THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ELECHI AND EGWU -GROUP
The Co-ordinator, Clamour for Good Governance Continuity Initiative,C4C and a prominent Peoples Democratic Party(PDP )chieftain in Ebonyi State, Mr. Hans Offiah has advised that politicians should have the attitude of congratulating people who make it at the polls. Offiah in a chat with Daily Sun said, 'We must learn to be friendly, learn to live in harmony with one another and be able to congratulate ourselves; it is like a game of football; somebody must win.'
He stated that what happened in Imo State should be emulated by politicians where the defeated incumbent governor congratulated his opponent and said he was not going to challenge the case in court.
The co-ordinator who spoke on burning issues especially as it concerns Ebonyi State said that there is a deep gulf between the former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Sam Egwu and the sitting Governor, Chief Martin Elechi. He argued, 'Elechi has a solid plan for Ebonyi State. All we need is to have patience. He is an experienced person. He has been in government. He is not interested in money, even though everybody likes money but what I am saying is that he would not want to alter his good name or rubbish it because of money, and that is why we saw this in him for a very long time now and decided to get on with the message to Ebonyians that there is need to drum up support for him.
'So, there is a big difference between the former governor and himself. The former governor did very well in making sure that he developed human resources and that is why when he left office, a lot of people began to draw a distinction to say this government is a very hard government and that the previous government was better than this because money was circulating. There was nothing solid that government did, all they were doing was empowering people. Like I said, both governments are doing very well. They all did very well; the other one started somewhere to build personality and people, but this government is talking about solid development and that is what they are doing and after solid development they will go into manpower development.'
Role in the April polls
C4C is an association of persons who are professionals in their diverse ways, who came together to form what is called Clamour for Good Governance Continuity Initiative. Because we are professionals, we took an in-depth study of what is going on in Ebonyi State vis-a-vis the developmental projects initiated by Chief Martin Elechi, the governor. We took an overview of his visions, programmes and policies as regards the rural populace and came to a conclusion that he has a vision for this state.
He is laying a good foundation for this state, and because of that, he is touching the lives of the down trodden, ensuring that he doesn't center his development programmes in the urban areas; he went into the hinter lands building bridges across the hinterlands, making sure that rural farmers after producing their wares bring them to the urban areas. People instead of crowding the urban areas can have access to their villages within some minutes, and this is the vision of the man called Chief Martin Elechi.
He did it because he is a founding father of this state. He knows where the shoe pinches, and that is why he designed this programme that he wants to start expanding the rural areas; getting development from the grassroots to the urban areas. And that is why, looking at what he has done, C4C decided overwhelmingly to support all his aspirations, all his visions to ensure that if somebody is doing well, all you need to do is to support him and tell him well done.
That is exactly what we have done- making Ebonyians appreciate the need of what Elechi is doing for the people. At the time we started, people thought we were joking, people thought it is just one of those kangaroo programmes people do and fizzle out; we told Ebonyians that we mean business, lets support this man because he is the right man at the saddle, lets forget about those other people who are coming to brandish one programme or the other. So we decided to support him because he is a man who can deliver and indeed he has actually delivered. He has shown Ebonyians that he is there to deliver and that is why we have decided to support him.
We played our little role and every Ebonyian will be credited for his success. We have done our best, but the credit goes to God.
It is not all just about sympathy, it is about, Ebonyians coming to appreciate the good work he is doing, and it doesn't matter when people decide to appreciate it. It is just that people didn't initially understand the good works he was doing but later on, they began to appreciate that there was a difference between Mr. A and Mr. B. What I mean is between contestant A and contestant B. The people of Ebonyi State drew a line and was able to separate between the wheat and the chaff. That was why they overwhelmingly voted for him
We never had a hidden agenda. In one of the programmes we usually do at the Unity FM, one of the curious indigenes of Ebonyi state asked us where we actually have our leaning, we made bold to say we support Elechi because of his policies and programmes, and we never made any mistake about that; we support him and we started from the onset. We have a programme plan schedule spanning from 2009 to 2011 and the second one starts from 2011to 2015. So, these are the programmes. We have just finished the first programme, and we are proud that Ebonyians have been able to understand the message we were preaching that Elechi has a solid plan for Ebonyi State. All we need is to have patience.
He is an experience person, he has been in government, he is not interested in money even though everybody likes money but what I am saying is that he would not want to alter his good name or rubbish it because of money and that is why we saw this in him for a very long time now and decided to get on with the message to Ebonyians that there is need to draw up support for him.
People believe that his economic dispositions affected human and infrastructural development of the state and his image
A lot of people who are not close to him will always come with that notion that he is tight fisted. If a man knows where he is going and decides to be prudent in his spending a lot of people who been into squandering of money of public fund will always see him as being tight fisted. Initially a lot of people bombarded us with this kind of question whether Elechi is tight fisted but we try to let them understand that he is not tight fisted rather that he has a good programme and because he knows what he is going to do with money he didn't want to be loose with money because he knows that money ought not be spent foolishly and more so it is a public money questions would be asked and he would have a way of defending himself. So there is big difference between the former governor and himself. The former governor did very well in making sure that he developed people's resources and that is why when he left office a lot of people began to draw a distinction to say this government is very hard government and that the previous government was better than this because money was circulating.
