Tony Ugwu, a barrister at law, is a former Chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area during the administration of the immediate past Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State. In this interview with MOSES OYEDIRAN, Ugwu who is the Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on political matters explained that political parties are platforms used by politicians to occupy positions. He said that the decamping of former Governor Chime to the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not stop them from relating with him, stressing that Chime is as an institution in Enugu politics as his eight years performance in office cannot be erased. He also speaks on other national issues.
How will you describe the defection of former Governor Sullivan Chime and why didn’t most of you who worked with him join him to APC?
Defection is about individual and the constitution guarantees freedom of association. You will understand that many of us who worked with the former governor got into politics before him and we have held political positions before Chime was made the governor. I am sure many of us understand that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is firmly rooted in the state and there is no need for us to cross-carpet. If there is any need I am sure every one of us knows where his or her interest is better protected. Politics is about interest. Chime knew why he had to move and he has given reasons why he did that. He talked about issues in PDP, but it’s quite unfortunate because he contributed in building the party and his performance is there for everybody to see. So, Sullivan moving over to APC is not an issue and it doesn’t take anything away from our relationship with him; but when it comes to issues about political affiliation, we are strongly in PDP and we have a governor who in two years has transformed the state and his performance is there for everybody to see.
Can you access the midterm performance of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration?
Within two years of Ugwuanyi’s administration all the senatorial zones have benefited in terms of road construction, upgrading of health facilities and building of new ones, renovating and equipping schools, prompt payment of workers salary, creating employment, giving farmers soft loans as well as empowering youths. One of the reasons the governor is recording numerous achievements is because he has a holistic view of what the problems are and aspirations of Enugu people as he is not a green horn in politics having spent twelve years in the House of Representatives where he chaired vital committees. It is on record that during his stay in the House of Representatives he gave his people effective representation and attracted many democracy dividends that positively impacted on the lives of the people.
With the resolution of the PDP crisis, how prepared is the party for the fourth coming local government election in the state?
PDP as the only accepted party has started mobilising its members for the forthcoming local government election to ensure that we sweep the polls as usual. The coming LG poll will once again demonstrate that the only accepted party in the state is PDP.
On the power tussle between the Presidency and National Assembly and as a legal practitioner, can you proffer solution to the power tussle between these arms of government?
I advise the three arms of government to limit themselves within the frame work of the constitution, what causes problems is when one arm of government want to usurp the power of the other arm of government. What causes problem is when one arm of government wants to do its work as well as the work of the other arm which usually result in conflict and power tussle. But if every arm should limit itself within its boundary as approved by the constitution there will be no misunderstanding. This is why we have separation of power and checks and balances in government. For instance the constitution says the executive should prepare budget and present to the legislature for scrutiny while the executive give the final accent. If the constitution does not want the legislature to make any input why did the constitution make it mandatory that the executive must present it to the legislature? I blame the Presidency who wants to do its job as well as that of the legislature. This tussle shows that democracy is taking root in the country as the National Assembly knows its constitutional responsibility and will not want to be a rubber stamp legislature.
What is your opinion on the calls for restructuring of the country?
The request for restructuring is a welcome development, but Nigerians should first sit down and talk, ask themselves questions so as to correct the anomalies in other to maintain peace and unity of the country. Some people misunderstand restructuring to secession, I do not believe in dividing the country but unity and progress of Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria where there is freedom for everybody, a Nigeria where everybody is given a sense of belonging, a Nigeria where an Hausa man can live in Igbo land without any fear of molestation, a Nigeria where an Igbo man can go to the North to do his business without fear of being killed, a Nigeria where a Yoruba man can reside in any part of the country without being harassed. A Nigeria where youths can get employment within one month of graduation, a Nigeria where a pregnant woman can go to hospital for delivery without fear of dying or losing her baby, a Nigeria where we can aspire that tomorrow we can be somebody.