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Secretary General of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) Chief Willy Ezeugwu is a stalwart of All Nigeria Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). He was the 2003 Senatorial candidate of the party in Enugu North. In this chat, he shared his thoughts on happenings in APGA and the nation generally.

APGA crises
What is happening between APGA and the Peter Obi led-state government is a travesty. The governor has refused to allow elections into the local governments since coming into office such that he is able to hand pick his cronies and act as the deity of that state.

That is totally against what APGA stands for. The party strongly believes in empowering people at the grassroots and that is the local government. So, for Obi to have operated that way is totally unacceptable. I have had cause to criticise other state governors, who use similar tactics to stifle democratic growth. So, this makes us fear that Obi, having secured his second term, is now working for the People Democratic Party (PDP) by trying to portray APGA's government as one that can flout rules.

My relationship with Obi and his prudence
Prudent? (laughs) Prudent with state funds you said? So where did his boys get the N300 million they were caught with in Lagos? As for my relationship with him, there is not much to say about that. It was APGA that sent me to represent it on CNPP, there is no other APGA official who is acting as an ambassador at such national level, but Obi has never recognized this fact for one day.

That is why you see the quality of his actions because he never confers with people from his own party. Look at it, has he groomed any successor now that he is ending his second tenure. The only thing he has committed his energy to is to fight the party's chairman, Chief Victor Umeh. This is the same chairman who has been able to ensure that APGA now controls a second state. Look at the way the former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu is propagating the ACN in the south-west, Obi had such opportunity but he frittered it away because of pettiness. Orji Uzor Kalu did the same for PPA as he was leaving office and Obi has made no effort to ensure that APGA grows . He is now fighting the party chairman who is working tirelessly to grow the party, but the leading lights in APGA assure Obi that we will surprise him if he persists on the path he presently treads.

Obi and Ojukwu
Obi got it no doubt. But you should also ask why he is defiling the memory of the great leader who appealed to the people of Anambra to do him the last favour of re-electing Peter Obi? My advice to him is to retrace his steps and work for the good of the party. It is not in the interest of the party for the Governor to go after Umeh who is working hard to grow the party. The concentration of everybody should be to support APGA to take over the entire South East and beyond.

Azazi's comment on PDP
I am amazed that Nigerians are making so much noise about this, because other political parties do not see Azazi's comments as news. It is something we have always said that the PDP is responsible for the system failure that the county is experiencing. The, foundation for the present security challenges was laid way back during the Obasanjo years of do or die politics. It was laid when one man single handedly selected a successor whom his party went ahead to slam on the people. Beyond the politics of imposition, zoning and exclusion as admitted by Azazi, there is also the corruption that the government and those in office have nurtured since 1999.

For example, the security agencies apparently do not have a reliable databank of citizens because of the Sagem and Siemens saga. The borders are porous, and weapons come in freely because we all know the situation the Customs Service is in. We all know the challenges Immigration is facing, or is it the ill trained-poorly equipped and un-motivated police we want to talk about?

This is what happens when, to borrow Obahiagbon's words, you have a 'cabalocracy' government . So, I am not surprised that Azazi came under fire for daring to say the truth that is already in the open. His only offence from my perspective was that he breached the indigenous code that said you don't talk while eating. Azazi was eating at the PDP's table and he was talking about the atrocities of this same party. Maybe he has had enough of the party he belongs to. He should have rather come out to tell us how he, as the NSA, will end the nightmare the country is having.

The Nation's nightmares
The terror attacks are just an element of the nightmares. Several people have come out to say that poverty is behind the terror attacks. Others have in turn said corruption is responsible for the growing poverty and nothing is being done to tackle the corruption. It seems the only things allowed to thrive are the negative things, poverty, terrorism, corruption and other manner of vices.

(Cuts in) That is where we get it wrong in Nigeria. These probes have been reduced to mere theatrics and made for live TV reality shows with the attendant doom they spell for the future of the country. It is either the lawmakers are pressured into making rubbish of the probes or the executive simply ignore the reports and recommendations from them. Look at the Pension Probe, Abdulazeez Maina of the PRTM simply turned around to start accusing the Senate committee without substantiating his allegations and that became a distraction.

If you look at the Subsidy Probe, it is a cocktail of confusion from the Presidency or the executive arm. This minute, one aide would say none of the indicted public officials would be spared, the next minute the Attorney General is saying the probe was merely a fact finding exercise and cannot form a basis for prosecution. Where does that leave Nigeria and the anti-corruption fight?

In saner climes, the Minister of Petroleum, Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, NNPC top shots, CEOs of firms that stole subsidy money and others would be out of jobs by now, and would not even have the luxury of looking for other jobs as they would be trying to clear their names or would be standing trial. But the Minister of Petroleum that is Diezani Allison-Madueke is rather strutting all over the place appointing committees to further loot public funds. Is that the definition of fighting corruption? Certainly not.

You also look at the fact that the EFCC which should be fighting corruption was mentioned as a beneficiary of the fraud in the pension scam, so where is the transparency when the anti corruption agency is itself corrupt. Look at Senator Bukola Saraki, who moved the motion that triggered the probe of the subsidy regime, suddenly the police remembered that there is something about a loan waiver allegedly connected to him. This will scare off other potential whistle blowers. But if there is any substance to the allegations by the police, by all means let Senator Saraki face the full course of the law, but the anti corruption fight should not be returned to those dark days when it was meant for hounding.

CNPP's Position on the Nation
I think there is a misconception at this level. People think CNPP or its officials must just condemn everything. Don't also forget that CNPP is an umbrella body for all political parties and not opposition group as some people think. I have had the opportunity of visiting the states, sample the peoples reaction and perception and of course it is easy to compare what was on ground before a governor came into office and what is on ground as at the time one is making assessment. Of course the assessment one is making of these governors is relative to the rot being witnessed at the centre.

Now that the federal government has proven it is bent on sinking the country, we are now paying more attention to the states. In future, we will not just mention governors that are performing we will also mention and publicize those whose stay in office border on disaster because of their dismal performance.