You have been in the Senate for the past three and a half years. What have you achieved for your constituents?
Well, you see, the job of a representative in a legislature, whether at the state or at the federal level, demands a lot of expectations. Once you get to the Assembly, your world view is now Nigeria. You will start looking at the issues that concern the generality of Nigerians. Through that, you are making sure that something from the federal level gets to your constituents. In everything you do, you take into consideration the fact that there are component units that make up this country. During debates on the floor of Senate and at retreats, it was easy for others to discover that I was not just a new legislator, but a legislator with experience. That made me to become the Chairman for the Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes Committee. I made it a cardinal policy that the completion of the EFCC headquarters was done.
On the anti-corruption laws, I made it a point of duty that we handle all the anti-corruption bills that came to the Senate. We have handled the Mutual Assistance Agreement Matters Bill that was sent to us. The most important of all of them was the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit Bill that was signed into law in July 2018 following the suspension of Nigeria in 2017 by Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Unit as a consequence of the EFCC abusing the confidentiality of the NFIU.
Coming down to my consistency, I have done a lot of things for my people. I promised them that I would address all complaints against the former representatives once I got elected. All the senators that were there before me did not have any functional constituency office. I set up an office and employed six liaison officers representing the six local government areas in the district. They give me information on what happens in the constituency. To be accessible to my constituents, I made it a point of duty that, since I moved to the Senate, I work three days in Abuja and work four days in the constituency office. I had my first town hall meeting in the first quarter of 2015, when I set up various committees to look into the problems in the senatorial district. I have committees on education, health, agriculture and infrastructural deficit in the Nsukka zone. These committees have professionals and professors from universities. I sponsored a motion for the dualisation of Ninth Mile Expressway. The government gave N5.4bn for the reconstruction of Ninth Mile-Makurdi Expressway. I have even gone to Ada Rice Farms. They do dry and rainy seasons farming. Since the government was no longer looking in that direction now, they do only rainy season farming. I was able to make sure I got Federal Government’s attention.
I also brought the Minister for Water Resources to visit the Adada Dam. I was able to attract the Minister of Water Resources to visit Ada Rice and the dam. Last year, he visited the place and that helped in budgetary allocation to Ada Rice and to the dam. Then we have a challenge of water in Nsukka. Nsukka does not have pipe-borne water and you know that after Enugu, which is the capital of Enugu State, the next most important town is Nsukka. After the visit of the Minister of Water Resources, construction is going on at Adada Dam.
Looking at all the things you have done, can you honestly say you have fulfilled your campaign promises in 2015?
Definitely, in the Senate today, if you don’t blow your trumpet, nobody does that for you. If you count Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Abaribe, if you don’t count me as the number three, it means you are an enemy in terms of what I have done for the Igbo, not just representing Enugu North senatorial zone. I am talking about giving representation to the South-East in all the things we have done there. I have gone beyond just representing my small constituency a long time ago.
I have told my people here in Nsukka that I will remain effective, accessible and I will remain accountable in my representation.
How can you assess the anti-corruption war of this administration?
The President had a good intention when he came on board to fight corruption. All of us keyed into it. We keyed into it because the executive took the lead. Many people raised the issue of selective trial or media trial. I moved a motion on over-dramatisation of the fight against corruption. You do not need to show on television humongous amount of money recovered. If you get such information, keep it. You don’t become effective by advertising all those things and creating bad impression of the country. The world is a global village. You are talking about foreign direct investments to the country and people are seeing the kind of impression you are creating about your country, who is going to come? Nobody is going to come.
The fight against corruption is what everybody wants because that is the way you can keep this country. That is the only way you can keep the resources in the country without allowing people to be filtering then away and them putting us in poverty.
What is your views about those attacking Ohanaeze over Atiku’s endorsement?
Do not mind the blackmailers that have found themselves in Aso Rock and are now telling stories. Ohanaeze Ndigbo looked at the issues and saw the state of the Igbo in the whole country, especially in the northern party of the country. They saw that at a certain stage, the Igbo were asked to leave a certain part of the country. They saw that the present administration did not come out fully to address such issues raised by some northerners that the Igbo should leave and abandon their property. The Igbo are behind Ohanaeze leadership on the decision they took. Those making it appear that there is a crisis in Igboland will see where the people belong.
This administration has refused to see the Igbo as part of Nigeria. That made Ohanaeze to stand with Atiku because President Buhari is very nepotic. All Nigerians say they want Atiku who has a human face. We said give us a restructured Nigeria where we could operate at our own pace and at our own level and Buhari said no. Every part of this country today believes in restructuring of Nigeria except those who are benefiting from the jaundiced system we are currently operating. It is all these that made Ohanaeze to take the stand and all of us are behind the body.