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Chuks Ibegbu Speaks On Diverse Issues (Interviewed by Igbo Information Network)

Chuks Ibegbu Speaks On Diverse Issues (Interviewed by Igbo Information Network)

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, an Ohaneze chieftain, President of World Igbo Leadership, Educational And Cultural Council (WILECC) and Movement For Justice And Equity in Nigeria (MEJIN) in this interview bares his mind on several local and national issues. 
QUESTION-  The federal government recently declared a state of emergency in the three Northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Several Nigerians have been commenting on that . What’s your own view?
ANSWER-  My view is that it is a welcome development. The insecurity and killings in the North have become unbearable. No responsible government will allow such brazen waste of lives to continue. It cannot just continue that way. So we welcome the measure.
QUESTION   - But do you think the federal government handled the BOKO HARAM challenges well in the first place . Could there have been better ways to address the issue at the early stage before it degenerated to this level?
ANSWER- Well nobody knew it would degenerate to this level. Really the political class in the North East did not handle the matter well at the early stages. Ex Governor Bunu Sheriff of Borno state did not handle the issue well. He hobnobbed with the group at the early stages until they went haywire and he abandoned them . The federal authorities then did not equally handle the matter well  at the early stages. Perhaps if the issue was handled well at that initial stage it would not have degenerated to the level we are seeing it today. It is the usual impunity and outright self-deceit of the Nigerian elites and ruling class that exacerbated the BOKO HARAM imbroglio. Its unfortunate that several innocent Nigerians have lost their lives in this insurrection.
QUESTION- What can you say about the Amnesty proposed for the BOKO HARAM?
ANSWER- My concern is more for the victims of the insurgency than for the so-called Amnesty. What has the government at the centre and the  concerned states done for the victims of this insurgency You cannot concentrate on Amnesty for the murderers whereas nothing tangible is said or done about their innocent victims.
In as much as I accept any move to end the insurgency and perhaps grant Amnesty to the repentant ones among them, I think that such Amnesty should be extended to other agitative groups that are ready to lay down their arms  too and those that have been non violent like the MASSOB. We must not give the impression that unless a group is violent  nothing will be done for it . Its a very dangerous precedence that we are setting in Nigeria . People are holding this country to a ransom under different guise and we are talking about ransom. Well I wish them well. It may be worth trying.
QUESTION- There is a decision by the federal authorities that the political leadership in the affected states should have limited access to their state funds in view of the enormous cost of the STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THEIR STATES.Do you share that view?
ANSWER- Absolutely I do. States that allow insurgents to overwhelm them should bear the cost of  routing out the insurgency. You cant expect anything less than that. It will make the political leadership in those states to sit up and account for the huge SECURITY VOTES  they pocket without doing anything to secure their states.
QUESTION- Recently Mr President flagged off the construction of an International Airport at Enugu. How do you see that?
ANSWER- Its a welcome development. It long overdue for a people that are largely business inclined. How can you have international Airports in areas that have less business potentials and none in the business inclined Igboland. Its an abberation that has been tolerated for a long time due to the iniquities of past rulers of this country.Jonathan has done well on that . We expect him to accelerate work on the second Niger Bridge at Onitsha and the EAST /WEST RAIL LINK, Let me tell you if the East / West Rail link from Lagos to Calabar passing through Onitsha , Nnewi and Aba to Calabar is put in place the South of Nigeria will witness a kind of growth never witnessed in the annals of this country. There should be spurs to Yenegoa, Ughelli and Warri joining the main line in Benin City. And you know what, the kind of money our politicians and elites waste is enough to put this necessity in place. Let me tell you one thing however. The Federal government budgeted thirteen billion naira for that airport project and the whole politicians in the SOUTH EAST were dancing and clapping. Even that day Sullivan Chime naively closed down Enugu and tormented the people. But the federal government recently sited a dam worth one hundred and thirty billion naira in Zungeru and Aliyu Babangida and the elites in the North did not gyrate or torment their people when Jonathan came calling. Infact Jonathan was pleading with them to accept that goodwill and yet they did not even clap for him.. Get me right, I like that project as it would leapfrog power generation in the country. What am implying is that Igbo political leaders should not be so cheap and naive. What will be wrong if Jonathan site a project worth 500 billion naira  in Igboland. We need it. We deserve it. I still congratulate Jonathn for that initiative and hope International flight will start landing in Enugu very very soon.
QUESTION-   The recent Nigerian Governors Forum election has come and gone with a lot of uproar , claims , counterclaims and even factions. What do you make out of that?
ANSWER-Well, the NGF is not a constitutional body just like the office of the first lady and other quasi strange entities in Nigeria are not.It cannot be a parallel government . Its only an NGO at best.  Be that as it may , they group must respect its constitution if it has any. I find it hard to believe that people that claimed to have won elections in their various states cannot respect the laws that guide them. It means almost all of them are usurpers. How did they become Governors in the first place. I think Nigerians should as relevant questions and stop clapping for the factions or siding any of them. What is happening is too bad and nauseating. They must .sop overheating the polity as there are other numerous challenges facing this nation.

