abracadabra about voters and parties are neither here nor there. You see a situation where former President Olusegun Obasanjo came on national television to tear his PDP membership card; a party led and provided him platform to preside over us for more than eight years.
Just because he didn’t like the face of President Goodluck Jonathan. Does he think we all loved him when he was president? He abandoned Jonathan, jumped ship and brought President Buhari through APC, thereby commencing a blinding race into APC.
Today Buhari has flogged them and he made a summersault alongside his co-travellers and they are returning back and dusting up the same hitherto rejected PDP. Things among educated and reasonable people don’t work that way please.
All right, look at what is happening about the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, which, quoting the Senate President was an impeachable offence by the President. The same Senate President, I recall with nostalgia told us last year that President Buhari has committed no fewer than 17 impeachable offences. So if I may ask, why haven’t they removed him out of office? Yes.
They haven’t got the liver and moral strength because most of them have corruption cases hanging on their necks. They cannot muster the majority because of the powers, contacts and the overbearing political muscle of the president. This president has a lot of experience in dealing with such situation.
Remember he’s a retired general, a onetime minister of Petroleum, which he is holding today again. He understands this country so well. The military generals wrote this nation’s constitution, for the civilian administration. And the idea behind this military constitution was to protect their loot.
They had planned it in such a way that the PDP will remain in government for many years. It was not hidden, a former chieftain of the party at a time said they would be in power for 60 years.
In my Enugwu-ukwu Ward One, I decide where the pendulum swings because I am at home with my people as much as they are with me. We cast our votes based on our conviction, not an issue of money. I follow the footsteps of my late father -Chief R.O. Nkwocha (Ide Enugwu-Ukwu). He was a political guru. So if you are contesting election in Anambra state and you fail to come for blessings here, you have failed.
You blamed poverty and hunger for the glaring cases of money politics. How do we change this?
The incumbent President Buhari has done so much in the area of fighting corruption in the history of this country. Today two former governors are in jail over corruption, one of them a reverend father. More are likely to join them. Moneys are being returned from local and international sources. The anti corruption war must start from somewhere.
Many have repeatedly claimed that Buhari’s kitchen cabinet are corrupt, but none has been bold to substantiate that. I have also listened to him challenge every citizen to come up with any such evidence or bank account in his name anywhere. He is the first leader in this country to start whistle blowing and the successful ones have received their 10% reward.
He also charged all to whistle blow on anyone working in the Aso Rock villa for him. He was also ready to send any member of his family to jail for corruption-including his wife or children. He has come heavy on private jet owners so they now pay deserving taxes to FAAN.
Power is sweet and needed to be guarded jealously. Jonathan fiddled with it and lives to regret bitterly. So any of those running around today thinking Buhari would leave the stage for themto return are joking. Buhari is not Jonathan.
I am a foundation member of PDP here in the state. I have never and would never change party. Though the party died when they forced former Gov Chinwoke Mbadinuju out of power. I was the Commissioner for Information and Culture in that administration and I know what transpired.
If Dr Mbadinuju were given the ticket, he would have gone ahead to win his re-election. And Obasanjo had the temerity to come here campaigning for Ngige. That’s an insult on our general psyche. Let me say it publicly for the first time, they were not just afraid that Mbadinuju would go ahead to install Emma Nkwocha as governor instead of Andy Uba at the end of his second term, but that I am going to checkmate all the influences and interference of all the local and external godfathers.
I will clip all their wings permanently. That was the time PDP died in Anambra state and has never known any peace or growth. Consequently a party that didn’t have the capacity to win election in the state-APGA won. Forget all the prevailing noisy hype; apart from few individuals whose individual standing and disposition have been paving the ways, APGA has no reason to be in Anambra state government House today.
I don’t think anyone would be shocked to hear me say that Buhari is going to win this coming election very convincingly. This is because apart from the enormous powers he has, he has used his anti-corruption drive to make the opposition bow for him. The governors of the South East led by Senator Ike Ekweremadu went to Buhari to seal a deal that the zone will support him to complete his second term.
That we want the Presidency for eight years, just like other zones, not any Vice President post. Therefore if you know this country’s political calculation well enough, it means the West would vote Buhari massively, same as the North. And if the South East governors do exactly what they agreed with Buhari, then there is no way for Atiku to win. I want to quote the 94-year old Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who said and I quote: ‘Atiku Abubakar is a fascist, who benefited from all the past military regimes in Nigeria.’
If he goes for election in the North with Buhari, Buhari will floor him without mercy.’ For example, his Adamawa state is APC comprehensively from the councils to state levels. APC has 24 governors, which was as a result of the then President Jonathan’s phone call that conceded defeat to Buhari. It made it possible for a bandwagon effect, making the APC to clear most of the states. Now if the North votes their minds, Atiku then stands no chance.