Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme is the Anambra State chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and Campaign for Democracy (CD). In this interview with Phil Okose, Ezekwueme bares his minds on the Benue State massacre, corruption, National Confab and other issues. Excerpts:
What is your take on the recent massacre of farmers in Benue by Fulani herdsmen?
That has reminded me of my earlier call for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference as way out of the crises confronting Nigerians which have continued to make the country unsafe for investment and habitation. The implementation of the 2014 National Conference will help us have autochthonous constitution in which the people are involved, not excluded like the 1999 military constitution. The National Conference recommendation must be implemented.
Holistic and religious implementation of the 2014 National Conference as desideratum towards social, economic and political challenges facing the nation. Can you imagine that since the massacre the Federal Government is yet to arrest the suspects to face the wrath of the law, it is unfortunate.
The Igbos are always at the receiving end of the problems. It is laughable, the non-establishment of National Commission for Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of South East nearly 50 years after the former Head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, propounded it, nothing tangible has been done towards that direction.
There is also need for the establishment of North East Insurgency and South East Development Commissions so that some tribes, especially Igbos would start to feel that they are part and parcel of the country and stop seeing themselves as being marginalized. These are some of the causes of agitations, restiveness, mistrust and bloodbath that would remain unabated.
Is President Buhari not working towards the unity and development of this great country?
Nigerians received with joy and gladness the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, during the 2015 Presidential election even as he was sworn in on May 29th, 2015. But despite such absolute faith and confidence in Buhari, as they believed he had a solution to the numerous socio-political and economic problems confronting the country, unemployment, corruption, underemployment, insecurity, agitations, restiveness, nepotism, electoral fraud, marginalization and what have you, remain unabated and unattended to. Despite the anti-corruption war of the present regime, Transparency International (TI) and World Bank (WB) Group’s anti-corruption index still places Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But be that as it may, we wholeheartedly support the ongoing fight against corruption and we insist that every stolen money belonging to the Nigerian people should be fully recovered and perpetrators brought to book. The war against corruption must be pursued vigorously and religiously. There should not be any sacred cows. The anti-corruption war should be extended to APC, government functionaries, civil servants and oil marketers. Looted funds recovered should be used to finance construction of refineries in the six geo political zones.
We also decry the lopsided political appointment by Mr. President with total disregard to the constitution and federal character principles.
We call on him to appoint south easterners into sensitive and strategic positions. Chief MKO Abiola of the Blessed memory rightly said “no justice no peace, any peace without justice is the peace of grave yard”. All the demonstrations, restiveness, bloodbath, mistrust, poverty, demands for self-determination will fizzle out if injustice, oppression, human rights abuses, nepotism and inequality are eradicated in our body politics.
What’s your assessment of other political leaders apart from Mr. President?
Our political leaders as practitioners have failed to understand the tenets of democracy and selfless service. Despite natural and human resources endowed by God on Nigerians, our political leaders have inflicted and directed poverty, hardship, sufferings, and excruciating pains on the citizens. Nigerians have been rated as most unpatriotic and selfish people considering the huge amount of money being siphoned to other countries by the political class and top civil servants. The climax of callousness and avarice of our political leaders is manifested that Nigeria is the 6th world oil producing country but is importing petroleum products. It is an absurdity, most unpatriotic, sabotage and economic exploitation and extortion.
READ ALSO : Immortalise Ekwueme – Senate