QUESTION- Recently a group under the auspices of Southern Solidarity Forum endorsed President Goodluck Jonathna. for a second term in office. What do you say to that?
ANSWER- Well anybody has the right to excercise his democratic views but WILECC believes its the turn of the South East to produce the next President of Nigeria. All other zones of the country have produced the President except the South East and if democracy is all about equity and justice , it is the turn of the South East to do so.So after Jonathan's Presidency, it is the South East turn in an unbroken succession.
ANSWER- Why not. Has Jonathan told you that he is contesting in 2015. He has not told me nor the Igbos. Even if he tells me or us it does not determine our or my political leaning. But I advice him to restore Ndigbo back to the pre-civil war status before coming to tell us if he wants to contest or not. Are you getting me. 
QUESTION- But some Igbos are rooting for Jonathan in 2015. People like Arthur Eze, Ekwueme and even some South East Governors are already for him?.
ANSWER-  Who is Arthur Eze, a mere money bag who has no idea about how to reposition his people.I respect Dr Ekwueme and some others that have already taken a stand on that , but they are not Igbo messiahs. You see some of you  always make the mistake of couching peoples selfish interest as the interest of a whole Igbo race. Well, when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. I have nothing against Jonathan but my own is my own and our own is our own. He is our own but what of my own. If you like read between the lines. You see there are many political jobbers these days  and what they say or do has no effect on Ndigbo . Do you get me. Igbos are wiser today. Jonathan must prove to Ndigbo that is he is actually one of us, not by answering  Azikiwe or Ebele but by turning the fortunes of Ndigbo. Are you with me.
QUESTION- That brings me to the question of state and local government creation. As it is now Ndigbo have the least number of states and local governments in Nigeria and it appears the Nigerian state is not yet committed to addressing the issue?
ANSWER- That is what am telling you. Jonathan can start the process of correcting this structural injustice that is skewed against Ndigbo since 1970. The 2005 NATIONAL CONFAB agreed that for justice and equity , Ndigbo should have one extra state to atleast put them at par with other geo-political zones of the country, but the decision was stymied by the Obasanjo third term saga. People like Orji Uzor Kalu and Chukwumerije joined some Northern Politicians to scuttle the third term saga without influencing the same Northern establishment to support the sixth state for Ndigbo. That is self-defeatism and myopism par excellence. You help them achieve their aim but they will  not help you achieve yours. And today somebody like Kwankwaso of Kano state will tell us that Ndigbo should even be happy they have five states and they do not have the population to demand for more states. Can you imagine that. These are the type of people at the saddle of power. These are the kind of entities telling their people to reject the polio vaccine and creating the situation that led to the death of some female health workers in Kano. I think the National Assembly have the moral duty to equalise the states in the six zones of the country. Or let the regions be the federating units and then they can create any number of states and local governments they wish to create. That is my stand and I think the stand of majority of Ndigbo.
QUESTION- The federal government recently proscribed the BOKO HARAM. Do you think its a solution?
ANSWER- Ofcourse there is nothing wrong in proscribing the group.  It does not stop the government from still dialoguing with them . The Emergency in the North is not a war against the North as Buhari was quoted to have said. I respect Buhari a lot and would advice him to be careful with his utterances. They should have empathy for thousands of innocent souls these murderers have killed. Ofcourse , we cannot absolve Jonathan and the PDP from also creating the political condition that convoluted the BOKO HARAM  insurgency.  This is the time to call a spade a spade no matter whose ox is gored.
QUESTION-WHAT is the solution to the terrible Youth Unemployment in the country?
ANSWER- The solution is for the President, Governors and Chairmen of local governments to create jobs for the masses. The huge money our political class allot to themselves should be used to develop our infrastructures , and build industries. These politicians should stop building hotels where they misuse our girls and build industries to employ our Youths. They should re-channel the security votes to something useful to the society. The money spent in buying patrol vehicles to the security agents if channelled to the building of industries will even make the job of policing a lot easier as there would be less criminals for them to them to engage.
QUESTION- Recently the AU lambasted the international court at the Hague for harassing African leaders. What do you make our of that?
ANSWER- Its a pity that the  AU took that stand. There are many dictators  and myopic rulers in Africa and if not for the action of the ICC  at the HAGUE , many African rulers would have wiped off their people. Instead of the AU to condemn the barbarity of these African dictators and encourage the ICC   for helping to check African dictators, they are passing  such useless resolutions. It shows that the AU  encourages dictatorship in Africa. Africans say no to that. Imagine what would have happened if the ICC was not there to try Charles Taylor. Will the weak AU have brought him to justice for his crime against humanity. Look at James Ibori. He was an untouchable here in Nigeria but the just British judiciary convicted him. Africans and their leaders must at least have respect for human dignity and rule of law.
QUESTION- Do you think the BAKASSI PENNINSULAR issue should be re-visited?
ANSWER- Ofcourse. Till date , I stand to condemn the unwholesome act of Obasanjo and others in the Bakkasi saga.  They betrayed Nigerians by that action. The Bakassi territory belongs to Nigeria and even in the future the matter will crop up.No responsible leadership would have traded off their people the way Obasanjo did. Gowon started it.  That decision will continue to haunt generations unborn. Cameroun should not go about rejoicing as the issue is still not closed.Jonathan did not also prove to the equal to the task . I expected him to repudiate that decision but he was pussy footed.

