–Says, “no decent politician would remain in the Rescue Mission government
-Describes administration, as, “definition of shithole”
Ques: May we meet you, Sir?
Ans: I am Chief Chris Ejike Uche. I am from Arondizuogu in Ideato North Local Government Area LGA of Imo State. I am the National Deputy Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP) under the leadership of Chief (Dr) Chekwas Okorie, “Ojeozi Ndigbogburugburu”.
Ques: Your name rings a bell in Imo State and Nigeria at large. You were formally in Gov. Okorocha’s cabinet and instrumental to his emergence as the Executive governor of Imo State, why are you no longer with him?
Ans: I don’t mind repeating this story. The truth is absolute. To say that I was in Okorocha’s cabinet is an understatement. I brought Okorocha into APGA and helped in making him a governor. I contributed immensely in making him governor of Imo State not knowing that I was putting my efforts in what Donald Trump recently called a “shit-hole”. Shit hole means something that has no relevance. It is something that does not command any value. But it is a political experience. I was not just a member of his cabinet, I was purely instrumental to his coming into APGA because I was the National vice chairman of APGA then. Initially he wanted to run for senate, but I told him that Ideato LGA has not produced a governor in Imo State and advised him to run for governor and that we will support him. My meeting with him changed the cause of history for him. I don’t want to talk about how we ended up because everyone already knows about it. But I am happy that I am no longer in any way cooperating with him but I wish him well. When I say I wish him well, I know how he will end.
Ques: We understand that you were one of the few technocrats that were in his campaign team. And you articulated programs as part of campaign promises. So far, do you think the governor derailed from the campaign promises which made some of you to back out from his administration?
Ans: I wouldn’t want to talk about any other person. We disengaged differently. I resigned from his government after ten months. Part of the reason was that he derailed from the way we designed to run the administration. We wanted a situation where the governor will listen and take advice. Okorocha is the governor, he is a commissioner, he is everything. He made the administration meaningless. I am a technocrat. I have worked in different capacities. I understand administration very well. I know the workings of government. I tried to teach him but he refused. He has never worked in any government institution, agency or parastatal. He does not have the needed qualifications to work in government. He did not see us as core administrators. And the man who was the chairman of the party was pursuing his personal aggrandizement. He was after his pocket and not after the party. As a party chairman he did not ensure that the governor adhered to the party manifesto. There is no free education in APGA manifesto. At the beginning I told him that Imo does not lack educated people. What we needed were industries, factories, and agricultural development so that we can have a functional economy. Okorocha left the party manifesto and was building round abouts, demolishing people’s properties and enjoying the sufferings of the poor masses.
Ques: You are the National Deputy Chairman of UPP. What is the prospect of UPP in Imo State?
Ans: Most people have been asking me this question. Before some one will patronize a concept you must market the concept and show the value in it. Any political party that is not ideologically based is not a political party. What is the ideology of PDP, APC and even APGA? UPP is a party founded on concrete ideological perspectives. UPP is concerned with the various issues in the country as they concern the Igbo man. Issues of minority Nigerians who have been ostracized by the type of governance in this country. UPP came out with the intention of restructuring Nigeria. Restructuring the country is fundamental in order to talk about cooperative belonging. Then we talk of having a referendum. Every union in life is negotiated. Even husband and wife negotiate theirs let alone a country that came together through amalgamation and the amalgamation year has expired. That is why we have the inevitability of insecurity in Nigeria and agitations everywhere. UPP has come with a lot of provisions. Let us have a refined federal character and see what it looks like. UPP wants the country to come together and agree on the way forward. If we will adapt a parliamentary system of government or a regional system. It has to be discussed and agreed on.
UPP has many packages that other parties do not have. Our national chairman is a man who has paid his dues and has maintained his integrity over the years. APGA is for Igbo people, UPP is for people who believe in freedom. There are speculations about the integrity of the party leadership. How can a party chairman be in the pay roll of a governor? Will he go against the governor? Okorocha has been using APGA and he can’t do that with UPP.
Ques: UPP lost the election in Anambra state despite the fact that you presented a good candidate, believed in some quarters as the best candidate. Don’t you think the party lost because you didn’t do enough work in terms of mobilizing the grassroots?
