Award winning film director cum activist, Dickson Iroegbu is championing the cause for South East presidency in 2023. He also spoke on sundry issues as regards Hushpuppi, Magu, NDDC and his television program, Nigeria Right Now which airs on AIT. Excerpts:
Why are you calling for a south easterner to become president in 2023?
Power shift is part of the constitution of Nigeria. It is time for a south easterner to lead Nigeria. That is the most sensible and sensitive thing to do. Nigeria was established on a tripod. What is this crime that a south east Nigerian has committed against other parts of Nigeria that they cannot be deliberately reintegrated into the political mainstream? We need to balance power if we want this country to move forward. The south easterner has shown commitment to the Nigerian project more than any other tribe. We have capable hands that can lead Nigeria to the Promised Land. I have identified that this is the solution to the problem in Nigeria. What is wrong with having Peter Obi to lead Nigeria. If Peter Obi becomes the president, Nigeria will become a major construction site. I am calling on APC and PDP to save Nigeria from collapse. Both major parties must field a south eastern candidate in 2023, the same way we did in 1999 to appease the south west. We also did it in 2019 for Buhari and Atiku. If this is not done, Nigeria may not survive. That’s why I am championing this cause, nobody has sent me. Leadership has nothing to do with age. Young people must get involved in politics. I am part of the call for restructuring and the major restructuring is to allow the south easterner to lead Nigeria. If this is done, then our journey to nationhood has just begun. Every Nigeria of conscience must embrace equity, fairness and justice. Meritocracy must be promoted above tribalism and nepotism.
What are your views about Atiku contesting for presidency in 2023? You were his strong supporter in 2019.
I strongly supported Waziri Adamawa to become president of Nigeria in 2019. Unfortunately, Buhari stole his mandate. I am aware that Atiku loves Nigeria. After assessing what he represents, I understood that he has what it takes to unite Nigeria. However, I believe that come 2023, Atiku Abubakar will support his in laws. He is a great in law of the Igbos and we gave him every support and votes during the 2019 elections. We gave him everything we had. Atiku’s 2019 ambition was more like an Igbo project. It is time for Atiku to reciprocate the love we showed him. I will expect him to use his influence and raise Peter Obi’s hand as the presidential candidate of PDP in 2023. That will make him become the father of new Nigeria. He must not be president to turn Nigeria around. This is the time to show love to Nigerians. He must endorse Peter Obi as the new president. Nigerians are missing fatherly love. Atiku has the chance to become the father of modern Nigeria by not contesting for election again. Let him choose Peter Obi to lead this country. I am telling him to show selfless love to the south easterners and Nigerians as a whole.
Looking at Hushpuppi and his arrest in Dubai, is there any justification for cybercrime?
There is no justification whatsoever for crime. Whether cybercrime, kidnapping, terrorism, corruption etc. there is no way you can justify evil. The Huspuppi thing is a misrepresentation of who we are. It is against the resilient spirit of the Nigerian youth. It negates what we stand for. However, the society has given room to such unacceptable behaviour. The government has failed to make the environment conducive for hard work to thrive. I condemn what Hushpuppi has done to Nigeria’s image. The display of fraudulent wealth is very disgusting. Any youth that sees him as a role model has seen how he ended up. I am making movie about Hushpuppi’s story. I am already working on the script. I encourage Nigerian youths to be consistent with legal means of livelihood. There is no excuse whatsoever for yahoo yahoo.
Still on corruption, what are your views on Magu’s travail?
The EFCC foundation is wrong, what can the righteous do? When the president sent in Magu’s name for confirmation, the DSS submitted a damning report about Magu but the president ignored it. The president gave room for the Magu gate to happen. It was a terrible disappointment for the president to ignore the National Assembly and allowed him to be EFCC Chairman for five years. Magu had Buhari’s support in messing up that sensitive position. It is the job of the National Assembly to screen and scrutinize individuals who would be given appointment. This is a tip of the amount of corruption under Buhari’s Administration. I am totally disappointed with the damage Magu has done to Nigeria’s image.
NDDC having mismanaged 81 billion naira, do you think that the commission is still relevant?
Truth of the matter is that the Niger Deltans should cover their faces in shame. All the while I assumed that the lack of development in the Niger Delta is because the northerners are milking the region dry but you can see that they cannot manage the little that comes to them. How come the sons and daughters of Niger Delta are mismanaging the monies meant to develop the region. It’s a shame and I am disappointed with the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Apkabio. I thought he will use the opportunity of his ministerial position to do an uncommon thing for the entire south-south region. This public shame between Akpabio and Joi Nunieh has proved that they are incompetent. Niger Delta is terribly impoverished. However, NDDC is still relevant and should not be scrapped. We cannot throw away the baby and the bath water. The National Assembly must look into ways of amending the loopholes of NDDC and block all the leakages that give room for stealing resources. All those involved in the fraud must be prosecuted and punished.
Let’s talk about your television program, Nigeria Right Now. What inspired it?
It is my love for fatherland. Nigeria Right Now came about because these so-called politicians are like actors. And as a film maker, I decided to bring them together to hold a no holds barred interview to discuss national issues. I appreciate the owner of AIT High Chief Raymond Dokpesi for giving me air time to run the program even though I am not a staff of AIT. Through this program, I have had the opportunity of meeting so many prominent Nigerians such Dino Melaye, Usman Bugaje, Nuhu Ribadu and lots of National Assembly members. It is an unscripted program where we discussed issues and proffer solutions. I realize that Nigeria’s problem is something we can solve with ease. The program exposed me to the real issues of Nigeria even though I am not a journalist. Nobody can predict the show until the camera is rolling. I look forward to continuing in that direction and it is my own way of being the commander in chief of Nigeria. There is a lot of patriotic Nigerians who love this country.