Former Anambra State governor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has told those threatening legal action against the outcome of the recent governorship election in the state to back down, noting that the South-East does not want “another court-imposed governor.”
According to him, Igbo people around the world are satisfied with the poll, which he said would have been frustrating had if it had a different outcome.
The elder statesman, who spoke in an interview on Monday, admonished that no one should capitalise on any innocuous error during the exercise to scuttle its outcome.
Asked about his impression of the conduct of the election, Ezeife stated: “The first impression I get is that the president is getting his mind ready for doing good.
“The result of the election is success. Before the election, I wrote a prayer in many WhatsApp groups for the success of the election.
Now, I think it has succeeded and all kinds of problems are being raised. Some inconsequential problems are being caused.
“There was a primary election and the primary election was for the governorship. And who is misled by a very innocuous error? Some say somebody put his local government as his constituency. There was a primary election for the governorship election.
“Are the voters misled by putting Aguata constituency? There was a primary for the governorship election and there was an announcement for the governorship election.
“If there was an innocuous mistake that should not be of consequence. But that’s for lawyers. But let our people who are making comments try to know that the whole Igbo are very interested in the outcome of this election and anybody raising any issue on it, I appeal to the person, please, cool down. Cool down. There’s no need to go fighting more.
“Those of us in Aguata are going to summon all our people because we fought for zone and the zone was granted.
“Now, those who were allowed and those who were not allowed, we’ll try to persuade them, assuage them and to stop anything court.
“We don’t want another court-imposed governor.”
“I’m happy that the result came out the way it did. Not only the Anambra people, but Igbo people all over the place are also celebrating that election because it gives us hope, it gives us the basis of fighting for the 2023 presidency.
“If we had lost that Anambra governorship, it would have dampened our enthusiasm for the 2023 presidency. But as it is now, all those who should know, know that things should change in Nigeria.
“I talk about new Nigeria. It’s likely to be led by somebody from the southeast,” he stated.
Also speaking on the recent meeting of some Igbo leaders with the president to ask for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, Ezeife, who was part of the delegation, asserted that President Buhari has a chance to refashion Nigeria before he leaves office in 2023.
The former governor noted that there are agitations in the southeast, southwest, south-south and north-central because people are dissatisfied with the state of the country.
He said one way or the other, it may be necessary to deal with the agitations because “they are not comfortable with the Nigerian situation. And I think it’s better to deal with them in a comprehensive way.”
The former governor observed that with the way President Buhari reacted to the Igbo leaders’ visit, he may be ready to launch a new Nigeria.
He added: “We had our meetings before going to Aso Rock. When we got there, the president was so punctual, so determined. As we were looking at him, we were very impressed by his concerns.
“I think the concern he showed gave me the idea that with good advice and support from the populace of Nigeria, Mr President, Buhari may launch a comeback of Nigeria before he leaves office.
“Listening to problems is a very important aspect of governance, of leadership. He listened attentively to the problems and his response showed he understood, not just listening, he understood us. And what did he say? It will be difficult but I will look into it. What else do we want? That is what we need.
“And I think the press can help. There are some things that make things difficult in Nigeria. Understanding differs so much. For example, when people say restructuring, what happens? To the person from the north, he understands it as resource control. And what the persons from Lagos understand as resource control is that oil revenue will stop flowing to their side.
“We should start from there. What is restructuring? Rearranging of the polity. That’s all.
“How can people who are sophisticated just one day cut off revenue to local governments and states? No. Before we cut off revenue allocation, let’s say from oil to any other group, we must make sure that every level of government has sufficient internally generated revenue and not just cut off.
“I think my northern brothers and sisters should understand we are not talking about oil revenue when we talk about restructuring. We are talking about improving the understanding of groups within themselves and therefore, improving peace within the country.”
On whether the Igbo leaders believe the president can authorize the unconditional release of Kanu as they requested l, Ezeife said: “release is release,” expressing the hope that President Buhari will act positively on the request.
He further said: “We talked to people who are familiar with the president after the meeting and they told us that from the body language of the president, he took us very seriously and we should take his promise to look into it very seriously also.
“We are quite happy. I took the opportunity to thank the president for the success of Anambra election because I know what happened behind the scene some of the time.”
“We asked them what should we go home with and they said we should be hopeful. And I think, myself, I think I’m hopeful,” he added.