Last Thursday, May 28, 2020, some former leaders (including national, zonal, state, and local government officers) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Imo State chapter left for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Former State Legal Adviser of PDP and member of the party since 1999, Barr. Jerry Egemba was one of them.
In this interview with journalists at the APC secretariat in Owerri, at Okigwe Road, shortly before the formal crossover, Egemba, not only justifies reasons for the carpet crossing, but also calls on other political stalwarts who have values to add to Governor Hope Uzodimma-led administration to also join the band wagon. The more the merrier, he implies.
On the impending Okigwe Zone (Imo North) senatorial re run, the Owerri-based legal practitioner says it deserves the best this time. Excerpts:
By Chukwuma Okereke
“If honour be banished from the hearts of all men it must remain with princes…” (apologies to Emperor Charles V, during the trial of Martin Luther the Reformer, at Worms, in 1519/20).
Your name is synonymous with Imo PDP and you’re here now doing this defection. So, people are wondering about you. Could you tell us what led to your decision to leave the PDP?
PDP is a political party. It is for partisan pursuits. And when you pursue a partisan pursuit and get it, you reap the benefits. When you pursue a partisan pursuit and lose it be humble enough again to agree there is a limit to which partisanship could play to the interest of the people. After partisanship, what do you have next?
You have governance. Every person that gets involved in public life tries to make bold of the fact that he has come for the interest of my people. Nobody ever says I’m there on my own, even if most of them are there sometimes on their own…
So, if actually you’re in this game in the interest of your people your people can only benefit from governance not partisan politics. So now that there is a government in power – I’m one of those that believe that there cannot be a government except God almighty approves of it.
I am also one of those that believe that the people get the kind of government they deserve at every point in time. If it has pleased the Lord that okay Hope Uzodimma is the governor of Imo State, and he is a very well known name. He is not a novice. I mean, he is synonymous with Imo politics and a whole lot of other things. It has pleased God that okay he should be our governor to dispense democracy dividends to deliver governance.
All Imo persons, including me and you, have a responsibility to help him to deliver good governance. He is like an instrument but the system belongs to all of us. If you have a value you want to bring to the system, go ahead and bring it irrespective of which political party is in power. So, I’m here in the interest of my people to see if by the process we’ve come to help drive my people may reap one benefit or the other from the government…
While you were in PDP what were your regrets?
No. No. What regrets do I have in PDP except that being a political party it was partisan the way PDP did its own things. And nobody can begrudge it. A political party is partisan and rightly so. And the thing is if it plays it the way and manner you think it is okay it may not lead to my focus and my mission –will it help to accomplish my mission, will it help me to accomplish my purpose in the public interest? I mean, there is freedom of movement, freedom of association too. We have to exercise those rights that nobody can take away from us.
There is an understanding that so many of you who are coming into APC are doing so because you lost out in the PDP congresses in the state recently, is it true?
Thank God you said so many, not all. Make room for that exception (general laughter). You don’t know where I belong. That may be so for some people. It may not be so for some others. It depends.
Any moment from now the Okigwe Zone (Imo North) senatorial bye-election will take place. And you’re from Okigwe Zone…
What’s your position?
We’ll try to work with the best there. Okigwe Zone has been most unfortunate the type of representation it has been getting, particularly in the Senate. So, this time round that’s why some of us are working hard like this so that we’ can all join hands together, join heads together, and join house together and give Okigwe Zone the senator it has never had, and the senator it’ll ever have. And we’ll be very, very grateful to God that this is our senator.
Thank you. Thank you very much.