The secretary, South-East wing of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief James Ugwu, in this interview, makes a case for the continuation of voter registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission to give all eligible Nigerians the right to vote in the 2023 general elections. He also airs his views on the chances of the Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu State. The excerpts.
On Continuation Of PVC Registration
I advise INEC to acquire more machines and mop up eligible Nigerians eager to get their voters’ cards before the elections. If it does that, INEC would have achieved the highest. If you look at what happened within the few months that the exercise lasted, the number of people that got registered is almost more than those that registered all these years. The reason is that people are ready. The new Electoral Law is showing that votes will count.
It is the responsibility of INEC to ensure that every Nigerian is registered. They gave some months for the registration, and it elapsed. They had to stop probably to do the needful to ensure that the exercise is perfect. Getting every eligible Nigerian registered is the only way Nigerians can express themselves through the ballot. The number of people willing to get registered tells you the enthusiasm of the masses to get the right thing done.
The issue of vote-buying may not stop completely, but I advise people to avoid selling their consciences. When you sell your conscience, you suffer it. I also task security operatives to do the needful, to protect the rights of electorate by providing a level playing field at the polls. It is a legacy on their part to be just, fair and trusted.
On Peter Mba’s Chances In Winning Enugu Guber Race
Barr Peter Mba’s background as an industrialist gives him an edge over other candidates of various political parties ahead of the 2023 governorship election in Enugu State. Barr Mba is an astute industrialist, and will do well. Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has constructed many rural roads in all nooks and crannies of the state, and created a peaceful environment. What we require now are industries. The multiplier effects will be huge. We expect Mba to also consolidate on Gov Ugwuanyi’s strides, such as the full realisations of the State University of Medical and Allied Sciences at Igboano, the Udenu campus of Enugu State Polytechnic, and the University of Education, Ihe.
On Ezechinyereugo Grass-Roots Movement, which he formed to champion the victory Of Barr Mba in 2023
Ezechinyereugo is Mba’s chieftaincy title conferred on him by the former chairman of Enugu North Traditional Rulers’ Council, Igwe HI Eze, about five years. Then nobody was talking about governorship. I felt that nature began to introduce him then. Before we admit one into this group, one must present one’s voter’s card. The crowd you saw during our inauguration have their respective voters’ cards. We don’t target party officials because they are already converts. We target people in villages who don’t have briefs on these candidates. A majority of them became members immediately their heard our objectives.
The membership is open, provided one has a voter’s card. We have state and zonal executives. And our executives are 51 in every local government. At ward levels, we have the same structure. The journey has just started and it is holistic.
On Peter Mba-Ifeanyi Ossai Combination
Both of them are legal personnel. Barr Mba is an asset. He has told us about the minerals that are untapped in Enugu State. His administration will not depend solely on federation allocations. He will discover those minerals and exploit them to create common wealth and jobs.
Barr Ifeanyi Ossai, on the other hand, is somebody that I have never heard him quarrel with any man. He is unblemished and young. We don’t expect people whose hands are shaking to run us aground. He must do well because he has many years ahead of him. I initiated the support group to drive Barr Mba/Ossai ticket out of my conviction that the duo will consolidate the gains of Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Youths, men, and women are active members of the support group. If you look at the crowd at the state inauguration, you will see that women were in their numbers. It is not by accident that the man who represented Barr Peter Mba said that he had never seen any group that is as big as we are. This is not the kind of support groups where you carry people who change clothes like a chameleon.
You cannot find any party executives in our group. We are looking for people who need to know. We conscientise them, and they make choices. We tell people why we are following Peter Mba. If Enugu State is industrialised, what else are we looking for? We want our youths to have jobs so we can sleep with our two eyes closed. We need consolidation of achievements of Gov Ugwuanyi.