A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, Chief Maximus Okuta, has expressed optimism that the governorship election slated for March 9, would be a walk over for the incumbent governor of the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. He believes that the governor has performed well and as such deserves support for a second tenure.
There have been incidences of violence like the burning of campaign vehicles of political parties in the state. Does this worry you that this trend may worsen during the election?
It is a strange development and those behind it are primitive people who do not even understand what politics is all about. It is simply a waste of time, resources and energy by the perpetrators and their sponsors because gone are the days when people bulldoze their ways to power through such acts of brigandage. I hope that the security agents would be able to arrest the culprits and get them punished.
What is your assessment of the forthcoming election?
This election is a done deal for Ugwuanyi. There is no contest between him and anyone. Uguwanyi has performed very well and we appreciate his efforts. This idea of getting communities to identify projects that would be done in their communities and then the governor would fund it, is quite commendable. He earmarks N10 million for each community and gives out N5 million as the first tranche to execute the project. To me, that is a fantastic arrangement which makes development reach all the communities across the state. It is a policy that should be sustained in his second tenure.
All those numerous individuals jostling to contest against the governor are all jokers. They are just wasting their time and resources. It is part of the evil that we inherited as a result of abuse of party system. There is this tendency in the country that if we are rejecting anything, we would throw away the baby with the bath water.
One of the country’s most political advancement took place under General Ibrahim Babangida. By decree, he created two political parties for us, SDP and NRC. That gave us a big leap and with that, we could have gone a long way by now, but we jettisoned it. What on earth are we doing with over 90 political parties?
What can you say about the governor’s version of trader-moni scheme being carried out by the Federal Government?
He started the trader-moni before the Federal Government. The Federal Government saw that the scheme was working in Enugu and copied it. In politics, people copy ideas without paying courtesy to the initiator. But, it is all good because in the end, it is for the overall good of the ordinary people.
Are you subscribing to two-party arrangement?
I subscribe to three political parties plus independent candidates. We would have simply improved on Babangida’s arrangement to achieve that, such that your ideology should be able to fit into any of the three platforms, but if it does not, then, become an independent candidate. I recall the earthquake that took place when we had independent candidates. It was at Orlu, though the might of the Catholic Church was behind the incident. Chief Greg Agbasiare was an independent candidate at the time and he contested against the great nationalist, Mbonu Ojike of ‘boycott the boycott able’ fame who was roundly beaten.