A Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the commissioner for Grants and Donour Agencies in Ebonyi state Elder Fred Udeogu in this exclusive chat with Linus Aleke said that All Progressive Congress (APC) has no presence in Ebonyi state, arguing that the provision of the basic necessity of life to the people of the state by Chief Elechi led administration is responsible for the lack of opposition in the state.
How will you describe the local council election taking place in your state today?
Well I think it is a welcome development in this part of the country, considering the fact that since the inception of this democratic dispensation from 1999 to date, there had been smooth transition and the awareness has always been created as you can see here in Ebonyi state. Because of the system of governance that we have, we don’t see any person flexing muzzles over anything particularly when you know that the right thing is being done. And at the moment we are conducting our local council poll which is going to be the third since the inception of Chief Martin Elechi’s led admonition and it has been very smooth voyage. So a lot of people are aware and I know that you had also observed what is going on at the polling units. There was a kind of restriction of movement because a lot of people in the past use to be disenfranchised due to unnecessary movements and activities of political hoodlums. But now everybody knows that he or she has a right to go and cast his vote and after that he or she can go about his or her normal routine businesses for the day.
Governors are always accused of using local government funds which comes to them through joint account process to embark on white elephant project, is Elechi administration also guilty of such practice?
In Ebonyi state, the local government administrations are doing credibly well because the governor is releasing their due allocation from federation to them and that is why you notice that most of them are embarking on visible capital projects which will better the lives of their people. If the governor is interested in local council funds, why then has he consistently conducted local council elections to bring in democratically elected chairmen to pilot the affairs of these council areas and not seat down in his office and appoint caretaker chairmen to take charge of that level of governance as some states are doing? He believes in the decentralization of powers. His administration cannot be the apostle of transparency and accountability and still go behind to engage in unwholesome practice. The governor is interested in the transformation of the state and not accumulation of personal wealth. All the area councils are getting their allocation and they are also utilizing it to develop their areas.
What is the assurance that the peace and orderliness witness in most of the polling centers will be maintained even after the declaration of the result by the electoral umpire considering the post electoral violence that engulfed the 2011 general election in some northern states?
I can assure you that there is no sign of anything that will happen that could lead to carious in any part of the state because of the nature of the election, again because everybody has been carried along perfectly. Therefore we are not anticipating any trouble, Ebonyi people are peace loving people. We are not known for violence, don’t also forget that the security operatives in the state are on ground to curtail any eventual break down of law and order in the state.
There are rumours making round by the opposition that, there is no level playing field in this election, how true is such allegation?
If you can to be sincere to yourself, how can you wage war against your superior and expect a level playing field? When you talk of mathematical levels and political levels the differences are always there. When you talk of enabling playing field, how can you find enabling playing field when you are competing with someone who is in power, someone who is in government and the person enjoys the immunity of incumbency and you talk of enabling playing field. In Ebonyi state we do not have opposition that is just the truth. There are just few disgruntle brothers of ours that decided to be staying at the side line and be talking against the government, there is nothing like opposition here. When you talk of APC, they do not have office, they do not have any structures anywhere in any part of the state. When you talk of APGA, they do not have any, and it has been so in Ebonyi state from time. In the previous administration when we had crisis here, it was the internal wrangling between the leadership of PDP. And that was because of power struggle, you always have people steering some trouble among themselves for personal gains but in this despensation, we struck an understanding. If you were there when we organized our independence anniversary celebration, the former governor was there, every who is who in Ebonyi state were there, the SGF was represented so anybody who was not there may be fills that it was necessary for him not to be there. Because we conducted double celebration in Ebonyi state, while we celebrate our independence as a country, we equally celebrate our independence as people from this part of the country so it was everybody’s affair.
Why is there lack of opposition in the state?
Considering the leadership qualities of the governor, Chief Martin Elechi as well as his forerunner role during the struggle for the creation of the state which was the bifurcation of part of old Enugu, Anambra, Imo and Abia to what we called Ebonyi state today, he took it upon himself to carry everybody along, why then will there be opposition? He sees himself as a father figure and tries to make sure that nothing rancorous is allowed to entrench in any part of the state, even when you slap him he looks back and laugh over it. He is an administrator per excellence and he has also transformed the state from nothing to one of the best state in the federation in terms of infrastructural facilities.
What will be your words of advice to the electorate in Ebonyi state?
In as much as we are trying to express our feelings and our freedoms, we have to do it with caution. The people should go out and exercise their franchise freely bearing in mind the fact that their security is guaranteed. In so doing they should also be law abiding, that is all I have to say.