ASABA- Chief Senator Ighoyota Amori was one time Senator, former Commissioner for Education, Commissioner for Water Resources Development and Senior Political Adviser to both Chief James Ibori’s and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s Governments respectively. He is currently Special Adviser to the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji (Senator) Ahmed Makarfi caretaker committee. In this interview with DAILYWATCH, he said that APC in just two years in office has destroyed the democratic gains of successive PDP administrations; that the return of the second civilian governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori has further consolidated the strength of the party in the state; that the opposition APC in Delta state is voiceless; that the party is only known on facebook and other social media platforms; that at the national level, most of the people defecting from PDP to APC were original members of PDP or are doing so for political patronage or fear of being persecuted; that the two years into the APC led government cannot boast of any area it has impacted positively on Nigerians; that Nigerians are now wiser to tell the difference between a succeeding government and a failing one. Read the EXCERPTS:
Presently, how do you see to the state of the nation? And in what ways can we re-ignite Nigeria’s spirit of greatness?
The state of the nation can be said to be one that is sitting on a keg of gun powder waiting to explode. More worrisome is the recent rumour of an attempted coup in the Nigeria Army. Presently, the nation has a President whose true health condition is being covered up by an alleged cabal controlling affairs of the government. A hungry man they say is an angry man. Majority of Nigerians are hungry and experiencing abject poverty with its attendant consequences. Lawlessness is becoming the order of the day with the APC led Federal government not accepting responsibility of the security of lives and property of its citizens.
The country as it is lacks cohesion because of the kind of leadership being given by the APC at the centre. The APC must realize that campaigns are over and should therefore focus on delivering its electioneering promises to Nigerians. What is very disturbing to most Nigerians is that the APC in just two years in office has destroyed the democratic gains of successive PDP administrations.
If Nigeria should be great again, there has to be true federalism. A situation where few States feed the majority States that make up the Federation called Nigeria would continue to see the country going backward. Most States are not tapping their potentials because of dependence on nation’s crude oil earnings. Next, should be the scrapping of quota system in the country. Nations that are succeeding today lay emphasis on merit.
How is PDP –to – APC defections affecting opposition politics in Delta State and the country at large?
Delta State is a peculiar PDP State. It is a state where the past governors, their deputies and the incumbent governor and his deputy are all still in the party. The defection of PDP members to APC has been very minimal and insignificant. It is interesting to note that in the last few months some who defected to the APC have staged a comeback to the PDP. The return of the second civilian governor of the State, Chief James Ibori has further consolidated the strength of the party in the state.
Presently, the opposition APC in Delta State is voiceless. The party is only known on facebook and other social media platforms. What is a party without followership? The Delta PDP particularly in Delta Central meets at least every month from one local government area to another. The APC cannot boast of having a gathering of its members at local government level in Delta State for the past two years. The key players in APC in the State are former members of PDP who with time will return to the party following ongoing reconciliation effort by the leadership of the party in the State.
At the national level, most of the people defecting from PDP to APC were original members of PDP or are doing so for political patronage or fear of being persecuted.
Would you say APC has failed Nigerians two years down the line?
Two years into the APC led administration of Nigeria; no Nigerian except those outside the shores of the country needs a soothsayer to tell him or her that the administration has failed woefully. Even the unborn child in the mother’s womb feels the hardship brought upon Nigerians by the APC. What the government has resorted to in the past two years is propaganda and blaming the past administration. But, they fail to realize that Nigerians are now wiser to tell the difference between a succeeding government and a failing one.
The situation in the country has gone so bad economically that majority of Nigerians are begging the APC government to return the nation to the state it was before it took over in 2015. Celebrating two years anniversary, the administration cannot boast of any area it has impacted positively on Nigerians. It is so pathetic that one of the spokespersons to the President recently mentioned the rehabilitation of the Abuja Airport runaway, which floods whenever it rains as one of the achievements of the APC led Federal Government.
