· Lists economy, security, human capital as priority areas
· Expresses confidence in the new election process
The governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prince Ugo Beke yesterday lamented that the federal character principle had destroyed Nigeria, noting that the principle should not be encouraged in the interest of economic growth and development.
Beke, a merchant banker and financial consultant, also listed economy, human capital development and security as core priority areas that his administration would focus on if elected in the governorship election scheduled to hold on March 11, 2023.
He faulted the principle at a session with journalists in his Ikoyi residence yesterday, pointing out that the principle was undemocratic, unethical and antithetical to national progress and development.
The principle was enshrined in Section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies.
However, Beke argued that the principle “has further divided Nigeria,” saying it had failed to deliver the best outcome that could guarantee unprecedented growth and development for the country.
Beke, an indigene of Ikwerre that produced the state’s last two governors, said: “Like the federal character principle, zoning is undemocratic. It cannot give the best result that can take the country to a greater height globally. It further divides Nigeria.”
According to him, if you go back to certain points in the history of Nigeria, Sir Herbert Macaulay did not think of zoning when he supported Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe to lead the National Youth Movement.
In the era of Sir Herbert Macaulay, Beke noted that the founding fathers of Nigeria “had the best result. People from different parts of the country contested. In different areas, they produced the best result.”
Beke argued that the federal character system “has destroyed Nigeria. We should not encourage zoning if the federal character has not worked. When we did not consider federal character and zoning, Nigerians were happier and talked less about tribalism and ethnicity.”
Speaking on the new Election Act, the APGA governorship candidate said he had confidence that the 2023 election process would be credible and transparent unlike the previous election held in the country.
He said: “BVAS is the same technology we all use for our international passport whenever we travel abroad. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not the owner of the technology.
“But the commission only provides administration. The technology is domiciled in Dublin. We are using the satellite of Elon Musk. It is going to be difficult for INEC to manipulate the outcome of the election.
“The problem with the election process we have been having before had to do with the Incident Result Form. All you need to do is to take the Incident Result Form to the Government House and write as much as you want and pay all the security agencies.
“Of course, the result will be announced. All you can do is go to court. Right now, that is not feasible. We now have a backup for the system that is being operated. We also have times when the satellite shuts down. We also know when the result can no longer be admitted.
“The issue with ballot box snatching is no longer relevant. I believe INEC has no choice but to submit to the superiority of what has been put in place. Therefore, I am confident that votes will count,” Beke explained.
While expressing confidence that the process would guarantee his victory in the next governorship poll, Beke listed economy, and human capital development as the priority areas of his administration when elected.
Specifically, the APGA governorship candidate promised to establish a security trust fund to address diverse security challenges that plague his state.
He also promised to build “an entirely new city in Rivers State that that will rival Dubai in the United Arab Emirate,” lamenting that the previous and serving governments had not served the interest of the people.
“If they did well in the past 23, we would have three or four Dubai. I have said I will build a brand new city that will rival Dubai in Rivers State by 2023 when I become governor.”