Barrister Eyo Nsa Ekpo, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in Cross River state, believes Nigeria needs President Muhammadu Buhari beyond 2019 and that defections of former top PDP members to the party has given it an edge. In this interview with PATRICK ANDREW, he spoke on other issues.
Ayade said he has approval for the construction of the 360km super-highway. What is your take on this?
Well, he is the Governor. He said he had the approved Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report. Well, I think you are a journalist, you have to go and look at the so called super-Highway. Two and half years ago I told them that this government is a syndicate. You are talking about building a super-highway, the question that should arises, is; from where to where? It is not an inter-state Highway, Itis intrastate highway, I heard the capital outlay for that project was in the region of over N800bn, I don’t know how much Cross River earns to execute such a project.
It is not doable, it’s not just doable. I think, there’s a sinister motive behind the conception of that so-called super-highway. You talk about public, private partnership, if the private sector is to come in, they need to see the possibility of making profit. So the road that is going from Calabar to Obudu, of what economic significant is it to Cross River state?
We already have the Calabar-Ikom and Ogoja-Katsinala highway which is an interstate highway, what the government of Ayade needed to do would have been to invest and maybe dualize the Calabar-Ikom highway up to Bekwarra and ask the Federal Government for a refund, even by instalments rather than go on a “wild-goose chase” on the road project that is not going to be achievable.
How prepared is your party ready to take over power in Cross River State in 2019?
People believe that because we have wrangling within APC, we are not homogenous. Yes, there are wangling in the APC. No doubt about that. It is normal in every human organization to have this kind of wrangling, but there is one conversation that all members of the party are in agreement with and it is that we must take over power in Cross River by 2019.
There may be other areas of disagreements, but this is the central point of agreement. Those who use to make things happen in the PDP have moved over to the APC. They have moved in and the APC has now become stronger and even more fortified and we are more ready to take over power than ever before. We have figures like Prince Bassey Otu, Chief Victor Ndoma Egba, Sen. Owan Eno, Hon. Paul Ada, Prince Goddy Jedy Agba, and many others moving into the party. These are the people we didn’t have in 2015 and they have moved in now to join those of us who are irredentist progressives like Pastor Usani Usani, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, Barr. Tony Odey, Mr. Odey Oyama, Barr. Mary Eupere and Mr. Sylvester Nsa.
Of course, the PDP is the weak party. The PDP is a dead party now. If election is to be held today, I’m quite sure we will have not less than ¾ of the votes of Cross River State. We shall rescue our State from this calamity.
What is your assessment of the security situation in the country today?
Criminals have evolved overtime in their strategies and a government which is as serious as the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has to also evolve strategies to always keep one step ahead of the criminals, their tactics and their antics. I think in the area of its security, this president has been a massive success.
This administration has succeeded in security measures. Today, not one inch of Nigerian territory is in the control of Boko Haram. Thanks to the launching of the “operation crocodile smile” in the South-West and the South-South zones of the country. You know that kidnappings, armed robbery and other security threats, including the blowing up of pipe-lines in the Niger-Delta has seriously subsided. Whoever has refused to see the gains of this government is eternal enemy of Nigeria.
Do you agree with President Buhari that the single currency unit for the ECOWAS countries won’t be viable for the continent?
He is the President, and he has his economic advisers, with an economic team working with him. I am sure that the president couldn’t just have made that pronouncement without consulting his economic team to know the benefits of a single currency unit for the entire ECOWAS Sub-region or loses that the country would stand to incur should we join or refuse to join.
So given this circumstances, I think we have to leave it for the president, he is the one on the saddle for now. So I think on that point let’s leave it for the man who is on the saddle for now.
A Federal High Court in Abuja insisted that the ex-President Jonathan should appear in court on the N400m fraud; should he?
I think the ex-president is a law abiding Nigerian. He is a citizen like all of us, never mind that there are privileges attached to a former president. But that privilege does not include that he cannot be invited to appear in court. People make the mistakes of thinking that this court is calling the president to come and clear himself. That is not the issue.
The issue is simple; the man who is standing trial in the this court has requested that Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan should appear as his witness, so it is at the instance of “Oliseh Metuh” that the president is being invited by the court, he is coming to appear as a defence witness to “Oliseh Metuh”.
The invitation is not at the instance of the Federal Prosecutor, or the Attorney General of the Federation, that is prosecuting Metuh for embezzlement or the EFCC, which ever the agency prosecuting him. It is at his own instance, he is the one that approached the court. He said I cannot conclude this case until the Ex-President comes in to testify for me, so that is it and the court has to grant his request. If the court refuses to grant him, all the wailers in the country will shout injustice! That is it and the court has to, because the court must be seen to be an impartial umpire.
There is no criminal summon against Ex-President Jonathan, it is a witness summon issue at the instance of a man who is an accused person, that’s all. We misconstrue a lot of things in this country and the social media, I’m sorry to say is not helping issues because is an open forever where anyone can go in and write all sort of, falsehood, peddles all sort of rumours and because of the nature of Nigerians who are very active, some people swallow this things hook, line and sinker. We should properly educate ourselves before going into the public domain.
Should Buhari return in 2019?
Why not, the name Buhari alone sends chills down the spines of thieves. Once in a nation’s life, we need a figure such as President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria we are having a president who has this kind of national coverage, respect, and integrity.
Even when someone steals money or commits other acts of corruption within the Buhari government, what you’ll hear is that this president is not but some of his appointees are corrupt. These are the conversations going on. Everybody knows that this man has integrity and he is incorruptible. So we need a figure like this in a country where everything has broken down.
Morality and ethics had broken down and to reconstruct and change the psyche of the people you need this kind of leadership and he needs eight years to settle down actualize and sustain it. The younger generation can wait, let this man build the nation of the future for them so that they can come in and enjoy tomorrow.