There was nothing solid that government did, all they were doing was empowering people. Like I said both government are doing very well. they all did very well the other one started somewhere to build personality and people but this government is talking about solid development and that is what they are doing and after solid development they will go into manpower development. So that is assessment of what he is doing and in relation to the impression of what people have of him that he is tight fisted. To me and to the group we represent; it is just that people that don't understand the difference between loose spending and when you have programme for what you want to spend money for and rationalize why you want to spent public fund and why you want to spend private fund. If it is private fund you can afford to waste it if you want to but money is not supposed to be wasted because it is hard earned money.
The clamour for change during the election was so intense that the governor's election was threatened, how was he able to wriggle out of it.
It is the Ebonyians that will judge and access us, we are not the ones to explain that, but I think we made our contributions which turned out to be meaningful in my own assessment; so I am not the one to judge but the public would do that and know whether we played a role or not. We should leave that to the entire public but the important thing is that we have been able to do something that is positive which the people will say, look, this organization after all, did not fail us because the negative impression they had about us when we were coming, thought we were one of those sycophants looking for one favour or the other. Most of them surprisingly started appreciating the efforts we were making especially in the radio programmes and others. We tried to showcase all those things Elechi is doing and I am happy about it and it gives me fulfillment and all the members of C4C the fulfillment that at the end, all our efforts were not in vain and that people of Ebonyi state have spoken and have spoken in the right direction and they all know that the man Elechi has no plan to deceive them.
Impressions are relative, the impression I have following him is not the impression other people would have. I agree there was tension in the state during the election and a lot of people who do not understand the dynamics of politics in Ebonyi state would have said that some other people who do not have correct information about these things were talking about change; change yes, change is inevitable but what we are saying is that it is not the right time to talk about this change. We are talking about consolidating on the gains of democracy, what he has put in so that when you give sometime, these things that are on the ground will be sustained and that is why we are saying let him go for second time bid. And that is why when Ebonyians understood the message they overwhelmingly voted for him.
It is not what changed it, it is at the time they appreciated what he is doing; it is not whether when he threw money on the streets and started bribing people. The weakness of some people is that some can understand faster than others as there are some people who are late starters. It is just like in the class, once the teacher says something some fast students will grab it and there are people who will grab it later. So that is how it graduates at the point when we are sending these messages, people saw us as sycophants but the good thing is that at the later stage, they were able to look through the credentials of these contestants and they knew that this man meant well for this state and that is when they changed their mind and said look inspite of all these they were talking about, all these their bla; bla lets vote for this man because he is credible.
However how do you access the elections because the oppositions are crying fou;l are you convinced that the elections were credible, free and fair?
Well to me and to our group as far as we are concerned, INEC has done a very good job, very credible election. No matter whether it is credible or not the important thing is that it is a leap forward. We have to accept whatever it is and improve on it next time because if we continue to say we condemn this or that, we must learn this culture of when people win you in an election, you go and congratulate them. I am not saying that if things are done badly you cannot go and find out why it went bad but what I am saying is that we must learn this attitude of congratulating people who have been able to make it at the poll instead of trying to pull him down; this pull him down syndrome is not a good thing to continue in Nigeria. We must learn to be friendly, we must learn to live in harmony with one another and be able to congratulate ourselves; it is like a game of football; somebody must win. Look at the case of what happened in Imo state and this man said he was not going to court that is the spirit of sportsmanship. We must try to learn that spirit of sportsmanship, it is a game.
There is no way you must have two governors in a state; it must be one governor. So my appeal is that people should sheath their sword and let us support Elechi for this second term and let him develop Ebonyi state as much as he can, then another person steps in. It is a continuous game, there is no lacuna, people should not bring in acrimony, bring in a lot of problems because they were not able to make it. If you don't make it this time you don't know the programme God has for you tomorrow, there is always next time. God has a beautiful programme for all of us, so all we need is to be patient with God and see what God will manifest, God is so wonderful that if we begin to appreciate him, calm and be kind to people who are at the saddle because there no way God will begin to appreciate and he doesn't make mistake. He knows why one person must be at place at a particular time to serve a particular purpose; it is not in vain.
Elechi has the opportunity to serve the state for another four years what would be his priority area
His priority programme should be those things he lined up to do for Ebonyians. Our programme for this 2011-2015 is to ensure that those promises he has made to Ebonyians that he fulfills them. We will keep him on his toes by persuading him, constantly reminding him that he has a pact with the people and he has to do it because he is a man of honour. A lot of people who have been very close to him know that he is a man of honour, a man you can trust and if he says I am going to do it, believe it, it can only take time. He is not God but I am saying he is a man that has honour and principle. So I am appealing to Ebonyians to be patient with him. There is not going to be any abandoned project in this state under Elechi. He is going to do more than he has even promised. I have worked closely with him and I know him, he is a father. He is here to leave legacy and not to make money.
Will you accept any appointment from him?
Yes I will, it is a call to serve. If he is so benevolent to give me appointment there is nothing wrong about it. We are already serving, the programme started since 2009 even when we are not being paid, we are tasking ourselves. It is already a call to service, so it is a continuation. If I am appointed to serve in any capacity I regard it as a call for service; we will gladly accept it.#