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Peter Obi has awakened youths to take back their country –Okoye – VELOXNEWS


By Dickson Okafor

The Coordinator, Take Back Nigeria Initiative (TBNI), Abumchukwu Okoye, has described the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi’s entrance into the 2023 presidential race, as a wakeup call on the Nigerian youths to take back their country from the old breed politicians.

In this interview, he spoke on the recent rush by the youths to register with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), and ensure the outcome of the election if INEC is not compromised among other national issues.

Now that all the political parties have selected their presidential standard bearers for next year’s election, do you see anyone among the candidates who can fix the country if elected?

As political activities pick up ahead of next year’s general election, expectations are high. However, this becomes imperative with the emergence of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, who is seen as a strong force. Again, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is another force to reckon with, and I’m so happy he is doing well. On the part of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubarka, it is left for Nigerians to make a choice. But, we intend to see the inclusiveness in the policies or the standard bearers of the parties and that is our major concern. I mean inclusiveness in national cohesion and national unity. I think that is more important to us than outright winning or losing the presidency.

Are you saying that the youths will decide who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari?

Whoever wants to become President Buhari’s successor must tell Nigerians how he would sort certain issues out if elected the next President. Number one is the issue of insecurity; how the person will fund education and ensure steady power supply. We have the issue of lack of proper health care, resource control, state police and infrastructure. One of the major issues, and the pressing one for that matter, is the issue of the economy. Our concern now is not who will win the Presidency, but how the person can address all these issues, and what he has on ground in terms of ideology and his policy on how to solve the problems.  Today, you will agree with me that Nigeria is no longer safe. So, whoever must succeed President Buhari must be able to provide security. We don’t want to lose lives and property any more. Also, what are the antecedents of these Presidential candidates which they will replicate if elected into office? Will they just make mere campaign promises just to get elected as president of Nigeria? I don’t think mere campaign promises will earn any of them our votes this time because none of the campaign promises of the present political dispensation was fulfilled. Don’t forget that activism is different from administration because when you want to administer your programme, critical decisions must be taken for the good of the masses and not mere campaign slogans or campaign strategies that will not solve any of the problems. These are the things we expect to get from the next President. Majority of Nigerians are complaining about the insensitivity of the present government to the people’s plight, there are so many faults in the current APC-led administration.

Could one be right to conclude that Buhari’s administration could not solve any of these challenges facing Nigerians?

The Buhari administration came with the agenda to fight corruption and insecurity, but along the way, he fell into a trap, and that trap had been there before he came into power. For example, I was in Kaduna State during the reign of Gen. Sani Abacha and there was this rumour from a gardener that there was fuel scarcity. The gardener said Gen. Jeremiah Useni, then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), didn’t want the then head of State Gen, Sani Abacha, to know the true situation. So, Abacha was at the garden walking with Useni and Abach asked Useni, I heard that there is a fuel scarcity in the country, but Useni told him there was no such thing. He said it was the handiwork of NADECO. The question is whether the President is a prisoner under charlatans among his kitchen cabinet. So, it is very easy to be President. Is he President of the jury or President of certain people? What Nigerians need in 2023 is a President in law and a President in facts; one that must be in control of the country, hence I don’t think the President is in full control of the affairs of Nigeria, especially in the area of security within the seven years of the APC-led administration, if you compare it to what is happening all over the world.

Do you see the country come out of these challenges next year when the new administration assumes office? 

That is if they did not recycle old leaders to lead Nigerians again. Since 1970 when money changed from cowries to currency, it has been the template, even though there is movement of prices of goods as they go up, and till today, nothing has gone up and come down. So, we are thinking of the situation. The new administration should be made up of good managers devoid of corruption and having goodwill to manage the economy. The problem of Nigeria’s economy is lack of goodwill because the President may have the goodwill, but the syndicates, the cabals and the ministerial mafias are on ground to obstruct any meaningful economic plan. That is why I’m angry with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for arresting governors, senators and ministers, yet there is no solution. These are not the gladiators when it comes to corruption, and the EFCC knows that those masterminding corruption are visible.

