By Sunday Ani
The Enugu North Senatorial candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party(NNPP), Prof Alpheus Onyeke believes that Nigerians would vote for an alternative party in 2023 because of the abysmal failure of the two dominant parties, All Progressives Congress(APC) and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
Onyeke, who once contested the Enugu State governorship seat on the platform of the PDP, in this interview spoke on various issues including his ambition to represent Enugu North at the Red chamber in 2023.
The greatest danger facing Nigeria today is insecurity to the lives and property of the people; how do you feel about the state of affairs?
Insecurity to lives of Nigerians and their properties are of great concern to every right thinking citizen of this country. It is for these reasons that some of us had been struggling against money bag politicians to take the leadership of the country to better and new dimensions. Our security measures are geared towards combatant approaches. We should rethink these measures and design better socio-economic and political policies that shall prevent further recruitments of Nigerians into existing and emerging criminal gangs, groups and organisations. Unless we adopt better measures to security problems, we may not make any headway.
What is your assessment of the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari?
The current APC government has demonstrated leadership incapacitations on many fronts. Insecurity, economy, industrialization and national unity are all crying for solutions. These are evident on Nigerian markets, schools and streets. I think Nigerian voters are already rethinking and looking for alternatives to the current government and my party, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), will provide that alternative.
You are an Igbo man; what do you think about zoning with regards to the seeming exclusion of the South East by the two major parties-APC and PDP?
As an Igbo man, the exclusion is painful. However, it had been a historical reality that did not come to me as a surprise. It happened in the previous years where we were either excluded on positional appointments through lack or under appointments. We had also been victims of broken promises. Our people that had held strategic positions in governments have not helped us. When they are appointed into offices and positions, they will come back either to impoverish other people socio-politically, economically and industrially, that they deem to be threats to their political, social, economic and industrial capitals. We cannot grow nationwide politically with such leadership deployments of intimidation, victimization and marginalization. It does not encourage democratic leadership improvements and
sophistication. I hope you have not forgotten the damage done to Enugu State by Ebeano group and they have just regrouped.
What are the prospects of your party, NNPP making an impact in next year’s election?
My party, NNPP is the alternative to the two major parties. The political scenarios in Nigeria today will throw surprises to Nigerians. I want my people not to lose out as we lost out for the last eight years. We lost out for the last eight years because we did not foresee the realities of the convoluted merger that metamorphosed to All Progressives Congress (APC). New Nigeria Peoples Party is a conjugation of optimistic Nigerians that believe that the Nigerian political parties exist because Nigeria exists. The party will not only make impact but rescue Nigeria from the political and democratic accidents that the country had suffered and is nursing the impacts.
I joined NNPP after that interview because I saw the realities of the current conjugations and personalities in the party.
You are the Senatorial candidate of the NNPP for Enugu North, what are you bringing to the table?
As a senator, I will change the times table of senatorial representations in Enugu North. All the other senators thought that Nsukka or Enugu North existed because they existed. In fact, for me it is the other way round. I exist because Nsukka or Enugu North exists. I will share the proceeds of my senatorial representations, including my salaries according to the local governments and wards in Nsukka or Enugu North. I had been available for Nsukka or Enugu North at all circumstances from House of Assembly, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to when I served a president. I will be there for our people, Nsukka or Enugu North as no other senator had been. I will be discharging new and appropriate duties as New Nigeria Peoples Party in employments, infrastructural attractions and democratic growth and empowerments, socially, politically, economically and industrially.
Do you think you can win the election against Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who is contesting the same position on the platform of the PDP?
I believe it is only God that can answer that question in the affirmative; I am not afraid of the presence of anybody. In fact, Governor Ugwuanyi is wearing old political and democratic attires to come to a new political and democratic boxing ring. He was in National assembly for 12 years and was a governor for seven years going to eight. If I should be apprehensive of any other candidate, it should not be Ugwuanyi, my classmate. He should intelligently relinquish the position for me honorably.
Your party is unknown in the South East; how are you going to market it especially with the insulting statement against Ndigbo by Kwankwaso?
It might interest you to note that NNPP was formed by an Igbo man from Anambra State. One of the political attributes of other tribes except us is that they do not look at political parties. They look at the political and democratic scenarios. It is the reason behind our presidential candidate’s statements. The questions are, are we for party or is party for us? If you are sitting on a chair and your bottom is paining you, as a reasonable person, you have two options. One of the options is to stand up or to find an alternative chair. My party, NNPP is the alternative chair and it is better to sit on the alternative chair than to stand up because for how long will you stand up? The statement is not insulting, rather rational because it is the truth; where are we in PDP, APC or any other party for that matter? We are just waking up and realizing that we are not for party but party for us. Only trees stand when they tell it that it will be cut.
What is your message to voters in Enugu State?
Let us move for they are coming to cut us. Vote for people that shall bring dividends of democracy to Enugu North in particular and Enugu State in
general. Do not sell your vote. Your vote is the holistic you and your conscience. Again, please don’t sell your vote but vote wisely.