BY CHIDI NNADI
Former Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuka has picked holes on the power rotation principle of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), saying it was designed to keep the Igbo out of power. Chukwuka, a medical doctor and politician of note, who is now based in the United States of America, also spoke on his political antecedents among other issues. CHIDI NNADI brings the excerptsPolitical tutelage:
When General Ibrahim Babangida dissolved the 13 political parties formed then, and established the National Republican Convention(NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP), being a progressive, I quickly registered in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), where I contested and won the state publicity secretary of the SDP in the old Anambra State. Discharging that position with dexterity and unparallel amiability, I became popular with all governments and served in various capacities both in political parties and the government of my state.
At the Jos convention that produced the late Chief MKO Abiola, I won the post of Assistant National Publicity Secretary, but when the convention was cancelled and the re-run election ordered at Abuja Sheraton Hotel, I lost that opportunity to national limelight to the political organogram of the late Alhaji Shehu Yar’Adua. Not deterred by this, I went back to Anambra State, and was later appointed by Dr. Ezeife as cabinet consultant on Health Matters.
Later Colonel Mike Attah appointed me the director general of Bureau of Information and Culture; then Dr. Mbadinuju as Special Adviser on Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Media and Publicity and Managing Director of ANSEPA. Later, the then President, Chief Obasanjo appointed me the Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) when Professor Jerry Gana was the supervising minister. Finally, I worked with Dr. Chris Ngige as Senior Special Assistant on Mobilization and State Orientation.
Passion for politics;
Regrettably, politics has not at all times presented a bed of roses for me. My worst period in politics was when I was dropped as the DG of NOA in Abuja. No sooner was I appointed to the job of orientation than that appointment was lost in a mysterious circumstance which till today remains inexplicable to me. All I know was that my Personal Assistant continued to warn me to hide my intelligence, that Abuja politics is not Anambra politics. Of course, I ignored him to my own detriment.
Yes, Abuja politics is dirty. If you are smart, you will be schemed out of the system. They need idiots, half-baked fools, embryonic politicians that are initiative barren. They hate those who are inherently endowed with visions and dreams to move this nation forward. This is the political quagmire that has for many years stagnated the progress of this nation. Realizing that the orientator has to be orientated in Abuja politics, my PA bought me a book called “The 48 Laws of Power”, which opened my eyes to the fact that my intelligence will soon have a negative impact and cause me to lose my job.
Categorically, he opined that if he was the president of the country, and witnessed what I did at the podium, he would simply drop whoever was the Minister of Information and immediately appoint me in his place. All my pleas to him to take it easy with me fell on deaf ears. He promised to call my minister to remove me as I was after his job. Surprisingly, two days after that encounter, I lost my job in the most mysterious circumstance. No reason was given. That is Abuja politics and I do not regret the impact I made as DG of NOA. If you go to NOA today, I am well respected. My stay in office was barely a year, but the impact was reverberating and the echo and ripple effect were felt in all nooks and crannies of this nation.
So, at what point did you leave the country and why?
Since Dr. Ngige lost his governorship seat in the court in 2006, I travelled to America to study their system, and also disappear from the scene. Having worked in their hospitals, taught in their nursing schools and taught mathematics in their higher schools, I have come to the conclusion that Nigeria is a country endowed with individuals with high acumen. Our children are by far more intelligent than an average American child in secondary school.
Unfortunately, the country is still dangerously verged on a perilous pathway heading to absolute collapse and decay, if something is not done soon. In 2010, I visited my country from USA where I boasted that Nigeria has more agreeable, sagacious and astute politicians who can’t compromise on issues of nation building than the GOP and Democrats in America. But the level of infrastructural deterioration and decay in almost all sectors of the nation is not only humiliating, but an outrageous insensibility on the part of the government to the plights of the common man of this nation that voted them into power.
Impressions about Nigeria;
Let me begin with the road infrastructure. From Shagamu to Benin, Lagos to Ibadan, Enugu to Abuja, Enugu to Onitsha, Enugu to Port-Harcourt, Enugu to Nsukka, Ore to Ondo to Ife to Ibadan, the roads have been ignored by successive governments of this nation is not only criminal, but wicked. I wonder what is in resurfacing a road. Billions of taxpayers’ money are every year appropriated for these roads and yet nothing tangible is done. It is indeed shameful for anyone to call himself a senator or member of House of Representatives, or president, or governor in this nation when these roads are crying and begging for reconstruction. Obviously, our highways have posed terrible nightmares to commuters and road carnages have assumed an unprecedented dimension in the history of this nation. Consequently, I make bold to suggest that all senators, governors and presidents of this nation should as a matter of criminal negligence to their duties resign their positions if they cannot cater for the people and provide adequate amenities for the citizenry.
When Chief Obasanjo came to power he promised that power outage will be a thing of the past within six months of his being in office. Eight years later, he left the country in a comatose state. Power outage became worse than before. As a matter of fact, no nation can develop technologically when electric supply is not predictable. No industries can be sited or built in this nation when power is on and off. The use of computers for global networking and indeed information processing cannot prosper in a paralyzed energy sector.
Today, Nigeria has the most backward police force the world over. Created to control crime and protect the citizens, our police force unlike what I saw in America, is a caricature of crime control mechanics. With shameful roadblocks mounted here and there, sometimes in every kilometer, the police have reduced their status to mere illegal tollgate collectors, and yet everyone ignores this corruptive tendency. As a matter of fact, the road blocks have achieved nothing in crime control.
The Police Force in this nation is begging for reorganization and should be made lucrative. Government should abolish police barracks and allow police to live in neighborhoods for ease of busting and controlling crime. Since the roads are bad and may not be repaired anytime soon, police should now use power bikes to control crime. They should patrol rather than mount road blocks to collect illegal tolls and cause untold hardship to road users. Government should pay police salaries that are commensurate to the job of crime control and the risk involved. This is common sense. Give the police the necessary equipment and tools to perform their duties and reap the imponderable benefits. We can do it. Yes we can, if we have the will and zeal.
Igbo president project in 2015:
The Igbo are finished politically in this nation. It will be difficult in the present political dispensation for an Igbo man to be the president of this country. The present political computation and permutation as arranged by Chief Obasanjo of the PDP does not favour the Igbo who have been marginalized by Obasanjo’s crafty political equation of South South plus South West plus North Central plus North West equal to a win-win for him. That is why in the PDP National Working Committee, no Igbo man is even appointed a sweeper or a messenger. However, all hope is not lost since the Igbo man is as incompressible as water. We surely will rebound at the appropriate time. We have the capacity, capabilities, ingenuity, sagacity and political maneuver to scale this political man-made hurdle and reintegrate ourselves into the national political stream. We refuse to be condemned and confined to the present political incarceration. Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo should wake up and lead appropriately.