Chief Paul Meregini is the Administrative Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, In Abia State. In this interview with News Critic in Umuahia, he says there is enough evidence to show that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, did not win the Abia governorship election. He also said it will be a disservice to Abia state if the Minister of Trade and Investments is reappointed into office. Excerpts:
Q: How did you see the Abia governorship poll?
A: The elections have come and gone. The fact still remains that we still have a lot to talk about because everyone in Abia had the believe that the APC was going to win the election. But what transpired during the election was different from what we see politically. And I begin to wonder how we could miss this election. Although, if we followed it up well we didn’t lose this election. We are in court. Actually the governorship election was not won by PDP.
Q: Can you prove that the PDP didn’t win the election?
A: We have a lot of evidence, in Ukwa-West for instance, at least we know that accreditation goes simultaneously with voting. Then, imagine a situation where 17, 000 people were accredited by the INEC and 7, 000 voted. There are a lot of evidence to prove that the election results were falsified, and a lot of reasons to cancel the election. Go to Obingwa local government area, they said they got 78, 000 votes, while the accreditation in Obingwa was not up to 50, 000 and even the accreditation was manipulated because it was done by one person who continued to accredit, so the actual accreditation in Obingwa is not up to 20, 000 because we have evidence where an individual voted up to 50 times.
Then you go to Isiala-ngwa North and South, it was the same thing. Also in Osisioma and Ugwunagbo. In fact, the only place we had genuine accreditation was in Ugwunagbo, the rest were manipulated. So if Dr. Uche Ogah had understood the meaning of party, the party would have been able to block some of these things during the election because we have structures everywhere.
So we engaged a lawyer, I am among the people that went to file the petition. I am a crown witness at the tribunal even though he has not called me.
Q: How is the APC going to survive in Abia now?
A: We have one senator, two federal House of Representatives members and two state assembly members. Before APC had nothing but now we have people to galvanize the party to move it to the next level. So, I don’t think the party will die. I know Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is a dogged fighter, I know if he had put his feet down for that election we could have won. Maybe he was provoked in one way or the other so he decided to play cool.
Q: A lot has been said about the Minister of Trade and Investment, did he help the party in any way?
A: Do we have a minister from Abia state? I don’t think he is part of APC in Abia. Ask him the ward and LGA chairmen he doesn’t know. I’m not sure he even knows where the party secretariat is in Umuahia. Will you call such a person Abia minister? He was appointed by Lagos so Enenamah is not representing us, he is representing Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
There is no minister that did not go to campaign for President Muhammadu Buhari in his own state, forget the other elections. The day Buhari came to Aba, was he there because I was fully involved. That was the day the state chairman was kidnapped. So people said he was busy travelling abroad, and I ask what was he doing for Nigeria? Was he busier than the Foreign Affairs Minister? He doesn’t know what is party. Did he vote in Abia, has he voter’s card for Abia, don’t call him Abia minister?
Q: But he is being tipped for reappointment?
A: I don’t think he is expecting reappointment. If the presidency reappoints him then I will accuse the presidency of being responsible for APC failure in Abia.
Q: What is your opinion about the PDP government of Abia State?
A: We don’t need to talk about it, everyone in Abia know we are in trouble with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. Salaries are not being paid, pensioners not paid, no infrastructure in the state. In Ebonyi the governor built three flyovers in four years. In Abia Governor Ikpeazu started one and it is still hanging. The road you said you built in Aba, Faulks road is NDDC road. In Aba-Port Harcourt road you will see plantain trees growing at the centre of the road. He said he is working in Aba, if it is true he is working in Aba, from Aba to Obingwa his community, what is the distance? Did you pass the road recently, there is no road there? That’s to tell you that he doesn’t know what he came to do.
Though I don’t blame him, he was given something bigger than him, too big for him to handle. He wasn’t prepared for it, so don’t expect miracle. Despite the huge internally Generated Revenue, IGR, the federation allocation, the Paris Club refund, we still took loans. So, where did the money went into, we don’t know. I’m yet to see a state capital that produced a governor, it is in rare occasion we had it and there was nothing to show for it. Aba road Umuahia is a nightmare and it is a contract that has been awarded over three times and money squandered. Ikpeazu is even doing the road better than what senator T. A. Orji did, look at the streetlights T. A installed fake ones. There is no single road that T.A. Orji did that is standing today. We are targets, but we are doing it for posterity.
Q: Has the APC reconciled with Chief Ikechi Emenike?
A: Ikechi Emenike is my brother but I don’t understand his style of politics. He will come in during election time, cause confusion and leave. We don’t play politics like that, so Emenike has some issues with himself. Look at his building at cooperative, the thing depicts his person, whereas that building supposed to showcase him. When I was in APP he came and said he was running for governorship, the same pattern he did when he joined PDP. Now he has come into APC and it is the same thing. What is the problem with him? A person that is coming to market every day and people are running away, why? I never had anything to do politically with him. He came and we stopped him because he is not organised. Don’t be surprised in 2023 he will still come out for governorship. Things are not done that way.