The Secretary General of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Chief Willy Ezugwu, in this interview with FELIX NWANERI, speaks on the recent defection of the Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), among other issues
What do you make of the recent defection of Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)?
The reason given by the governor for jumping into the APC boat at a time the South-East is agitating to be given the opportunity to produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023 is not justifiable and therefore unacceptable.
It is very obvious that the ruling APC has maintained anti- South-East perception and its hatred for the people of the region became very obvious since the party began its appointments for several offices, except the constitutionally guaranteed appointments like ministerial positions. We have seen persons of South- East extraction vacate offices and people from other regions replace them.
So, for such a South-East leader like Governor Umahi, who is occupying an exalted position as the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum to suddenly wake up and make the kind of political adventure he has made is very suicidal and requires convincing explanations.
But the governor made it clear that he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because of what he described as the party’s unfair treatment to Ndigbo…
The governor has given a political explanation as to why he joined the perceived enemy of the South- East, but his reason is rejected as it is not cogent enough. We hereby give him seven days to convince all South-East stakeholders on his real mission in the APC and how his mission relates to the ongoing agitation for the South-East to be given the opportunity to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor come 2023.
For us, any political party that will not be favourably disposed to a South-East presidency in 2023 is part of the enemies of the region and equity demands that an Igbo emerges the next president.
We hereby warn all political, religious, and traditional leaders in the South- East to be careful about their political moves and relationships with political parties ahead of the 2023 general election as any effort to sabotage South-East interest as regards producing the next president will never be acceptable and will be resisted.
Your group, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), recently called on the President Buhari and some of his aides to resign over the shooting in Lagos during the #End- SARS protests. What informed that position?
We called for the resignation of not only President Buhari but the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and the Director General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBA), Prof. Ar m s t r o n g Idachaba because of their ignoble roles in the shooting of unarmed protesters at Lekki Toll Gate and the unpatriotic attempt to cover up the extrajudicial killings of Nigerians singing the National Anthem, while protesting killings of their compatriots by security forces.
We also call on the International Criminal Court of Justice to investigate, arrest and prosecute them and their co-travellers for crimes against humanity to serve as deterrent to other African leaders who kill unarmed peaceful demonstrators, protesting bad policies of government.
Nigeria’s democracy is in danger as the voice of opposition is being silenced by the Federal Government, using all arms of government and instrumentalities of the office of the executive to shut the voices of oppressed citizens.
But the Federal Government had persistently dismissed media reports, which indicted the military of complicity in the killings…
It is obvious that the Buhari administration deliberately engaged the Director General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to intimidate, harass and stampede Nigerian broadcast media houses in a bid to cover up the Lekki massacre by slamming unjustifiable N3 million fines on three television stations over reports on the killings.
As if the killings by the Nigerian Police, through its Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit, were not enough, the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces authorised the use of maximum force to disperse unarmed citizens protesting against bad leadership and extrajudicial killings in the country.
It is a shame that the Nigerian government and Nigerian Army have no respect for our national flag and anthem. The outcome of CNN investigation now raises strong doubts on the loyalty or allegiance of the Nigerian security agencies to the Nigerian nation. Sovereignty belongs to the people and if the people for whom the President holds power in trust for are now murdered in cold blood by their employees paid through their taxes, there is danger ahead for our democracy.
What do you suggest as the way forward?
To save Nigerian democracy and all democracies in Africa, the International Criminal Court of Justice must unmask all the state and non-state actors involved in the killing of Nigerian patriots at the Lekki Toll Gate.
The CNN was very conclusive when it noted on its website that the ‘Nigerian army has called allegations that it fired into the crowd fake news and told a judicial panel of inquiry that it did not shoot at any civilian but a new investigation can reveal this is not true.’
In view of the new insights into the Lekki massacre perpetrated by agents of the state on orders of the authorities of the Nigerian state, we demand the immediate resignation of the Commander-in-Chief and his aides for their anti-people roles in the killings and the attempts to cover up the massacre.
If the President of Peru, Manuel Merino, resigned following the death of two protesters, it is time for President Buhari to resign if he still has any integrity left.