BUHARI, ONLY CANDIDATE TO RESURRECT OUR COLLAPSED SOCIETY â€“ NZEH, CPC IMO GUBER ASPIRANT
Sabinus Nzeh practises Law in London and has been in this profession over there for years. But he is one of the adept followers of the Nigerian political landscape. In the past he has indicated interest in Nigeria is governed through the media. But now he wants to be part of it as a participant and contestant. He has pitched his tent with the CPC headed by General Muhammadu Buhari, and asserts that Buhari remains the best for the nation as president.
You live abroad, but have not been alien to Nigeria politics. Would you say a free and credible election is on the way for the nation next year?
I don't see anything political that is strange to me if I may say because I relate with and follow every political step at home and contribute as well. But in terms of fair and free elections, it is difficult to predict our system. If you really consider what happened recently in local and council elections in some states the fore-see-ability of credible elections is in doubt.
If you were in a position to choose, who would you say is most credible to be the next president among the aspirants?
Frankly speaking, after thorough examination of our political parties in relation to the individual credibility and respectability, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is the most credible candidate on board at the moment.
Do you support zoning, especially with the ding-dong going on in PDP?
The Nigerian electoral system is often a system of disproportional representation. Even those who grade themselves exclusively as the PDP juggernauts are saying different things. So the terms of their agreement have been swallowed. In reality zoning would not have been the best option but because politics in Nigeria is based on dominance by cliques, so zoning in this understanding may address the fear and grudges of certain quarters.
However, the way Adamu Ciroma is going about it is unacceptable. His recent ultimatum to Mr. President itself was reckless and significantly empty. Nigeria is bigger than one person and that is why across the nation people tend to apply a kind of intellectual impetus to ignore what cannot lead to collective unity. To obey such recklessness would have been to exchange relative order for chaos. Nobody wants that.
Nigeria has been a country of exploitation of the weaker by the stronger. And if you watch and reflect carefully, indeed Mr. Adamu Ciroma has been one of the apostles of this vessel. Between the soldiers and politicians he remains the most recycled apostle to occupy the labour market then and now at the expense of his contemporaries.
What has happened now is that the old ideological divisions are a thing of the past. Instead, we should have a new pragmatic consensus about the way Nigerians should come together. We can only be united and run efficiently as a federation with total objection to tribal interference.
What is the problem of Nigerian politics – laws or the politicians?
You see politicians are expected to represent the country as a whole even though they are very small fractions of the population. They are committed to upholding the laws even when it is used in pursuit of objectives that they reject. The readiness to comply with basic political laws should not be compromised. The law to be honest is clear, but our problem is to do with enforcement and interpretation.
Today our laws are only enforced against the poor and voiceless citizens. If you look at the law/court symbol, the eyes are closed but in Nigeria the eyes are open. The lawmakers, rich people including those that are well connected don't face the law. The soldiers, police, and senior officers alongside those that are close to them cannot face prosecution. Looking at this simple analogy there is this suggestion that the very ordinary Nigerians have no protection at all and remain the only ones that obey the law.
Many say the way out for the nation's politics is trimming the number of political parties. Do you align with this?
This is theoretical position. It is important to recognise that the formation of political parties is part of a democratic process we ought to respect. In practical terms, sovereignty and human rights have to be expressed through institutions, which are far from perfect. My concern is the more we try to trim the parties the more those with wealth are able to hijack the machinery, the more the voiceless people will definitely run out of the forum.
You have always been a keen watcher of the political development of the nation, does the endless litigation on election petition impress you. If it doesn't, what do we do about it?
I believe that we are compelled to recognise that litigation in politics is as old as politics itself, but as you said the endless aspect is in fact quite worrying. However, in order to address the areas that concern people most, one may suggest that the newly elected governors whose elections are challenged in court should not be allowed to pilot the affairs of their states in question until the matters are over within the ascribed period.
What is happening since 2007 elections and so on should serve as a lesson. Most governors have been using the allocations meant for the state to fund political actions against them in court. Where is equity in this case? Therefore if we can embark on reforms that would remedy this nonsense, it will reduce prejudice, unfairness and undue influence in our courts.
What political aspiration do you have, and on what party platform will you carry out the plan?
