It’s long overdue for service chiefs to be removed – Nwokedi
Chika Nwokedi, an entrepreneur and philanthropist was a former governorship aspirant in Imo State on the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2019 general election. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he speaks on the state of the nation and the worsening security situation, among other issues. Excerpts:
There is the perception in some quarters that democracy is not working in Nigeria, but recent figures show that the issue of unemployment is going out of hand. What is your take?
What is happening is not only in Nigeria it is happening elsewhere in the world. But Nigeria exists because we are all in there, if everybody is saying the truth Nigeria would be good. Buhari is one man; he cannot do it alone; he has advisers; if these advisers cannot tell him the right thing that is where there is a problem. When you talk about unemployment we have Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and his people, I expect them to think, but they have been there for some time now; if they cannot do what ought to be done he should resign. How can you carry an army man and make him Police Affairs Minister, and you make an army man the head of the custom. If Buhari discovers those not working he should change them. The right people should be appointed into positions of authority. Personally, I am of the view that Buhari cannot do it alone. It is what the Ministers report to Buhari that he can act on. I expect them to be more proactive, not sit in Abuja to know what is going on in Kogi State; they should move around, Buhari cannot be everywhere.
What is your take on the worsening security situation in the country and the killings?
I just don’t know; people are dying like fowl everywhere; they are human being, no matter where they reside. The security people have to redouble their effort. In some villages there is no police presence; no any form of security present, that is why these killings and criminal activities are happening. In the past, if you hear one person die it would be received with shock, but now you hear deaths every day. To rule Nigeria is not easy, we know how it is to rule, lead the family, not to talk of a local government, state and a whole country. I cry every day about the killings and state of the country. Buhari should sack the service chiefs if they are not performing. They should investigate and know the people doing these things and their sponsors. It is getting out of hand, we should not say they are not my people; we should act now; it is scary.
What is your take on agitations for the zoning of the presidency to the Southeast in 2023?
Yes, I strongly believe it is the turn of the Igbos to rule in 2023, other tribes have ruled the country in the past. Power should shift to the Southeast in 2023. Everybody knows it is their turn for the sake of equity; I believe in one Nigeria, I don’t like war, the Igbos have not ruled Nigeria for a long time. Why there is agitation about Biafra is because they have not gotten what they suppose to get. Let the President call those people when it has not gotten out of hand. As a father, when you have four children and one of them is always crying every day, it is your responsibility to call such child before it deteriorates to headache and death. They should be given a chance, nobody can say there is nobody in the Southeast; we have people, it is just that when it comes to the turn of the Igbo many people would come out and say it is my turn. But I think leadership is a gift, it is not forced on you; if you don’t have the gift to lead you are not going anywhere.
What is your take on the Edo election and the threat of violence in recent days?
The Edo people should pray and ask God who to vote for. I don’t know why people like to be a leader by force; it is a gift when God says you would be there, it would come, and there is no need to kill and do all they are doing now just because of position.
Edo is their state, I expect them to think of the interest of the people first and work for peace of the state. I would advise people to wait to count their votes after voting; don’t vote and go back home leaving your votes in danger; protect your votes. Let our mothers and fathers give advice to their children, no matter how much a politician pays you it is not worth your life. They leave their children abroad; have you one day wondered why that man contesting for governor did not bring his children to campaign and do all these violence for him? They should leave the violence; they should not sell their destiny and vote for the wrong person because of money. Vote for someone that would fight for you, someone that would take Edo State to the next level, that is what they should do. The Edo election would be held peacefully; I pray for that.
Can electronic voting help to resolve these controversies?
If they do so, the country would be fine. Recent elections have been trailed by controversy, violence; look at the last 2019 general election. I think it is the best thing to salvage the situation now. We spend so much for elections; you also spend in court and don’t win. Even when the election is nullified, such money can be given to people like small loans. Electronic voting is the best if you win, you win.
Are you still in SDP or you defected to the APC or PDP?
I am still in SDP for now; I am doing well helping people; I want to use my little resources to help them and provide succour to the needy. I am still praying to God to let me know the party to join ahead 2023, but my coming out in 2019 was my first time; this time, it would have more weight. We know politics in Nigeria how it is, but, I have tested the rope, 2023 would be different from 2019. My supporters love me and it is not the first time that I come out that I must win and rule Imo. I have been helping people in Imo State, helping people to build houses, buy machines; my people love me and what I am doing. Imagine when I am in an elective position, what I would do for them; when I have the state funds or federal money to spend for the people; imagine what I would do. Let just wait till then and see what would happen in 2023. I saw so many things last year, but this is just 2020. I cannot say what will happen next year, even tomorrow. I am not a full time politician, I have my business, it is the need to help my people that pushes me into politics and I cannot do what is against God’s wish because it is not by force to lead. I cannot kill to become governor or any other position. If you like, tell me to swear with this and that I would not because I love God and he is still with me till today. I would not put my hand in anything evil or blood. Anybody killing people because he wants to win election is not going the right way. Power comes from God. Look at the lawmakers that died recently; they did not expect it. That should be a lesson to all of us.
What is your assessment of the Hope Uzodinma administration?
He is from Orlu where I came from; I was at home last week, I saw contractors on some roads across the town. I can only speak and assess him after one year in office. It is too early now; after a year, I would go round and see what is happening in Imo State before I can assess his performance in office.