Home / News / Local / My position on key issues concerning Imo State, Ndigbo, PDP, Nigeria – Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu
Nze Fidelis Ozichukwu Chukwu

My position on key issues concerning Imo State, Ndigbo, PDP, Nigeria – Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu

Senator Hope Uzodimma, Imo Governor
Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP
Chief Athan Achonu, LP

Imo State-born Nze Ozichukwu Fidelis Chukwu was National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), South East zone, for eight years.

A national leader of the party and a member of the Imo Elders Council, the cerebral political leader, with his usual candour, answered major questions relating to Imo State, the PDP and Nigeria in this interview that is a must read.

Among others, Nze Chukwu speakers on the Imo Charter of Equity and x-rays the governorship candidates of the three major parties in the State – the incumbent, Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator SamDaddy Anyanwu of the PDP and Senator Athan Anyanwu of the Labour Party (LP).


Q. How are you, Sir. We’ve very much missed you all this while. How has it been?

A. Oh! very well. What can I say than resort to I Peter 1:3: “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to the abundance of His kindness did beget us again to a living hope. It is well.

Q. You have been missing in action.

A. Not really missing but in a retreat that we do not get “trapped in the dance of destiny.” We must distinguish between the hall of concerts and the circus from the drama theatre.

Q. You have been very much around recently in Ohanaeze meetings, Imo State Elders Council events and select State Government activities in Oguta and Owerri.

A. Yes, I have been around due to a chain of events. I was part of the Imo Delegation to Enugu for the presentation and swearing in of Ahaejiejemba Engineer Chief E. C. Iwuanyanwu as the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. Also, Distinguished Senator Arthur Nzeribe’s memorial service was held on Saturday 6th May, 2023 in Oguta. I was there. Ogbuagu was an enigma.

God speaks to us in circumstances. In the face of inhumanity, a good man reacts, but a great man acts. So it was with Senator Nzeribe. He was not only a rare, isolated mountain peak; he was the summit of the ranges.

Ogbuagu, the grandmaster, was caring, sharing and daring. He echoed when everyother voice was subdued. A patriot like no other, who said what he meant and meant what he said.
Most Distinguished Senator Arthur Francis Nzeribe, was neither a scourge nor a scavenger; but was always motivated by the dynamics of a social purpose.

When the Igbo were told that they were of no consequence in the political calculations of Nigeria’s leadership equation, Arthur damned the consequence and sealed the fate of those suffering delusions of grandeur and obsession with power.

He subsequently introduced Aga-akpa-ya-akpa into the Nigerian political lexicon. Ndigbo began to determine both the story and the narrative. The reward of great men, they say, is that long after they have gone, one is not quite sure that they have gone. So it is with Distinguished Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe, Ogbuagu, Oshiji, Damanze, Oyimba: Aga akpa ya akpa.

Also, I was at the Oguta/Orashi River Development Project event. The project is gigantic and intergenerational as the multipliers are beyond imaginations.

The Imo Charter of Equity. Accommodation, compromise and inclusiveness. There can be no peace without justice. The Golden Rule encapsulated.

Q. Imo Elders Council. Sir, what do you think of it?

A. It is a child of necessity, very well conceived and properly established by the Law of Imo State .
Among others, it is political. What I am quite sure of is that it is not partisan. The essence is to provide a melting pot of expertise, skills, competences, contacts and values. It will promote the civilisation of dialogue and cross fertilisation of ideas. It also, by extension, serves as a forum for socialisation and a platform for peace building and peace making. It is quite innovative and ignites collective creativity and imagination for governance and change management.

It has, as a general objective, to therefore, from time to time, undertake an examination of conscience and review of the balance sheet of our internal democracy and study our community-building template as an “aggregate, parlous and fragile entity “; in order to promote peace and unity, harmony and concord, subsidiarity and solidarity; to reposition the state for growth and development.

I have attended the meetings whenever I am free. I have always been given the opportunity to speak. The proceedings are quite mature and utterly democratic.
On 27 June 1954, Churchill was quoted as saying “jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

Q. How is your party the PDP taking it?

A. The Imo Council of Elders is non partisan. We are not there as representatives of political parties but as Imo Elders on our personal merit as critical and core stakeholders. I am a member of the Council’s Committee on Ethics and Values with Barrister Peter Mgbemena as Chairman and HRH Eze Aso as Secretary. We are not answerable to any political party but there to promote Igbo values and protect Igbo identity.

