A former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Enugu State, Evang. Samuel Onyishi has accused the party of throwing democratic principles to the gutters.
Onyishi, who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, chided the PDP for entrenching impunity, even while parading itself as a ‘democratic party’.
While bemoaning the fate he suffered in the party, which he co-founded in the State 18 years ago, Onyishi, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Group of Companies, said he had joined the APC because it was the opposite of what the PDP represented.
He made these assertions while speaking to journalists in Enugu, where he also called on the people of the South-East to support President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said was making frantic efforts to reform the country.
According to him, “I have taken this major decision and I believe my friends, relations, fans and associates may want to know why. There are so much lies flying around and I felt I need to tell the people the truth.
“I joined the party for the good of my people; it is no longer about money or contracts; it is not about fame; it is not about political positions; it is about saying the truth.
“I hate injustice in my life; at my level of education and exposure, one man will sit down and will say this person will go; one person’s choice will be forced down the throat of millions of people; it is not good. I have grown enough to raise my voice and say this is what I want and if the majority says otherwise, they will have their way and I will go home a happy man.
“So many of my brothers and friends are still in the PDP but they may not have seen what I have seen; their level of understanding may not be the same.
“I can’t continue with a situation where somebody comes out with his experiences and followers and he is not allowed to express his political opinion freely; a situation somebody will ask you- ‘who told you to go and buy form?’ That is what chased me away from the PDP.”
“Of course, President Jonathan made a lot of efforts while was in power. For us here in the South-East, he made it possible for us to buy fuel at the same price will other parts of the country. It wasn’t like that before. The issue of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport is also something to be happy about because we can now walk to the airport and travel to any part of the world, unlike before where you had to go to Lagos or Abuja and book a hotel before your departure.
“However, there was one thing lacking in the PDP, and it was more important than money- freedom of expression; no voice, no contribution and you see people clapping hands.
“I’m not looking for anything in the APC; I’m not a contractor, neither am I looking for governorship ticket; all I want is that people’s voices should be heard. I don’t want others to suffer what I suffered in the PDP.”
He added that “Now that I’m in the APC, I expect that they should continue doing the right thing in terms of internal democracy; we all saw how Buhari emerged in the APC presidential primary elections. However, if they don’t continue with such democratic practices, I will leave the party. I’m not going to give APC 18 years like I did for PDP but they refused to change. I’m not going to give APC more than 4 years, after all, how many years more do I have to live on earth.
“My joining APC is not because Buhari won, because like I told you, I supported Jonathan, I supported even fuel subsidy removal because the money was going into private pockets; so my interest now is that we should have democracy as the foundation of political parties.
“I’m calling on Ndigbo to join the APC because right now the party represents the true definition of democracy. We now have a situation where the process of selecting people is democratic, in such a manner that whoever emerges should be acceptable to the people. In such a way the legitimacy will lie on the people and not on one man sitting at the comfort of his room.
“We need to support Buhari because so far he has done well; we all know that people are suffering because of the economic recession but it was not caused by this government. When we had plenty, we did not save.
“Let me take my company for instance, I just increased workers’ salary by 10 percent, and this is happening at a time other companies are laying off staff. How was it possible for us? We prepared for recession; we saved for the rainy day. This is what previous governments did not do and we are suffering it now. So, we should support the President, he means well.
“Look at the TSA, it is the best thing that has ever happened to this country. Look at the anti-corruption fight; in the past there were some persons we felt would never be arrested but this administration has proved that notion wrong. So, everybody is now very careful. They are even fighting back, but it is late, the President has strong mind to make things happen.
“This is not about religion or ethnicity, it is about who can do it and Buhari is the man. The lifestyle of Nigerians has changed since Buhari came. I plead that we give him time, he will totally salvage this country.
“Coming down to Enugu here, I believe that we need a vibrant opposition; that is the situation we have in Anambra, Abia and Imo; Enugu should not be an exception. Vibrant opposition brings about good governance.”