External Forces Should Leave NASS Members Alone – Agwu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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External Forces Should Leave NASS Members Alone – Agwu

Posted: Jul 31, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chief Agwu Ukpai Agwu is the Special Adviser to the Abia governor on Special Duties. Before now he had been chairman of Ohafia Local Government, Special Adviser to the governor on Security, commissioner for Transport. He is also an astute politician and commentator on public affairs. In this interview with Correspondent Ben Duru, he spoke on recent events in Abia State and other national issues. Excerpts:

You are the Special Adviser to the governor on Special Duties. Can you take us into what has been happening so far in the present administration?

Chief Agwu Ukpai Agwu

Chief Agwu Ukpai Agwu

I will start by saying that we and I mean every Abian that sincerely love Abia in spirit and in truth clamoured for it. Without mincing words, I want to say categorically that things have started very well for the state and the people; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is already impacting on the state and her people in such a phenomenon that people are already surprised. Before the governor came, there had been a clamour for a change which started from the national down to the states, though most of those chanting the mantra did not know the meaning. To some it simply meant removing the person in office and installing just anybody to the helm of affairs irrespective of whether he has the pedigree or not to carry the responsibilities of the higher office. But for those of us who quite understand the meaning of the word change, what we clamoured for was the change that will take Abia State from this level to another level, and we discovered that among all the contestants for the job, the only man ready, prepared, with the capacity and will power, but not desperate was Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu. That was the change we clamoured for and we are beginning to witness the change in real terms. So as I said before, my assessment is that we have commenced the journey from where we were to the next level.

 

Recently Sir, the government came out with a strong worded warning to kidnappers and armed robbers to relocate to other areas. But we are seeing pockets of these crimes coming up. What are the assurances that government is up and doing?

You and I know that security is not discussed on the pages of newspapers; it is disclosed in an enclosed circle where only those who are responsible for dealing with sit to marshall out their plans. But suffice it to say that for government to come out smoking against kidnapping and armed robbery is an indication of what is in the offing for those who are engaged in it. It is a warning for the perpetrators that they are being monitored and that soon when their cup is full, the long arms of the law will catch up with them. You know that people don’t learn anything before a man will tell you not to do something, he has already prepared himself and the governor is one man who will not speak until he has put all his acts together. He is a very meticulous man and is always careful in making sure that when he says something, he pursues it with the right frame of mind. So my advice is for those involved is to jettison that area because government is already aware of their nefarious activities and will pounce on them without notice, if they persist, take this from me.

The indications from the last election showed a paradigm shift from what used to be the case, where the electorates voted along party lines. The last poll Abians voted along individuals or their consciences. Has the political maturity caught up with the state?

You must know that politics is dynamic. Even across the country, the election was not along party line, but people voted according to their consciences and Abia is part of Nigeria. What this means is that we’re gradually moving into what is called democracy, imbibing the spirit of internal democracy, it is no longer business as usual where anybody can come from anywhere and get himself or herself imposed on the people and climb up, it is no longer going to be like that. The electorates have learnt from past experiences to know the different between their right and left, they are no longer interested in swallowing imposition line, hook and sinker, they are now asserting their right and that is the era Nigeria is in now, the era of dynamism in politics and it is the best era any country can yearn to be. Government is said to be that of the people, by the people and for the people, so Nigerians are now saying no you cannot impose this person on us, this is the person we want to represent us.

 

More than two months into the life of the National Assembly, the crisis that engulfed the Red and Green Chambers still linger on. What is your advice?

Let me begin by saying that what has happened after the inauguration of the National Assembly is a show of shame. What happened on the floor of the NASS on the 9th of June is characteristically a show of independence and maturity which ought to have been applauded and allowed to mature. Are we saying that the Senators and Representatives do not have the right to select whoever they want to be their head? Are we saying that after encouraging and educating Nigerians to vote according to their consciences, then when they get to the offices, they too should not exercise their right to choose who they want? I think that has happened is good for Nigeria and democracy and should be applauded by all and sundry and allow Nigeria to move on. Their rule allows them to do their own thing and I think that rule should be respected. What I detest is the acts of hooliganism which have played out in the lower chamber and I believe this is encouraged by the external interferences that is blowing the wind. With what Nigeria has achieved in the last general election, what is playing out in the National Assembly is not what we’re expecting now, it is not what we want the international community to see of us having come this far. So I advice the external forces to allow the NASS members to do their own thing, even if they have disagreements, it is a disagreement among brothers or equal standing, and they can solve it internally and come out making Nigeria proud.

 

The governor has taken Aba, the commercial city by storm. Are we beginning to see the emergence of the Aba people dreamed about?

I don’t know when last you went to Aba, the story in Aba today has changed. Upon assuming office, the governor said he had come to change the story of Aba and the journey towards changing that story has commenced in earnest. Things are working out for good in Aba. He has made a pronouncement that all the illegal revenue collectors should desist from collecting revenue until a new blue print for the collection of revenue for government is midwife by the committee established by the governor to fashion out how the revenue would be collected without it getting into the pockets of individuals. If you witness how people come out in their thousands to felicitate with the governor anytime he is in Aba, you will come to the conclusion that Aba is gradually working out and the people are happy. You know that Aba people don’t know how to hide their feelings, so for them to come out enmasse whenever they hear the governor is in the area is an indication of goodwill occasioned by the expressed love of the governor to do his best for the commercial city. If you go to Aba today, you will see that the seven roads which the governor started immediately he took over is going on very well. These are not just ordinary roads, but dualised roads with drainages and street lights and these roads will be delivered and be in use within the first 100 days of the governor in office. So in no time, when people come to Aba, they will not remember the former things they used to know about Aba, they will be seeing a new city with infrastructure and beauty and this is the dream of the governor, to make Aba the best in everything you can think of.