Mr. Chijioke Edeoga is the governorship candidate of the Labor Party in Enugu State. In this interview with RAPHAEL EDE, he talks about insecurity, state police, governance and other current issues.
your His entry into politics in Enugu State has changed the dynamics. What has really changed?
What has really changed is that the people of Enugu State and Nigeria are responding positively, hopefully and strongly to the changes brought about by the current electoral law in the electoral process and the process of announcing the results, based on the results. They have been remarkably in line with the wishes of the people.
People have long been offended, worried, or refused to participate because they said or knew that the results usually did not match their stated preferences; you vote for one thing and the difference is reported. It has become so bold over the years. So alienation, indifference, withdrawal or disdain for the electoral process has been evident, but thanks to the dispensation at the national level in terms of the electoral law, which has been implemented in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states, the people have done it. wake up to the reality of the situation or the fact that a change has come.
Secondly, the people have had it up to their knees, and everyone sees now that tribalism will not do for you; faith will not do it for you; and if you continue to remove yourself from the process, you continue to elect people who will rule you willy-nilly. So, the convergence of bad leadership that we have seen, especially in the last seven years under retired General Muhammadu Buhari at the federal level and in various states of the country, woke up the people to the need to do it.
Thirdly, what has changed in Enugu State is that a combination of these things has conspired with fate to bring forth a candidate like me, Chijioke Edeoga, who was obviously prepared by God for such a time, who was prepared by fate for such a time, and believably, has shared experience, that he is well read and has popular acceptance because he has dedicated himself to being a torch bearer for the concerns of stakeholders.
The aspirations of the people to democratically decide their destiny have been repressed, suppressed and completely ignored in Enugu State. So the need for a change of opportunity presented by this new electoral law is obvious because PDP is no longer an option and APC is worse. One is a sniper and the other is corrosive acid, corrosive acid is more dangerous than a sniper. A number of factors coming from different directions come together, coming together at a moment when things must happen or we will die. Changes must happen, otherwise we are doomed. You can see that Naira is in free fall now; it can be seen that shops are closing, unemployment is high, and we have lost count of the unemployed or unemployed. Markets are closing, and despair and gloom are at an all-time high. So we have become torchbearers of change. That is what has changed the people: it has come at a time when the people they want have been empowered to decide their destiny politically or electorally.
You ran for the PDP government ticket earlier and lost before you joined the Labor Party. People are saying that you are very desperate to be governor because you have violated the pact you signed with other aspirants to support the one anointed by the governor as the governorship candidate of the PDP. Can you tell Nigerians and the electorates of Enugu what really happened?
I did not sign a pact with the governor of Enugu State. I did not make an agreement with anyone to give up or give up my democratic rights, to do anything legal or democratic. I didn’t sign a contract, and I’m not desperate for anything. My candidacy is a response to the yearnings for change in Enugu State – change from the old order, which has clearly failed. So being in the PDP does not stop you from having your own thoughts, because Jesus Christ told us to be in the world but not of the world. So one was in the PDP, but was not touched by the many obvious sins of the PDP.
Your party has been heavily attacked in Enugu State. It seems like a calculated attempt to stifle your party and frustrate your support base. Are you worried that this is happening?
Yes, we are concerned; what happens to one really happens to all. We are concerned about the escalation of violence in Enugu State, especially kidnappings. Many prominent people have been kidnapped. Former Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Dan Shere, was recently abducted. They have kidnapped the most prominent people. Kidnapping seems to have become an everyday occurrence in Enugu State. People don’t go back to their farms; hunger and disenchantment are increasing, and the farms have been occupied. The 14 villages of my Mgbuji community have been occupied for almost a year; In Ichie, the Unado area is impossible. Igbo-Eze North is a vital area and we are gradually losing territory to herdsmen and squatters and other forms of criminals. So yes, there have been attacks, even the activity of the Labor Party in Igbo-Eze North was an attack. In November, they attacked the activities of the Labor Party. Aninrin, they attacked the activity of the Labor Party, but I am not sure; we are working to find an answer, but I cannot categorically say that these things are only aimed at the Labor Party, the agents or the people. That’s the honest answer to that situation. It is worrying; it is wide
LMany who invested in real estate businesses have lost their investments. Government officials have been accused of land grabbing and theft. How will you tackle the issue if you become governor?
We are going to computerize the territorial administrations with the geographic information system. It is a new system that computerizes the land, and we will do it in Enugu. Kaduna State has done it, and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory has also done it. We will computerize land ownership in Enugu State so that all these things are available at the push of a button. What is suffocating is the inertia and corruption of the system, which is struggling.
So we’re going to make sure we force those changes, because a lot of times you have to force them because people don’t want them. Enugu city is already congested so we will create other areas around Oji River and Nsukka. We will plan Enugu again. We will properly acquire land and build external and internal roads to decongest Enugu and reduce land shortage if you are not a natural land seeker.
What is your opinion on insecurity and do you support the use of state police to fight the insecurity in the country?
I subscribe to the state police outfit. It is the principle of federalism. It is a fundamental principle of federalism, state policing and community policing. You don’t have to be afraid to take steps; when problems start to arise, you start to solve them. The Central Police has failed us, and it has been mismanaged. The Central Police is run with great insensitivity and almost arrogance and contempt for the feelings of the federating units. You cannot have, for example, an Igbo man from Jigawa State going to Kirikasamma, Birniwa, Malam Mandoni or Guri, and you say he will go to the police; why is he going to the police there? Or be it in different parts of Katsina State or in the hinterland of Zamfara. He doesn’t understand the nuances, he doesn’t understand the culture, he doesn’t understand the power play, and it’s there, so what can you police? You don’t understand all dialects. What is he doing there? The police? no
If it is the federal police and it is involved in court, fingerprinting or monitoring, then if it controls, it gives the result to the state police or the local police for effectiveness, so we must have police ranks in Nigeria.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation may be involved in interstate crimes involving blood, blood tests, forensics, images, data or photographs, such as DNA reports or facial image data; that’s what the FBI should do; they should be the coordinator of state activities. State police should handle local problems. If you commit a crime within Enugu State, the Enugu police will be there; however, if you commit a crime in Anambra and cross into Enugu or Enugu and cross into Benue, it will become a federal crime and the federal police will descend on you; they will be properly trained, better equipped and better paid. Kidnapping, once committed in your state, is by definition a federal crime, by definition a state crime, and by definition a local crime.
We need to have a police force that is properly trained, properly oriented, properly paid and properly equipped according to those countries. So the police state is inevitable, and delaying or denying them is just being ridiculous and mischievous.
Nigerians are afraid that if we have state police, the governors will kidnap and abuse them. Isn’t that a real concern?
Yes, it has its challenges, but those things have to exist to meet the challenges. Let them come as soon as possible, and if the governors start abusing, as I am sure they will in the past, as they can or have done in other countries, we will say: “How do you limit the abuses of the authorities who supervise the police? If there are clashes between the municipal police and the federal police, the law will come to moderate the relations between them.”
For example, if governance becomes too high-handed in terms of state police, you ask for a one-term head of government.