Barrister Mike Ndu was former Transition Committee Chairman of Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State. He also served as special assistant to former governor Orji Uzor Kalu, now senator representing Abia North senatorial district. In this interview with The NewsCritic Editor, Barrister Ndu explains the reason why he left the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. According to him, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has done nothing to celebrate after 100 Days in office of his second term. Excerpts:
Until recently you were a member of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State, what must have been responsible for your defection to another political party having being a local government Transition Committee Chairmen under the party in the past?
What really happened that made me to defect from PDP was as a result of the lack of internal democracy in the party, particularly in Abia State. It got to a point where if you decide to run for elective post through the party primaries, at the end of the day the party will not comply with its own rules. They have this culture of not giving the aspirants a level playing field and such a thing happened to me twice when I contested for Arochukwu state constituency seat in 2011, and someone else was given the party’s ticket without him passing through the due process of allowing delegates to vote.
Again in 2014, I also contested for to pick the PDP ticket for the seat and the same thing repeated itself. I saw it as the way the people in PDP operate, they have already predetermined who will get the ticket before they ask you to go and get the form to run. They don’t care and they have no apology or compensation after you must have spent all your money in the process. That was what made me to leave the party and I decided to register a political party Alliance of a United Nigeria, AUN, and I became the first national chairman of the party a position I am occupying till date.
Did your party field candidates in the 2019 General Election?
We had presidential candidate and incidentally I contested for the governorship of Abia state. I doubled as national chairman and governorship candidate of the party in 2019.
The 100 days in office of the second term of governor Okezie Ikpeazu has come, what is your assessment of his performance?
I want to start by saying that 100 days is not enough to assess the performance of somebody who has just been elected into the office of governor. However, because this is his second tenure, it appears he is only continuing from where he stopped during his first term as governor of Abia State. For me 100 days is neither here nor there, so if we should assess him it should be from the first day he was sworn in as governor in 2015. Looking at his performance from the very first day he assumed office till date, I don’t think he has done much for the people of Abia State, that is the truth.
I’m speaking from my own stand point; I am from Ututu in Arochukwu LGA there is no government presence in the entire LGA. The government has not done anything in Arochukwu since Ikpeazu became governor of Abia state. No project has been executed in Ututu community, no project in Arochukwu and Ihechiowa respectively. So, for that reason I will say that the governor needs to do more.
Then, coming to look at the state capital Umuahia, where I reside, I also think the governor should do more because looking at Aba road, Umuahia that road reconstruction was started immediately he took over power and up till today the project has not been completed. I don’t know what the problem is but I think that a governor who knows the importance of such road that leads into the state capital, should have been able to complete the road within the shortest possible time. It has lasted for more than four years, so he should be able to put the road in order and get into other infrastructural developmental projects. if you look at the issue of the flyover being constructed at Osisioma junction, you will also agree with me that such project ought to have been completed because it was started in his first year in office and the project has lasted for four years.
Abakaliki has three completed flyovers and solid road projects completed within the four years of the incumbent Governor Dave Umahi. So, for me I do not know the target Ikpeazu has set for himself in 100 days, I will only assess him based on the first day he assumed office as governor, because for me in 100 days I don’t think Ikpeazu has even done anything. I know he has been in the Tribunal I don’t know what he has done. The Aba road that he carried over from his first tenure is still there, the fly-over is still there, unless he has any other thing he is going to showcase he started and yet to complete. But if you are yet to complete the ones you started in your first tenure, why should you start another one.
So, within the 100 days he should have completed all the projects he started in his first tenure, that would have called for celebration, now he did not complete the projects he started in his first term, there is no need for celebration of 100 days.
Talking about performance, are you saying that Ikpeazu’s re-election into office was a mistake or what?
Sometimes, election is something you can’t say how the people voted or how they didn’t vote. I wouldn’t want to go deep into this particular matter, like I did say earlier that I contested for this same seat with him. And I did say that what actually happened was not proper because personally I was rigged out by the major parties. The matter is still before the tribunal, so coming to say whether Abians voted for him or not is neither here nor there because a lot of people voted for other political parties too, but fortunately he emerged the winner. Now he has been declared winner, Abians expect him to perform, since he promised to deliver democracy dividends.
Abians particularly the civil servants are not happy, like we all know that some of the parastatals are being owed salaries arrears for over nine months, and some of the ministries are also being owed few months’ salaries arrears. The LGA workers and Teachers…so if you ask the average Abian he or she will tell they did not vote for this in Abia State. Since we have him as the governor he should do his best to ensure the benefits of democracy gets to the people.
How do you see the list of commissioner nominees sent to the state House of Assembly for screening?
For me the governor reserves the right to nominate people for commissionership, in as much as the names cut across all the LGAs. I believe that those he nominated have one good thing or the other that he discovered in them that made him to nominate them. But the only problem I have with the list is that it contains names of people that have been in government for more than 16 years. So I ask that if they could not offer all expected of them during that period, I don’t think they can offer anything now. He should have just made a clean break by giving us fresh names with fresh ideas. I can’t condemn or praise anybody for now, let’s watch them to see what they can offer.
What do you have to say about the insinuation that senator T A Orji’s family is controlling Governor Ikpeazu?
That is a mere speculation. The governor has not come out to tell us that he is tied to the apron strings of anybody. So for that reason we will hold him responsible for all the actions he is taking. For me, I believe the governor should have his own mind to do whatever thing he wants to do and he is going to be held responsible for it. Nobody is holding or controlling him, it is subject to proof that somebody is somewhere controlling a sitting governor…if it is true then the governor should do something about it because at the end of the day nobody will listen to such story.