In this chat with Nwanosike Onu, Southeast Bureau Chief, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Modestus Umenzekwe, spoke about the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige and Anambra 2021, the Presidency and why Igbo should take the position in 2023. Excerpts
HOW ready are Ndigbo for the 2023 presidency?
The word being ready should not be there. Right from time, Igbo had been ready for the position. Right from independence or pre independence, Ndigbo had been playing a good leadership role in Nigeria.
But in the present democratic era, we have not had any opportunity to occupy the seat. But I’m glad today, that notable northern and south westerners have come out to say that the presidency should be zoned to Igbo come 2023. I commend Ohanaeze Ndigbo, led by Chief John Nnia Nwodo, for standing boldly to make demands and assert that an Igbo man should be the president of Nigeria come 2023. The way I perceive our dear President Muhammadu Buhari; it’s not likely he will go against such demand. I see him as someone that believes in equity and fairness. I believe he will support Igbo to succeed him in 2023. In 2014, when the former Attorney-General of the Federation, late Chief Chike Offodile, was being buried, I heard Buhari clearly at the house of great Zik of Africa in Onitsha when he paid courtesy call to Late Chukwuma Azikiwe and he said, “My friend Chuma, if by the grace of God I become the president, I will make Ndigbo proud by completing the Zik’s mausoleum and build a second Niger Bridge and other infrastructural developments in Igbo land.
Today, he has fulfilled that promise using the workaholic Minister, Babatunde Fashola SAN to execute all those projects of which by 2022 at most, the 2nd Niger Bridge will be completed.
So, with all these, I believe strongly, he will support an Igbo man to succeed him in 2023.
How prepared is APC for Anambra 2021?
When you look at the government of APGA in Anambra State, it has substantially collapsed. We knew it would be like that because the people had been using Ojukwu’s name to hang on to power. But the people are more enlightened these days. You should know what is going on. APC is a party to beat and we are fully prepared and working seriously to make sure that we take over Agu-Awka, come 2022.
APC is strategising seriously and I’m not ready to lay bare our plans until when the time comes. However, be rest assured that the Egyptians you see in Anambra State today, you may see them no more when the time comes.
Recently, it was said that your party wrote a petition to Buhari against it’s leader in Anambra State and Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, how true is this?
I’ve said it in the APC platform and I’m saying it to the public now, all those social media lies against Senator Chris Ngige are neither here nor there. I made a statement on the APC group as a major stakeholder in the party and as an elder and a plain politician who started with AD, AC, ACN and now APC, advising those behind such abnormality to make a retraction without further delay. Ngige is a revered leader not only in Anambra, Southeast but in Nigeria. Whether someone likes it or not, a former governor, a former senator and two term substantial minister, is a leader.
I’m not holding brief for him, but I’m saying that he must be respected. If we discover things he is not doing well, the best approach will be to engage him in an in-house dialogue for explanations not to go on with online correspondences to ridicule his name and that of our party. However, I’m appealing to him to be a father to see those things as occupational hazards. Such act does not tell good of our party and he should strive as a father to make sure the party is united for us to achieve our goal of removing APGA in the state come 2021
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