“President Buhari is working hard to lift Nigeria out of recession,”- Mbadinuju

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Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju (ODERA) is the former Governor of Anambra State and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this exclusive interview with Urban Paparazzi, Dr. Mbadinuju told Linus Aleke that the chance of APC in winning the forthcoming Governorship Election in Anambra State is very high. He however blamed the economic woes of the country on the maladministration of PDP reign, stressing that President Buhari’s administration is working hard to lift the country out of recession. He spoke on other sundry issues. Excerpt:

What is Governor Obiano’s chance of winning reelection in the forthcoming Anambra Governorship Election?

 Governor Obiano of APGA must be doing his best for a second term which he is entitled. But I suppose he must seek this better under the APC platform and if he so desires it must start now. Nothing is impossible in political games. It does not matter to me if he joins APC or not but with the likes of people now joining, the incumbent Governor cannot be excluded in joining the APC family. His chances are better in the APC and he must realize this fact early. I believe Governor Obiano knows the game well and would do the needful in the circumstances.

Flowing from the fact that you did only one term as governor in your state, will you contest the 2017 governorship election in the state to complete the two term required by law?

A lot of things could still happen before the November election and we are watching to see how they eventually unfold. Many people at home and abroad have come to urge me to go back and complete my term and we are watching. Whether I contest or not, I am committed to ensuring that the administration of President Buhari succeeds and we will carry Nigerians to the Promised Land. I should say, finally, that my politics is different from that of others. I don’t kill myself to win anything. Rather, my type is to go smooth without much hassle. In any case, it was former President Obasanjo and Ibrahim Mantu that stood against my second term. And I remember as Shakespeare said that “Folks who put a piper to a passion shall see the piper pipe after another fashion.”

Some political bigwigs in Anambra state had started jumping ship in a desperate move to pursue their political aspiration in a political party they consider most viable ahead of the November scheduled governorship election in the state. What is the political implication of this mad rush into APC?

Is it true that Anambra politicians are actually jumped ship? Well, it may be due to their desperate moves as you observed in your question or some other potent reasons best known to the political actors. The rush for most of them to join APC on time is to have a place in the party to prepare for the forthcoming Governorship Election so as to pursue their political ambition on the platform of the party. The party is of course the most viable political platform in the country today and it is not out-of-place for people to want to determine who the next Governor of Anambra State would become.  I joined APC on February 23, 2015 in a much publicized World Press Conference (See the “Die is Cast” on page 347 of my book, “Journey Into the Past: Ordeal of A State Governor,” for your use) due to my convictions about the prospects the party possesses for Nigeria. Now most politicians from Anambra are coming to tell me stories of  one thing or the other I can do for them but it is also good that they think what they can do for me as former Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju if I am contesting in November or not. It is on record that I polled 96 percent of total votes cast during my election to be Governor of Anambra state and I think that feat would always be re-enacted for APC anytime again. For those joining our party APC, I welcome them and urge them to join hands with us and President Buhari to make the state and Nigeria a better place.

Do you think that APC stand any chance of winning election in your state putting into consideration the party’s awful performance in the region during the 2015 general elections?

In politics anything is possible. There must be aspirations and nobody gives up until the result is called and a winner announced. I like to say that it is not over until it is all over. During the 2015 General Elections, APC did not do so well in Anambra and some other states and local government areas in South East. But the Anambra APC will surprise Nigerians this time around when the results are announced. It would be like 96 percent of vote record I set in the past election in the state. It is my belief that APC would justify the great confidence people are reposing in us by doing well at the polls. So far the signs are good because we are all involved in this.

The win at all cost syndrome in the nation’s political life had assumed a dangerous proportion under APC watch, vote-buying and wide-spread violence common place. Why are these anti-democratic practices on the raise under Buhari reign?  

I believe the Buhari government has brought appreciable improvement in the electoral process. Since President Buhari assumed power, you could agree with me that elections are won on competence and not like the charades of the past. We should give credit to whom credit is due.

Some critics of the ruling APC observed that the party had performed so abysmally since they took over power at the centre and therefore cannot win any election conducted in a free, fair and credible atmosphere citing Edo, Ondo and Rivers as a case study . Do you agree with such views?

You called them critics so they could be those who never see anything good in the sincere efforts of APC. All the elections won by APC so far, from Edo to Ondo and other places have been on acceptable terms and Nigerians and the international communities are glad with this development. In a free and fair election devoid of the desperate antics of PDP and other parties, APC will win square and clear.

How credible is the postulation in certain quarter that APC is a refugee camp for corrupt politicians who are fleeing from the anti-graft agencies’ probe and possible prosecution?

That postulation is discredited because APC has assumed a moral conscience for the political front. A party that has a reputable leader like President Buhari cannot be a refugee camp for corrupt politicians. Belonging to APC has so far not been a haven for prosecution and even PDP which I described as a “Giant Killer” acknowledges that APC is waging a war on corruption.

The nation’s economy is in a bad shape, who is to be blamed and what can be done to move the country out of recession?

Whatever we are going through in Nigeria is a backlash of the wanton years of Goodluck Jonathan. The last administration did unfortunate damage to the economy as a result of their overt nonchalance to corrupt tendencies of their officials. We have seen recent revelations from Malabu Oil deals and the details are shocking. The hope of the country now is in the dexterity of the government of President Buhari to bring the nation from the brinks. So far, conscious efforts are being made by the administration and Nigerians should wait to see the manifestation.

What is your objective appraisal of the current administration bearing in mind the increasing unemployment rate, wide-spread poverty and the continued rise in the price of stable food?

To be honest with Nigerians, this is one government that is capable of reversing our collective fortunes for the better. I have served governments even during the second republic and was subsequently elected as executive governor with the widest unimaginable margin and I know that this is a government committed to bringing a new Nigeria.  There was staggering unemployment during the days of the past administration and the situation was made worse by the inability of that administration to manage the situation. With recent intelligent interventions by President Buhari, I believe unemployment would soon be combated. The government is also committed to enhancing agricultural productivity and this is capable of combating the scourge of poverty and hunger in the land.

 Some Nigerians believes that PDP administration was far better than what is obtainable under APC administration. Do you support or oppose the foregoing theory?

PDP, as I said earlier is a “Giant Killer” that is responsible for all the current travails of the country. The party brought so much hardship on Nigerians that they were rejected in the last elections. I strongly oppose any view that says PDP was better than APC administration because I have seen what is obtainable in the respective circumstances, and I still insist the current problems of Nigeria were those created by former President Jonathan and his acolytes.

What can you say this administration had achieved in its one and half-year control of state power?

This administration has achieved significantly in the areas of security, national growth and the economy is picking up. Before President Buhari came to power, Nigeria was almost ridiculed among comity of nations but today we are taking our right of place. Lets us give the administration the needed support and we would be better for it. I believe strongly that Nigeria will get it right under Buhari.

How valid is the assertion that APC is a conglomeration of strange bed fellows that just came together to wrestle power from PDP but lacks the will and capacity to move the country forward?

Do strange bed fellows win elections and even defeat a winning party?  The will and capacity to move Nigeria forward is evident in the APC and we must give time and chance to nurture. This is the first time in the history of this nation that we have a President who knows what is expected of him and who at the same time is committed to delivering all that Nigerians need. APC is the appropriate machinery to deliver the needed change to Nigerians and move the country on the path of progress.

 

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