In this no-hold-barred interview at his residence in Owerri on Sunday 26 November, 2017, Chief Barr. Willie Amadi, former Zonal Vice Chairman of Imo State PDP and former Special Adviser to former Governor Ikedi Ohakim on Sanitation and Transport, makes hair-raising revelations about politics in Nigeria and Imo State as he clocks 55 years.
He concludes that Nigerians have been misled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and that his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has learnt its lessons and is poised for a comeback that will unseat APC at federal and state levels come 2019. Excerpts.
Q – What is your take on the current political situation in Nigeria?
A- The political situation in Nigeria is undergoing painful changes against expectations and loss of instant success as promised by the ruling APC. However, since Government is a continuum the ruling party has made amends on known lapses of the past government under PDP. It is left for APC to establish and create its milestones and achievements either in continuation of PDP notable achievements or enthrone a new regime of achievement for the overall interest of the masses. The people want good governance translated to rapid economic growth or the GDP, Direct Foreign Investment to stimulate the economy, good and affordable Housing, infrastructural improvements, improved medical and educational system, welfare of the work force to encourage productivity and above all, Food on the table of poor Nigerians. Hunger does not know political affiliation or divide.
However, I do not expect magic from Buhari’s administration within two years. The campaign promises by a coalition of parties that was desperate to change the government of President Jonathan’s led PDP government had no surety to pay cost in case of default. The masses and voters did not realize that they were the surety for future failure as currently being experienced by the rich, middle class and the poor masses.
Q- What is your assessment of the internal crisis in your party at the national level?
A- The internal crisis in PDP is normal and healthy. It brings out the best after the struggle for supremacy. It sharpens and redefines the very existence of the party by dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Without crises, new frontiers will not be identified and as a result the party has produced a draft amended constitution which removed the pitfalls in the constitution exploited by a faction during the crises. It has further positioned the party for future challenges that may occur and previews future development in management and operations of the party.
So, it is a win-win situation for PDP. It has made the party stronger, bonded those who are PDP in body and spirit. It is my suggestion that the genuinely aggrieved members should be consoled, appreciated and brought back to the family because “politics is let us go and not let me go”. We have all sinned at one time or the other but together we are stronger.
Q- What happened to your interest in the position of State Secretary of Imo PDP before the Port Harcourt National Convention?
A – I had no intention to contest for any party position at the 2016 party congress as a State Secretary. I was only fighting the deliberate imbalance foisted on Owerri Federal Constituency by the evil minds that denied the entire Owerri Municipal Council and Owerri West Local Government of any position while concentrating all the positions in their sister Owerri North Local Government with National Women Leader, Member, Federal House of Representatives and State Secretary of the Party. The God of Justice will speak for Owerri Municipal and Owerri West. I have painstakingly appealed to a coalition of Owerri Municipal and West stakeholders to accept it for the sake of the party and general elections.
Q- With the five factions in your party in Imo State, what are your chances of success at collecting the key to Douglas House from Governor Rochas Okorocha in 2019?
A- The chances are there depending on the level and sincerity of the leaders of the party to call their lieutenants and foot soldiers to order and rapidly redress the areas of deliberate and obvious injustice. This will strengthen the party to forge a united front to confront the power of State and Federal incumbency. The party requires a coalition of both political and apolitical voting class to reclaim the Government House in Owerri. This, of course, will depend on the dynamics and count-down to election day. This dynamics are not usually known to all the actors at the hour of long knives.
Q- Where do you stand between Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and Sen. Hope Uzodinma?
A- Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha is my younger brother and one of the leaders of our party who has done well for himself and made the party and the State proud when he presided as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. I have a history with Emeka in 2006 under my watch as the State Vice Chairman, Owerri Zone. I conducted his primary election for his second term bid which eventually went well as a result of my understanding. Other accomplishments thereafter were naturally rooted to that election and in appreciation of that gesture he reciprocated by offering me appointment in 2015 as SA (Strategy and Planning) to the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives. I remain grateful for that gesture. Having said this, Ihedioha’s ambition to govern Imo is quite instructive and desirable. It will be an added value to the political, infrastructural and human capacity development of our dear state. He is a man of his words particularly when his interest is not jeopardized. If it is, he will navigate the issue without verbal commitment. He does not make promises just to please you if he knows he can’t keep it. He is not free with money on frivolity or avoidable social spending. Rather, he invests on issues. He has short fuse and that is not good for political diplomacy. Ego massaging is a penetrating balm for both the rich, the middle class and more particularly the poor and abused followers. Above all, Ihedioha is predictable and will be an asset to the state and the party if elected as the Governor in 2019.
Distinguished Senator, Hope Uzodinma as one of the governorship aspirants in 2006 caught my admiration as the State Vice Chairman, Owerri zone and has remained my friend up till today, politics or no politics. So, to answer your question, whenever there are conflicts in any human endeavor, the burden of true friendship steps in.Hope is a senior brother and the highest philanthropist in the party today. This is a man who sacrifices family needs to alleviate other peoples’ pressing problems. He is a consummate business man and politician, a leaders’ leader of some sought.
His ambition as a Governor of the State any time will attract prosperity to Imolites and the party in terms of stomach infrastructure etc. But beyond all the qualities of these two great sons of Imo State, leadership demands much more. Leadership is like a buffet or cocktail of fruits. You require more than being predictable or philanthropic. You need much more, and none of them possesses it all. So we must learn to manage leaders because no one is perfect and if God can’t ensure perfection then who are we to expect or demand it as a condition for leadership.
Q- Are you still collaborating with former Governor Ikedi Ohakim?
A- His Excellency, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim remains my boss and friend. A man clearly misunderstood by even enlightened minds. A man who has so much style and swagger but is not materialistic. A stickler for details and an intellectually mobile mind. Unfortunately these attributes and values are strange and unknown to the political environment in Nigeria. I do not need to collaborate with him because I am part of him, just like my natural and permanent relationship with Her Excellency, Amb. Dr (Mrs) Kema Chikwe whom my mother during her last days on earth bequeathed me and my family to her to stand in the gap. My God will never allow me regret the day we crossed parts. Politically, my support for Rt. Hon. Ihedioha during the 2015 Governorship election was directed by His Excellency, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim. He directed me and all TEAM OHAKIM to support Rt. Hon. Ihedioha for his Governorship ambition. As a key member of that administration, I am aware that His Excellency, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim had prepared Ihedioha to succeed him in 2015. This accounts for the reason why he knelt down for Ngor Okpala leaders and stakeholders begging them to allow Rt. Hon. Ihedioha do a third term against the agreed zoning arrangement of one term each for Aboh Mbaise and Ngor Okpala Local Governments respectively.
Q- How do you see Governor Okorocha’s reported plan to hand over to his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu?
A- Self-defense is the first rule of nature. In defending yourself, you suspend protocols, morality and justice. The Governor’s intention though speculative is personal and nobody can stop him if desires to support his son-in-law’s governorship ambition. As politically inexpedient as it looks, the subject matter is within the Constitutional Right of the son-in-law, Chief Uche Nwosu to contest and aspire to any position as long as he meets the constitutional requirements. From my assessment, he is a calm and calculated young man and eminently qualified for the position or any other position. It is only a matter of morality.
In this case, the application of the 48 Laws of Power comes into play. As a legal and a political practitioner, my professional advice to Imolites is to either engage the governor and persuade him to look into Owerri Zone and pick any favourable loyal son or daughter for the gubernatorial race. This is the surest route for actualizing that dream which was frittered away in 1998/1999 by Owerri itself during the primaries. The rest is history
Q- With key PDP members defecting to APGA, do you not see APGA taking Government House?
