Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah was a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State in the 2015 general election. He lost the December, 2014 primaries and lost, but not satisfied, he dragged the party and the winner of the congress, now governor of the state, Okezie Ikpeazu to court to ‘reclaim his mandate’, and it went as far as the Supreme Court. He recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with SUNDAY NWAKANMA in his Umuahia campaign office, Ogah explained why he left the PDP, benefits of restructuring Nigeria as well as other national issues.
There is this widely spread rumor by Nigerians and your fans that you have left the PDP and defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Is there any truth in this rumor?
It is not a rumor, it is the truth. You know after the Supreme Court decision on the 2015 Abia governorship election, I took time to rest even though many political parties have approached me to join them but I remained calm. After careful consultations, I finally decided to join APC, the reason being that APC is a party at the centre and Abia as a state needs the party. Those in APC are all progressives and the party is well positioned. APC will choose among the best to be its flag bearer not just any person like the PDP does. I believe in change. As long as Abia State is concerned, the state needs a change for better governance and to achieve this, Abians voting for APC in 2019 is the answer.
So you have the desire to run for the 2019 Abia governorship race under the platform of the APC?
For now, I have not made up my mind on the 2019 governorship race in Abia State. I believe that the party, APC will choose who runs and that person must be the best. It is not about saying it is this party or the other, APC will rule Abia because it is at the central government or it controls the central government and the state will benefit much, not only in political appointments but in the provision of infrastructure. APC is structured and internal democracy is working too unlike PDP that is characterised by infighting and crisis upon crisis.
Are PDP members in the state aware that you are no longer their member and what attracted you to the party at the centre?
PDP is aware because I have stopped attending their meetings for long. The way PDP is structured in Abia is like a cult. Cult is not for the masses. Cults protect the interest of its members alone and popularise itself. In Abia State, people are sitting on the resources of the entire state, sharing public fund among themselves. I believe that anything that will not benefit or interest the masses, I get myself out of it. My belief is adding value to the lives of the people.
Do we now associate your statement with a whole lot of industrial city you have brought to your place Onuaku Uturu in Abia State?
Well I believe in policies that will affect the masses. Before the Federal Government came up with industrialisation policy, I saw the vision and started it here. I adopted this strategy when I traveled to China and what that country believes in is to develop its hinterland with its resources and that is why most companies in China are named after the city of its operation. It could be Onuaku Industrial City. When you talk of development, you go to China. What you have seen in the Master Energy Industrial City here in Onuaku is the first phase out of the five phases, and by the time we finish the fifth phase of this industrial city, we will have minimum of fifty thousand people in our payroll. We want to create a city within here. The city will have shopping mall, staff quarters and all the rest. By this, we are growing our cash flow and the profit derivable will help us to develop others. So if you look at APC as a government and what President Muhammadu Buhari has done, you will agree with me that he is on the right track.
A friend analysed the situation of Nigeria to mean a situation where your grandfather has gone everywhere to blow all the resources and sold every land and was bringing food and everybody was eating and you don’t know that what you were eating is from a borrowed resources. Suddenly the grandfather died and then your father wants to correct the ills the grandfather did by paying all the debts his father borrowed and at the end of the day, you don’t have anything to eat. With this, will you say your father is not a good man? The answer is no. what your father was doing is to control and get the entire thing right once again.
This analysis shows how PDP lavished the nation’s resources and we all know. As at the time President Obasanjo was leaving office, he left $68billion while Jonathan left only $26billion, the difference of $42billion. My brother, if you give me a loan of $1billion, I will change the face of the nation, after all a nation used $1.5billion to build a road under the water. If today I leave, my son should take the business to the next level. Ask yourself when you come in and when you left, can you give statistics for people to know what you did and how far you were able to create development. The only road from Enugu to Port Harcourt that leads to the South-South zone was not done by PDP government. That of Onitsha to Enugu is in a bad state, Aba to Calabar road is so dilapidated and so where was this money spent.
A lot of people were sitting in their homes with billions of dollars without using it for the interest of the nation and what will benefit the citizenry. God has given us the brain and it is in the brain that God resides. I don’t need to be a professor to use my wisdom to develop my place. I know how much I have spent to build these industries in Abia. Apart from what I have done in Abia State, I have industries in Lagos and Ogun States but I felt I should establish one in my state, like the Chinese that have industries in each of their province. It is all about competition. If we have visionary leaders and governors, each should be competing with the others. If the governor of Ebonyi State builds a fly over, the governor in Abia should build a better fly over or if he develops a rail transport, another governor should be able to do a better rail. This is what China calls Provincial Development. With this competition and massive industrialisation, more jobs will be created and there will be no kidnapping.
Crime is as a result of lack of jobs for youths. In Abia, people have sold off their industries just like other states. Let every Abian who feels he has the capacity to do what I have done, do more than me. That you want to be governor or any other thing should not be for personal reasons. Let it be for the interest of the masses and how to make them happy.
What is your view of the much agitated restructuring of Nigeria?
Let us understand and ask ourselves what is the fate of Nigeria. What is the binding factor in Nigeria? All successful nations were built under a common fate. Whether you are from the East, West, North and South something must bind us together. For me, restructuring is for the interest of all. In the 1960s we were under regional structure and there was regional competition whereby the North was growing groundnut, the East growing palm oil and the West growing cocoa. The West developed a TV Station and called it first in Africa, and the South East will develop and called it second to none and the North the same and there was competition among the regions. By 1966, the Eastern region was the fastest growing economy in the whole world. Imagine if we have sustained that, there is nothing we will not have done. Therefore there must be a binding factor and that is unity. In the South East, we have no yam, no tomatoes, no carrot and no pepper and if our own is trade and commerce, good enough. What we do here in the South East is subsistence farming. Restructuring is not all about secession, but let there be equitable development. There is strength in unity
What will be your advice to your supporters as it concerns2019 election and empowerment?
First of all, I must say that Abia youths are enterprising and intelligent too. What the youths in Abia need is just a touch. I appreciate them and I assure them that the best is yet to come from me. Very soon, I will empower them and I want to encourage them to be supportive.