Today, the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar, pound and other foreign currencies is outrageously high with its attendant high cost of imported goods and services. Thousands of Nigerians particularly in the private sector have lost their jobs due largely to the retrogressive economic policies of the APC administration. Daily the costs of even farm produce like Garri are on the increase and the government is helpless on what to do. On security are the incessant and wanton killings and destruction of lives and property all over the country especially in Southern Kaduna and Benue States. Added to this, is the activities of Fulani herdsmen that have claimed many lives in Delta, Cross-River and Awka-Ibom States.
You once described Chief James Ibori as a man next to God politically; after God, Ibori is next. What do you really mean by this statement?
Chief James Ibori is a man with exemplary characters and qualities. If you have ever had any dealings with him, you will understand that his kind is near impossible to find on planet earth. He has a large heart and he is very concerned about the progress of people. As a governor he strived to carry everybody along. His benevolence, generosity and kindheartedness are what make people still celebrate him today despite the political travails he has passed through.
I can liken him to a political genius whose mastery of the game brought many of us to the stage we are now politically. If we have most leaders with the type of heart Ibori has the nation Nigeria would have been better for it.
Many have criticized Buhari on many issues, but many say his anti-corruption fight is yielding fruits. Won’t you at least give him credit in that regard?
I can only give credit to the anti-corruption crusade of the President only when the approach is holistic and not selective as it is being carried out. In my assessment, the Buhari government is hiding under the guise of anti-corruption fight to witch-hunt top members of the opposition PDP to weaken the party from providing the needed opposition to check the excesses of the administration.
The administration is quick to arrest and detain unlawfully members of the PDP at slightest allegation of fraud, while panels or committees are setup to carry out investigations whenever it involves APC members. In making objective assessment of the Buhari anti-corruption fight, it is important to ask how many convictions has the Economic and Financial Crimes commission EFCC recorded in the last two years?
Besides, the anti-corruption fight must be fought at all fronts of our national life to achieve the needed result. It will not succeed if it is targeted at perceived political enemies.
What are the important things that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has done over these 2 years?
First, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has over these two years stabilized the economy of Delta State considering the debt profile of the State when he took over in 2015. At a point, it was almost impossible to pay the salaries of the State workers. But, through prudent management of the state resources, no State worker is being owed salary.
Okowa’s policy of not embarking on project except when the fund is available to complete it has ensured that projects started by his administration are completed on record time. On infrastructural development, the governor deserves kudos in roads construction across the state. In the last two years, the administration has awarded 98 roads and of the 98 roads, 20 of them have been commissioned. While about 25 of the roads are expected to be commissioned in the course of this second year anniversary. The other 53 roads are ongoing at various stages with some at completion level.
Despite not being able to employ qualified Deltans into the State Civil Service, the Okowa’s administration has done well in the area of youth empowerment programmes especially through Agriculture. The administration has in the last two years through its Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP)and Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) trained and equipped over four thousand youths.
In the area of political appointments, the governor has kept his promise to the three senatorial districts of the State in terms of ensuring even distribution of appointments. He is really a man that keeps to his promise.
How would you conclude this interview?
Two years ago most Nigerians did not appreciate the PDP government at the centre. Today, the difference is clear. I am sure Nigerians have truly experienced the CHANGE they voted for and come 2019, they will be wiser to vote wisely. Beyond party politics, the APC government should face squarely the governance of the country. Both the rich and poor are feeling the hardship brought by the administration.
They must act fast before the country drift into anarchy that may warrant another military incursion into the leadership of the nation. This will not portend well for the progress that has been recorded since 1999, when the nation’s nascent democracy came into being. Let us not easily forget the words of Obafemi Awolowo in 1983 that, “The worst civilian rule is better than the best military dictatorship.”
It is worthy of mention here that come 2019 as Nigerians go to the polls again to vote their candidates in the general elections; particularly for the presidential position, they should be very mindful of voting for those persons with military background. Comparatively, it is clearly evident today that both the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian rule from 1999 to 2003 and the current one by Muhammadu Buhari have similarities especially in their dictatorial and draconian approaches to governance due largely to their military backgrounds. This was different in the administrations of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, where remarkable progress was made in advancing the tenets of modern democracy in the country.