When leaders no longer serve the purpose, afraid to tackle evil in society, they are no more fit to lead – Nzeribe, DG, SANA Campaign Council
As the November 2023 gubernatorial election in Imo State approaches, a major contender that people believe is the only candidate that can wrest power from Governor Hope Uzodinma, is Senator Athan Nneji Achonu, SANA. He hit the bull’s eye recently when he named Chief Chime Nzeribe, as his campaign council Director General.
Nzeribe is a shrewd political figure with immense clout and hails from Uzodinma’s Orlu Zone. He was once the executive Chairman of old Oru Local Government Area and then Oru East LGA, as well as the Commissioner for Rural Development under Governor Evan Enwerem. In this interview with Anthony Iwuoma in the presence of Ambassador Theo Chibueze, Convener of Concerned Imo Influencers, Achonu’s foremost support group, Nzeribe spoke on a variety of issues.
First of all, I congratulate you on your appointment. How prepared are you to direct this campaign to success?
Well, my job is to coordinate. The Labour Party and Peter Obi have gathered momentum. Since Achonu picked the ticket, every person in Imo State wants to belong and it is not well structured. So, the job now is to coordinate, focus the focus, and focus the current to bring success. And focusing, it is not as easy as that but we’re prepared.
We have a lot of Igbo sons and daughters, who are not happy with the way things are going in Imo State; they want to contribute. Since I was appointed DG, I’ve not rested. I can’t sleep anymore; people call me from everywhere. The people are excited. They see a messiah that will lead them to the Promised Land of four years ago when people slept in their houses and felt comfortable moving around on the roads. People see the Promised Land ahead and they are willing to work for it. The most important thing now is to protect our votes so that what happened in the last two elections of February/March would not recur.
How well do you know Achonu; do you think he is fit to govern Imo?
I’ve known him for 36 years. I was one of his two best men when he wedded. Athan is crazy; he churns out ideas and it is for people around to learn. His mind comes out and you can’t even keep up; that’s why people around him think he’s crazy. I used to think he was crazy but if you put all his ideas and work with them, you would see sense in what he’s saying; that’s one thing about him and truly he has moral values. I cannot stand so many things living in society, but people don’t understand. You see that in the way Achonu moves, and the way he goes; you’d think he is a 419 but he works hard on his business. He sees things that you cannot see; that’s what makes him different.
Now, considering the security situation in Imo, don’t you feel that the campaign will experience difficulties; how easy would it be to campaign in present-day Imo?
Well, we’re going to navigate; the water is turbulent. It baffles me that since this new government came into Imo State, the rate of violence is eating our state. I don’t know what the cause is, but the government should address it; they should bring the stakeholders of Imo State and address this issue instead of doing the cosmetic approach of pouring paint all over everything. In Orlu, my place, all the young men have left Orlu and moved to Onitsha, moved to Owerri, moved to Aba, moved to Lagos. You’d hardly see any young man in my community. The so-called security forces come in and mess them up. The state government really needs to look into it and tell us what is happening.
Senator Achonu is up against an incumbent, who has a lot going on for him, power, finances, and all that. He is also in charge of all the 27 local governments of the state, going by the last state assembly elections where his All Progressives Congress, APC, won all the seats in the state House of Assembly. So, do you think Achonu can match Uzodinmma?
There is always a limit to the tolerance of the masses. You can cheat the people most of the time but you can’t cheat the people all the time. Every bad thing must come to an end and Senator Athan Nneji Achonu, SANA, has the spiritual anointing to bring the evil in Imo to an end; it will come to an end by the grace of God, not by might. After all, David used a little stone to bring down Goliath despite his entire amour.
What do you think Imo State needs most now?
Peace; the only thing Imo State needs now is peace. You cannot do anything without peace and we don’t have peace in Imo State and by the way Imo State is moving forward, I don’t see peace.
How do we get that peace?
We should try a change; maybe change will bring peace. Now, the state has tried the current governor and he is not bringing peace, we should try another person.
Apart from the late Sam Mbakwe, people say Imo State has been unlucky to have good governors; do you think Achonu would make a difference, why?
Imo State has not been unlucky. I worked in Owerri and I can say that the late Evan Enwerem was not bad. He was good but slow. He was someone who wanted to articulate before acting. However, Achonu is a different person. He has shown success without corruption. Success is not building roads and amassing wealth.
It is about people living in peace and giving them what they want. Achonu has all these; he will bring success. What is happening in Imo now is a mass movement. The only way to win is to mass together, and demand our freedom – for security, for the emancipation of our people. If we don’t do it, I see the end of the Igbo race. Because the floodgate of elongation of our people is about to be opened. Our people must rally together and make sure we don’t get hit underbelly.
Ask the people if they do not miss those days you came back during Christmas with your family and moved around freely; don’t you want it back? That’s the question every person outside Imo State asks; those jolly good old days when you moved around freely during Christmas. People now come back from overseas and stay away from the state; that is what Imo State has turned to. When leaders are no longer serving the purpose or are afraid to tackle evil in society, they are no longer fit to lead.
What do you have to say about the alleged purchase of PVCs by the state government under the guise of giving people grants?
The truth of the matter is that people are hungry. Any good thing with evil intentions is not good. If you want to give people health security or grants should have nothing to do with the PVCs. Why not use the people’s BVN or NIN; even the traditional rulers can stand for their people.
Why the PVCs? It is a satanic scheme to disenfranchise the people or use their PVCs to subvert the people’s will. People should have nothing to do with it. They should not allow anybody to deceive them by promising them what originally belonged to them. I was teaching my daughter that Jesus owned the mansion but Satan tried to deceive and rob him of it with lies. It’s up to the people to say no to the satanic promises of this government and safeguard their PVCs.