Eta: We have made progress, there is room for more
One year after the All Progressives Congress (APC) tossed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of power, national vice chairman, South South of the party, Prince Hillard Eta, tells ADAMU ABUH that he is proud to be part of the team.
As a key player in the APC, how was the feeling even before the 2015 election?
It was the same feeling you have when you are in a serious contest. We had put in a lot of energy and resources, so our expectations were very high. We naturally expected victory, but we were also a bit apprehensive because of the kind of political process we were dealing with at the time. On one hand we were very expectant and on the other hand apprehensive till the elections were concluded. And when it was concluded and it was announced that we had won the elections, again we had at that time a lot of feelings; one of course, the feeling of triumph, given the hurdles we had just overcome. And another, a feeling of apprehension; this time about the responsibility of the mandate the people had given to us. We are now a little afraid whether we would be able to meet the expectations of the people.
Looks like you never believed you could defeat the incumbent PDP administration?
You can’t say we do not believe in ourselves. We had conducted some scientific research, we had done some opinion poll with internationally recognised establishment and we knew we had the support of Nigerians. The apprehension was with regard to the level of manipulation that we the former ruling party could deploy to twist the mandate of the people. That was the basis for the apprehension not any fear.
Can you pinpoint areas the APC-led administration has been able to impress you in the last 12 months?
For me the greatest achievement of this government is to roll back the spate of impunity and the way we conducted the affairs of the state, and even the ways we conducted our personal affairs. At a point, I thought Nigerians had lost all sense of values. So, the fact that this government has the presence of mind and the moral courage to insist on the rule of law is one of the greatest achievements of this administration.
Another is that the cancer of corruption has been halted in the body politic of Nigeria.
How stable is your party now?
Let me begin by saying that Nigerians have lost count of the fact that APC would be three years old on June 30. A three-year old party contested an election even before it was two years old and won 22 out of 36 states, won the presidency, won the majority of the seats at the National Assembly and most Houses of Assemblies in the country. I think that a critical section of the Nigerian society has not given enough kudos of what a few men and women of great enterprise and vision did in forming the party.
The first thing our founding fathers wanted from Nigerians was to give Nigerians a viable alternative. And they went on to win the national election. To say all these efforts to build a viable alternative would not come with its own acrimony is to say the least, intellectually deceitful. Everyone knows that a political party is like a human organisation and in all human organisations, including the family, there are disputes; there are sometimes the firing tendencies and mutual exclusive tendencies.
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