Nyerere-Anyim: APC is idea whose time has come
Chief Chineye Nyerere-Anyim is former Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Speaking with KAMAL TAYO OROPO, he gave insight into the formation of the party and it current state of health in the Southeast, particularly Abia State.
After one year in office, can you describe factors that brought about the alliance giving birth to the APC?
Prior to the alliance that gave birth to APC, the country, by all standard and ramifications, was consciously and unconsciously drifting into political, social and economic oblivion as orchestrated by ineptitude leadership, imperious corruption, hunger and poverty, ever-widening gap between the rich and poor, as well as, a near total collapse of all the structures holding the nation together.
These, of course, were the handiwork of the political structure handling the affairs of the nation over the years. Hence, the inevitable need for a credible alternative to rescue the nation. Something just have to give in.
But while this might be the case, was there a point in time you doubted the realisation of the alliance, given the nature of similar attempts in the past?
To be very honest, I never did. And this is because right from the first meeting of the merger committee, of which I was part of, you see people irrespective of their divergent political leanings coming together with singleness of heart and unity of purpose. In short, God ordained the alliance.
But then, will you say all those central to the actualisation of the merger are satisfied with their actions, one year after? Do you feel short-changed?
Definitely, you wouldn’t expect all of us to be satisfied. Even if some don’t complain openly they would be murmuring, somehow. That is politics for you. You cannot satisfy everyone at the same time. As for me, it’s not about feeling short-changed or otherwise, what matters to me most is the benefits of the merger and the administration to Nigerians.
Given current situation and after losing your governorship race, how satisfied are you that you took the best political option a year ago?
No regrets. I thank God. At times we learn the hard way. Nothing good comes easy. It may not be the most pleasing experience coming out with the best intentions for your people, seeing their desire to be emancipated, but only for the inglorious and fraudulent electoral process to truncate their wishes. If that is the price I paid believing in the change, so be it as my glory is in never not falling, but rising whenever I fall.
Upon coming to power, the APC-led government has taken some false steps; will you agree to feelings that the party was not prepared for governance?
We, the APC as a political party peopled by humans, cannot claim to be infallible, hence any false step as perceived may not be intentional, but circumstantial and the beauty is swiftness with which such supposed false steps are redressed, which affirms our proactive disposition to pragmatic governance.
So, I don’t agree that our party, with such eminent personalities, visions and policies that are already rekindling our lost glory, not minding the temporary pains we all are going through, is not prepared for governance. No group of people can be better prepared.
You are from a zone where the party is relatively weak, has the party been able to gain any significant mileage since you took office at the center?
I may have to quickly correct your impression on the presumed weakness of the party in my zone. My zone, the South East APC is not weak. You will agree with me that the entire South East was never Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), other parties like the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have Presidential candidates of their own. Considering the Lagos event during the Anambra governorship election and the insecurity situations in the north, which saw the Igbos as escape goat, the Igbos needed to be assured that the change was real; a situation, which they now acknowledge in affirmative.
Not withstanding, the PDP did not have their way as it was in 2011. You would also recall that in 2011, the Southwest was predominantly Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), just as it was the case with the north where Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) were major blocks before the merger. In the South East, the story is changing. Don’t forget the passion and doggedness of the Igbos in pursuing any cause they believe. We should not be taken for granted in this regard. Because you may not know what is in the mind of someone held on the ground.
But do you see the acknowledgement you mentioned translating into electoral victory for your party in future elections?
Sure; real sure and not minding any act or acts overtly or covertly designed to discourage us.
Any practical steps being currently put in place?
Notable Igbo sons and daughters across the South East and beyond are joining APC. Don’t forget, success has many friends and nobody will like to be left behind.
Yet, there must have been one or two gray areas you are not comfortable with. What are these? And what should be done ensuring cohesion in the party?
I may not be able to categorically say which particular area as such are often channeled through the appropriate quarters. But for now, it is always good to be patiently — wait and watch. You must look before you leap.
What should the party be doing now as it goes forward?
Sensitizing more Nigerians on change management. The party would have to concentrate on implementing its policies that address the need of the people now, while putting in place structures for re-engineering the manufacturing, power, agriculture; educational, sectors, infrastructural development, as well as, Security. But by no means, we cannot afford to be intimidated in the war against corruption. It’s war that must be sustained by all means possible.