USAfrica: The Igbo hold very little claim to the making of Buhari’s government, says Chekwas Okorie
He is the chairman of the Nigerian UPP political party and main founder of APGA. He remains a steady and vocal presence at the annual conferences of the World Igbo Congress as he’s on on circuits of Igbo politics and agitation. He’s based mainly in Abuja. The following Q&A form the first excerpts from Chief Dr. Okorie’s exclusive interview with the Founder & Publisher of Houston-headquartered USAfrica multimedia networks. USAfricaonline.com correspondents inside Nigeria, Collins Egbo and Jimson Nwobu, contributed questions to the August 22, 2015 interview.
Chido Nwangwu/USAfrica: Do you think the current Buhari government is carrying the Igbos along in terms of appointments and policy statements made so far?
Chekwas Okorie: Unfortunately Ndigbo have very little claim to the making of this government beyond the accommodation guaranteed each state of the federation by the constitution of Nigeria. Any other thing will depend on the milk of human kindness of President Buhari, which is very subjective. As I stated earlier, lamentation is of no moment for Ndigbo at this time. We must rise to face the reality of our awkward situation and take our destiny in our own hands. Perhaps we need this kind of political therapy to be jolted to political reality and action.
Do you think the Igbos are speaking with one voice? What should be their main concern in the current composition of government?
Chief Okorie: Ndigbo are still suffering from lack of political leadership, cohesion and focus. Igbo political leaders in PDP are in disarray because they are yet to come out of the stupor of defeat whereas their counterparts from other geo-political zones are regrouping to face the challenge of being in opposition and strategizing for a come-back bid.
Igbo political leaders in the ruling APC are fighting themselves over federal appointments which President Buhari is yet to make, whereas their counterparts in other geo-political zones have united and are making effective demands on President Buhari for the interest of their constituencies and geo-political zones. On a general note, most Igbo political leaders have resigned themselves to lamentation on the woes that have befallen us, instead of returning to the drawing board to plot their way back to political relevance in Nigeria. Ndigbo must coalesce on the platform of a political party like the UPP that is by its ideological inclination sympathetic to Igbo political agenda and aspiration in order to regain relevance in Nigeria and engage other political blocs constructively and meaningfully.
What is your take on the recent statement by the Ohaneze Ndigbo that Buhari should not only start the probe of corrupt Nigerians with people around him but should also extend his probe to Obasanjo’s administration rather than limiting it to Goodluck Jonathan’s?
Chief Okorie: This is one of those disgusting interventions by Ohaneze that project it as lacking in focus and purpose. That statement sounded more like a statement by the PDP than that of a pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization. There are several Igbo related challenges in Nigeria that should attract the attention, energy and intervention of a purposeful and focused Ohaneze leadership. Ohaneze should take a cue from Arewa Consultative Forum, Afenifere and Ijaw National Congress.
Chido Nwangwu/USAfrica: You were the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party, UPP, in the 2015 elections, party you formed after leaving APGA. How do you intend to manage the party in order not to make the mistakes of the past?
Chief Okorie: What happened to APGA was not a result of any mistake that one would take any special steps to avoid repeating. APGA suffered from a political coup d’état well-oiled and facilitated and sustained by the Nigerian establishment which included the presidency, the Electoral Commission and the Judiciary. The target was not Chekwas Okorie per se but the plot was to prevent Igbo political resurgence and use willing tools among Ndigbo to perpetrate the act. The conspiracy against Ndigbo is an ongoing exercise in Nigeria. We have devised a roadmap for the growth and development of the United Progressive Party (UPP) for future elections, especially the 2019 general election in Nigeria. We have developed some kind of natural antennae or instincts to detect traitors among our leadership and nip them in the bud before they are able to cause havoc.
We had about two years from the date of our registration by INEC on the 2nd of October, 2012 to prepare for a general election in March 2015. We had the challenge of limited funds and a generally docile Igbo electorate. However in spite of these constraints UPP was able to make a strong statement by our showing in that election. We are working on consolidating on the modest gains of our 2015 outing and we have planned a massive and sustainable membership drive and mass mobilization initiatives in advance of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. The prospects of a stronger and more powerful political machinery that will spring surprises in Nigeria are very bright.
You founded the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); this was a milestone because you were the first Igbo person to become the Founder and also National Chairman of a major, registered national political party in Nigeria at same time- since 1999. What prompted your actions? What were your challenges? Who were the other key co-founders/donors? What made you part ways with former Gov. Obi, Victor Umeh and others…? What was Obasanjo’s roles in the destabilization of APGA?
— THE EXPLOSIVE ANSWERS FROM CHEKWAS continues exclusively here on USAfricaonline.com and the most influential pan-Igbo e-group IgboEvents (powered by USAfrica) on Wednesday September 2, 2015,
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•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (GOVERNANCE, SECURITY, and PEACE in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown UNIVERSITY in Rhode Island and former ADVISER on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. E-MAIL: Chido247@Gmail.com