Comrade Sir Uche Egbebuike, emeritus APGA youth leader
Comrade Hon Sir Uche Egbebike (Gbazueigbo), former Anambra State youth leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, recently spoke to Fides on a wide range of political issues, as well as on the imperative of returning Gov Willie Obiano to complete his tenure. He spoke with Jude Atupulazi.
You have been quiet for some time now after your somewhat fiery youth activism in the past. What's been happening with you?
It is only the wise that grabs the rare opportunities open to him. There is a time to lie low and a time to go public. I have spent some time assessing everything and to take stock and I believe the time is ripe once more for me to emerge on the scene again.
Anambra was once described as cursed by a politician. Years after that assertion, and as we move closer to the November election, do you think we are, indeed, the cause?
This dictum, I think, should have been something to guide our politicking in Anambra State. I personally try to fall back to this very statement as a guide each time I decipher that things seem to be falling apart. But I make bold to say that we are the cause of this unpalatable stigma.
Almighty God created the land and made it clean, and bestowed powers to his loved human beings therein. He made man to gain mastery over nature, but man in his inordinate penchant for materialism has conspired to go contrary to this guideline, hence the problems we have. I can therefore say that the solution to all these artificial problems by man lies in his hands; no need to cry wolf.
As the arrow head of youth activism in the state's politics, what have you to tell Anambrarians at this material time?
I am a limbless animal that climbs the trees with teeth, and therefore can identify the bitter stems. As of today, I eulogize the Almighty God on a daily basis because of His blessings on our dear state, as future will never have mercy for those who are in a position to tell the truth but do not. It is only a detractor that can complain that he or she has not witnessed a real, balanced and sustainable development in all spheres today in Anambra State under the watch of Chief Dr. Willie Obiano. The prime cardinal qualities of a good leader is selflessness, fearlessness in towing the right path, and love for the happiness of the poor. To God be the glory that Dr. Willie Obiano has these qualities.
Everyone can bear witness that in this period of economic recession, the wheel of government is still running, with civil and public servants regularly being paid. This is at a time when most governors are ignoring the payment of workers, especially the teachers and retirees. But Obiano, in his sympathetic nature, has been living up to these obligations.
I enjoin our retirees and senior citizens to note that the pay-back they have for the workaholic governor and our dear state is to pray to God for the governor's life and for them to support him to complete his second tenure. Where others fail, Willie has been going through with ease, and this informs why the former governor, Peter Obi, told Ndi Anambra that there was no other person to replace him than the one who was better than him, and whom he had worked with in the bank for more than 15 years.
He had also said he could testify for Obiano's impeccable qualities and proven managerial abilities. This was why he presented Obiano to Anambrarians.
This supports the saying of the wise that, “Suffering breeds character, character breeds faith, and in the end faith and hope always prevail”. So we must be thankful to God that He has given us sustainable peace by keeping Akpokuedike in place.
How do you see your party's journey from the past to this stage?
It is not news that our state has been through a lot. It must be noted that our state started to witness God's blessings and to have her Light of the Nation status from the era of Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige; but his government was aborted by the courts due to the manner he assumed power through the back door against the wishes of the people who prayed for the actualization of the late Ojukwu's wish of enthroning a party of Ndigbo for Ndigbo by Ndigbo.
Ojukwu wanted to see Ndigbo salvaged via the political platform called APGA. This wish was initially pursued by former Governor Peter Obi who ensured that the target of APGA to bring succour to Ndigbo and give them hope in the country was realized. Governor Peter Obi exhausted his two consecutive tenures, and then vowed that whoever would replace him must be one he had found better than himself, and maintained that it was no other person than Chief Dr Willie Obiano, Akpokuedike.
Today, our faith and hope have prevailed over all sufferings by the unbeatable governance of Akpokuedike. At this juncture, I enjoin all interest groups - MASOB, IPOB, churches, market men and women, civil servants, students, e.t.c., to embrace the very indispensable fact that we must pitch tents with APGA at all time, as well as exploiting other routes through which the Igbo Nation can secure their rights. Any gullible individual who is against APGA is practically against the actualisation of the sovereign state of Biafra which must one day come to be, God willing.