Ans: Anambra election was a unique election. There is no doubt that the UPP candidate, Chidoka was the best candidate. Even the people agreed that he was the best candidate. What happened was that Obiano was “a sole” candidate in that election. He was the only person standing. He had twenty one local government areas in Anambra State. A week before the election he gave each of the local government areas twenty (N20) million. He called it project money. Chidoka and the others were coming as underdogs not minding the quality of their candidacy and the manifesto, their parties were flaunting. You know that if they had senatorial candidates, national assembly candidates, those people would have equally mobilized their own supporters who should be UPP supporters. That is the technical nature of that election. It was in the news that Obiano spent ten billion in that election. They were giving money for people to vote and people who don’t have commitment to any political party saw that as an advantage. The electoral officers were compromised, the security agents were compromised. Was that a real election? It was a one man election. The third major force that is coming out is UPP. PDP brought us to this deplorable condition, APC has put us into more trouble. UPP thinks more of the Igbo region and other ethnic nationalities that are occupied by the Igbos. Every activity of UPP will be based on our manifesto. We will not depart from our manifesto. We have a national chairman that has all it takes to achieve our aims. We believe in him and in our collective ability to dispense dividends of democracy to the people.
Ques: what is the assurance that UPP will present a candidate as credible as Chidoka in Imo by 2019?
Ans: What is good is good. We are going to present a candidate on demand. We will present a candidate that will be a challenge to other aspirants. I give Imolites the assurance that we must have a wonderful and transparent primary election. Any candidate is unreliable will be disqualified. We will disqualify any candidate that does not have good family background and good education. The candidates have to also pass our own in-house examination before the primaries. We will present the right candidate. A candidate that will work with our manifesto. We don’t need a philanthropist. Imo people are hardworking. Infact if you tell us that you are a philanthropist it will even put you on the wrong side. I assure you that UPP will give Imo State reputable candidates, come 2019.
Ques: Looking at Imo State today, do you think the urban renewal programme is really necessary?
Ans: I was former a commissioner for housing and urban development. Then I worked with a team of professionals who gave me wonderful ideas. The urban renewal we are seeing in Imo State today, is urban destruction. We are doing urban renewal and there is no gutter, no public water. What I am seeing is an evidence of one’s ignorant imagination. Development is engaging. It is futuristic. Okorocha is doing things for self glory and not for the development of Imo State. Okorocha cannot empower anybody. He will give you the money to eat just for today and tomorrow you will die of hunger and starvation.
Ques: If UPP wins in Imo, how do you intend to address the wrongs of the present administration?
Ans: First and foremost we have agreed that anybody that will become governor under UPP will first of all, recover all the lands and properties Okorocha took greedily. And we will ensure that compensations are paid for all the damages. We will recover what people have lost. It will be part of our agreement with Imo people. It is only a UPP government that can probe Okorocha. APC has failed. Orlu people said that they don’t want Okorocha’s urban renewal. His people are no more supporting him.
Ques: Considering what happened in Anambra election, do you see Imolites voting according to their conscience without money politics playing out?
Ans: If there is hunger in Anambra State, there is starvation in Imo State. They are two different situations. Anambra state is not owing workers and pensioners like Imo State. The markets in Anambra have not been demolished. I don’t think there is any family that is not negatively affected by Okorocha’s urban renewal programme or non payment of salaries. But in the midst of these sufferings and starvation we need to be sensible. Ten thousand naira or twenty thousand that will be exchanged for votes cannot be equated with four years. We are not animals. Okorocha has mobilized against himself for 2019. Don’t make a mistake of comparing Anambra with Imo. Anambra is doing well but Chidoka would have taken Anambra to the next level.
Ques: What is your advice to the electorate and the Imo leaders?
Ans: Please let us all try and get voters cards. It is our weapon for removing the wrong person. Our voters cards is our power. Every leader knows he has a responsibility to the people. Leaders should not betray their people. Leadership is not for acquisition of wealth. Do not conspire with Okorocha’s government to short change the people. Ask yourself if this government has done well. Governance is for the people and not for a family.
Ques: Majority of these leaders are politicians and their livelihood is in politics and can compromise to be relevant. Do you see them changing for good?
Ans: When someone is coming out for public representation, he should be interviewed about his job. I have left governance for many years now but I am still surviving because politics is not my job. There are businesses I do that give me money. Politicians who have no means of livelihood should not be voted for because their soul and spirit will be in embezzlement of funds. Some politicians that are supporting Okorocha have no means of livelihood. Those politicians following Okorocha are under a curse. If Okorocha will be punished once they will be punished twenty times.