In what is coming as a direct response to a position taken recently by the Executive Director-General of Abia Interest Group and former Commissioner for Information in Abia State, Eze Chikamnayo, on the activities of Dr. Uche Ogah in Abia State, the National Coordinator, Voice of the Common, Don Samuel Uchechukwu, in a chat with Shola Oyeyipo said wrong information were being propagated about the politician seeking to unseat Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and that he hopes the Supreme Court would do justice to the issue. Excerpts:
A former Commissioner of Information in Abia State, Chikamnayo, recently said a lot of things about the ongoing governorship crisis and actually referred to a charter of equity put in place by the founding fathers of the state, which he claimed your candidate is trying to truncate by trying to stop somebody from the South from being a governor. Wouldn’t you agree?
Nobody is against zoning. As far as I am concerned, I can agree with zoning. But about the issue of zoning, he should not tell us it is the people of Abia or the founding fathers of Abia that agreed on the charter of equity. Former governor, Theordore Orji was the architect. He was the one who created all these problems for Abia people and Abia State is too big for such a person, who was governor for eight years and could not perform. I don’t think he has any reason to give Abia a charter of equity and then you now say you want to concede zoning power to Ngwa. Nobody is against power going anywhere, but what is disturbing people today is that Okezie Ikpeazu sitting as governor today has created a very bad precedent in the history of Nigeria.
How do you mean?
What I mean is that if a governor could not meet the requirement of INEC, in the whole world people talk about tax, even in America today, Trump is talking about tax, Clinton is talking about tax. In Nigeria, if a governor could not meet the requirement in the area of taxation, what do we do about it? If they had given somebody, who had been able to meet all those requirements, nobody will challenge them!
But what about the argument that he was a civil servant and that he had been paying his tax under the Pay as Your Earn (PAYE) structure?
The explanations we have given so far have answered all those questions. If he had been a civil servant, what he submitted to INEC was different from when he was a civil servant. This case has been on since 2014, you know? It was before the primary that Dr. Samson Ogah reported this case and when he reported to the party, they overlooked it. So, if Ikpeazu had been a civil servant and he was sure of his tax and his entire document, why was he telling them that he didn’t want the case to be tried in Abuja before he lost and lost to the Supreme Court? But the law has taken its course with Justice Abang sitting on the case and declaring the continued stay of Okezie Ikpeazu as governor illegal.
What do you think is the take of the Abia people on this matter because the people seem to love the governor in power?
If you put Okezie Ikpeazu in the presence of Ngwa people, where he comes from and Dr. Samson Ogah; let them cast a vote, if there are 100 people there Ikpeazu will not get 20 there.
Why would you say that?
The reason is because in Abia State today, Uche Ogah has created the highest number of employment. Even the Ngwa people are benefitting. Okezie knows that he wouldn’t have been governor but because of some people – the so-called stakeholders – those who have been in one position and they want to keep on milking the state through one man and they want to get somebody who they are very sure is incompetent.
That is the same allegation raised against Ogah; that it is because he is very rich and he has the connection of some very big Igbo bigwigs, who are supporting him to pull the Ikpeazu government down, how do you react to that?
Uche Ogah is the last person, who will go into the fracas of pulling anybody down. He contested the governorship election by himself and with his funds; nobody sponsored him. If they are saying that believe me, they are saying it out of ignorance. Okezie Ikpeazu has made a mistake, which they are looking for ways to correct and they will never find a way to correct it. Uche Ogha is coming to Abia State to assist the people of Abia State, to help people; it is not even to govern. After the judgment, you will see how government is run. It will not be a government of come and carry.
Talk about Ogah, why do you think he has not been reacting to the litany of media attacks on his person?
I must tell you that Dr. Ogah is a man who believes in what God can do. He doesn’t rely on any man. Even we around him, we do tell him to do certain things – as we are talking here, he may be ministering or praying somewhere. He is a man who believes it is only God that can give or take power, so he doesn’t believe in media war. It is only those of us that are volunteers around him that are suggesting how to mitigate the attacks on his person. He is a quiet man. He is a man of discipline.
But he has been described as a moneybag doing all what he is doing because he has money to throw around
If he is throwing money around like they are saying, you would have gotten some but I believe there is God’s hand in what is happening in Abia State today.
So, what is your position on the issues raised by Mr. Eze Chikanmayo, particularly, the allegation that Ogah defrauded a helpless woman in a tank farm business?
Unfortunately, he is ignorant of what is going on. I don’t think he understood what was going on. The woman he mentioned, if he can bring the woman to confront Uche Ogah or take her to the media to say Ogah defrauded her, we will see. Without asking Uche Ogah, I know such thing never happened. So, Chikanmayo or whatever they call him should go and finish his law school; you know he is not yet a lawyer until he is called to the bar. These are the kinds of people you find around Ikpeazu; people who will go around with false information.
But the ruling of the Court of Appeal has not been favourable to Ogah?
I have seen several cases in Nigeria and all over the world, where the apex court deferred from all the previous lower courts in delivering judgment. We are approaching the Supreme Court basically because we are sure that it is the final place to get justice and that is exactly what we want. As it is his usual character, Dr. Ogah has continued to pacify his teeming supporters to remain law-abiding. We knew from the start that it is going to be a long legal battle. We have faith in the Supreme Court to clarify the actual position of the law on our arguments.
How do you intend to pacify the people of the South if eventually the case does not go in favour of the governor?
Ogah is not going to be a governor of the North. Don’t even be surprised that his own Ngwa people will benefit more than people from where Ogah comes from. It is important to know that Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah ranks among the most distinguished industrialists/nationalists that have considered taking development to their home states in order to give the state benefit of development and job creation within the entire south east.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands at times of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy. Either way, we would be saying the same thing because life impacting is an ideological/spiritual war, the replacement of evil with good, failure to success, the erosion of obstacle by machinery of progress, a support for Dr. Uche Ogah is a full support for the future and the better for Gods own state.