Charles Ubah is the Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Imo State and a former member of the Imo State House of Assemble. In this interview with our Senior Correspondent, Anolu Vincent, in Owerri, he spoke on a number of issues, including the vision of the new APC and the forthcoming council poll in the state. Excerpts:
Since the conclusion of the 2011 governorship election in Imo, not much has been heard of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) again in the state except now that we are hearing of merger. How do you intend to raise the consciousness of the people to join the New party (APC)?
It is right to say that we have remained silent or passive since the consummation of the governorship election, it is true that we lost the election but we have remained consistent and vibrant in playing the role of the opposition expected of us in a democratic setting like ours. But as a party not in power, you do not expect us to be acting in a way as to give the impression that we are the party in power, otherwise we might be misconstrued as fighting the government in power. We have been strategizing and re-strategizing since 2011 by making sure that we establish formidable structures in all the LGAs, electoral wards and booths in the state in preparation for the 2015 elections to make sure that the PDP is permanently banished in the state. The APC has been the dream of every Nigerian and right now, a lot of people are joining the new party and I can assure you that by the time we are through, the PDP will be in serious trouble. One of the problems with our democracy is the belief in the power of incumbency. A lot of people believe that once they are elected into office, it becomes absolutely imperative for them to use all resources at their disposal to consolidate the office, suppress others who are interested to compete with them in the next election in order to get re-elected. This should not be so because power belongs to the people who should decide who sets what in every election as against the sitting governor, president or member of the State/National Assembly deciding for them. Remember that in 2011, the power of incumbency failed the PDP after all the political heavyweights in that party did everything humanly possible under the sun to retain power. But the electorate said capital “No” and rejected them that was what brought Governor Rochas Okorocha into power, and I can assure you that the same power of incumbency will disappoint the PDP at the Federal level in 2015 and APC will takeover. We have progressive minds within our fold and who have written their names in Gold in our political terrain. These people will bring their wealth of experience in democracy and governance to bear in the administration to be formed by the APC in 2015 and Nigerians will be better for it.
What is the Implication of the merger on our nascent democracy?
As well, it is a welcome development for people to come together to form a formidable bigger and larger political party because it is not ideal for a particular political party to be in power perpetually. The PDP has been calling the shots since 1999 when the military vacated the political scene and this negatively discourages healthy competition among the political class. It is a good omen when people decide to sink their individual differences and political leanings, come together to rescue the Nation from the oppressive and draconian regime of the PDP. Therefore, anybody wishing the merger dead or plotting to either frustrate it or crumble it is not a patriotic Nigerian and should be thoroughly examined psychologically. From all indications, the PDP is intent to perpetuate itself in power and milk the country dry and it is our collective responsibility to say “No” to this unpatriotic mission. For the past 14 years, the PDP has only succeeded in entrenching stinking unprecedented corruption and insecurity in our country just because no party or individual is competing with them and all true, peace loving and progressive Nigerians should see the merger as a credible and efficient antidote to remedy this unfortunate nagging situation.
As I said earlier, all good thinking Nigerians in their right senses should wish us well and we are determined to merge and our personal interests have been put aside as part of the strategies for us to survive and succeed. We are not playing to the gallery and we take solace in the fact that Nigerians are yearning for a change of government at the centre and are solidly behind us. As I said earlier, the merge is to pave way for a healthy competition of power. It is a mission borne out of altruism by the fusing parties to take our country to the next level because we have over the years being held down by bad leadership and administrative ineptitude. We must leave lasting legacies for generations to emulate; otherwise, posterity will not forgive us. This is the ulterior motive of the merger. We are not coming together to hurt or undo any individual or organization. Our democracy has come to stay and I believe that it is the collective responsibility of each and everyone of us to make concerted genuine patriotic efforts to sustain it for national growth and development.
One of the misgivings by the public is that power tussle might tear the merger apart, thus render it puerile and ineffective. Do you believe this?
Do remember that I have said that we have already closed ranks and sunk our individual and political differences. Therefore, crises on how resources will be generated and shared will not be there. Again, sharing of offices among the members in the merger will not in any way posed a problem because all these had been taken care of by the fusing members. We are on a patriotic mission to rescue Nigerians from the PDP hegemony and so we are poised to make sacrifices and contributions that would at the end of the day usher in a new era for the electorate and make them be proud of their fatherland. Every peace loving Nigerian wants to see the PDP sent packing in 2015 and APC taking over for the Aso Rock for the nation to move forward, because for the past 14 years, nothing positive or tangible has taken place in a country acclaimed as the giant of Africa and the most populous black nation in the biosphere. It is really sad and unfortunate and we cannot continue like this – to be a laugh stock among the comity of nations. Those opposed to the merger are doing so, purely out of sheer ignorance and selfishness because they want the ugly status quo, to remain; a system that has made life meaningless for the masses and also made the electorate to now live below the poverty line. As a nation blessed with abundant human and material resources, Nigeria as the giant of any Africa should not have any business to do with poverty, illiteracy, squalor, disease, lack of modern health facilities, inadequate shelter and accommodation that are now the lot of the people. An APC controlled Federal Government has the capacity and capability to remedy this rot and this why we are calling on all well meaning Nigerians to ignore our rabid opponents and cynics who are shedding crocodile tears and dishing out cheap and unwarranted propaganda to discredit us. The larger segment of the populace now knows better and at the end of the day, we will triumph.
There is the fear that the prevailing state of insecurity will mar the 2015 general elections if nothing is done before them to rectify the situation?
Insecurity is one of the major flaws of the PDP-controlled Federal Government and when we the (APC) come on board, we are going to confront this headlong. Porous security Network has given rise to unbridled corruption and this has continued to stifle economic development in our country with Nigerians getting increasingly impoverished by the day. Industries and factories are not springing up and the few existing ones are either lying comatose and prostrate or are operating below installed capacity. In the second Republic led by Alhaji Shelu Shangari we had the Ajaokuta steel rolling mill and the Alaja steel complex. But today can you tell me any steel rolling mill that had been established in the past 14 years of PDP led Federal Government? Here in Imo State, the immediate past Governor of the State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, rubbished the good job done by his predecessor, Chief Achike Udenwa, instead of consolidating on what he met on the ground.