It is important to state that I did not enter politics to make enemies and I cannot reject myself to keep friends. My idea of politics is an environment to promote ideas and defend convictions, encourage cooperations and not debilitating compromise; advance the framework for unity and not to nurture the vices of uniformity.

I am not averse to dynamic conservatism but will always insist on proper boundary management.

Q. What about the Charter of Equity?

A. I have been a strong believer in Rotation and Zoning. Everyone in PDP knows that. Genuine sons and daughters of the Igbo nation are insisting on wholistic restructuring. We practice Rotation and Zoning very religiously too in my home Ihitte/Uboma. We inherited them from our forebears in the Old Etiti LGA.
(1) HRH Eze Aligwekwe (Ihitte) represented Etiti at the Eastern House of Chiefs;
(2) Hon SEK Iwueke (Uboma) represented Etiti at the Eastern House of Assembly;
(3) Hon P. O. Eleke (Obowo) represented Etiti at the House of Representatives.

The formula is jealously guided, religiously observed and clinically implemented.

We rotate/alternate the LGA Chairmanship and House of Assembly membership positions. For every other appointive or elective office, we zone them in such a way that reflects the geopolitical character at the various constituencies and levels.

A. Do you believe in the IMO CHARTER OF EQUITY?

Q. Of course, I believe in the need for an IMO CHARTER OF EQUITY.
The process and contents are a different matter. It is a living document and will perfect with time. At the meeting, the Imo Charter of Equity was robustly discussed.
I am an Nze by birth. I live it in nature and in name. What I cannot say before you, I cannot say behind you. So in the Elders meeting, I made my views known. And members of the Council took note but it does not invalidate the majority opinion, yet it acts as a beacon though nothing is for eternity. Eight years is not eternity.
When people realise that distance is a matter of perception, they will begin to do things differently.

Prof Maurice Iwu (Okigwe) moved the motion for the Imo Charter of Equity. Ahaejiejemba Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (Owerri) the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide spoke glowingly in support of the motion. When it was put to vote a vast majority of Imo Elders (leaders of traditional councils, heads of various religious organisations and academic institutions), adopted it.

Emeritus Primate Uche of the Methodist Church volunteered to interface with the leaders of all the political parties in Imo State to ensure that they buy-in.

Eminent Okigwe sons, Primate Emeritus SK Uche, His Grace Archbishop David Onuoha, Metropolitan of the Owerri Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion) and by God’s grace the Chairman of Christian Council of Nigeria, Ok 2000 and other sons and daughters of Okigwe were present including the Secretary General, Rt Hon Maxwell Duru. He was a signatory to the Charter and must have been part of the drafting as Head of the Council’s Secretariat.

On Saturday, 22nd April, the people of Okigwe Zone, including the clergy, were said to have gone to the residence of Chief Tony Chukwu in Ehime Mbano and unanimously adopted the Charter of Equity.

I understand that the same process had gone through in Owerri and Orlu Zones.

On Saturday 13th May, 2023 at the Adm Ndubuisi Kanu Square, we watched Imo Religious/Spiritual and Temporal leaders of the Catholic Church (Rev Msgr Simon Anyanwu), Anglican Church ( His Grace Archbishop David Onuoha) and Methodist Church (Emeritus Primate SK Uche) plus Rev Dr Etches Divine Etches of CAN and Bishop Dennis Jacobs of the Pentecostal Community etc hold an Inter-Denominational Service for Peace and Unity in Imo State, celebrate a public dedication of the Charter and jointly presented it (with the Traditional Rulers led by HRH Eze Okeke and HRM Eze C. I . Ilomuanya and some enthusiastic members of the Elders Council) to the Governor.

How do you see the whole event?

As you are aware, the Imo Elders Council is established by law as the conscience of the people to help keep the “Governor and Government on their toes,” and the governed awake and at alert.
Each and every member of the Imo Council of Elders should hold himself or herself responsible for not Doing Right Things Right. If you know what is good for the state and the people of Imo, go ahead and say it and do it. Staying at a distance and throwing pebbles will create no impact and yield no sustainable dividend.

