ONE ON ONE WITH HON. EJIM, EX-PDP HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ASPIRANT
Anaedoonline met with Hon. Ejim Ucheagwu, an Ex-PDP House Of Assembly Aspirant and convener of the Nnewi Young Patriots to discuss about his political aspirations.
Since the PDP primary election where you came second against expectations, nothing has been heard from you. Why the silence?
I decided, after the primaries, to take some time off to evaluate and consult.
It is being alleged in certain quarters that the primary election was manipulated to favor the eventual winner? How true was that?
Let me, first of all, thank those delegates that against all odds stood by their convictions and gave me their votes. If I had my way, I would decorate them in gold for their uncommon courage. Having said that, the PDP primary election has come and gone and I am not a kind of person that likes brooding over the past. Whatever that happened during the primaries belongs to the past and I have moved on. I am looking forward to the election proper.
Are you still in the race?
I am sure you are aware that INEC has published the list of candidates to the election and there are no more room for substitution and the last time I checked, my name was not on the list.
But it was rumored that you will be running on a different platform?
The truth is that after our party primary, most of my friends, associates and supporters who felt dissatisfied with the process felt that we should try another platform since there are over 90 political parties and more so we had some of these parties willing to offer us their tickets; and I seriously gave it some thoughts but after appeal from some of our party leaders and stakeholders, and looking at the bigger picture, we decided that I shelve my ambition and support PDP.
So, you are supporting PDP all through?
From the election time table released by INEC, the election will be in two phases with presidential and national assembly coming first and you will agree with me that these elections come with different variables and for now, we are devoting all our energy to the success of our presidential and national assembly candidates.
In your opinion, what are the chances of your party candidates?
Bright. Very very bright. The preponderance of opinions out there is that the administration of President Buhari and APC has not lived up to their campaign promises and the expectations of the populace; be it in theareas of economy, security, employment and the selective nature of the fight against corruption, coupled with nepotism and tribalistic nature of appointments and distribution of infrastructures. It is on record that due to the sluggish nature of the administration at inception and lack of clear cut economic policy, the economy were plunged into recession with over 12 million Nigerians losing their jobs; according to the National Bureau of Statistics. So, the choice before Nigerians is a simple one. It is a choice between a pan Nigerian platform which PDP represents and a clannish and propaganda fuelled platform of APC. It is a choice between a clear understanding and grasp of governmental and policy issues, a proven capacity for job creation, inclusiveness, a knack for excellence and proven ability to discover and nurture young bright Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion. It is a choice between a pan Nigerian President which our presidential candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar represents and a clueless, lawless, tribalistic and incompetent administration of President Buhari and APC.
You seem to be narrowing the contest between Alhaji Atiku and President Buhari. What of other presidential candidates?
With all due respect to other presidential candidates, the truth and reality on ground is that the presidential election is a straight contest between PDP and APC presidential candidates. Any other submissions to the contrary are only obtainable in the realms of idealism and optimism until proven otherwise.
What of Prof. Muoghalu of YPP and General Gbor of APGA?
Prof. Muoghalu is eminently qualified but aside his qualifications and competence which are not in doubt, don’t forget that this is a national election. Other variables are not in his favour but I pray he wins. As for General Gbor of APGA, his presidential declaration confirms the suspicion that he is being propped up by some interests that are bent on dividing the votes of the south-east. It is clear that since the emergence of His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi as the Vice Presidential candidate of PDP, It seems a panic button was pressed or how else do you explain a situation where our state government will be spending scarce resources promoting an ill-fated presidential candidate that cannot win even a local government in his home state of Benue. It is obvious that they are in the presidential election to play a spoiler, but we are not taken by their antics and deceit.
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What of your party national assembly candidates taking cognizance of the fact that there are formidable candidates from other parties?
For us at GIER, the legislative arm of government is basically the essence of our congregation. It is quite unfortunate that this arm of government
have not received adequate evaluation and assessment from the populace hence the less than par performance of most of the lawmakers. In making our choice for these positions, we are taking critical look at the antecedents and manifestos of the candidates but having said that, there is a consensus opinion that Hon. Chris Azubuogu has done very well and have our unconditional and unassailable support to return to the House of Representatives.
But there are agitations from certain quarters that he has been there for two terms and should give chance to another person?
Senator David Mark has been in the Senate since 1999 while Ike Ekweremmadu has been there since 2003. There are no term limits for legislature world over. It is the people that set term limits for the legislatures and as long they find you worthy of their trust, they can elect you as many times as they want. I think the question should be, has Hon. Chris earned our trust? The feelings out there are that he has been phenomenal in terms of records of his achievements. The infrastructural revolution like never seen before from a legislature in Anambra attest to his passion to make a difference and affect the lives of his constituents positively, and we sincerely commend him on his tireless efforts in this regard. Agitations are an integral part of the political process, so, I see nothing wrong with that but I believe equally of importance is the merits and fundamentals of such agitation. This agitation is probably coming from people that are threatened by unprecedented achievements of Hon. Chris and in absence of any tangible thing to hold against him are resorting to raising unnecessary sentiments.
What is your general view of the polity with regards to the forthcoming general elections?
The rejection of President Buhari to assent to the electoral act amendment act 2018 after four alterations by the national assembly calls for concern. That this is coming from a man who alleges that he has suffered electoral injustices and is also a major beneficiary of the electoral reforms effort of President Jonathan and PDP, exposes the hypocritical nature of the current administration. We expect that President Buhari should be in forefront of every effort of bequeathing to
this country a credible and improved electoral process, but unfortunately, just like everything about this administration, the reverse is the case. Our clarion call is on all men of goodwill to rise and impress it on this administration to put the interest of the nation first. All we ask for is a free, fair and credible election. It should be more important to all than signing a peace accord.