My ambition is to challenge Mr. Ikedi Ohakim's leadership in Imo State – my country home. Of course it might sound illogical for everyone to be aspiring to be governor at the same time, but since our people are crying and in pains, an alternative approach is obvious and inevitable. Remember, Imo State was built on essential values of fellowship like; respect for elders, priests, traditional rulers and the needy irrespective of one's status but these have all disappeared under Mr. Ohakim. The citizens of Imo don't have history of violence and that is why the magnitude of their problems is covered under the sun.
If you listen to the people's voice, the social cement has all cracked, hopefully we need to replace it by applying adhesive, which would lubricate and resurrect the already collapsed welfare package system. While elections have been fought along party lines, with due respect, I will be contesting on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
What do you think are the causes of the on-going problems in the eastern part of country?
Honestly the ongoing trouble in the East is unbelievably the greatest shame of all time. One immediate result created by this confusion is that everything has reached the extent that a large proportion of Nd'Igbo are for the first time, unsure about their villages and closest neighbours.
In my opinion, in order to start addressing this problem, we have to frankly ask ourselves, why is there such confusion? Three crucial points can say are important in this consideration: first we have to investigate whether the governors of the East have failed in their duty owed to the public and secondly whether this is a pay-back transfer of aggression from desperate or unfairly treated politicians and thirdly, I would only add one reservation to all this; whether the emergence of a new class distinction or status has destroyed the Igbo nation.
Although there is no excuse to justify kidnapping are the way and manner our elections were conducted in recent time where candidates were handpicked might trigger this conspiracy.
Where is the balance of equity in this respect? This may as well orchestrate this act of irresponsibility in order to destabilise these states.
All developments are shrinking and dying in all the eastern states. Apart from a few industries built by the colonial masters, how many have we built since the white people left? A vast majority of our governors are mere talkatives who are only good at diverting the public allocations into private accounts. And in order to conceal this action they keep commissioning projects that never ab initio existed.
The less fortunate, including most casual labourers are living in abject poverty and could only afford to live where no one else wanted to live, generally in bad conditions and poorly equipped, and their cold, ill-repaired shoes and clothes are as bad as anything in the primitive past. Even ordinary water is drawn from a polluted nearby river or well. We are talking about 21st century generation of people.
Whatever the cause of their poverty, there are only two basic alternatives facing these poor persons: to try to struggle on in hunger and hope until something better turns up, or go into full time crime or appreciate the hooligans and assist in hiding their proceeds.
During my most recent visit to Nigeria, I was appalled to see how unreasonable our people including the traditional rulers were building our society on a quicksand. But the gap now between the poor and rich is reflected by marked differences and forced wrinkles.
Inequality is creeping. Members of this respected powerful and moneyed class are living lives of leisure and ease-punctuated environment.
You are passionately in love with Muhammadu Buhari. What is your attraction to the man who many saw as highhanded while in power as military head and someone that truncated an elected government?
The reason for my admiration is very simple. I am not supporting him because of his military medals but because in my judgment, none of the presidential candidates perhaps embody the nationalism of this country better than Gen. Buhari. Take for instance, throughout his short period as Head of State; he distinguished himself from other military dictators by believing that the individual liberties were unthinkable without obedience to the law of the land.
His ideology proved attractive to moderate thinkers alike – he placed the nation first and created a regime of respectability and accountability by introducing War Against Indiscipline (WAI) and then called those in the position of trust to render account of their stewardships. Fortunately, those that were found guilty couldn't exculpate from the liabilities. We gained handsomely from this concept because for the first time, Nigerians began to respect the law and nobody wanted to be in breach for fear of the repercussions.
Now that we all are crying, Gen. Buhari is the only candidate that has the moral capacity to resurrect our battered society now. I am glad many Nigerians including those living abroad are part of this feeling.
Although in most cases the confusions and rumours some opponents are creating about him are baseless and cannot be substantiated. The next president of Nigeria in 2011 should be Gen. Buhari because he is the only candidate whose action plan focuses on the well-being of Nigerians.
Do you see the opposition upstaging PDP in next year's elections?
Sure, if we should have credible elections this tendency is predictable. However one consequence of this mood is that if we wish to see change, in the interest of efficiency and one voice there should be amalgamation of these opposing parties, political victories are won through coalition of interests.
Don't forget that a hundred men acting in concert, with a common understanding, will triumph over one thousand men who are not in accord, but be dealt with one by one.