Lack Of Political Ideologies Behind Decamping – Enugu Lawmaker Harrison Ogara

Harrison Ogara represents Igboeze South at Enugu State House of Assembly. He is also the chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Information and Communications. In this interview with Ben Ugwu, Ogara says it will be a moral burden for him to leave the Labour Party which provided him the platform to become a lawmaker. He attributes decamping to lack of ideology among Nigerian politicians.

Will you call politicians that jump from one political party to another betrayers or lacking ideologies?

If you call it betrayers, you are not far from the truth. If you call it the Nigerian way of politicking, you are not far from the truth. An average politician in Nigeria has no ideology. That is why somebody can swap parties with ease. Wherever he finds a favourable space, he goes there. Nigerian politics is not driven by ideology, unlike what we have in saner climes such as the US. There is nothing that can make a Conservative to go to the other side, or a Republican to go to Democrats. In Nigeria, anything goes. What played out in the Enugu State House of Assembly recently is a combination of many factors of Nigerian politics.

Why didn’t you decamp as well?

I did not because ab initio, I was in the PDP. I contested the election in PDP, but midway into the contest, I was told I was not good enough for the position. I left the party and found a place in the Labour Party and won. Morally, it will be a burden for me to jettison the party that provided me the platform, and join the same party that rejected me to even contest because the primary was so skewed to favour a particular candidate. If I will move away, let it be known that, maybe, the party is no longer working to gain power in the next election. There is no crisis in the LP, and even if there is, in all the political parties in Nigeria, there is crisis. You must wait to see to the end before you make a move.

Do you envisage eclipse of Labour Party in Enugu State too soon following some decamping of late?

Davidson Nnamani, LP guber candidate in Enugu State, that decamped recently is not peculiar to LP. Nnamani cannot be said to be a strong person in LP. It is not as if the leadership of the party in the state is in crisis. Barr Casmir Agbo is still our chairman. Nobody is contesting it with him. In fact the structure of the party down to the wards is still intact. If you look down, you discover that there is no problem yet. Those that moved to PDP from LP cited crisis. It is not. There was crisis in the court, but the Supreme Court pronounced Julius Abure as the legitimate national chairman. By the time they were going over to the PDP, that matter had been resolved at the Supreme Court. Which crisis are you referring to?

What is your message to LP supporters in Enugu State?

They should calm down. We are less than one year in office. Decamping from one political party to another should not distract our attention. We should be talking about making the common man in Enugu State the beneficiary of our government.

What interventions have you made to empower your people within this period you are in the Assembly?

Some days ago, the University of Nigeria gave certificates to forty persons that I sponsored in a five months’ intensive course on fishery, piggery, snail farming, among others. What we are looking for now is the start-up. We challenge them to start something on their own with the knowledge they gathered. That is when we will know that they are serious, and we can now come in. Even the Central Bank and the Anchor Borrowers emphasise starting small before determining if such a candidate deserves further support.
I also have school desks distribution scheme in Igboeze South. We have forty-seven primary schools in Igboeze South. Twenty-six are acutely in shortage of desks for children. They sit on the floor to read. I borrowed to build desks. It is a pilot programme. We are starting with five schools. After this pilot, I will launch out to tell my friends to assist. My target is to get about 10, 000 desks to be distributed across board. When I was in primary school, I had desks. I was not sitting on the floor. Today our kids come to classes with all manner of seats to receive classes.
I am not the owner of the House of Assembly. If after my first tenure, I am done, I am ok. If my people say I could return, fine. For now, I am not talking about second term. There are problems, and I want to provide solutions. That is what concerns me. Some people say they are decamping because their future is not bright. Which future when you are less than one year in office? Do something to make your future bright. Anybody talking about 2027 from now is playing God. The person is not fair to himself.

Adadainfo is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: Phone: 08071790941

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