Posted By: RICHARD NDOMA
Bishop Emmah Isong is the General Overseer of Christian Central Chapel International, CCCI and Assistant National Vice President ,South -South Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN. In this interview with RICHARD NDOMA, he speaks on issues of national importance.
Election Petition Tribunals have cancelled the governorship election in Rivers State, ordered rerun in 18 local government areas of Akwa-Ibom State and sacked the governor of Taraba state. How will you react to these landmark judgements?
First of all, let me congratulate Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State for passing through his own political storm and is able to retain his integrity among the political class and of course my confidence that he is going to clear election result in the remaining eighteen local governments. I am also praying for Governor Wike of Rivers state.
At least for once, let people learn how to do the right thing during elections so that we won’t have too much cancelation after elections. If the right things are done by INEC, by candidates, which begins from nomination but some of the candidates were not nominated correctly in their intra- parties affairs or were not the right candidates but were just thrown up to the electorates to swallow and of course they had no choice other than to manipulate the electoral process. There are few cases of these nature in states like Akwa Ibom that you and I know, that there were controversial incidences. For instance, if you say in eighteen Local governments, each local government that has about ten wards but more than half had issues in the election and the tribunal decides to cancel it, I don’t think there is a problem with that. To me, the tribunals are doing a good job, the courts are doing well; I back the judiciary for a job welldone and believing that they should continue like this. Maybe if care is not taken, many more cancelation may still occur.
With this kind of development can one say that INEC is not competent enough to conduct a free and credible poll or was it that the election umpire were overwhelmed by external influence?
No .The contestants are stakeholders, , the INEC is a stakeholder, the electorates are stakeholders, then the federal government or state governments are stakeholders, and it include the military and police, then judiciary is another stakeholder. This inter-play of fault by human is not without error because there is a lot of water that goes under the bridge. So I think what happen is that they all go and jumble- rumble and in the end they will come out and go to judiciary with their documents to be vindicated, that is what we have seen here.
The process is not yet perfect, our democracy is just a few years old unlike America that has ran their democracy for about 200 years. So we are still believing God, we are still evolving because the process is not yet perfected. When we talk about corruption, people think it is only to carry money and run away but that is not all what we are talking about only but electoral frauds, intimidating the electorate with unrealistic promises are also corruption. The federal government needs to expand its own meaning of corruption so it not only means diversion of public fund by politicians.
Lack of integrity in the electoral process, I am not saying INEC is not involved but as the umpire, the man who makes a fight to happen after a match is the referee and INEC is the referee in any election. The process of appointing INEC commissioner in a state is faulty because they would arrived in their designated state only to wait for machineries of state government or a particular candidate to survive. So if I arrive as an INEC commissioner in a state, I don’t have a house, the government needs to give me a house, I don’t have vehicles and the governor gives me this facility. We need to emphasize the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC at all levels.
APC is now at the centre after playing opposition for many years. Despite its promise of change, things have not improved much. For instance, the Ikom-Calabar highway is now a death trap. How do you see this development?
Let me tell you something APC made a mistake of playing an opposition in which they were not thinking that election will be free and fair and they may win and that is why it had taken them a long time to go back to their drawing board because they are shocked to have won the last elections. APC didn’t know they were going to win the elections; if you doubt me I will give you instances that they were not ready for governance. These include the delay in the ministerial appointment, denial of some statements credited to the APC during electioneering campaign and of course trying to fine-tune a lot of things. They are depending more on former PDP members.
If you mention ten ministers-designate, you will see that they are all PDP people. Like the Senate minority leader, Godswill Obot Akpabio told one of the ministerial nominees not to insult the PDP because he ruled for eight years on the PDP’s platform as governor.
Can you then mention some areas that you think the present Federal Government can assist the people of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states?
Are you aware that Calabar-Itu road is one of the most economic booster, or an international road, which leads to the Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea? But suddenly it has become the worst road in the whole world, not just Africa. Are you aware that several hundreds of people had died on this road? Only yesterday, they were using canoe to crossed when coming into Calabar and travelling out of Calabar, just because the road is in a deplorable state. We hear APC government want to be in control of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states; can’t they make themselves a big fish by fixing the roads so as to win the hearts of Cross Riverians and Akwa Ibomites who could jointly constitute a minimum of 4000 votes?
I am not criticizing the APC, but you see, if you want to take over power, elections is not all that takes people to take over power.
So if you say it is not only wining elections that matter, what else is it that can also be an indices to ascertaining whether a particular government is doing well?
Infrastructural politics is the greatest politics in African region. Whether stomach or physical infrastructure, Africans don’t want to know whose logo whether broom or umbrella, they want to know who fixes the Calabar-Itu road and Ikom- Calabar Highway or Akpabuyo- Ikang federal highway, which because of it bad state is almost crumbling the economy of these two sister states. They want to know who can fix the state, who can ameliorate and alleviate poverty. I believe that the APC were believing God to win election but was not prepared to win elections. Any woman you marry and come and begin to learn how to cook in your house then you know that something is wrong with that woman. Why is it that she didn’t learn how to cook in her mother’s house before making herself available for marriage?
It means she wanted to marry but didn’t know she would marry very soon. So if I were APC I will get back to the mantra of change, you say you are coming for change, why not hit the change now to enable people feel the pulse of change because PDP who is now in opposition is too ready to take over again if you fail and you know Nigerians, today they sing your song and clap for you, tomorrow if you don’t perform they are ready to sing another song.
Going by what you have seen on ground, do you see Buhari as a man with the capacity to deliver the country from its numerous woes?
I have given answers to this question before now. God didn’t send Buhari to change this country but to cleanse the country of its filth.
I’m saying it again, write it down that God didn’t send him to change the country. God sent him to cleanse and sanitize and prepare the place for Nigerians by killing the scourge of corruption in us. In other words block the leakages, put NNPC in order, return discipline to Nigeria and then leave the stage say after four or eight years. When people were shouting, clapping for Jonathan, I said he was not a messiah, people almost crucified me, I said God brought him to stabilize Nigeria; check the records. Jonathan was to stabilize the country . The temperament of Jonathan was not to stop Nigeria, when they say he was supervising corruption I said they don’t know what they are talking about because Jonathan came under that temperament so that we would not fight. That is the only man who knew peace, the only man who would not go and say kill that person for me. He was abused, mocked; comedian mocked his wife. You can see, if you had tried that during Babangida era, you would have been in hot soup. I am not a Jonathan supporter as I am talking now, he knows he came to stabilize Nigeria. Buhari is an headmaster to cause noise to stop in a classroom, the temperament of Jonathan helps and the fear of Buhari is the beginning of not touching Nigeria treasury. God is going to use him to stop leakages, to stop flamboyancy, to stop rascality in the civil service, see what he told his ministers, I don’t want to see long siren and convoys, cut down your protocol and PA`s, is that not a good sign for Nigeria?
Are you saying Buhari should be supported?
To me, we should support Buhari for the sake of our country so as to put the country in the right direction
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