….Chief Sam Eke, a former presidential candidate is the national chairman of Green Party of Nigeria (GPN)and secretary general, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC).In this interview speaks on some national issues and party politics.
Your party recently changed its name to a new name, what led to that?
First of all, I have to admit that there is high level of political illiteracy in this country, and it is higher than the general illiteracy. I want to call on Nigerians to make out time to read about political issues, access INEC’s website to know the political situation in the country and to keep abreast with political happenings which will also help them in taking political decisions. I want to let you know that Citizen Popular Party (CPP), upon registration under the leadership of Olisa Agbakoba in 2003 was also known as Green Party of Nigeria (GPN). But in 2005, under the leadership of Maxi Okwu it was change to Citizen Popular Party (CPP) but under my leadership with the agreement of my executives, we realised we made a mistake and agreed that GPN is a better brand and in December 2016 we agreed to revert to the original name because it has a clear cut ideology. Green Party is the only party that has a clear cut ideology. All other political parties are the same. There is no difference in their ideology. Nigerians have been yearning for a party with clear cut ideology and Green Party has provided that. Another reason is to open up the political space to give people opportunity to participate instead of forming a new party. We are going to throw the door open for people to join. Green Party is a political party that will enthrone rule of law and provide jobs for Nigerians. Whatever they are asking for has been provided for by GPN. We will go round to conduct state congress.
There are speculations that your party may merge with other parties?
When you talk about merger, essentially the name of the party has to change and we have gone beyond that stage. We already have a name, so if any political party wants to join us, it has to drop its name and go with the name of Green Party. So we have no agenda of merging with any party.
Critics of the zoning system say it is undemocratic. Does your party believe in Zoning arrangement ?
One problem in Nigeria is that we dont face reality. We cannot throw away zoning. It ensures that every part of the country is represented. So yes, we believe in zoning to the extent that it will carry everyone along. This is the only party that can accommodate people with disabilities. You will remember that during the 2015 presidential election, I was the only candidate that gave the disabled person a leadership position.
What is your take on the clamour for the implementation of the 2014 Confab report?
That report is representative enough. Even though they were appointed or chosen , we should not throw the baby away with the birth water. GPN believe that if that report is implemented 80 percent of the country would have been solved, therefore we support the implementation of the Confab report.
The Quit notice given to the Igbos by the Arewa youths have been generating controversy, what is you view?
The present administration of Muhammadu Buhari mismanaged the crisis. There is always divergent voice in any democracy, when the young man was charged to court he would have left it at that level. But they made hero of a relatively unknown Nnamdi Kalu. I have called on the Federal, state and local governments to perform its function especially in infrastructural development. We don’t need secession, because we stand to gain more as a united country than a divisible people. Those calling for secession should have a rethink. We need to be patriot and tolerant. Let us go back to the 1st republic period where there is no discrimination irrespective of ethnic or religious inclination, once that is done we will move forward as a country.
How prepared is your party to participate in the Anambra State governorship election?
A lot of aspirants are struggling to fly our party’s flag at the November 18 governorship election , but I told them to hold on. We are going to show off our strength in Anambra State. We have done all the job and we will showcase the party, mind you it is not a new party, we have structures already on ground. We are going to show our presence and Anambra people will know that the eagle has landed. Very soon we will conduct our primary to elect the party gubernatorial candidate.
What is your view on the long absence of Muhammadu Buhari on Health grounds?
No one has control of his or her health; the country cannot tell me that they don’t know the age of the president before voting him. We in the Green Party wish him speedy recovery to come back to his job to continue the fight against corruption. From all indication, I think the acting president is doing his best and we need to support him.
Face off between the Legislative and Executive has continued unabated, what is the way forward?
They should be patriotic in nature. Once you are elected, party politics should stop at that level. The nation is begger that any individual or party. I don’t like the way the Senate is interfering in the recall process of Sen Dino Melaye. The process is clear and the Senate should allow the law to take its cause. For the confirmation of executive’s appointees, the senate should not slow the government down anymore. I want to see a robust and proactive legislature and not building empires and pursuing personal interest. I want to see a National Assembly with library like the US Congress library , let them invest in human development. I think the 8th National Assembly is not doing well and they should sit up.
What is your projection of Green Party in 2019?
My projection of Green Party in 2019 is to win elections at the local, state and the federal levels and dislodge the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).