Let us be as wise as the serpent and always be guided by the wishes of our icon, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu. He saw the untold marginalisation of Ndigbo and fought against it. He went through the crucible and defied every challenge and obstacle to give us a life line which is APGA. Ikemba established the Biafran Movement, and he, Ikemba, established APGA. Thus the two are intertwined and are complimenting each other. We must be wise. The recent very ugly declarations by the Northerners and their accomplices should be an eye opener. We should be very wise and very united, with unfettered love.
We must beware of some political deceivers who go all out deceiving the public, taking advantage of human gullibilities. The challenge before everyone is to ask all those going about maligning our governor and seeking votes, where they were in those days when the state was kept in shambles. I Climb the trees with teeth, and can tell all the bitter stems. I was the state youth leader in APGA for two tenures of 8years and underwent all the herculean pressure in securing the fabrics of our APGA home party, and I have not gained anything in reward for my inputs, but yet it has never influenced me to work against the party.
Individuals must know that the common goal of the people supersedes individual interests at all times.
I humbly wish to reiterate again that we must not allow deceivers to play with our intelligence. Akpokuedike is God- given, and we must give peace a chance for him to continue with his excellent works into his second tenure. We all must note that where peace and unity abound, security is established. Where there is unity, there is peace. When peace blossoms, it brings forth stability, and when stability overwhelms, it engenders a sustainable economy and accelerated development. So, let nothing shift our minds from this fact. I must commend our sons and daughters who selflessly devote their very tight time in throwing the light for our people. Thanks to Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the proud son of our land, who has taken time to drop a master-piece for us to know the truth.
To the aggrieved APGA members, and by extension to all other Igbo-extraction, I can appeal that you sheathe your swords and support Akpokuedike and APGA.
I always stand firm to appraise the ideal characters in the game: individuals like Chief Sir Victor Umeh (OFR), the designated senator from our party, for he has always been focused and prime at any confusing point to make the confused know the right track. But I must, on the other hand say that those of them who know well the true history of our party, APGA, and the players that made the party to still stand the test of time, should brace up in all sincerity to make the governor give honour to whom honour is due to, as it is very disheartening that Monkey ''dey work and Baboon dey chop''. This, I know, remains the main factor disturbing the polity.
To the APGA leadership and government at all levels, I must caution that the exclusion of the primordial sufferers from reaping the goodies of their sweat does not keep a party and government flourishing.
How do you assess the people's support for Akpokuedike?
The numerous honours, endorsements and title conferments by our royal majesties across the state on our diligent governor are good arrow-pointing for the ignoramuses.
The amalgamated of the traditional prime ministers (Ndi Onowu) across the state under the unsurmountable organisational ability of an icon of our era, Chief Sir Anthony Enukaeme (Onowu – Neni), is solidly behind our workaholic governor, Akpokuedike. What again does anyone need to be informed of? We must jointly give peace a chance.
The ASATU people are there to testify to the very wonderful developmental strategies of Akpokuedike, one of which is using the people in their various communities to solve their problems after the people themselves have identified those problems? This method has boosted participatory governance by all sections of the people; so there is no way anyone can deny having benefitted maximally from the all-inclusive governance of Chief Dr Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano “Akpokuedike”. Good wine doesn't need much haggling and bargaining, so we need not to dissipate our energies unnecessarily, chasing the penumbra for umbra, where God has mercifully given us the succour of hope. All of us must be thankful to God to have deemed the Igbo Nation and Anambra State in particular fit for the gift of a straight-forward and dedicated workaholic like Dr Willie Obiano.
GovWillie Obiano: Egbebuike believes Obiano has done enough to merit 2nd term
What's your assessment of APGA primary, given the initial divisions?
The primary was very mature for not wasting people's energies in fronting decoys in the name of contesting the primary. The APGA hierarchy does not chase shadows or mirage. It is needless exposing a prima-donna to a competition. Good wine doesn't need too much bargaining.
In your capacity, how do you plan to unleash support for Dr. Willie Obiano?
I will bank on my experience as an impeccable youth leader in the ruling party during my stewardship. I know very well where the knots are and how to unknot them. I will use my unmatched and unbeatable APGA youth structure in the party. It also include the chairmanship cum grass-roots forum; and my ASATU mobilised youth structures across the state. We are all united in loyalty to our rare gem, Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu, for the sustenance of the Igbo Nation, beginning from Anambra in the coming election.
