Prof. Protus Nathan Uzorma, is a Professor of Philosophy of Religion in University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. An Isu-Okporo in Isu Local Government Area of Imo State born dogged social critic and political scientists. A man reputable for many journalistic battles. In this interview with EVEREST EZIHE, in Owerri over the state of the nation and Re-build Imo administrative mantra of Governor Emeka Ihedioha, he was blunt to a fault as he lampooned Owelle Rochas Okorocha, immediate past Governor of the Eastern Heartland. This is a scholarly studded interview, that proffered solutions to many lingering national and Imo State problems.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, inaugurated the Ministers designate and apportioned portfolios to them, but cross-sections of Nigerians are complaining that Chunk of the Ministers from the Northern West Region got senior ministerial positions as against the junior ministerial positions given to most of their counter parts from South East, South West and South South, what is your take on this?
In the first place, we must appreciate the President for appointing and assigning portfolios to the Ministers early enough, unlike what happened in the recent past. However, I never expected anything short of what Mr. President did. The truth is that South East and South South are not APC catchment regions. If South East had overwhelmingly voted for APC, I assure you the area would have benefitted immensely from the APC led Federal Government. Honestly, I think the President is rewarding those that stood by and fought for him. But then, there is an error there, because by his position, he is not the President of a political party but the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which kit-crossed all the political parties. I think also, the appointment is not in tandem with the principles of federal character, truly speaking this falls short of the federal character and therefore must be re-addressed. This kind of appointment heats up the polity. The people who feel not satisfied will certainly start protest agitation for instance; it is nauseating that Imo State only got junior Minister of the state of Education while Kano State got Senior Minister’s l am equally sure that Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba got the position as Minister of the State of Education because of his personal relationship will the president. This is what I think, I may be wrong. Mr. President is not doing well; he needs to carry people along with the principles of equity, justice and fairness which is embedded in the principle of democracy, that is my take.
Talking about carry every Nigerian along, as a social crusader and human rights activist assume if you meet Mr. President today what will you tell him?
I will tell him the need for him to redress some of his policies. He must revisit his economic policies, because the economy is telling on the people. I will like him to religiously address the issue of insecurity by changing all the Service Chiefs. This is very important.
Why do you wish the Service Chiefs changed?
I don’t see them delivery. Look out what is happening in the North East and what is happening in the South East and South South in terms of security break down. Every day you hear or read of herd’s men raping, killing and maiming people. The daily menace of Boko Haram in North East and other geo-political zones are frightening. In a security conscious nation, these things can not happen. If we have well trained security heads who patriotically know their onions, in terms of security of lives and properties, we will get very stable and comfortable society by nipping the security threats on bud through strategic and proactive measures, but for now, I don’t see these crops of Service Chiefs doing anything I call for their resignations or re-deployment because they seems to be bereft of modern security ideas and tactics.
Last week, an illustrious son of Igbo land, His Excellency Senator Ike Ekweremadu was assaulted by members of the out lawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as a social critic and political scientist how do you see the international humiliation the group gave to one of theirown?
If that action was really taking by IPOB, like People said
(cut in) but they have owned it up
Okay, if they have accepted responsibility for the action or actions, I think it is expression of deep exasperation, an expression of serious anger, occasioned by bad leadership. The people are not happy. You don’t create an action and predict its reaction. Your reaction must be based on your mental composition. They are responding to an action they are not comfortable with. We are all experiencing what our leaders are doing to the masses of this country. It is annoying and disappointing, corruption everywhere. I don’t subscribe that the best way to handle decay in the nation is by systematic beating of Senator Ekweremadu or any leader as far away Germany not even within the country. It is absolutely wrong to wash your dirty linens in the public. It is not the best way, however, you can not determine the way people should react given their bottled up anger against the nation’s leadership. Their intent is to show they are not happy the way things are being run in the country.
Talking about corruption, are you satisfied the way and manner the President is prosecuting those who are said to be corrupt?
Well, from 2015 to 2019, I looked at his policies against corruption as being selective. I wrote extensively on this, given instances and examples to justify my claims, as I look at it now, it appears that the President hammer on corruption is no longer selective. Mr. President has even launched some offensives with members of his political party and perceived kitchen cabinet members who were accused of corruption. Infact, the President is balancing the war. I commend him, but he needs to improve.
Are you therefore given the President thumbs up in his offensive policies against corruption?
When you say given him thumbs up, I don’t think that is what am saying, rather what am saying is that he should do more. There are lots of corrupt people that must be investigated. We want to see people like Senator Rochas Okorocha brought to book. There was a time people leveled a lot of corruption allegations against the present Minister of Niger Delta and His Excellency Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi, we want to see these big fishes investigated, they can not afford to be sacred cows because the searchlight of corruption have been beaming on them. Looked at what is happening to Alhaji Ambode, the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, EFCC went to his house the other day and it was all over the social media as well as the immediate past Governor of Zamfara state. These are my justifications for saying the President is no longer selective in his efforts of fighting corruption and corrupt practices.
Barely 10 days from now, the Re-Build Imo administrative mantra being anchored by Governor Emeka Ihedioha will be marking her 100 days in office, as a stakeholder in Imo politics what is your assessment of the PDP led State Government?
