Even at a young age, Captain Casmir Mbachu (Rtd), appears to have seen it all. From being a lawyer, human rights/social activist to defending Nigeria in the battlefield as a soldier,, Mbachu, a native of Oko, Orumba North LGA, believes he has what it takes to make a huge difference as a representative of his people as a member of the House of Representatives.
In this interview with Jude Atupulazi, Fides editor-in-chief, Mbachu bares his mind on some burning national issues, apart from sharing his vision for his constituents.
Why are you in politics instead of remaining in your comfort zone as a military officer?
I sacrificed my military job to avail myself the opportunity to serve Ndi Orumba and Ndi Igbo in general because I believe that I can truly accomplish the yearnings of our people for a vigorous and active representation in the national assembly.
On what political platform are you going to serve your people?
I’m going to offer this service on the platform of the only party we can truly call our own which is APGA. The party has provided transparent leadership and disciplined commitment to the development and advancement of Ndigbo. We have to continue to continue seamlessly in representing our people just like the late Chuba Okadigbo, and as the Abaribes and Umehs are currently doing. I believe that my pedigree qualifies me the best man to lead this charge at this critical time in our country.
Is this your first association with APGA?
No. I’m not a new comer to the party, having held the position of assistant youth leader of APGA. It was after that that I went for military service.
Apart from this, what is the driving force behind your aspiration? In other words, what is your vision for your zone?
My vision is a stronger Orumba in a formidable Igbo Nation.
As a member the Federal House, my agenda will focus on employment creation, trade development, industrialization, human development and agriculture (ETIHA).
I shall through bills, constituency projects and personal intervention, actualize this agenda if elected. This is apart from other broader spectrum of issues I will pursue.
Knowing how the country is, many people like you who have good intentions have ended up having those intentions frustrated by the system. What do you think is basically wrong with Nigeria?
The recent events in our dear country call for a deep reflection on what has happened to us as a people. The government seems to have lost control of governance and in its place, a group of unpatriotic elements have taken over the captainship of the Nigerian ship. This government has divided the country so badly that she is almost as she was between 1966 and 1967. How can a reasonable government divide its people into 5% and 97%? That was the beginning of failure of this regime. It went ahead with lopsided appointments without federal character coloration, the worst ever seen in the history of Nigeria. And when people complained, it continued unabated till today.
The same regime went ahead to release thousands of Boko Haram members, the arrest of which took the lives and careers of many military and paramilitary men. I lost over 12 course mates in the fight against these terrorists and nearly lost mine to them twice in Kano. These releases were done without any court order or psychological evaluation. All we heard was that they have been deradicalised. Who confirmed the deradicalisation and who assessed them?
What followed next is the birth of herdsmen terrorists across the country. The killings and other evil acts being perpetrated by these vagabonds have been treated with kid gloves by this government and the police, that a sitting President confirmed the disobedience of his orders by his IGP and the IGP is still on the seat. Who is fooling who? It took the regime a blink of an eye to declare a harmless and non-violent IPOB a terrorist organisation but has vehemently refused to declare the herdsmen a terrorist organisation. The explanation by Femi Adesina on why the herdsmen couldn’t be declared terrorists shows how daft he is. Boko Haram was declared a terrorist organisation without the government knowing who were their members, and that’s the standard worldwide. Now election is near and it appears the regime has remembered its responsibilities to curb the menace. There is abject poverty, injustice, intimidation, disunity and high corruption everywhere.
This is the time for all men of goodwill to come out and put their hands on deck to end this government before it destroys all of us and this country. Evil can only thrive when good men do nothing. The Restructuring of this country and decentralisation of key powers is inevitable. This will put the country in a fast track to achieve her full potential and improve the lives of our people.
What are your views on the issue of restructuring?
The major agenda of all regions in Nigeria that want a peaceful, united and progressive Nigeria is the immediate restructuring of Nigeria to achieve a true Federation. Something that is false is not real; hence, doesn’t exist. I am a strong advocate of that RESTRUCTURING AGENDA. From the very day of the inauguration of the next session of Nigeria’s National Assembly which by the special grace of God I shall be a member, the restructuring process shall start. The next four years shall be the last of the false arrangement we presently have in this country that has further divided us and made us unproductive as a nation.
