BY CHARLES ADEGBITE
Septuagenarian politician and former university lecturer, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, was the Governor of Anambra State on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) platform, between January 2, 1992 to November 17, 1993, during the aborted Third Republic. He was later appointed the Special Adviser on Political Matters to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. In this interview, he bared his mind on the recent developments in the Senate. Excerpts :
What do you have to say on the emergence of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President, looking at the controversies which this development has generated so far?
I think the outcome of the presidential poll has prevented Nigeria from disintegrating. The emergence of Saraki is another handiwork of God in Nigeria because it introduced more balance into the system. You know there was something they were trying to avoid. And it was in the interest of the man they thought would dominate the politics.
Do you see any imbalance in the distribution of political power in Nigeria now, with the President, Senate President and Speaker coming from the North? Well, there is imbalance. There is dominance of the North even in other areas, including the security. But it will not be forever. I believe people are becoming more conscious these days, realising that God is interested in Nigeria and doesn’t want the country to disintegrate. With the President being from the North West, Senate President from the North Central, the Speaker being from the North East, Vice President from the South West and the Deputy Senate President from the South East. I think we will manage. Nigerians will manage; we will survive.
Political observers have been saying the PDP are trying to come back fully, using their old members in the National Assembly, through Saraki and his alleged collaborators, what do you have to say on this?
I said it was the will of God. From what happened, somehow the APC sent themselves on an errand away from the Senate building after the designated time for swearing-in. And such election must follow immediately after the swearing-in. They were not there to participate and those who were there voted and came out with the results of the election. I am not sure whether if everybody was there, the results would have been different. They would not have been unanimous, for sure. But they would have arranged themselves to ensure the result is not unidirectional. I am told it was our friend they were afraid of (Asiwaju Bola Ahmed) Tinubu. They were afraid of his controlling everything. But I am thinking that the way things have come out is not balanced enough for the country.
Do you think President Buhari would be able to fight corruption with the ongoing development in the National Assembly?
Buhari is right on the need to fight corruption. And if he doesn’t implement anti-corruption, Nigerians would reject him. Therefore, whether it is Saraki, whether it is Lawan, whoever it is, that is there in the Senate, the anti-corruption thing is what Nigeria needs. And it would be implemented. And it would succeed, it doesn’t matter who is the Senate President. Is Saraki going to support corruption or is it my brother, Ekweremadu who will support corruption, no. As long as the President is determined to fight corruption, nobody could be on his way because he would have the support of all Nigerians, not the corrupt ones.
Some people said Saraki has had a case with the EFCC before which they alleged has not been resolved and argued that based on this, he would not allow the anti-corruption fight to succeed, what do you say on this?
He, Saraki, cannot stop the president from fighting corruption. Even if it is you in his position as the Senate President, you can’t stop the president from fighting corruption. If you have a case with the EFCC, all you can do is to ensure that Buhari does not open your own case if you have any. That is all.
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