The CJN resigned a few weeks ago because some Supreme Court judges complained money meant for them is not getting to them, what is your take?

President Buhari’s administration has fought and is still fighting corruption on a wrong pedestal. They want to emulate other countries where corruption is fought from the top. That is why the ICPC and EFCC are concentrating on people at the top. This means that when you imprison former Presidents, former governors, members of the National Assembly, if you arrest them and humiliate them, corruption will stop. But, that is a wrong move. So, to me, arresting former presidents, governors and other top government officials and these politicians that come and go is not the solution. However, the EFCC knows how to find solutions to corruption. Yes, I think they know, but because they don’t have enough manpower and resources to tackle corruption, they cannot do more than they are doing. So, in most cases, they are fighting those whom I think are not corrupt. Unfortunately, they are copying another country whose system is working, by fighting corruption from the top. Nigeria’s corruption is endemic because through the system it generates corruption. If you jail 10 governors, you won’t deal with corruption because you are dealing with it from the surface.

So, what is the engine of corruption in Nigeria?

The engine of corruption is what we call P-4 square in management. It is a term coined to identify a product and the fashion or the people. It is like I have a company but I don’t have a manager. The 4th angle is our concern. For example, I want you to know today that there is no corruption except the assistant director and the directors in the ministries who encourage corruption are involved. Most importantly, if permanent secretaries are not corrupt, no nation will be corrupt.

Why do you say so?    

I say so because the governors, ministers, and director generals are new people to them. Only the Permanent Secretaries, Director-Generals and Assistant Directors know who the syndicates are. They know the ministry mafias. So, what they do is when you come in as a governor or minister or commissioner, they will recruit you into corruption. They tell you this is the way we do it. The Auditor-General, the Accountant-General; these are the people to oil the wheel of corruption because the governor and minister don’t know anything when they assume office. They tell the governor, sir this is the way we do it here. They tell him, this product or item is 10 kobo, but we are going to make it N5 and we are giving you N3 or N4 and we will use the remaining N1 or N2 to lubricate the oil of the engine of corruption. Unknown to the governor and minister that they have added another N5 making it N10. They told the governor that the product or item was N5 but they have added another N5 without the knowledge of the governor. That is why the moment you are given a ticket by your party, some will buy aircraft for you, some will buy jeeps for you, while others will put N500 million or N1 billion into your account. So, why should a governor have over 20 or 50 houses when he leaves office? Permanent secretaries, directors, and assistant directors own many houses. Did they operate alone? No, if you are a government contractor, immediately the money is paid, it is the director-general or accountant-general that will tell the preferred contractors that the money is landing from the Federal Government’s account into the state account tomorrow. So, the preferred contractor whom he had collected money from will be the first to slot in their cheque and the cheque will clear while there will be no money again until the next payment. So, has the EFCC investigated these areas? The moment they stop this fraud, there will be no corruption again.

Youths in South-East have resolved to support and vote for the Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, can Obi win the presidency without forming alliance with the South West or the North?

No, it won’t work if Peter Obi fails to align with other geo political zones. I don’t have anything against any of the presidential candidates, especially Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, rather I’m against the handlers of Tinubu and those who are managing his campaign. However, I have something against Ahmed Tinubu on who he is. There must be a handshake across the Niger. For example, there is no way and it is simple, Ahmed Tinubu can just campaign and win the presidential election without crossing River-Niger. That is an insult on Igbo. Suppose tomorrow as Presidential candidate of the APC, Tinubu calls Peter Obi and said I’m coming to your house, I want to see you, I can assure you that Peter Obi will be in his house to receive Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. The people in the South-East will feel that Tinubu has them in mind. That is element of psychological inclusiveness but a situation where he did some things without consulting Igbo, he is simply saying that the South-East can go to hell. It portends danger for his electoral success. Yes, Tinubu can win election without winning the people. Look at what is happening in Ukraine, a comedian is the President, but he is now called a war President. So, you don’t neglect anybody or any section of the country. But in all, Peter Obi is a factor in the electoral engineering in Nigeria. For example, he has engineered the youths to understand that there is strength in PVC and he has awakened their consciousness to decide who succeeds President Buhari.

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