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Presidential Election: ‘I Warned Peter Obi Against Dethroning A Deity’ — Cleric

Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, an evangelist cum political activist is the founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA). In this interview,

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Presidential Election: ‘I Warned Peter Obi Against Dethroning A Deity’ — Cleric

 

 

Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, an evangelist cum political activist is the founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA). In this interview, he gives an assessment of the recently conducted polls, especially in the SouthEast region, saying he had warned Peter Obi, the LP presidential candidate against ‘dethroning a deity’. Excerpts:

 

How is the South-East faring politically, especially in the aftermath of the recently conducted elections?

 

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The just concluded elections went the way of previous elections- the usual verifiable incidents of voter suppression, vote inflation, violence and citizens being chased away from polling stations in certain regions of the country. These sad developments seem to give room for agitations and create discontent. But all these things happened because of the suffocating unitary structure that has created a domineering all-powerful centre, turning the federating units into helpless entities depending entirely on the centre for survival, which is why Nigeria must be restructured without delay.

 

The outcome of the elections in the South-East left many dissatisfied and disappointed. What’s your take on the outcome of governorship elections, particularly in Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu?

 

I noted the emotions and sentiments in the air. So many factors were at play including the awareness as a result of the agitation in the zone. The truth is the anger in the land, as represented by the agitation, inspired the mood of the people and also the voting pattern. Our people are awake now and very conscious of the precarious situation of the country. People are tired of the post-civil war political culture and are more ready to hold the political class accountable; unlike three decades ago, the awareness today is huge. The contest was keen in Enugu and Abia. In Ebonyi, Umahi bulldozed his way while in Enugu, the 24-year-old PDP structure was almost toppled. In Abia, the PDP was overwhelmed and replaced by a new political party.

 

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Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko
Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko

 

 

Interestingly, Governor Ikpeazu showed commendable statesmanship and humility by congratulating Alex Otti hours after the announcement of the final results. He also advised against litigation, pledging a smooth transition of power, saying he was looking forward to a seamless handover. That is so beautiful. On the contrary, in Enugu, the other parties refused to accept the results. I think the South East political culture is maturing in an interesting way. 2027 promises deeper maturity, with the heightened level of consciousness and awareness in the land. The elections have come and gone, and I think we all should concentrate on moving the region forward.

 

How do you rate the outgoing Governors of Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu?

The governors are not my friends; I disagree with their handling of the agitation and said so publicly. I call them out always and ask them to do the right thing. I disagree with their fear of Abuja; they are all scared of offending the centre and they failed to push restructuring as strongly as they should. They should have united the region and upped the demand for restructuring of Nigeria and also they should have engaged the agitators constructively. Having said that, I can tell you that Umahi cleverly struggled to drive the narrative that eye-catching infrastructure like flyovers, shopping centres and an airport are more important than manpower development, which isn’t true. I give Umahi thumbs up for the schools, and roads, but what is the performance of Ebonyi students in JAMB’s UME, Unity schools entrance exams and skills acquisition? Human development is poor. Uzodinma in Imo hasn’t been able to key in with the people of Imo; he is still struggling to legitimise his mandate. Soludo disappointed the people of Anambra in less than one year. He’ll need a series of miracles to regain his pre-election popularity. Ugwuanyi disconnected from the people of Enugu somewhere along the way. I commend Ikpeazu for congratulating Otti and suing for peace. That’s the mark of a humble man who has the fear of God. I think the right thing to do now will be to move forward, learning from past mistakes and correcting errors of yesterday. Our region needs healing. Our leaders must push for the restructuring of Nigeria. That’s the only way to heal the land. The South East must work as a team.

 

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What advice do you have for the current and incoming leaders?

 

The only route to progress and real development is through restructuring the polity. Nigeria needs to devolve powers to the federating units and see the country explode economically. The unitary structure is retarding the growth of the country. We are only delaying the greatness of our country by delaying the restructuring of Nigeria. Therein lays the roadmap to greater Nigeria.

 

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party has gone to the tribunal. What is your take?

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I warned him face to face that dethroning and replacing the deity you have all worshipped and benefited from over the decades won’t be a piece of cake. That is the much I can say on this because I don’t want to be dragged into the election and the politics of it. My simple message to all is that a restructured Nigeria will make it impossible for this impunity to thrive. Nigeria has to be restructured without delay.

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