Dr Chinedu Umeadi is the candidate of Young Progressive Party (YPP) for Anambra Central Senatorial District in the forthcoming general election. In this interview with OKEY MADUFORO, he speaks on his ambition and chances in the poll
The people of Anambra Central Senatorial District have had senators both past and present, one wonders what you will do different?
Yes we have been having senators but we are yet to have a senator with a difference. But for the first time in the history of Nigeria, I am assuring you that we will be having a senator, who will remain ever connected with members of his district. You know that the system in Nigeria is not working and everything thing is in shambles, we do not have social security as well as the level of insecurity in the country. Our graduates are unemployed and our universities have been closed down due to the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and there seems to be no remedy to these situations.
These are things we shall be looking at at the National Assembly. It is sad that what we have been doing over the years is to continue to recycle old people, who have been punishing us by unleashing wickedness on our people. Every four years they find their way back in power and continue to take our country backwards. They do not have sympathy for the common man, who does not have electricity and access to medical care because he is below the poverty level.
So, there is the need for things to change in Nigeria because we will continue to get negative results if we continue to apply this same method. We need young and courageous men and women in power to bring in better ideas and methods of solving our problems. During elections, people go about making promises they cannot keep and that is to the peril of the nation. We need to start from the basics, which is good and quality representation.
You are not there to represent yourself but the people who put you there. How can you represent people when you do not have them in mind and you are totally disconnected from the people and you don’t even give them chance to meet you and tell you their needs? Also, there must be need for evaluation and assessment of what you are doing as a lawmaker and you cannot evaluate yourself and score yourself because there must be that element of bias. There is what we call need assessment, which means that what a particular local government area needs is not what the other needs and it is up to the lawmaker to interface with the people to know what is obtainable in the respective council areas.
Some people are calling for referendum while others say resource control will resolve of these issues you’ve reaised. What is your take on that?
We have two schools of thought on the issues of referendum and restructuring. If the system is working, we can talk about restructuring but where most people feel that they do not belong to the system, they call for referendum. But you cannot have the change overnight. So, in the case of that, people have to speak but in the case of Nigeria, we already have a lot of sentiments here and there.
They include tribal and religious challenges coupled with the agitations across the country, calling for division for us to go our separate ways. When opinions are divided, we should begin to look at referendum for people to come together and actually discuss about our existence. But the problem there is: Will the referendum count? Will it be free and fair? Will the votes of the people count and how is it going to work? That means that we do not have the capacity to do it though most people would go for referendum because we had an agreement from the onset.
Because some people are not keeping to the agreement or terms of agreement it becomes difficult to remain in that agreement. But my take is that let us see if we can do massive restructuring of Nigeria. If we do that for 10 years and it is not working, we can now go for referendum to decide if we should continue to remain in a country called Nigeria. But you know our country has its various problems and that would cause a lot of problems in the process if it is not well handled.
You are new in the game of politics; are you not worried about the presence of established politicians,who are also in the race for the Anambra Central senatorial seat?
This issue of political masters is subjective and it depends on individual understanding about politics. Are you talking about those that contest in every election either to win or to lose? Are you talking about those who sit at the comfort of their homes doing nothing and not carrying the people along? Are they the political masters that you are talking about? Are you talking about those who win elections in a free and fair manner or those who know how to rig elections by writing the results? I am not worried about such things and I am not interested in that kind of politics and those people do not worry me at all.
People should be evaluated by their capacity and what they have done for the people, while in public office and not those that have history of manipulations before being in office and are totally disconnected from the masses they are representing. These people have failed us since the history of politics and governance and they are still in office and these are people you call masters of the game. Funny enough, people still want them back in office to continue from where they stopped and that means we are not being fair to the masses.
There is a political movement going on in the country called ‘Obi-dient’ and the presidential and National Assembly elections would be held on the same day. How do you wish to navigate through this as the man behind the movement, Peter Obi, is from your senatorial district?
The issue of ‘Obi-dient’ has always come up wherever I go for consultations. People keep telling me that they are ‘Obi-dient’ but that they will vote for me at the National Assembly elections. So, I am not worried about it because I have my supporters and they are with me. But we must agree that Peter Obi is a great man, a great Anambra man and a great Igbo man. I have my own views about the presidency of this country; I think the Igbos have been unfairly treated in the politics of this country. As a person, I believe that the best man for the job should have it irrespective of the political party he belongs to. You will agree with me that we have not had the best people at the helm of the affairs and if you look at it critically, we have not had a president of South-East extraction.
We had Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as a ceremonial president, while Sir Abubakar Tafawa- Balewa was the Prime Minister and head of government. We had Aguiyi Ironsi briefly, who they brutality murdered and since then it has been North and South-West in power and even those we call the minority have had their fair share with only the South-East left out. We expected that all the parties will nominate candidates from the South-East but only the Labor Party has a candidate from Igbo land and that is Mr. Peter Obi. When you talk about him and not the party, it is clear about what he wants to do in office.
This has given rise to the mass movement going on in the country and it has energized the youth of this country to join the movement. I am also part of the younger generation and this has benefited me a great deal in my aspiration to be a senator. I have not heard Peter Obi talk about his party but about what he would do when he gets there and I wish him well and also wish myself well because we are young men and this country is sick and tired of the old brigade and the same moribund old order that has taken us several decades behind civilization.
How formidable is your party’s structure as that will play a very big role in determining the outcome of the election?
Structure is the bane of Nigerian politics and the earlier we jettison this, the better for us all and the polity. What is structure; a group of people who are all out to subjugate the masses of this country to abject poverty and frustration. The Young Progressive Party (YPP) is no longer a new party and we have elected lawmakers from the state Assembly to the National Assembly and we are waxing stronger and stronger.
Our leader, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, has been doing a great job in bringing people into the party and giving the younger generation the opportunity to take part in politics and governance instead of recycling very old people, who have nothing to offer to this country. They should be playing advisory roles as elders and let the younger ones do the running around. So, this thing about structure doesn’t hold water at all.