I shall use all legal means and contacts to sensitise, mobilise and work with Nigerians and my colleagues in the National Assembly to actualise that Agenda. The forces of evil shall not stand on the way of this agenda. In the past, the process has been more of lip service than action. Ooh, So sorry to disappoint the feudal Lords, the mediocre and those who benefit from the current redundance of the country and impoverishment of our people.
By the special grace of God, Nigeria shall return to regional governments and Parliamentary System of Government, as our forefathers agreed for Nigeria, by 2023. Every other contentious issue shall be discussed accordingly as there shall not be any no-go area.
We must restructure or we bust. There is no need romancing falsehood or playing with words. God bless hardworking Nigerians.
You are known to have a passion for enthroning the dignity of labour. How will you work to ensure that this is respected in the country?
Non-payment of salaries shall be made a criminal offence.
Today all over the world, workers are celebrated for their services at different levels of service, public or private. While some of them in some parts of the world have cheering news and future to celebrate and look up to, ours in Nigeria is a different story.
My parents were civil servants. While my father died in active service as chairman NASU, Federal Polytechnic, Oko. My mother retired as a member of staff of Forestry Department, Anambra State Ministry of Agriculture. Thus, I know the pain and sweat of being a civil servant in Nigeria, as well as being a child of a civil servant. Sometimes we managed to feed as salaries were neither regular nor sufficient. Even as children, we hawked to make ends meet, to feed, clothe, pay our fees and other rents.
Today, it’s now an achievement to pay salaries; something that should be a matter of right. Our leaders have no conscience or shame that some owe their workers between 6 months and a year’s salaries. These are same people who will throw lavish parties at wedding ceremonies, go on vacations across the world, acquiring property and looting their state and national treasuries dry.
This cannot continue to happen. Our workers should be paid commensurate wages and salaries as and when due. It’s not only moral but also Biblical, Quoranic and Traditional.
In the next National Assembly, which I pray to be a member, non-payment of salaries shall be made a criminal offence across Nigeria. That will be my first Bill in the House of Representatives. It is already typed and bound. Our workers should reap the fruits of their labour.
Nigerians have been complaining bitterly about their experiences with the vexed issue of estimated billing owing to non-availability of pre-paid meters. Is this also part of the things you will try to put right?
Estimated Electricity Billing shall also be a criminal offence. Nigerians all over the country have been subjected to various forms of cheating due to the weakness and inefficiency of some of her institutions. This cheating emanates from cheating in open markets to the communication and cable TV companies where NCC and NBC have proved their uselessness to satisfaction.
The king of this cheating however is the various electricity distribution countries in Nigeria, especially in the South East of Nigeria. Most of the inhabitants of this area, especially in Orumba North and South LGAs of Anambra State, rarely get electricity supply up to 5 full days in a month, yet they are visited by heavy electricity bills at the end of each month. How else can this wicked act be described if it is not a crime against the citizens of this country and my constituents? In the Punch newspaper of 22 April, 2018, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission stated that it would need N200b to meter 4 million customers. However, it’s no news that millions of households in the Southeast have paid not less than N25, 000 each for yet to be supplied pre-paid meters. One therefore wonders why the various electricity companies did not utilise those monies to acquire the meters for the customers; more so, when the money already collected is far above N500b. It therefore follows that these companies enjoy exploitation and cheating of the masses unless something urgent and drastic is done to stop this day light robbery.
It is therefore my agenda that if elected into the House of Representatives to sponsor a Bill making it a criminal offence by any electricity distribution company to issue an estimated bill to any of its customers. The companies will be given a 6-month grace period from the signing of the Bill into Law to comply or face the music. This country must be sanitised to make it impossible for criminally minded businessmen to rip off the masses. We shall retake our land and its treasures. Let us join hands to make this country work again.