Chuks Ibegbu Speaks On Diverse Issues (Interviewed by Igbo Information Network)

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, an Ohaneze chieftain, President of World Igbo Leadership, Educational And Cultural Council (WILECC) and Movement For Justice And Equity in Nigeria (MEJIN) in this interview bares his mind on several local and national issues. 

 

QUESTION-  The federal government recently declared a state of emergency in the three Northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Several Nigerians have been commenting on that . What’s your own view?

 

ANSWER-  My view is that it is a welcome development. The insecurity and killings in the North have become unbearable. No responsible government will allow such brazen waste of lives to continue. It cannot just continue that way. So we welcome the measure.

 

QUESTION   - But do you think the federal government handled the BOKO HARAM challenges well in the first place . Could there have been better ways to address the issue at the early stage before it degenerated to this level?

 

ANSWER- Well nobody knew it would degenerate to this level. Really the political class in the North East did not handle the matter well at the early stages. Ex Governor Bunu Sheriff of Borno state did not handle the issue well. He hobnobbed with the group at the early stages until they went haywire and he abandoned them . The federal authorities then did not equally handle the matter well  at the early stages. Perhaps if the issue was handled well at that initial stage it would not have degenerated to the level we are seeing it today. It is the usual impunity and outright self-deceit of the Nigerian elites and ruling class that exacerbated the BOKO HARAM imbroglio. Its unfortunate that several innocent Nigerians have lost their lives in this insurrection.

 

QUESTION- What can you say about the Amnesty proposed for the BOKO HARAM?

 

ANSWER- My concern is more for the victims of the insurgency than for the so-called Amnesty. What has the government at the centre and the  concerned states done for the victims of this insurgency You cannot concentrate on Amnesty for the murderers whereas nothing tangible is said or done about their innocent victims.

 

In as much as I accept any move to end the insurgency and perhaps grant Amnesty to the repentant ones among them, I think that such Amnesty should be extended to other agitative groups that are ready to lay down their arms  too and those that have been non violent like the MASSOB. We must not give the impression that unless a group is violent  nothing will be done for it . Its a very dangerous precedence that we are setting in Nigeria . People are holding this country to a ransom under different guise and we are talking about ransom. Well I wish them well. It may be worth trying.

 

QUESTION- There is a decision by the federal authorities that the political leadership in the affected states should have limited access to their state funds in view of the enormous cost of the STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THEIR STATES.Do you share that view?

 

ANSWER- Absolutely I do. States that allow insurgents to overwhelm them should bear the cost of  routing out the insurgency. You cant expect anything less than that. It will make the political leadership in those states to sit up and account for the huge SECURITY VOTES  they pocket without doing anything to secure their states.

 

QUESTION- Recently Mr President flagged off the construction of an International Airport at Enugu. How do you see that?

 

ANSWER- Its a welcome development. It long overdue for a people that are largely business inclined. How can you have international Airports in areas that have less business potentials and none in the business inclined Igboland. Its an abberation that has been tolerated for a long time due to the iniquities of past rulers of this country.Jonathan has done well on that . We expect him to accelerate work on the second Niger Bridge at Onitsha and the EAST /WEST RAIL LINK, Let me tell you if the East / West Rail link from Lagos to Calabar passing through Onitsha , Nnewi and Aba to Calabar is put in place the South of Nigeria will witness a kind of growth never witnessed in the annals of this country. There should be spurs to Yenegoa, Ughelli and Warri joining the main line in Benin City. And you know what, the kind of money our politicians and elites waste is enough to put this necessity in place. Let me tell you one thing however. The Federal government budgeted thirteen billion naira for that airport project and the whole politicians in the SOUTH EAST were dancing and clapping. Even that day Sullivan Chime naively closed down Enugu and tormented the people. But the federal government recently sited a dam worth one hundred and thirty billion naira in Zungeru and Aliyu Babangida and the elites in the North did not gyrate or torment their people when Jonathan came calling. Infact Jonathan was pleading with them to accept that goodwill and yet they did not even clap for him.. Get me right, I like that project as it would leapfrog power generation in the country. What am implying is that Igbo political leaders should not be so cheap and naive. What will be wrong if Jonathan site a project worth 500 billion naira  in Igboland. We need it. We deserve it. I still congratulate Jonathn for that initiative and hope International flight will start landing in Enugu very very soon.

 

QUESTION-   The recent Nigerian Governors Forum election has come and gone with a lot of uproar , claims , counterclaims and even factions. What do you make out of that?

 

ANSWER-Well, the NGF is not a constitutional body just like the office of the first lady and other quasi strange entities in Nigeria are not.It cannot be a parallel government . Its only an NGO at best.  Be that as it may , they group must respect its constitution if it has any. I find it hard to believe that people that claimed to have won elections in their various states cannot respect the laws that guide them. It means almost all of them are usurpers. How did they become Governors in the first place. I think Nigerians should as relevant questions and stop clapping for the factions or siding any of them. What is happening is too bad and nauseating. They must .sop overheating the polity as there are other numerous challenges facing this nation.

 

QUESTION- Recently a group under the auspices of Southern Solidarity Forum endorsed President Goodluck Jonathna. for a second term in office. What do you say to that?

 

ANSWER- Well anybody has the right to excercise his democratic views but WILECC believes its the turn of the South East to produce the next President of Nigeria. All other zones of the country have produced the President except the South East and if democracy is all about equity and justice , it is the turn of the South East to do so.So after Jonathan's Presidency, it is the South East turn in an unbroken succession.

 

QUESTION- IS THAT IN 2015?

 

ANSWER- Why not. Has Jonathan told you that he is contesting in 2015. He has not told me nor the Igbos. Even if he tells me or us it does not determine our or my political leaning. But I advice him to restore Ndigbo back to the pre-civil war status before coming to tell us if he wants to contest or not. Are you getting me. 

 

QUESTION- But some Igbos are rooting for Jonathan in 2015. People like Arthur Eze, Ekwueme and even some South East Governors are already for him?.

 

ANSWER-  Who is Arthur Eze, a mere money bag who has no idea about how to reposition his people.I respect Dr Ekwueme and some others that have already taken a stand on that , but they are not Igbo messiahs. You see some of you  always make the mistake of couching peoples selfish interest as the interest of a whole Igbo race. Well, when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. I have nothing against Jonathan but my own is my own and our own is our own. He is our own but what of my own. If you like read between the lines. You see there are many political jobbers these days  and what they say or do has no effect on Ndigbo . Do you get me. Igbos are wiser today. Jonathan must prove to Ndigbo that is he is actually one of us, not by answering  Azikiwe or Ebele but by turning the fortunes of Ndigbo. Are you with me.

 

QUESTION- That brings me to the question of state and local government creation. As it is now Ndigbo have the least number of states and local governments in Nigeria and it appears the Nigerian state is not yet committed to addressing the issue?

 

ANSWER- That is what am telling you. Jonathan can start the process of correcting this structural injustice that is skewed against Ndigbo since 1970. The 2005 NATIONAL CONFAB agreed that for justice and equity , Ndigbo should have one extra state to atleast put them at par with other geo-political zones of the country, but the decision was stymied by the Obasanjo third term saga. People like Orji Uzor Kalu and Chukwumerije joined some Northern Politicians to scuttle the third term saga without influencing the same Northern establishment to support the sixth state for Ndigbo. That is self-defeatism and myopism par excellence. You help them achieve their aim but they will  no

 
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