I will answer you with a profound paradox, an allegorical paradox, simply put as a newly born child that supposed to grow teeth, crawl, move on, stand and move with his legs. You have no capacity to determine how a child will grow with the way he is crawling. It is very very early to begin to judge him. Like you said, am a social critics, I know. If the present administration does well, I will applaud their efforts. If they fail, my pen is always with me to do the usual, which globally am known for. I must commend the Re-Build Imo administration for the efforts they are so far making to recover all the alleged looted funds and properties of the state from the immediate past Rescue Mission administration led by Governor Rochas Okorocha. To recover all the alleged looted funds of the state, for this, I am given them 100%. There efforts is good and deserves commendation I advised people to assist them to fish out all the properties of the state any where the former administration hid them
.Sir you have been lambasting the Rescue Mission administration led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha, why are you too hard on the immediate past administration?
My grudges is that architects of the Rescue Mission administration deceptively came to rescue their pockets and not the masses as they claimed. I saw it coming in 2010 and I warned Imo people that all that glitters is not gold. No body cared to listen to me. I picked my pen 2011 and told Imolites that Governor Ikedi Ohakim, New Face Administration will be better than Okorocha’s Rescue Mission political gimmicks. Again, nobody cared to believe in me. But today, what has happened? The worst thing that has ever happened to Imo State is the 8 years administration of Senator Rochas Okorocha that brought ruin, penury and pestilence to the good people of the state. Who was happy in Imo State? Certainly, nobody was happy, mention one project Okorocha did that is standing the test of time?
(cut in) Governor Okorocha last week in a radio programme claimed he has over 1000 projects scattered all over the state and no administration both present and past can equate him with giant stride achievements.
(Response) where are they? Ask him to name them? You know Okorocha is always boastful. He lies too much. Can history and posterity ever beckon on any of his so called infrastructural development projects? Have you forgotten that in 2011, he told Imo people that he is descending too low to be their Governor. He has been a governor and we have seen him, a beautiful egg with a rotten yoke. Can you classify that as a good egg? Honestly, I don’t want to waste my time talking about Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s eight years of colossal Failure in Imo State. In terms of provision of the dividends of democracy, Okorocha is a socio-political failure. Just for now, Okorocha is parading himself with a stolen Orlu Senatorial mandate. Am quite convinced that soon justice will catch up with him and he will be striped naked. No evil done by man to man lass forever.
Talking about justice what do you think can be done to move Nigeria forward?
Security is very important. The nation’s security architects must be properly addressed. If the President can courageously work on the nation’s security, the people will be happy. There will be investors, human capital development and infrastructural developments will improve. Mr. President must sit up on issue concerning security. He is trying but he has to do more, for instance, the herdsmen that have become a storm in the nation’s cup of tea, there are good herdsmen. It is not every of these herdsmen that are evil and bad. There are the bad ones, some of them are even kidnappers but there are good ones. The good ones goes about innocently rarely their cows. They are violent free.
Do you then support Rugga policy?
If Rugga is to be supported by the government, in Igbo Land we have our cows. It Mr. President is supportive of Rugga, we have Igbo cows we can take to the North and they have enough land space there so that Igbo cow rearing business must be accommodated in the entire suspended policy when lifted. Let the President extend such benevolence to us. I am not against Rugga but am practically against its application in the context present democracy. It is not obtainable. It is shrewd and must be abrogated.
You had earlier lampooned the South East for not voting APC in 2019 general elections, are you then canvassing that in 2023 APC should not cede their Presidential ticket to the geographical zone?
I am an apostle of restructuring and true federalism. I am not among those advocating for Igbo presidency in 2013
(Cut in) really?
Yes, restructure this country in line with the principles of true federalism and resource control, that is the essence of restructuring the country. Federalism must be practiced.
How would you like to be remembered?
Well, am an intellectual. I want to be remembered by my works. I want to be remembered by the theories I have disproved, theories I have propounded and the lives I have positively impacted. It was Eistern that says that if existing theories are not questioned, research will come to an end, so when question existing theories you make ways for further discoveries, so I believe in discoveries and a philosopher is a pathfinder. This question has reminded me of a discussion I had with a colleague Professor, the other day, I told him that I recalled in those days scholars will come out and there will be a round table discussions and there will be a seminar topic(s) were scholars need to disapprove A from B, C from D and there will be serious academic arguments and at the end of the arguments, they will come out with a profunded solution(s) of the problem but today, scholars are dancing round the table, everybody is interested in academic entrepreneurship, so far it brings money to their pockets. Scholarship is based on questioning the existing theories and principles. The truth is that some of the great philosophers and scientist we study are not as rich as some lecturers are today. They were basically interested in knowledge driven and impaction and not academic entrepreneurship of today’s scholars. Today many scholars are not interested in impacting knowledge we are only interested in political appointments and becoming Professors.
Then do you see these as parts of the rots in our academic system?
Definitely yes! Because scholars no longer brain storms. You know civilization is not found on the structure but on the round table discussion. Thus civilization is embedded in social and academic dynamism. There is need to brainstorm and argue so as to proffers solution or solutions to existing problem(s) the truth is that until these are done, the nation’s political and educational system will remain the way its. These days, scholars are docile and we must stop given priority to materialism.
What is your advise to Nigerians?
Nigerians must embrace peace and unity of purpose, no more violence. I believe in one Nigeria, if it is properly restructured under true federalism. This is basically the problem with Nigeria.