*Moving from an opposition party to another is not good
*I intend to bring Igbo into mainstream politics
* PDP treated Igbo wickedly
The National Chairman of the deregistered United Progressives Party (UPP), and founder of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA),Chief Chekwas Okorie, popularly known as Oje Ozi Ndigbo, said that moving froman opposition party to another is not good for him now and does not project Igbo interests at the moment. MAURICE OKAFOR presents the excerpts of a short interview with Chief Okorie.
Oje Ozi Ndigbo revealed that once UPP and some other deregistered parties finalise arrangements and formalise how to visit the All Progressives Congress (APC) national secretariat, he will move into action with some other APC leaders across the South-East zone, to spread the good works of President Muhammadu Buhari and the need for Ndigbo to reject the unnecessary propaganda against the president.
According to him, “President Buhari and the APC-controlled Federal government, in the past five years, has put in place several social infrastructural projects across the South-East zone, which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could not do in the 16 years it controlled political leadership of the country.
“With deregistration of UPP, we were left with two options.One is to retire and stop politics, which is not attractive. The second option is to go to court and challenge INEC as some other parties have done. That is not a good idea, going by my past experiences. We were in court for eight years in our tussle for the soul of APGA.
“So with that experience, I decided not to go to court at all. The other option is to join another party that offers us mouth-watering offers. But the other parties are in opposition. Moving from one opposition party to another opposition is not good for me now. Without fear of contradiction, I am the longest serving opposition politician in the country, and I know whatthat means. I was in opposition knowing quite well it is a lonely road. I was in opposition, believing that from an opposition party, Igbos can go intonegotiation with the ruling party, but that did not work out; it failed to materialise”.
He debunked insinuations that he has abandoned the struggle for the political emancipation of the Igbo race, by his joining the APC.
His said: “I did not abandon the Igbo struggle. Ndigbo haveno political party anymore. Therefore, the best option we have is to join the APC. PDP treated the Igbo nation wickedly within the 16 years of its rule. There’s no cottage industry across the entire Igbo land that can be credited to the PDP,not to talk of hospitals, roads, and other social infrastructure. At a time, all the elective positions throughout Igbo land were produced by the PDP, but there was nothing to show for it”.
Chief Okorie insisting he did not join the APC for selfish reasons maintained that he has the intention to lure Ndigbo into the mainstream of the nation’s politics, stressing that both the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu applied such political ideology in their search for a way forward for Ndigbo. He stressed however that Ahmed Bola Tinubu has succeeded in actualizing such a feat for the Yoruba nation at the moment.
However, he said the project is not what he can do alone but with the collective efforts of Igbo political juggernauts in the APC such as the former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, a former Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime; the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; former Imo State Governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha; the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu; the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr, Geoffrey Onyeama, among others.
He expressed the optimism that soon as the Igbo political juggernauts in the APC start working as a team, the Igbo nation will make serious impact in the central government, including their expectation of producing Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023.
Said he: “I am happy that the present circumstances occurred before three years to the next election. I am happy that Mr. Osita Okechukwu,the VON DG is sounding drum beats for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023. I will join him soon. Even if we don’t get Presidency in 2023, Igbo people will be far more relevant in the next government”.