Chief Peter Ameh is the incumbent National Chairman of Progressive People Alliance (PPA); the two time former Secretary General of Inter-Party Advisory Council and former Chairman of inter-party Advisory Council in this encounter with SHOLA AKINGBOYE in Abuja, spoke extensively on his party chances of clinching the governorship seat in the coming November 18th Anambra poll. He reflects on reasons why the ruling APC must accelerate the review of anti-defection law before it for the growth of party politics in Nigeria. Excerpt:
Your party PPA is participating in the upcoming gubernatorial election, what do you think stands your party out?
Our party runs people oriented campaign. We have the mandate to make people understand what we stand for. We don’t believe in making people change what is not going to be changed. One of the cardinal objective of our party and motto, is that power belongs to the people and these are the fundamental basis of how we operate; we have also had a situation whereby we conducted house to house campaign and other activities to enlightened the electorate, so that they can know their right and don’t go to polling booth to collect money on election day from candidates.
Is that enough yardstick to win election?
The reason is that, we are not looking at how many aspirant that is going to run. We look at the quality of the aspirants that is going to contest our primary election and how fair the selection process is going to be. We are not party that is enmeshed in so many rancor and problems like others in the race; such party cannot give quality service delivery to the people. PPA has been peaceful, we have not had any rancor or whatever problem so far. That is why we have a man like Mr. Godwin Chukwunenye Ezeemo who endeared himself to the people.
Has he been endorsed?
Though he hasn’t emerged as a candidate but an aspirant, but he is the only one that has bought nomination and expression of interest form as at now, and we want to also state clearly that we must do thing clearly as a party for Nigeria to progress, we at PPA don’t just allow politician to rush at us because they want to become governor, except individuals that have shown something tangible to the party development process, and to his people including the society developmental process. That is our own party’s cardinal objective. We have gone to the electorate one way or the other to explains all these to them; that we won’t take their money or share anybody money for whatever reason.
How do you think you can achieve no money politics in an environment like our?
What we are going to do is to ensure that the money you bring goes round as a source of development that will now benefits your children and children yet to come, on this ground we stand as a party to make a difference in the coming Anambra election.
And you think Godwin Ezeemo portrays these qualities having flagged your party ticket in 2014 and here he comes again?
If as a result of personal contact I have with him as a fellow party colleague; and despite the fact that I am the National chairman that must have had interactions with him on different occasions, what I have seen in this man is his ability to feel for the downtrodden and cares for those who don’t have.
Another thing is that Godwin Ezeemo is a self made man; he is not a government money individual who made wealth as a result of his past venture as government functionary who stole peoples’ money. He made his wealth through hard work, and in bringing out solutions to peoples’ problems as a business man. If he had made his money this way, then he made money through solving people’s problems and these are the quality I have seen that such a person would be able to go into government to look at the resources available to Anambra government and gathered all together for the betterment of Ndi Anambras.
Is that all?
Asides that, his generosity is beyond bound; I have been to his community, though I am not in position to tell you all I saw, it is left to his people to sing his praise.
But I have seen how mild he is, if I as an individual did what Ezeemo has done in his community, I will be governor of Kogi state today. What did you see?
I just buried my father in Kogi state, Ezeemo was there to see there was no good road, no pipe-borne water, electricity and so on. So if I have done what this man has done, building a four star hotel not in Abuja or Lagos, but to create employment for his people at home; built filling station, Anglican church, NUJ secretariat among others, even GSM services etcetera. So if I have done half of what he has done in my own town and village, by now the town will be burning that chief Peter Ameh would be governor of Kogi state.
Is there other candidate showing interest to flag the PPA flag like Godwin Ezeemo?
One of those things we can’t say based on the democratic principle that everyone must stand on, and which you will find on the Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution, it states that party must be open to everybody, party must allow everyone to participate freely without inducement or what have you, so our party PPA is open to everyone. But as I am talking to you, Godwin Ezeemo as of now, is the most credible candidate and has being the only candidate on ground, a faithful party member so to speak. He has collected his party form and is the one we have seen and known while our door is open to all others to come for their expression of interest and form purchase.
How is your party preparation going?
This primary will be conducted under a peaceful atmosphere devoid of any litigation thereafter. We are prepared to go into primary with clear-cut guidelines for the conduct of the primary in line with the guidelines, and make sure that whoever comes out either winning or losing will not be bitter to put us into crisis.
What make PPA a party to beat in the coming Anambra election?
If you have been following the events in Anambra lately, would you say APGA is on ground, they are in serious crisis even the governor is not sure of getting the ticket with their leadership tussle between Martin Agbaso and Chief Oye on who should be the party chairman. What has the governor himself done, development of a state is not just about building bridges and putting street lights where there are lights everywhere, people don’t talk about pipe borne water anymore, they are now celebrating boreholes built by governors, and this is disgraceful and disrespectful to our people. How? Where is the provision for the drop-outs from schools? Where is the free education for the basic education in the state with the kind of country we have? And of course where is the value for the potentials that Anambra state has? This is because the government is actually docile and sleeping without any innovative agenda. But with the kind of platform the PPA have and the kind of candidate we are projecting, we should be able to gather these resources and ensure that Anambra does well and continue to do better in governance index.