A- Political mobility is allowed in a multi-party system particularly where there are diverse religious, ethnic and cultural differences like in Nigeria. Personal interest, self-development and economic interest mainly account for the mobility. Most recently, the protection and preservation of personal liberty from persecution under the administration’s anti-corruption fight has encouraged the migration not only to APGA but majorly to APC. In answer to your question therefore, I see APGA as a phenomenon because her membership includes politicians and apolitical people, human right and political activists, believers of Biafra spirit and hardworking dedicated members. The party in Imo is a standby platform to wreak havoc to any ruling party if properly ignited. It is not about money or incumbency but masses revolt and will power. The dynamics at the hour of long knives will play the lead role.
Q- Which senatorial zone in Imo deserves the governorship most in 2019?
A- If you ask me, I will say my mother’s soup is sweeter but will other people agree? There have been as many claims as to which zone should produce the next Governor as there are many logic. This includes, there is no written zoning agreement, all zones since 1998 contested the governorship elections and all that. However, if morality and good conscience prevails, Owerri zone ought to be the zone having spent less than 2 years in that office whether there was agreement or not and whether every zone had contested the position since 1998. Unfortunately, morality and good conscience are both unknown to power struggle under the 48 Laws of Power. Most people who are calling for equity and rightly too, on this vexed issue in the zones have soiled their hands at different levels of political impunity and injustice. So, this is a cache 22 situation and therefore requires negotiations and appeal for pity and consideration based on brotherhood from our brothers in Orlu and Okigwe zones.
Orlu zone has the master key to Douglas House and can enter any time they wish or desire. Apart from the advantage of 12 Local Government Areas though with a lower number of registered voters when compared with Owerri zone as statistics have shown, they have the political capacity to also determine who becomes governor between Owerri and Okigwe zone, when they decide not to run. A massive vote from Orlu zone to either Owerri or Okigwe candidates from any political party will settle the struggle and agitation. This is why the incumbent Governor Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha has handcuffed the political leadership in the state as far as succession issue remains in the front burner. Only God’s intervention will suffice.
Q- Having played major roles in support of Amb. Dr. Kema Chikwe’s senatorial and governorship ambitions between 2006 and 2015, were you surprised that she supported Hon. Ray Emeana instead of you for the position of Imo PDP Secretary?
A- Her Excellency, Amb. Dr. Kema Chikwe can do no wrong. She is our queen. Is State Secretary of PDP in 2007 bigger than state Vice Chairman, Owerri Zone in 2005 when I was struggling to make myself known in politics of Owerri Municipal after painfully losing the Local Government Chairmanship primaries than now that I am a household name both by capacity and political rhythm. The turning point in my life politically was when Nda Kemafor nominated me into the State Caretaker Committee of Imo PDP after the dissolution of Dr. Alex Obi led Executive Committee by the National Chairman Dr. Ahmadu Ali.
I am praying to God to give me an opportunity to appreciate Her Excellency, Amb. Dr. Kema Chikwe and pay my political debt. Therefore, I do not and will never hold any grudge against her for her inability to support my protest ambition.
Q- You will clock 55 on Thursday, 30 November, 2017. What are your thoughts generally, looking back memory lane?
A- To God be the glory as I turn 55 years on 30th November, 2017. I want to use this opportunity to thank my late parents Clinton and Dorathy, for bringing me into this world, my wife and children Owem, Arthur, Angel and Excellency for their love and support, my brothers and sisters, Shulamite, Gloria, Endurance, Daniel, Clinton, Ify, Joseph and Chukwudi for their respect and brotherhood. I have not forgotten their wives, Nkeiru, Anita and Chiwendu for their loyalty and love for the family in conjunction with their lovely children. All my friends and Allies, I love you all. For those I have offended knowingly or unknowingly, I am sorry.
For those who offended me, I have unconditionally forgiven all.
To God, I am a sinner. I plead the blood of Jesus..