Frustration, Cause Of Biafra Agitation – Iko | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Frustration, Cause Of Biafra Agitation – Iko

Posted: Mar 4, 2016 at 6:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
A Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA)  stalwart and House of Representatives candidate in the last election, Chief Ndukwe Iko, in this interview with Chibuike Chukwu, cautions against the allegation by Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose, that President Buhari is trying to Islamize the nation. Excerpts:
Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose recently accused President Muhammadu Buhari of trying to Islamize Nigeria, following the President’s frequent overseas travels. What is your take on that?
That is not possible. I actually read about it and I want to believe that Fayose is merely talking, because he belongs to a different political party. Islamizing Nigeria does not come as easy as you think and Buhari cannot do it, otherwise the issue will swallow him. The President met a very poor economy, with poor diplomatic image. I am sure his frequent travels are meant to right past wrongs of the past administration. No President will dare Islamize Nigeria because Nigerians will resist such. The issue is not about Islamizing the country; we are talking about how the present administration can better the country. Buhari may be a Muslim, but I see his interest beyond Islamic religion. Also, if Fayose does not have enough evidence to back up his allegation, I think he may throw  the country into chaos. We should be conscious of what we say.
But so many people have criticized the President for what they called excessive foreign travels…
(Cuts in) Government is all about policies and Buhari mustn’t sit at Aso Rock to make good policies for the country. I think people are overworking themselves over the President’s travels. Buhari, as a former military man, is used to such life of working. Nigerians should give him a time to really implement his plans for the country. To me, the President is on the right track.
So many people have criticized the present administration over what looks like economic collapse, especially with very high exchange rate, what do you say to that?
 Yes, it is obvious that the economy is bad presently. But you should realize that, that is a global thing. But in Nigeria’s issue, you should know that a lot of factors brought us to this level. For instance when the economy was ok, we didn’t manage it well. We wasted a lot of our resources, especially during the immediate past administration going by revelations by the EFCC. Unfortunately again, we are at the point of oil price drop, dropping to as low as 90%. To be fair to the present administration, it inherited an already downed economy; but to also be fair to Nigerians, the economy is not doing well, so we require prudent management of resources and diversification of our sources of revenue.
But no matter how bad the economy is, Buhari was elected to change it, so don’t you feel there should be no excuse of inheriting poor economy?
Our worst attitude towards this administration has been impatience. This administration is not even up to a year, so it is too early to conclude that the government is not doing enough to change the economy. When you look at the efforts of the present administration in fighting corruption and plugging leakages, you will appreciate what it is doing in stemming the tide of economic recklessness. People are looking onto government to do a lot of things like payment of salaries, provide infrastructure and pay backlogs, so their hands are full in providing services. It is advisable that Nigerians give them a chance before coming down hard on them. Let’s judge them from their performance in this budget year. This administration might not have envisaged the extent of rot in the system before making certain promises, but now it is clear to them that the system is worse than envisaged.
 In your state, Abia, are you disappointed that the Supreme Court upheld the election of Okezie Ikpeazu, even when the Appeal Court ruling said APGA’s Alex Otti should be sworn in?
 As an indigene of Abia, this is a very sensitive question to answer. The state has been highly polarized along Otti and Ikpeazu path, even now after the Supreme Court verdict. When I read the Appeal Court judgement, I had my reservation to the extent that Ambode’s case at the Supreme Court was different from other Supreme Court pronouncements concerning card readers. There was already a mixed-up at the Supreme Court to the extent that the Chief Judge of the Federation came out last week to voice out his disappointment concerning incongruent rulings emanating from our senior courts. It is already a worry at the judiciary, because there is now no case that can serve as reference point to other rulings, since even with similar situation, rulings are different. I was not very comfortable with Otti in his Appeal Court victory. I knew something at the Supreme Court would happen that would deviate from the Appeal Court ruling. You can’t hinge your expectation on judicial permutations that three local governments should be discarded and the other 14 councils should be used to declare a winner. I was of the opinion that there should be a re-run in these three LGAs, because total votes at these three local governments causing crisis in Abia is higher than the difference between Otti and Ikpeazu. So it will be a political error, if Otti had been declared winner based on the result of the 14 local governments. INEC electoral rule states that if the difference between the opponents is smaller than the number of disenfranchised people willing to vote, the election should be declared inconclusive. The three council areas have a voting population of over 200,000 and the number is far more than what Otti was winning Ikpeazu with in the 14 LGAs. The Appeal Court should have pronounced a re-run in those council areas, but it discarded them. That was total error on the part of the Appeal Court. The Supreme Court, I feel, did the right thing to restore Ikpeazu.
What do you think is the reason for the continued ethnic agitation like MASSOB?
The reason is frustration; the masses are frustrated. All these agitations from MASSOB or Niger Delta are products of frustration. Unemployed youths, you can agree with me, are ready tools in the hands of some politicians, who may want to destabilize the polity. If the system is working well, no citizen may want to rise up against the government, so the issue boils down to frustration and inequality. But then, some of the agitators are sponsored to frustrate the present administration.