In his first post-election interview, senator-elect and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige described the negative campaign waged against him by the trio of Gov. Peter Obi, Mrs. Dora Akunyili and APGA chairman, Mr. Victor Umeh as vicious and hypocritical. Dr. Ngige took exception at the attempt by Gov. Obi and Dora Akunyili to paint his party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as a Yoruba party.
“That was the level of pettiness the APGA people descended to,” Dr. Ngige said in an exclusive interview with www.Nigerianewsday.com. “Can you imagine a former Minister for Information who claimed to have “rebranded” Nigeria as a country of “good people and great nation” engaging in tribal politics? They fanned the embers of tribal and religious politics thinking that the people would be taken in by these sentiments. APGA, which they call Igbo party, has no structure in the neighboring Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia states.”
Dr. Ngige went on to say that, “They have no single seat in the out-going Houses of Assembly in those states, but ACN, which they tag “Yoruba Party,” has members in the Houses of Assembly in Plateau, Adamawa, Edo and even Jigawa states. So how could Peter Obi and Dora Akunyili (a Minister in charge of “rebranding” Nigeria) tag ACN a “Yoruba party”? Don’t forget that the ACN that is in power in Lagos State appointed an Igbo man from Anambra State (Ben Akabueze) as its Commissioner for Economic Development. Peter Obi, who is in the forefront of this cheap campaign, has 95% of his businesses located in Lagos and made all his money as a “Lagos-based” business tycoon. The billions of naira he claimed to have made as a businessman were substantially made in Lagos, the heartland of Yorubaland. So to answer your question, ACN is not a Yoruba party. It is a party for “doers” and “performers.” Today, the party has secured more seats in Anambra, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Taraba, Jigawa and Cross River States in the legislative elections.”
Dr. Ngige described the senatorial contest experience as that of a lone wrester fighting three opponents at once. According to Dr. Ngige, Mrs. Akunyili was backed by Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra State and APGA Chairman Mr. Victor Umeh both of whom hailed from the same town as Mrs. Akunyili.
“The senatorial contest was like a wrestling match where one wrestler was facing a tag team of three other wrestlers,” Dr. Ngige told Nigeria Newsday. “As one of the three got tired, another was tagged to come into the ring and continue the fight, while the others rested, and it went on like that. As the fight progressed the three were simultaneously fighting the lone opponent who stood like a rock of Gibraltar unscathed. That was the scenario in the senatorial contest. It was by the Grace of God and the wisdom of our people, that I, the lone wrestler, got the energy and strength to withstand the rampaging and vicious tag team of Peter Obi, Dora Akunyili and Victor Umeh.”
Dr. Ngige accused Gov. Peter Obi of engaging in negative campaign. He particularly frowned at Gov. Obi’s attempt to label Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, as a Yoruba party.
The sudden pumping in of money into the race by Gov. Peter Obi received the greatest condemnation of Dr. Ngige. “The amount of money the Anambra State government deployed in the Anambra central senatorial race just to humiliate me in the election was enough to settle the salary and wages of judiciary and health workers whose industrial actions had led to the closure of Anambra state courts and the state’s hospitals and maternities for more than three months.”
Dr. Ngige described his legislative interest as in the areas of “war against corruption, electoral reforms, administration of justice and job creation.” For his constituency, he hoped to ensure that long taunted federal projects like the Oji River power station, second Niger Bridge, the rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha Expressway amongst others, finally received the funding needed to accomplish them. He also wants to work on the creation of another state in the South-East zone to achieve equity and justice and the inclusion of Anambra State on the list of oil producing states on account of the large oil deposits in the Omambala River basin of Anambra State.
In all, Dr. Ngige gave the election an average mark. “I will rate the election as 50% successful. There is still lots of work to be done to reform the electoral process. The rigging structure of the previous regime in INEC is still in place, and as long as the undesirable elements of that regime remain in the system, the mission of the present management to enthrone free and fair election in Nigeria will remain a pipe dream.”
For the full interview, please visit: http://nigerianewsday.com/menu/columns/guest-of-the-week/169-obi-and-dora-tag-acn-qyoruba-partyq