Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State, Chief Basil Ejidike, in this interview, speaks on the forthcoming governorship election in the state and that no amount of distraction will deter the people from electing the next governor of the state. ONAH ONAH reports
It is alleged that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is behind the spate of insecurity in Anambra State as part of its plot to manipulate the forthcoming governorship election. How would you react to this allegation?
Let me just start by answering your question this way although l don’t know if you are an Igbo native. But even at that, you should not forget we are in an election, so you should expect such allegations even though you have not told me who and who are alleging. It is likened to an Igbo adage that says “nwata kpakaria ibeya na nku, asi na okpara ya na ajo ohia,” meaning that if a child fetches firewood more than his or her colleagues, they will say he or she fetched it from the evil forest. That’s just to give the dog a bad name in order to hang it.
From all indications this time, it appears you are confident that your party is better prepared than other political parties, even when you know that the perception of the APC in Anambra State is not as sure as you think?
I can authoritatively tell you that we are sure that about 75 per cent of the Anambra electorate and across the South-East is in APC. The narration has changed, so it is no longer as it is perceived in some quarters, when the people were erroneously deceived. We have worked for it over the years and our people are now better informed and educated about APC. Secondly, President Muhammadu Buhari has also proved beyond doubt that he is a detribalized Nigerian. He had in the past six years plus of his administration proved his earlier statement on oath that ‘I am for everybody, l belong to nobody.’ The visionary evidence is across the South-East zone. He has done very well and we have been able to talk to our people that the only way to belong to the government is by playing an all-inclusive politics and not by being in opposition.
In the last few weeks, Anambra has witnessed serial killings by alleged unknown gunmen and the political parties have been pointing accusing fingers at each other. How would you relate this to the past political experience as an ex-local government boss for years and now a party chairman?
I am the APC chairman in Anambra State and l have a track record from my Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) era to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and now. The people of Anambra State, I am sure can testify about me. There is this adage that says ‘tell me the company you keep and l will tell you who you are.’ I’ve not been linked to any criminality all through my life and l will never be part of any criminal gang, be it in or outside politics. You will recall that the said killings started with our member, Igwe Alex Edozueuno of Mkpu Nnadotu Aguleri. He was murdered after attending our party meeting in Uruagu Nnewi. On getting to his town along Ezu River, he was murdered along with his driver. A convoy of APC was also attacked at Igbo Ukwu and a woman was also shot at Orumba. Are these killings from APC? People are after APC but one with God is the majority.
Do you think the election will be feasible if the security situation remains unstable?
Nobody prays for such but l am sure that the Federal Government under the watch of President Buhari is taking into consideration the devastating security situation in Anambra State and will soon rescue the state.
There is also a rumour that APC is doing everything both constitutionally and otherwise to ensure that the outcome of the election favours its candidate, Senator Andy Uba, which explains why the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wants to keep sensitive materials for the election in Imo State. How would you react to that?
It is an old story and that has been laid to rest. INEC is an institution of the Federal Government and has operational guidelines, which nobody can interfere with.
You are aware that the Federal Government is considering declaring a state of emergency in Anambra State. What is your take on that?
Nobody will ever pray for that but in absence of security and anarchy is setting in, the Federal Government will not fold its hands and watch its citizens being murdered in cold blood every day. The security apparatus of the government knows the best way to handle it and let’s correct one impression; the Federal Government doesn’t just declare emergency rule without due process. But l hope and pray to God to avoid such a situation in our dear state.
The governor of Anambra State has given reasons why he didn’t attend the security meeting in Enugu. Does your party share the same line of thought that the sponsors of the killer squads operating in Anambra are from neighbouring states?
The point to make here is to provide adequate security and not excuses. The governor was not at the security meeting because they were afraid. It is an unpardonable mistake that at a time like this in Anambra State, when other sister states are discussing the security threat in the zone, our own governor was completely absent.
Now with less than a month to the election, your party has allegedly suspended its campaign. What magic does APC intend to do to carry the day?
There is no magic but there is magic. The people of Anambra State have tried PDP and APGA and they have failed them. The eloquent testimony is that people from PDP and all the Young Progressive Party (YPP) ward chairmen and secretaries last Thursday joined APC. So, I want you to share the good news that Anambra is about to be liberated.