Dr. Godwin Dibe, was a House of Representatives aspirant in Imo State in the last general elections. In this interview with select journalists in Lagos, he expresses concern over the seeming exclusion of the South East from key appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari. On Imo politics, he states that Governor Rochas Okorocha has stunted the development of local governments. Peterclaver Egbochue was there. Excerpts:
You aspired to represent the Orlu Federal Constituency under the PDP. What was your experience like?
You are right I contested for the House of Representatives slot under the PDP and won the primaries for the Orlu Federal Constituency. However, the party did not send my name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC). The case is in the court because I went to the court to seek redress. I am at the Federal Court, Abuja. I went to court in December 2014 and I am still in the court.
What is your assessment of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s government in Imo State?
Rochas made his money through the PDP and carried the money to the APC as an angel. He made money through contracts he got under PDP and went to the APC and got baptized; he is a clever person.
Nothing has changed, this is worse, because now there is no local government structure; the whole government money is in one account under his control. He is my brother and I can’t run him down. There is no local government chairmen. In the 27 local governments, nothing is happening. He appoints his headmasters who collect money for him and he gives them stipends and the remaining goes into his account.
At the federal level, the appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari are generating so much heat because many believe it is lopsided. The South-East has been excluded from the appointment so far. How will you react to this?
Buhari is like Machiavelli; the end justifies the means is politics is not morality. Buhari is in his own world, small political world. I am talking to you as a scholar, as a political philosopher, he has his own agenda, tell him what to do, he goes back to create his own agenda.
The only thing I know is that he is not corrupt. He is a good man but he is a scholar of Machiavelli the end justifies the means He doesn’t know about morality. But in philosophy there is the need for human face, there is need for morality, otherwise you are dealing with animals.
And Nigerians are not animals The end justifies the means, as you do some policies, you must look at people’s faces so that you don’t treat them like animals because of reactions that may aggravate to things you don’t expect because human beings are wicked, never underrate them.
Don’t underrate any tribe; anything that is meant for them, give to them. You must always give that which belongs to an individual or a tribe their share. He neglected the Igbos and the gods of the Igbos are crying, they are not happy. He insulted the tribe called Igbos.
How can he give all the choice appointments without an Ibo man, even a native doctor? So he doesn’t have any friend among the Ibos. It is an historical abomination. But we should allow him to take his time.
Elders make mistake and they correct themselves. Somebody should have reminded him; by saying Baba don’t you remember the South East? Even the South West is forgotten; the southerners are forgotten. It should be 50-50 and this is why we found southern leaders forum.
We want equitable distribution of power, ministerial appointments, and cabinets, everything 50-50, which is why we have federal character. We must respect the constitution. It is not a freestyle wrestling; you go and do what you like.
The crisis that recently happened at the National Assembly where the APC directed that some individuals should be appointed as the principal leaders of the national assembly but the senators and members of the House jettisoned the decision of the party. And they took their own decisions independent of the party’s directive. What is your position on this as a political philosopher?
I was in the AD with Chief Odigie-Oyegun, a very intelligent man. I don’t know what led him into that because I see him as a very principled man, like Ezeife. These are principled people and we were together in the same party. After Sunday Mass in the Catholic Church, in the Anglican Church, Pentecostal, all the churches, the entire people in the community will remain Amaala.
The party is a vehicle that has taken them to the point of entry in the National Assembly. The vehicle dropped them there, they carried their brief cases and they told the vehicle bye bye The vehicles have finished their jobs and the vehicles turned backed to their destination, the party headquarters.
They have no business to interfere in the internal mechanism of the National Assembly. Either Odigie-Oyegun has forgotten because I believe he knows the game very well. So why asing the party to go and influence the National Assembly? If they will nominate for them why do they sent them there, to go and just be sleeping? They called it party discipline. They are violating the principle of non-contradiction.
You can’t say yes and say no. If you help your brother to go and marry, and after he has carried his wife inside and said bye- bye with his wife, it is quite abominable to go and ask them how they will sleep, leave them to go and sleep. You carry your drink and start taking it outside. So the party should go and be drinking, waiting for what will come out of it. The National Assembly should run the arrangement among themselves.
They should put their house in order, that is how it is supposed to be. There should be division of labour, otherwise there will be infringement and it will not be good. I sympathize with the arrangement but it is not politics.
President Buhari and his vice, Osinbajo recently declared their assets openly and people expect that the state governors should follow suit. But many of them are saying that they are not duty bound to announce their assets publicly. Do you agree with those governors?
Buhari has done what he did to demonstrate his degree of sincerity; otherwise I don’t think it is necessary to declare it publicly ou should fill the form there and it is a document between you and the Code of Conduct Bureau, if there is anything that is wrong, he may be taken to the court for false declaration.
Because you swear to an oath before you take it there, it would then mean you lie under oath. So declaring it to the public is contradiction. You are contradicting the oath again; it means you don’t trust the oath.
If you swear to an oath, you respect the oath. If you violate the oath you go to prison, that is the constitution. So making it public, in my own view is insignificant, although I am not a lawyer. So state governors should fill their forms and submit, making it public is to create more distractions.
We are going to leave what we are doing and be talking about the state governors. We should concentrate on other things. We should create bill and send to the national assembly to make good laws.
We should help the governors and the president and we should not distract them. They should be guided, they are not God, they are not perfect. They should be directed and assisted. What we need now is being focus and achieving something.
The PDP claims that the economy in the last three months has remained stagnant, that the only thing they have been hearing is fighting of corruption. Do you agree with the PDP‘s position?
I am not a prophet of doom. But with my experience about the character of Nigerians, this corruption issue has reminded them of the syndrome of pulling him down. Those that have axe to grind with the people, they will go and dust their files and start writing petitions. They have formed association of petition writers.
We are going to end up writing petition against those people. The EFCC and the ICPC will be so busy this time around, catching people here and there. They should allow the EFCC and the ICPC to do their work.