QUESTION- So you support the call of a Sovereign National Conference in Nigeria?

ANSWER- Ofcourse,. The National Assembly lacks what it takes to redefine and reorder Nigeria to the path of  equity and justice. Its only a national conference that can do that and until that is done we are going nowhere. We shall just be circumnavigating.  

QUESTION-What is your group's view on MASSOB?

ANSWER-MASSOB was a product of the injustice in Nigeria. But ofcourse Uwazuruike who pioneered it with others later derailed and became a money monger and merchant. He completely derailed and is now a business man that owns fleet of cars, houses  and I understand even oil wells.I think the issues MASSOB  have been agitating for need to be looked into but I do not subscribe to secession. Let me tell you one thing. Do you know that it was the North that pioneered Secession in Nigeria. Throughout the period Nigeria's independence was being negotiated for it was the North that was always ready to secede. Even after the July 1966 rebellion by some Northern Army officers they still insisted on seceding until the cunny British people urged them to stay on having forced themselves into power. So when some people call Ojukwu a rebel or Igbos secessionists , I laugh. Do you know that the No 1 rebel was Gowon . All those that fought against Biafra were the real rebels because they overthrew the legitimate Government  led by Gen Ironsi.Coming back to MASSOB, , I think what they should be shouting more now is for level playing ground for all Nigerians. We shall not allow anybody to break up Nigeria which our forebears fought for and got from the cunny British colonialists.Why should we leave Nigeria for strangers that came from the Fouta-djalon area or who. Do you know that in reality Igbos own Nigeria because they are the only nationality that are wholly and entirely found in Nigeria. You find the fulani , Hausa and Yoruba in other African countries not as emmigrants but part of those places.

