By Dickson Okafor
Chief Tobby Anumaka, Patron Okpoko Igbo, a Pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation and Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) said the change mantra of the present government is on course. According to him, the change promised Nigerians by President Muhammadu Buhari is evolving but won’t happen overnight. Anumaka said Igbo leaders should be blamed for the plight of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. He said Ndigbo have not done enough to effect his release from detention. Anumaka blamed the major oil marketers for fuel scarcity in the country but pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with the government. He speaks on other issues.
Many are of the view that President Muhammadu Buhari has lost focus with power generation falling to zero per cent and high cost of fuel which has brought untold hardship to Nigerians, what is your take?
It is unfortunate that most of us do not understand the workings of government. This is a government that is less than a year and most Nigerians want President Mohammadu Buhari to correct the mistakes of 16 years within one year; to me it is not possible. They want Buhari to rebuild in just one year a country that was raped, duped, looted, bastardised and milked dry by past administrations overnight. Mr. President is not a magician. It is easier to destroy than to build. You can pull down a mansion in a day but you may not rebuild it in one year. This is the first time power is transferred from the ruling party to the opposition, therefore, a lot of documents must be looked into, questions asked where necessary and changes made. This must take time, hence all this administration needs from Nigerians is prayer and support. Yes, people are suffering because the ways things are done have changed. So, I appeal to Nigerians to exercise patients and continue to support and cooperate with this government to put the country on the right track.
The whole country has been in darkness for months now and most Nigerians are finding it difficult to pay for high cost of fuel; do you foresee this hardship ending soon? Of course, all these challenges will soon be a thing of the past. The APC-led government inherited a decayed system from the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I don’t want to be involved in blame game, rather; I want Buhari to get the job done. We all are suffering irrespective of party divide, tribe or religion. When this government came on board, it almost got the refineries fixed but some cabal who vowed that they won’t be alive to see our refineries function at full capacity engaged miscreants to vandalise the pipe lines just to ensure subsidy remains. These cartel who are working hand-in-hand with some staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will import 3, 0000 metric tonnes of PMS and claim subsidy for 90,000 metric tonnes and are responsible for scarcity of the product. These same cabals are holding us hostage in the power sector because they acquired the licenses for electricity generation and distribution known as the GENCOS and DISCOs. Last time, they came out to inform us that except Nigerians pay additional 45 per cent tariff, they won’t be able to generate and distribute electricity to Nigerians. Nigerians refused and that is one of the major reasons for the blackout. However, I’m sure very soon, we will start to enjoy steady power supply with recent infrastructural development agreement Buhari signed with China. Another factor responsible for short supply of electricity and fuel scarcity is the delay in the passage of this year’s budget. I blame members of the National Assembly for the delay having failed to present a comprehensive document to the President to append his signature. So, Nigerians should hold the National Assembly responsible for the hardship they are going through. The budget empowers the president to spend money because Buhari cannot appropriate the nation’s fund without the permission of the legislature. Don’t forget that this government has blocked the channels through which corrupt and sharp practices thrive in the oil sector. These people decided to sabotage the efforts of government.
Postponement of Imo North senatorial rerun, what happened?
We cited insecurity and attempt by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to manipulate results as reasons the election should be postponed. For instance, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and other PDP stalwarts were in Imo. What were they doing there? So, Governor Rochas Okorocha felt that if the election was not credible, should it go on, it might lead to break down of law and order. So, Okorocha insisted that the election should not be held. Now that the coast is clear, we of the APC are calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce a new date for the election.
Nnamdi Kanu is still in detention; what are Igbo leaders doing for him to regain his freedom?
We have five governors and traditional rulers, how come nobody is saying anything. The republican nature of Ndigbo is affecting us negatively. Our leaders must be honest and sincere. They cannot claim to be leading us while they are leading us into the ocean. Most of them are after their personal interest and not the collective gain of Ndigbo unlike the Yoruba and those from the Niger Delta who always mount pressure on government to release their activists whenever they fallout with government over agitation for their collective interest.
Look at what happened during the last Presidential election; if not for Okorocha, Igbo would have lost out completely. No Igbo leader has come out openly and called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. Even though I’m not in support of breakup of Nigeria, but Kanu has the right to self-determination. Where are the South-East governors, those at the National Assembly and traditional rulers? Apart from Prof. Ben Nwabueze who is an old man, where are other vibrant Igbo leaders? Why the conspiracy of silence of Igbo leaders over the release of Kanu? Don’t blame Buhari for Kanu’s ordeal but Igbo leaders. The people of South-East are waiting for their leaders to inspire them towards agitation of Kanu’s release. Therefore, I’m using this medium to call on the Federal Government to release Mr. Kanu unconditionally. The Sun