These structures were deployed selflessly for the sustenance of APGA, and the government of the day; from the era of Mr Peter Obi to Akpokuedike. But the problem has always been that the system has favoured sycophants. I will utilize those structures in my power to favour my man. And there are no two ways about it. If the system will mobilise me, I will deliver as the grassroots have confidence in me for my truthful leadership. They are very focused people who believe in their struggle to pay Ikemba back for his selfless love for his people.
What is your take on the issue of IPOB threats?
Ikemba in his best wisdom resorted to the formation of APGA as an alternative to MASSOB or others like IPOB, to be the vehicle for the ultimate actualisation of the much yearned Biafran Nation. Experience had made him not to expose his people to any situation that may lead to the shedding of their innocent blood again. I must reiterate that no one claims being more Catholic than Pope. I wish to point out to Uwazuruike and Kanu, and all of us Biafrans, that none of us has invented any new better route than the ones already put in place by our unforgettable, selfless leader, Ikemba. The centrepiece of this centripetal force is Ikemba, so we must ensure that we don't miss the focus, as every patriotic Igbo man and woman has it as an obligation to support APGA at all times.
How much of a threat do you see in the candidatures of Obaze of PDP and Tony Nwoye of APC, to your boss's desire to return to office?
There is nothing to fear. I can tell everybody to be wise. I wonder what Peter Obi and Obaze will tell Anambrarians. Is it that they betrayed Ikemba's trust, or that they were in power as governor and SSG respectively for two tenures of 8 years and may have forgotten some strategies with which to better the state? Will our Oga, Peter, and co, be bold enough to tell the elite and wise alike, that they had not traded with the trust bestowed on them? Who is certain that it is not trading all the way? I just pity our gullible brethren who seem to easily get hypnotised by the eloquence of politicians. I must be emphatic: no matter any excuse, betrayal of trust is the ultimate exposure of any individual who claims to be infallible. Meanwhile, it is not yet too far for our people to forget that this state was kept in shambles by the successive PDP governments, so for Peter Obi to have left APGA and joined PDP to play the godfather role says much for his intentions.
I must point out that our main problem today is that people with inordinate ambition will never wish to go or stay off individuals that know their onus or have their own words, otherwise I wonder why Peter Obi after mounting the pressure on the people of Anambra during the campaign that Willie had impeccable qualities, even more than him, Peter, will now turn around against his proclaimed Willie for a perceived willing tool in Obaze? Wonders shall never end. God help us.
And on the issue of Tony Nwoye, inasmuch as he may be a good man, I don't know his history. But all I know is that walls have ears, and the electorate will definitely make analyses. Notwithstanding, I know that no sane human-being will support Nwoye after seeing all these sufferings of the people by the bad government at the centre by APC, where also the Igbos are being disenfranchised with impunity and nobody questions due to back up of the perpetrators by the ruling APC. So if the candidate of APC, Tony Nwoye, takes up Anambra State, but God forbid, where then will be the base of Igbo defence? You know the APC governor must always be at the beck and call of his pay master from above. At this juncture, I wish to shout it to the hearing of even the deaf and dumb that the future will never be kind to those who have the privilege of being able to tell the truth, but who instead, have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity or mute indifference. The Central Zone of Anambra has duly enjoyed the blessing of the good people of the state to occupy the seat of the government house via Peter Obi cum Obaze (SSG) for two consecutive tenures; so as the North Zone is now on the throne, it should be allowed the two possible tenures.
The arithmetic there is that the South, whether they like it or not, should support Akpokuedike who has only one tenure remaining for him as the North Zone. But if they mistakenly put Obaze or Tony Nwoye there, definitely the story must change, as whoever among the duo that wins will strive to occupy the seat for consecutive terms, thereby disenfranchising the South from having their turn as and when due.
This will distort the slogan of “onye aghana nwanneya” which ought to be the guiding principle.
APGA is the only political template in the nation that will continue to ensure redemption for Igbos. Surely the ever adroit soul of Ikemba shall remain evergreen, like the famous Africa-never-die flower, in our souls and actions.