I think MASSOB  may need to change its name and orientation. I am happy a group has now emerged as MOVEMENT FOR THE SURVIVAL OF IGBO PEOPLE. Nobody will tell you not to survive but this secession thing , we are not for it. We are  Nationalists but there must be a level playing ground for all Nigerians. Do you get me.

QUESTION-The other day they (MASSOB) ordered Igbos to sit-at-home. What do you say to that?

ANSWER- Uwazuruike has no authority to make such declaration. You see Uwazuruike is stretching his luck farther than necessary. How can he do so. Do you know that most of him members have abandoned him because of what they have come to realise of him. There are now more than twenty factions of the group. You see anything not built on honesty and sincerity will flop. He capitalised on the nolstagia of Ndigbo for Biafra to feast on them . Today he is a billionaire. Do you know how many innocent Igbo Youths that have died in a struggle they did not know the bearer had other things in mind. Ndigbo and Igbo leaders must call the man to order now or he will create greater problem for them in the future. I mean it. Look at how he messed up in the census sage of 2006. Doyou no the effect of that on Ndigbo. 

QUESTION- Now lets look at other issues. What do you think of the ongoing constitutional review , immunity clause, security vote, social security, state creation etc?

ANSWER-  Let me tell you our politicians are not yet ready to lead this great county aright. Why should you have immunity for the President or Governors. Its this immunity that make them to loot this country.  Why should there be security vote. Why should the office of the first lady be maintained with tax payers money. Why should we have full time legislators. You see the cost of governance in Nigeria is the highest in the world and these politicians are not interested in changing the status quo. Its only National Conference that can do it. Let me tell you there should be Social security and compulsory military training for all Nigerians to halt insecurity in the country.  Every Nigerian is entitled to compulsory military training. 

QUESTION- How do you rate Igbo political actors?

ANSWER- Well some of them are doing well while others are onlookers and just there to make money.

QUESTION --What do you have to say on the baby factory syndrome in the South East?

ANSWER- My brother its a terrible thing. Its kidnapping before and now its baby factory. WILECC will synergize with Ohanaeze Ndigbo to halt this trend. The South East Governors Forum should also launch a war against this cankerworm.


ANSWER- My brother its terrible. How can Ndigbo that have suffered a lot in Nigeria do that to themselves too. Why must an Abian not work in the Enugu Public service and vice versa. Enugu state started it and later other states in the south East copied from them . My mother was a victim of it in Enugu . Abia state later did it and you can see hundreds of  innocent Igbo workers now answering non-indigenes in their mother land. Its a shame, a very big shame. WILECC  will soon drag all the states that implemented it to court and also use traditional Igbo sanction on them . It cannot continue in Igboland. We shall fight it to standstill.

QUESTION - HOW do you hope to revive Igbo language and culture?

ANSWER- Good. If you go by the name of the World Igbo leadership , Educational and Cultural Council, you can see that we are poised to revive Igbo language and culture through workshops, seminars and SCHOOL-TO -SCHOOL ORIENTATION. We shall work with OHANAEZE NDIGBO   and other Igbo organisations within and outside the country. We are proactive.

QUESTION-What message do you have for Ndigbo and Nigerians?

ANSWER-  Ndigbo should continue to work for a united Nigeria as they have always done. They should continue to demand for equity and level playing ground in Nigeria. Nigerians must come together to build a prosperous and Godfearing  nation. Why should we be killing ourselves on the basis of oriental and middle east religions. Why Nigeria blessed this country but the major actors since independence have not been fair to this nation.


*Photo Caption - Mazi Chuks Ibegbu