Can you shed more light on the PPA manifesto you think will sell your candidate in the November gubernatorial tussle?
If you know Ndi Anambra very well, you will know that they are professional craftsmen, the kind of artisan you will find if you visit Onitsha or Nnewi, they are extraordinarily brilliant even without technological knowhow for many years. PPA has a special plan for these people in our manifesto; we intend to build millions small scale business enterprises outside Dangotes and Otedolas, and that is only where any economy blossom because every unit hole can take care of itself in the society.
What we are trying to do is that, we intend to build the middle class system that will reflect on the lower class, and that will also affect the development of the upper class. These are the thing we are putting together to ensure that our candidate delivered the dividend of democracy to the people of Anambra. In anything you do, if prosperity does not reflect in the life of the masses, you have not done anything. You can’t put light everywhere while people are hungry; you can’t put paint on the roads and everyone is hungry. PPA must reflect on the people in the rural areas.
Your party has record of what some call “jumpology’, how is PPA handling the issue of cross-carpeting by those who uses its platform to win election and cross over?
The history of our party truly calls for sympathy. If you will recall, we have won governorship with Ikedi Ohakim in Imo; we have Ochendu Theodore Orji in Abia and late Senator Chukwumerije in Abia; we have Stanley Ajuruka of House of Rep; we have Ganiu House of Rep minority leader in Taraba state; Perezi, Bayelsa state House of Rep minority leader. I can go on and on, but the fact that they betray the party is not because there are not enough laws, but because they are men of low moral that cannot keep commitments, men that doesn’t believe that the future will take back what he gave to me having gone through this process, PPA has adjusted itself, the party is moving forward and even looking at getting new results.
Any law in place to forestall such if resurfaces in future?
One thing I am certain is our law continues to review, the current electoral constitution tend to review the law in order to cover shortcomings that prevents elected party officials from moving from one party to the other.
You think the beneficiary National Assembly will tamper with such an amendment?
This review does not affect anyone in particular, but it is unfortunate that PDP as a party refuses the proposal at the time we told them to use their power to do it. We told PDP they should made it clear that, once an elected person decamped, you lose your seat within 24 hours, but PDP did not allow it happen because they were the major beneficiary of that scheme at the time. But now that they lose power at the center, you can imagine how they are losing members of their party to APC right now, APC is benefiting. Now we are talking to APC, change this law because it will also protect you, that what you are benefiting today will later turn against you. We say don’t look at the benefits but look at long run overall effect of this syndrome, how it affects the overall development of party politics in Nigeria. AD, Labour, APP to ANPP used to have many sates in Nigeria, where are they today? It is because there is no law protecting the party on which the cross-carpeting politicians won their elections, so APC must put law in place that will prevent this kind of endless, meaningless defection.
Do you see APC doing this?
I am offering my own advice to them to do needful, but I don’t see them doing it. I am not seeing the spirit in them doing it, but I see them suffering the consequences of not doing it, because PDP has suffered it and by now bite their fingers for failure to review the law at the time. My argument here is not just in the interest of PPA as a party, but in the overall interest of survival of party system in the land. So, APC might not see it coming right now but it will surely come, because by the time the small-small ‘jackals’ and ‘hyenas’ comes together to form a formidable opposition against the giant lion, the kind of defection out of APC would be too much for them to bear.
There was a recent move by opposition political parties to form alliance, what is the position of PPA in the arrangement?
We are in discussion with over fifteen political parties, there suppose to be a major press conference on collation of interest; we have been in discussion with AD, Labour party, ADPC, UDP and a lots of other parties.
What about PDP?
PDP wasn’t settled until their recent supreme court judgment, but this week, we are approaching them to know their position and see if it will be too hasty for them to join our conference of next week, or it will take them time to discuss it, but whatever decision they take between now and Sunday, we will still unveil it to the public. But right now, we are doing a collation to see how parties can work together to produce a stronger platform to challenge the government of jackal and hyenas that is not performing at the center.
Sola Omosola Akingboye graduated from Lagos State University, Ojo and also an alumni of International Institute of Journalism, Abuja. The Abuja based Media Consult is a member of NUJ, FCT Chapel; Member, Nig Energy Correspondents and affiliate of other proffesional bodies such as Believe in Nigeria Initiative (BINI); Change Agent for Positive Transformation (CAPT); OSHA Association for Industrial Safety in Nigeria. He is currently an Associate Editor and Chairman Editorial Board Informavores.com.ng.
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