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My Advice To APC Leaders – Nya-Etok

Posted: May 19, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ezekiel Nya-Etok is the Chairman, Social Advocacy Group, and a former governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State. In this chat with IDONGESIT ASHAMERI, he speaks on sundry national issues, including Muhammadu Buhari’s in-coming administration. Excerpts…

You were very active during the general elections. How did it go?

Ezekiel Nya-Etok

Ezekiel Nya-Etok

I have a very strong opinion of the politics in Nigeria and if the international community has been kind enough to rate our election as being fair and credible, I think I will like to ride on that grade from the international community and also say, we did very well with the elections, because we have been backward for so long. But in-house, we must come and tell ourselves a simple truth, and that is that, the election had a lot of challenges! I speak not as an Akwa Ibom person, but as a Nigerian, and I generalise the problem because in every nook and cranny of this country, we had that challenge. Going forward, I have tried to put forward a few things that must be done as imperative for 2019. The very first thing is that the introduction of the card-reader was amazing. There was so much enthusiasm in the first election, that was the presidential and people said with the card reader it was as good as could be expected. But the card reader suspension brought in results, particularly from certain section of the country that were unbelievable, and a lot of times when people look at Akwa Ibom and Rivers and shout wow! I tend to wonder if we were oblivious of what happened in other parts of the country, with respect to under-age voters and a lot of other things.

So, you think the kind reader was very valuable?

So, I think that we need to take the card reader concept to the next level, outside of which we would have made a total rubbish of a very good step that we’ve put forward so far. So firstly, I think the concept in 2015 was a step in a right direction but in delivery, we didn’t take it to a logical conclusion. So, as I earlier said, in going forward; we need to take it to a logical conclusion and this should be done through very, very systematic approach.

Before the election, you warned the PDP, your party, to get its act together or face the consequences, what informed that, and what do you think made PDP lose the Presidential election?

The PDP got what it deserved. I believe that success is a responsibility and the PDP had the capacity to rule this country for 60 years, like they said, because they had the spread on their side, they had the numbers on their side, they had the capacity on their side, but rather than see it as a responsibility they took it for an occasion to be pompous; to have no element of restraint; to be almost careless with it and they brought in the impunity that comes with the pride that ends with a fall. And at the end of the day, they needed to be woken up to the larger interest of this country and as bad as it was, I think that it might be to the larger good of this country because the PDP and the APC have structurally changed position and if the APC is wise, they would realise that the issue is not in the name, but in the concept. What is the concept? If you do not protect what you have, if you take the people for granted, you will pay expensive price. The people in the PDP are those who have moved over to the APC; so, beyond the nomenclature, it is the same. What would have to change is the ideology and I do not know to what extent the APC have learnt. Why I say this is because I’m amazed that after victory, they have not been given so much time to the responsibility of victory; they (APC) are busy basking in the euphoria of success a little longer than it should be; they are busy throwing jab and punches that are absolutely unnecessary. What they need more than any other thing today is a stable polity. It’s a peaceful operating environment and they should go out of their way and pay expensive prices to ensure peace. Unfortunately, I don’t see them doing that, they are still in the cloud and my worry and concern is that, by the time the tenure ends, they might realise that it has gone irredeemably.

Let’s look at the issue of security. The country has been witnessing some level of unbelievable breakthrough in the fight against insurgency, what do you think is the reason for this latest gains by our military?

I do have an idea of certain details and the first is that, the fight against the insurgency was a fight that needed to be executed with certain weapons. And every effort to get these weapons was frustrated. Co-incidentally, just before the election, the incumbent government had breakthrough of some sort by having access to weapons they needed. Now, with that access came what you may call a boost in the morale of the soldiers. Now, apart from having the weapons, they also for the first time after a very long while, had collaboration with the neighbouring countries and the battle was taken to the enemy’s territory. First, the weapon; second, the collaboration and third the successes recorded really gingered them and it’s like a balancing scale, while one side is lifting up, the order side, inevitably has to go down, so the success that they recorded became a booster to the Nigerian side and a damping of the spirit to the insurgents and with each information recorded came a lot of plucking of a hole in this fight; a lot of supply chain was cut and we could not but make much, much, much more advance and recorded a lot more success. I will like to give Mr. President a lot of commendation because some people would have said, look, I am already on my way out, let’s keep this monster for this man to come and taste what it’s all about and he could have subverted or even looked the other way so that this man comes and starts from the same rough terrain. But President Goodluck Jonathan sees things a lot differently; he sees things as a nationalist, he sees things as a man who is opportuned by God to be there and that it would be most unfair and the highest act of ingratitude to God to get to the top and decide to pull the ladder so that nobody else can climb. So he insisted on doing what is right to the very last minute so that we can enjoy the peace that we are enjoying.  And I think that the incoming President would be happy to have one less of the evil and challenges to contend with.

Let’s talk about president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, do you have any optimism he would make much difference?

Two things, first is that I have a lot of reservation, a whole lot of reservation, but you see that every coin has two sides. I always give this example of this family with a lot of enlightened, cultured, well mannered and well-brought up people and then there is this ‘idiok udo’(black sheep of the family) who is just a problem. He fights and scatters things and nobody stands in his way. But one day, one mad man came to the family and really embarrassed the father; while all the good children were busy speaking grammar; don’t do this, don’t do that, that’s not proper; that’s not okay! You shouldn’t do that. That’s very uncivil, the man was dazing their father until ‘idiok udo’ showed up and boiled and beat the mad man to save his father. So you could see that in what was supposed to be negative there is positive out of it. That is why the Bible says, that all things works for good. I have a lot of reservations concerning the incoming President, but you cannot take it away from him that he possesses a particular attribute that Nigeria is in dire need of. And that attribute is one that also countered what the PDP had almost come to personify, and that is a bad combination of affluence and impunity.