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Prince Chibudom Nwuche is a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. In this interview, he speaks on why President Muhammadu Buhari should be supported by all considering the achievements recorded so far. He also bares his mind on the rivalry between Governor Nyesom Wike and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi.

Why do you think there is so much outcry from the South over alleged underdeveloped, despite the huge resources received from various sources since 1999?

Perhaps, some of those at the helm of affairs did not get their priorities right and may not have had clear and focused agenda for the development of the region. They may also not have applied the revenues judiciously and may have frittered some of the monies. That is not to say that some have not done reasonably well, given the constraints of the difficult terrain and the challenges of our political system, and the demand of maintaining peace and seeking re-election for such leaders and their myriads of supporters.

The biggest challenge, however, is that of vision. Leaders must be imbued with vision, must be open to new ideas, must be surrounded by thinkers and must be consultative by nature. They must also be well prepared for the office and must have spent some time on their manifesto before contesting for elections. If you come into office with a clear vision and plans for your people, you will hit the ground running as there is a lot to do in every sector. You will find that the billions from federal allocation will not be sufficient, talk less of siphoning any money. You must also love your people and have empathy for them.

In contrast, when a man without vision or plans is elected into office, and is given billions, he becomes corrupt not because he is wicked or evil, but because the money is too much as he really had no plans on how to deploy them.

Therefore, South South or Niger Delta leaders must consciously begin a leadership recruitment process that will enable our brightest to represent us from the level of councillors, local government chairmen, state assembly members, national assembly members, ministers and governors among others. This is the only way to ensure rapid development of the region as the governors need to be complimented by other layers of government to achieve success.

What is your assessment of the ruling APC government at the centre, and how do you relate this to the controversies surrounding the health of President Muhammadu Buhari?

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing well in laying a solid foundation for the future of our country. They are investing in critical infrastructure including roads, power etc. Agriculture is being given attention and will eventually engage millions of Nigerians and make us self-sufficient and a net exporter of foodstuff. They are also diversifying the economy away from oil and fighting corruption.

But are you not worried by the persistent call on him to resign?

The President is a human being and is susceptible to indisposition and ill-health once in a while like everybody else, including myself. There is really no big deal and Nigerians should always pray for their leaders and especially the president, who is working hard to stabilise the country and usher in prosperity. Governance is continuing smoothly as the vice president is also assisting along with the other the arms of government.

Don’t you think that some of the things you’re saying are not in tandem with what is expected by some politicians from your area?

A situation where certain interests want to be the only ones that are allowed to have a say by blackmailing others leads to construction of political space and ultimately stunts political and economic growth. No tree, no matter how big, can make a forest. Politics is a game of numbers and where you exclude those with the largest public following, you will not go far in a free and fair electoral process.

I have been silent not because of any blackmail, but because I am studying the political terrain and tending to my business, whilst also giving those elected and appointed, the space to guide and lead us aright. Nobody can deny me participation in our polity; it is my constitutional and inalienable right and I am the political leader of my people.

Do you think politicians from the Southwould be able to come together considering the way you are accusing one another of one infraction or the other?

Allegations remain mere allegations until they are proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law, not on the pages of newspapers. These are the antics of failed politicians who do not have any grassroots following; and that is why I often do not bother to respond. People know all of us very well and know our backgrounds and know who can or cannot do what. As for their arrangement of armed robbery and assassination attempts, I have no fears because I know they will not succeed. My only worry is the attempts to use state machinery and pervert critical organs of state in their desperation to destroy me.