Q. People think, it is Governor Hope Uzodinma’s thing?

A. I do not know about that. However, it will be naive for one to say that the Governor would not have an interest from time to time. It is allowed. But it is for the Elders to weigh the options by placing the interest of the Governor side by side the interest of Ndi Imo and ensure that while doing everything positive to make the Government succeed, the collective interest of Ndi Imo is protected and promoted.
De Ambrose Ejiogu, the Chairman Imo PDP Elders Forum, Chief Barrister Peter Mgbemena, Secretary Imo PDP Elders Forum, Chief Osita Nwaneri, a prominent member of Imo PDP Elders Forum and Barrister Eze Duruiheoma SAN former Chairman PDP Imo State Chapter and erstwhile Chairman, Federal Character Commission, are all members of the Imo State Elders Council.

It is for Rotation and Zoning that I joined NPN in 1978 at a very early age. It is for Rotation and Zoning that I joined NRC and for the same I belong to PDP.

On the 24th of March, 2022, I wrote the PDP and warned on the burdens of and the anaesthisation of conscience.

Like we are always advised, we must always “look at the future from the lens of the past.” For the “farther backward we look, the farther forward we can see.” I believe that there is no Imo Senatorial District that cannot produce a Governor.

I think it was Ingersoll, that said, it is the absence of facts that frightens people, because it is into the open gaps people pour their fears, fantasies and desires. Nothing could be more deceptive than obvious facts. They are mere fiction, delusional fantasy.

We need to go beyond impressions and establish the facts. This is with an aim to expose “fake fact factories” in Imo.

However, the youths have to be more involved. All our efforts will be in futility if the youths are distanced.

When I asked of the youths participation, I was told that the government is seriously partnering with the youth. The youths need to know, be carried along and buy-into whatever is being done. This is because we know that a wise man or woman proportions his or her belief to the evidence with facts and figures.

What I believe is expected of the Imo State Elders Council to do is to reach out to other leaders and personalities in the state. I would like to see people like Chiefs Pascal Dozie, Ernest Ebi, Leo Stan Eke, Orange Drugs-Ikenga Akokwa, Dr Festus Odumegwu, Sen Ifeanyi Ararume. Infact all our former Governors, Deputies, Legislators, Ministers, Commissioners, Judges, senior public servants, Ambassadors, etc.

The mix will help strengthen and smoothen the rough edges. Their contributions to the peace and progress, growth and development of Imo would be unquantifiable. We must not always agree but learn to benefit from diversity, manage adversity, achieve convergence and build consensus. Like in the Negro Spirituals:
“Through thorny ways;
Leads to a joyful end.”

Q. How did you see the Oguta Project?

A. Fantastic. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
“It is time we stopped drifting with the tide and wave, with blind force, and begin to think and dream, to forget the chains and limitations, to remember the purpose and object, to recall the kisses and clasps of the past and bring life’s morning back and paint fair pictures for the coming years ignited by the rhythmic beating of our fearless hearts, to give our fancies wings. It is time to leave the forts and barricades of fear, to stand erect and face the future and breath life into the picture gallery of the brain with a smile, to look with trained and steady eyes for facts, to find the subtle threads that join the distant with the now.

It was John Adams who noted in The Portable John Adams that:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

As we move on the facts will emerge; not to discourage us but rather help us strengthen the foundation, connect the remaining dots and mend the cracks.
It is a journey on the wings of optimism. We have to tighten our seat belts for the likely storms and bumps. I do not expect it to be a smooth ride. We should not be deterred.
This is not a Hope’s issue. It is an Imo thing. Indeed, it is an Igbo Project. No one should rest on his or her oars. The time to win or fail is now. The choice is yours.

Democracy is a culture, it is deliberate and should not be impromptu. It should not be left dormant or destitute. Like the phoenix, it should drive its ideals with zeal.

I recall during the persecution and death of the Principles of Zoning and Rotation, most of the political leaders became iconoclastic. It was they who provided the conveyor belts of tragedy that dragged the Principles to its death and consequently to eternal inferno.
Whatever their reasons, (in victory or defeat), will go down in history on the same page with Pontius Pilate.

Q. But some people do not believe in the Oguta project with the same optimism as you do?

A. Well I am a tough-minded optimist. Our people have suffered, and I believe in the power of ideas. Our youths are being profiled and move like Sheep without Shepherd. They need assurances and guarantees, particularly an environment conducive for self expression, actualisation, validation and fulfilment.

As Q’orianka Kilcher would say:
“I think it’s important for us as a society to remember that the youth within juvenile justice systems are, most of the time, youths who simply haven’t had the right mentors and supporters around them – because of circumstances beyond their control.”

I was a high school teacher, a formator and a mentor. Nothing excites me like any program that will productively engage and elevate our youths to save them the catastrophic begger-thy-neighbour syndrome.

