Prince Patrick Udeme, an Abuja based businessman and prominent politician from Anambra State, a strong believer and advocate for the actualisation of Igbo Presidency in 2023 through advocacy and reaching out to like minds, bare his mind to some reporters in Abuja. Amongst other issues, Udeme explained why he felt that the Igbo deserved the presidency. He also touched on the lingering security situation in the country, as well as suggesting an economic blueprint for the incoming governor of Anambra state.
You have been an advocate for the actualization of Igbo Presidency in 2023. Do you still believe in that?
As far as am concerned, Igbo presidency in 2023 is realisable, but with a caveat. The caveat is that nowhere in the world is power given or handed over on a platter. You must have to work hard to get power. You must also reach out to other interest groups to support your aspiration, because no matter how good or great you may be, you must need other people for your existence and survival.
For a united Nigeria, the Igbo should be supported and given a chance to occupy the number one position in the country. With an Igbo president in 2023, the Igbos will now heave a sigh of relief that Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s doctrine of No Victor, No Vanquish is not a fluke.
The country as presently constituted stands on a tripod. The other tribes – West and North have had their share of the presidency except the East that completes the tripod. For the sake of equity, the Igbo should be given a chance in 2023. Who knows, an Igbo president may be the ‘joker’ the country is waiting for. If the Igbos are denied a chance of leading the country in 2023, we should then realizs that, as a nation, we are not telling ourselves the truth.
How can the project be realised?
All hands must be on deck for the Igbo presidency in 2023 to become a reality. There should be dialogue across board, appealing to the conscience of other zones. Other zones, elders and well-meaning Nigerians should support the clarion movement for the realisation of Igbo presidency in 2023. I appreciate the sincerity of people like the late Balarabe Musa, Senator Kabiru Gaya and other well-meaning Nigerians from other zones who feel that the Igbos deserves the presidential slot in 2023.
Who are your possible candidates?
We are not there yet. When we get to the bridge, we should then know how to cross it. Without mincing words, the Igbos can boast of technocrats, intellectuals and tested politicians who can wither the storm at any given time. We are still building the bridge. The bridge should be completed first before we think of how to cross it.
Anambra governorship election is around the corner, what is your advice to the in-coming administration to make the state economically self-sufficient?
A state like Anambra has no reason whatsoever to complain about shortage of revenues to pay salaries or execute most of their projects. Leadership is all about sacrifice and commitment. An average Anambra person is resourceful and industrious. What the people need from the government is just enabling environment to ply their trade or go about their business.
Most state governments run into financial mess when they involve themselves in unnecessary elephant projects to boost their political ego. Do you realise that the revenue Anambra state government generates from markets in Onitsha and Nnewi alone will be enough to take care of most of the needs of the state? That boils down to commitment and sincerity of the government in the process of collection of such levies. How about the numerous manufacturing outfits in Nnewi? What level of support have they gotten from the state government? Have you asked yourself how Peter Obi was able to perform ‘magic’ in the state by leaving the state without any internal or external debt for the present administration? Since Governor Obiano toyed away the opportunity of continuing from where Obi stopped, I will advise the next governor of the state to re-examine Peter Obi’s economic blueprint which he called ANIDS, Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, with the aim of improving on it and taking it up from where Obi stopped. Politicians should learn to keep pride and ego aside in governance. Government is a continuous process.
How do you see the current security situation in the country?
The situation is becoming worrisome day by day. The new security chiefs should move into action immediately. They owe all Nigerians, not just the president, a duty not to disappoint the country, having been found worthy to be appointed at this critical stage of our security lock-jam.
I think we should seriously revisit the idea of community policing. The traditional rulers and religious leaders should all be part of the new security architecture. We should all be proactive in the renewed fight against criminality in other to win the battle.
There is insecurity across the country now…
Yes, it seems that the country is already at war with itself. We should realise that a sovereign nation is like a human body; what affects one part of the body equally affects the other. When the problem started in the North, the common statement is that it is happening in far North and will not get to “our region”. You cannot stay in your comfort zone and be saying, after all, my state is not involved. When it gets to your state, who knows how devastating yours will be?
I remember the post Second World War saying by Martin Niemoller, a prominent Lutheran Pastor based in Germany: “First, they came for the Socialist, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionist, and I did not speak because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me”.
The governors of South-South, South-East, some parts of South-West and other parts of the North should learn some lessons from history and what is happening, and adopt proactive measures. You don’t tell a man to run for his dear life on hearing the sound of an in-coming train.