In this interview with South West bureau chief, JOHN SILAS, former National Vice Chairman (South-East) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Abia State governorship candidate of the party in the 2015 general elections, Nyerere Anyim, speaks on some national issues including, the forthcoming general elections and the boast by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to return to power.
After over two years of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, the view of most people is that expectations of Nigerians are yet to be met. How would you react to this?
In as much as every Nigerian will appreciate that there are some challenges, the truth is that we are almost close to the end of the tunnel. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning, so all we need is to exercise patience because we are almost there. All of us are going through the challenges, but I am assuring Nigerians that it will soon be over,
Where do you stand on the call for President Muhammadu Buhari to go for a second term, even when he is yet to declare his intention in that regard?
We must give kudos to Mr. President for appreciable achievements he has made so far since he came to power, especially in the war against corruption, security and the agricultural revolution, which is something every Nigeria should be proud of. While nobody will deny that he is eminently qualified to run for a second term, based on these laudable feats, the decision to contest the next election or not is left for the president to make. But to some of us, who appreciate what the president is doing, we crave to have him go for a second term.
You mentioned the anti-corruption war, but some members of the opposition are likely to disagree with you on that as their belief is that it is targeted at them…
You don’t expect them to say something contrary to that because that is why they are the opposition, but everyone discerning mind will agree with me that the anti-graft war is not targeted at only members of the opposition. There is a saying that the river will allow someone it did not see his leg to drown in it. For example, who were the beneficiaries of the arms deal scandal? Will you leave the beneficiaries and go against those who were not involved. The scandal occurred under a government which felt that one of the democratic dividends it should give to Nigerians is to institutionalise corruption. The culprits are the ones who are answering questions over the matter, and incidentally, they are predominantly members of the PDP. That is why some of us keep advocating that politics should not be a winner takes all affair. Again, on the claim that the anti-graft war is a witch-hunt; we have instances of some APC chieftains who are equally facing prosecution over alleged corruption.
Some key members of your party are defecting to the main opposition party, the PDP, ahead of the 2019 general elections. Are you not worried that this may affect APC’s chances in elections?
My message to them is that if they sincerely believe in the change, which the APC preached during the campaign for the last elections, they should stay and ensure that it becomes a reality. But if they feel that the change is too hot for them to contend with and they prefer a party that believes in business as usual, good luck to them. In the APC, we don’t have room for those who don’t have the interest of Nigerians at heart.
The PDP after its national convention issued a warning to your party to be ready to quit the presidential villa come 2019. Do you see the former ruling party returning to power?
What do you expect from a drowning man? What was the outcome of their convention? As far as I am concerned, all they are doing is drama. What was the outcome of their convention; dramatization of corruption and injustice. They feel that Nigerians are not sensible but Nigerians have come of age to know who is who. I wish you followed the convention; is that what you expect in a country where people are talking about sanity and integrity. It was hijacked, which is their trade mark. So, the quit notice they gave was out of exuberance. What I had expected from the PDP is a set of rejuvenated human beings, but from the look of things, they are not matured yet.
They were removed from government because of massive corruption and two years after, they still came back to dramatise the same thing that made Nigerians to vote them out. That means there is no repentance as they are still perpetuating the same impunity we know them for.
The APC seems not be making the expected inroad into the South-East given the outcome of the recent governorship election in Anambra State…
Because the PDP was in power before the 2015 elections and was in control of the military and electoral commission, they deceived the people of the South-East and South-South, making them believes that APC was not theirs. That was a grand deceit, but within the two and half years of the Buhari administration, roads that were abandoned in the South-East are being given attention; the Second Niger Bridge is being giving attention and several abandoned projects in the zone as well as the South-South have been given attention, making us feel that we are part of government and governance. That is why you see several PDP chieftains joining the APC almost on daily basis.
The PDP impoverished the people of South-East by refusing to pay civil servants, but the people have developed the consciousness that have seen them refusing to eat the crumbs from their table and insisting that their votes must count.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has released the timetable for the 2019 elections. Are you going to run for Abia State governorship again?
I want people to understand why I contested for the position in 2015; Abia was politically decayed, economically impoverished and socially abandoned. Today, the story has not changed. The same people that kept Abia the way it is are still in charge. You cannot repeat the same process and expect a different result. In the case of Abia, what do you expected from the same people that ruined the state? The cry in the state now is worse than what it was before the last elections, so Abians are waiting for that change they have been yearning for come 2019