Blame Agitations On Bad Leadership –Hon. Joe Edionwele
— 6th August 2017
From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon Joseph Edionwele has blamed ethnic agitation in the country on bad leadership.
Edionwele, who represents Esan West, Esan Central and Igueben Federal constituency of Edo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) says once there is good governance and every section of the country gets its due, there will be no agitations.
The lawmaker accused the All Progressive Congress( APC) led federal government of being discriminatory in its approach to governance. He also spoke on other issues.
What is your take on the many ethnic agitations across the country?
I stand for good governance. We are better off being Nigerians. I think the problem we have is bad leadership, that is why people are agitating, because when you ethnicize governance, it becomes an issue, that’s why you are seeing these agitations.
Nobody would care if there are good roads, good schools, if there are good health facilities, nobody cares where you are from. A situation where there is discrimination in employment, some sections of the country benefit more from the roads than the other sections and even creation of states. Apart from South-east, all the zones have six states, except one that has seven states. Why would the South-east for example have five, states. What will we lose if they have six states like others?
If we look at the 2014 conference report, these things were corrected there. All what we need to do is to carry everybody along as Nigerians. A situation where you have to be northern or southern person to get a job cannot stop agitation. So it is not about restructuring. It is about utilizing the nation’s wealth for all Nigerians.
If you go to America for instance, they do not talk about one state or the other, they talk about I am an American. That is what we should do. If we want to do roads, it would be for everybody, if you want to build hospitals,every zone should benefit. There should be equality. If you are the leader you should take the whole Nigeria as one.
See what happens in Tanzania, nobody knows the state or village you are from because we are talking of doing what is right. Everyone has equal rights. you don’t have to be a northerner to get a job, you don’t have to be a southerner. You can imagine when they employed in Department of State Services (DSS), one state had more number than a whole zone. These are things that cause problem.
You look at all heads of security agencies, you talk of Chief of Army staff and all other service chiefs and you see that it’s one ethnic group. Everybody should be carried along and we have six zones, anything with equity, you share them properly, nobody will think of agitation. Agitation is coming out because you are relegated. You are ignored. You are not carried along. How many roads are done in the South-east? I am not an Igbo man. How many roads are done in the South-south? East-West Road has been there, what have we done? Nothing. That is the problem that we have.
Why would South-east zone not have six states? Apart from sort changing them politically, they are losing
revenue, because we are sharing from a common purse and at the end of the day the whole zone is losing a lot in terms of employment and development. Those are the main issues why you have agitations. If you have good governance, nobody will talk of agitation. Our diversity ought to be our strength. But in a situation where a few gets more at the expense of many, then there will always be agitation. You don’t have to belong to a particular ethnicity to get anything.
What is your take on the issue of rampaging herdsmen?
That is exactly what I am saying, because a particular ethnic group is in government right now, it is believed that that they are being encouraged and that is they are now special species. Otherwise, what does it take for the military to actually disarm all this herdsmen? They will tell you that they are not from this country. From where then? Even, wherever they are from, get all of them, comb all our forests and disarm them. Have you ever heard that any of them is arrested? Then somebody must be behind them.
How would you score the APC government in the last two years?
Not encouraging.They have not done anything. Probably because the president is not in good health. But even at that, it is not an organized party. They were the ones that made promises to the citizens and at the end of the day none is implemented. Even the fight against corruption that they are talking about, is witch hunting. They are actually not fighting corruption. You are a saint if you are a member of APC or you defect to the party. Nothing is happening for now, everybody feels it. Go to the market. Go to motor parks or travel to your village, you will see that the roads are worse than they were before. But the APC keep saying that the PDP destroyed the country, and that it is not possible for what was destroyed in 16 years, within two years to repair? What have they fixed? You must start. A thousand mile starts with just a step. Where have they started? You can’t keep blaming past government for two years. Oil is generated and you are recovering money, who is spending the money? Don’t blame anybody, because you knew these problems were there and you said you were going to make a change, is this change positive or negative? That is the question.
How has it been in the National Assembly in terms of delivering the much talked about dividends of democracy to your people?
We are doing our best, because in my own constituency for example, it is only what I have been able to attract in the area of constituency projects that is there. No state, no local government, no Federal Government presence.
Our roads are bad, I am from Ekpoma. Our roads are very bad and it is unfortunate that two years now, they have done nothing. We just hope that this current budget will cure a lot of issues. But if we miss it this year, that is the end. They were not prepared for governance. From the federal government, down to the state and local governments, APC was not prepared for governance.
But the immediate past governor of your state, Adams Oshiomhole is said to have embarked on massive development across the state.
If he has done that, I will not be telling you all these. You need to visit the state to see things for yourself. Go and see the hospital that he claimed to have built, is it functioning? Where are the roads?
In my time, I was the local government chairman, we did roads, built like two libraries, this current local government cannot even grade roads and they have more money than we had, when we were there.From local governments to states and the federal, nothing is happening. If you travel from Abuja to Ekpoma, you do not need to ask questions, you will write the stories yourself, because you will be tired after going through the roads, particularly from Okene to Ekpoma.
Since the inception of the present administration, there have been several cases of inconclusive elections, do you have confidence in the current composition of INEC to deliver a free and fair election in 2019?
No. The appointment of the INEC chairman ought not to be by Mr President. It should have been by the National Assembly or by the judiciary. Certainly not by Mr President. The only two people elected in the whole executive is the President and the Vice President. All other ones are appointees of the President, including the INEC chairman. You don’t bite the finger that feeds you. So we can never have a free and fair election until the basics, the appointment of INEC chairman is preferably done by the judiciary.