Ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term swearing in, Evangelist Eliot Uko, Secretary-General of Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), has noted that Nigerians should not expect any positive change from the president. According to him, it was obvious that the president has no solutions to the country’s problems.
Evangelist Uko who is also Deputy Secretary of the Prof. Ben Nwabueze-led Igbo Leaders of Thought and founder, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), in this interview, also regretted what he called the “continued insult of Ndigbo” by a certain political leader in the South West and his anointed traditional ruler. Excerpts:
You have been silent for a while. Doesn’t the insecurity in the country bother you?
I have no comment on that yet. We have a leader Nigerians clamoured for for twelve years, who has been president for four years. They say he is a no nonsense general under whose watch defence and security have received the largest amount of money since the beginning of Nigeria, who came to power in 2015 blaming Jonathan for insecurity and promised to stabilize the situation within six months. Please kindly direct your question to him and his officials. I sympathize with innocent victims of the senseless killings going on everywhere, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna, and Borno State. It is sad really.
How do you access the state of nation? The new government will be sworn in, in two weeks, what are your expectations?
No sane Nigerian expects anything new. No magic. It will be the same old display of cluelessness; same old stories and same old blame game. As long as we stubbornly operate this unworkable unitary structure designed by the military and legitimized by the 1979 and 1999 constitutions, we will continue to hold ourselves down, hurt the future generation and frustrate the present generation. Nothing good will ever happen to Nigeria until we reconstruct the structure of our polity, by devolving more powers and responsibilities to the federating units, probably reverting to the parliamentary system of government. Only a new constitution can save Nigeria now. It doesn’t matter how long one has been on the wrong route, you turn to the right route in order to get your desired destination. Nigeria, a deeply endowed country, has been on the wrong road for so long, it is time we turn right and take the right road, which is the direction of restructuring and power devolution. Nothing else can save Nigeria. Having expectations in this unwieldy and wobbling structure, amounts to self deceit. Nobody expects anything new under this structure.
The insecurity, the agitations, the unemployment, the religious and ethnic divisions, the despair, the hatred and anger, the hunger and poverty and loss of faith in the land will not abate. Our leaders are merely deceiving themselves because they are all in the comfort zone, living like movie stars, enjoying their lives at our expense. That is why they pontificate on television. Deep down in their hearts, they know that only restructuring will save Nigeria.
Again Ndigbo voted in one direction during the election two months ago, did Ndigbo vote right?
The Northerners who voted for Buhari in 2003, 2007, and 2011 when he serially lost elections, did they vote right? The Yoruba who consistently voted for Action Group, the UPN, and the AD without winning at the center, did they vote right? Ndigbo are republican in nature. They are smart, independent minded people. They brilliantly evaluate the political barometer and thermometer and make their choice. Their decision is usually anchored on the stark realities of their situation within the Nigerian political space. You cannot change their DNA, chromosomes and chromatids. Ndigbo are great people, they know what is good for everybody, their vote pattern has always been tied to what is best for Nigeria. Right from the NCNC days to the PDP of today, Ndigbo have always voted for peace, progress, unity, equity and justice. Ndigbo have never voted for division, oppression, persecution and domination of others. The rest of Nigeria should praise and learn from Ndigbo. We are very proud of our vote pattern and I commend Ndigbo everywhere to remain steady fast with truth, justice, fair play, equity and level playing field for all. We will do it again the same way if there is another election tomorrow.
Ndigbo cried of neglect and marginalization throughout the last four years, do you expect to be treated better this time around?
The mighty Igbo nation does not depend on anybody to make progress. Ndigbo are sweet people, hardworking people, confident people, dynamic people, gifted people, talented people, and very intelligent people. Our progress on this earth is the hands of God, not any man. Anybody who thinks he can halt or stifle the progress of the Igbo race, is wasting his time.
We shine all over the world, we dominated trade and commerce in the entire West Africa, we engage in business from China, Russia, the whole of Europe, Canada and the United States, South America and Australia. We love education, we love hardwork. We also love justice and equity. Those who tried to hold us down in the past, know that God is with us. I can assure you my dear brother, it is well with Ndigbo.
Our only problem now is the offensive manner the great Igbo race is been insulted brazenly by two individuals. Ndigbo are pained by this grave unprovoked insult. One of them is the political overlord of a certain region of this country, who through amassing stupendous wealth and the use of strong arm tactics, decides the political fate of his region. The other is a traditional ruler he anointed not long ago unto a revered traditional stool. Both are taking Ndigbo for a ride, offending and abusing our people, while they both assume they are the smartest people in the universe. Their drama is both funny and sad.
While the political lion made sure Ndigbo were humiliated in Lagos by making sure Ndigbo were denied the right to vote, the Kabiyesi is going round humouring our people, telling us that we are twin brothers born on the same day and that our love in Tokyo was ordained in Heaven and consummated in the eleventh century. So funny, he just discovered that we are blood relatives, just for the 2023 presidential ambition of the political over lord. Funny he truly thinks our people are fooled.
Four years ago, another Kabiyesi threatened to drown all our people in lagoon. Now that they are afraid that their unprovoked hostility towards Ndigbo will certainly hurt the 2023 presidential ambition of this over lord, he now sends out the Kabiyesi on assignment to woo and deceive the foolish Igbos. Tell them we are twin brothers, tell them we love them so much, tell them our umbilical cords are tied together and buried at Ile Ife. After that, tell them that we must work together in 2023 because we have a brotherly and joint destiny.
Their drama is so cheap, so unintelligent, but also offensive. My teenage son asked me: ‘Daddy why didn’t this Oba embark on his fake brotherly sermon and visit before now. Why did he discover we were twin brothers only immediately after the elections?’ My answer to him was simple: because they think we are fools