We must begin to save ourselves from ourselves for we will find neither home nor rest by doing it our own way.
We cannot continue to promote our personal interests and aspirations at the risk of the collective destiny of the people. We know, power is transient. We seem to believe that the journey is futile. I ask that we seek higher order ideal anchored on growth mindset. By share will power and the power of the tongue, Oguta will become a reality through Magic or as a Miracle.
Indeed, we need to begin the reconstruction of our democratic infrastructure

There is force and efficacy in “the living voice” but not so much with “the word of mouth” bereft of the spirit and belief.

Still on Rotation and Zoning, I recall, that in his book, Ham on Rye, Charles Bukowski said:
“I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”
And Theodore Parker, added, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight, I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

When the PDP was concluding its campaigns for the Presidential Primaries, I did remind the Party in Transcorp Hilton of the wisdom of Theodore Roosvelt that:
“No man is justified in doing wrong on the ground of expediency.”
I pleaded for the restoration of historical truth which hinges on the universal values of JUSTICE, EQUITY, FAIRNESS, TRUTH, MORALITY AND PEACE. The rest, they say, is History. But we shall not give up.

Q. How would you compare Governor Hope Uzodinma, Senator Sam Daddy Anyanwu and Senator Athan Achonu?

A. Honestly, I cannot easily compare them because there is no parameter for comparison. A SWOT Analysis would be very interesting.

All I can say is that they were Distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is said that it is from the soldiers of today that we pick the captains of tomorrow. Distinguished Senator Hope moved on to swap positions with Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
His name, Hope is not an exaggeration nor his life an accident. He is a deep thinker, and a spineful and seamless executor. With no signs of weariness nor acts of bravado. Distinguished Senator Sam Daddy became the National Secretary of the PDP. He is a smooth operator, reputed for hitting below the belt and with regular records of brilliant knockouts. Distinguished Senator Athan Achonu lost his bid midway and immediately went back to his business with no signs of dislocation or depression. He rather overcame the adversity with uncommon composure and rare fortitude.
We have each had encounters with each of them as they have progressed in their careers.
The home truth is that “everyone behaves differently in a palace and in a cave.” In retrospect, we can each count our teeth with our tongues.

A. Finally Sir, what do you think of Governor Hope Uzodinma?

Q. Does it matter? I did not set any targets for him and have no template or criteria for his performance evaluation and assessment. I do not even know the quantity and quality of resources, including the challenges he faced and is facing. These are needed for any standard performance audit.

However, if I am to appraise him along the path of his predecessors and assuming he enjoyed the same environments, I would not hesitate to say, that all things being equal, he has done great in four years. It is good to acknowledge hard work where it exists and appreciate one’s good efforts, relationships notwithstanding.
Think of the few but well-built roads, accreditation of the IMSU College of Medicine and sanity and stability at IMSU, the advances in the Ozumba Mbadiwe University, the Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, the Imo State Polytechnic, Oru; the Imo State College of Education Ihitte/Uboma; the FUTO Teaching Hospital, the developments at Oguta/Otamiri River and the Oil and Gas Processing Free Zone, the proposed reactivation of Avutu Poultry and Imo Shoe Industry among others.
That is not to say that there are no rooms for improvements. No. There are a lot.

Yes he has his weaknesses, like every human; but you will recall that while Hope was in PDP we never found him wanting. He was elected Senator, and after elevated to the sacred office of BOT.
I remember and am tempted to believe that Hope gives without remembering and receives without forgetting. He was visionary and missionary. Known for decorum and civility and stands out for his admirable physical dynamism. Unfortunately, his achievements are underpublished for general knowledge and public scrutiny.

My parting requests would be to plead with him to review the security apparati, involve the communities/grassroots, strengthen the Town Unions, upgrade Civic Education, place premium and reward child creativity and innovation; engender the Prof Nnenna Oti Spirit and instill greater HOPE, confidence and trust in our youths.

He should do all within his powers to stop the establishment from profiling our youths and give all our youths a sense of belonging. There is the wrong perception that our youths are lazy and criminally minded. Nothing can be further from the truth. Unfortunately, the youths now feel estranged and move about as sheep without shepherd. They are our HOPE for a greater future and better tomorrow.

Let’s always bear in mind that:
“The power of youth is the common wealth for the entire world. The faces of young people are the faces of our past, our present and our future. No segment in the society can match with the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of the young people.” -Kailash Satyarthi.

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