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I Did What Abe, Others Couldn't Do – Chidi Lloyd

...Says APC Lacks Ideology

...’All Comments Against Wike Have Been Reversed'

Former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and three-time member and former Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dr. Chidi Julius Lloyd has justified his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) saying the APC lacked ideology and threw itself into the doldrums that necessitated his exit.

...Says APC Lacks Ideology

...’All Comments Against Wike Have Been Reversed'

Former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and three-time member and former Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dr. Chidi Julius Lloyd has justified his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) saying the APC lacked ideology and threw itself into the doldrums that necessitated his exit.

The erstwhile strong ally of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi also compared his action to that of Senator Magnus Abe whose action, he said, caused the APC not to have candidates in the 2019 General Elections in Rivers State.

According to him, while he showed boldness and courage by dumping the APC when the ovation was loudest, Abe remained in the party, doing things that destroyed it culminating in their non participation in the 2019 elections in the state.

Dr. Lloyd, now a senior lecturer in the Department of Public and Private Law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, made these revelations while speaking on Silverbird 93.3fm Viewpoint a phone in radio programme in Port Harcourt, Saturday.

The varsity don who fielded questions from host, Segun Owolabi, spoke on issues ranging from Rivers politics; his inroad into the academia; surprising defection to the PDP and relationship with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi amongst others.  He also took questions and comments from listeners.

Excerpts:

My guest is a politician of very high esteem and very strong in the political arena in Rivers State.  A three-time member and former Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly.  He parades an impressive CV having written several books and articles at international journals. He is an astute politician and a researcher. His works include: Green Tree Agreement between Nigeria and Cameroun; Pincom Act and Civil Servant Productivity In Rivers State; Research Control And Free Market Economy, The Nigeria Experience; and Legal Imperatives On Management Of Telecommunication Sector On Consumer Protection In Nigeria.Could you comment on these recent publications as an academic?

Recall that after the 2015 General Elections, I joined the academia.  I went back to where I originally belonged.  In the academia, we have something we call 'you publish or you perish'.  So, the more publications you have in renowned journals that have impact factor, Thompson Reuters and so on, the better for you.  It encourages growth in the academia.

Let's talk on the fantastic work you did on the Green Tree Agreement

Green Tree is actually a city in New York where the agreement was entered between Nigeria and Cameroun over the Bakassi Peninsula.  It's like you had the Aburi Accord.  So, there is this tendency to name agreements after the places where they were done.  You also have the Mogadishu Accord etc.  so, in the Green Tree Agreement, we looked at the implications of Nigeria ceding Bakassi Peninsula to the Camerouns and what has become of the people.

That is not the focus of our discussion today.  Maybe we would look at those some other day we would look at very interesting articles you have written.  But you are one man who always love controversy, and I don't know how you manage to do that.

I don't know about that.  You are just telling me.

Again, there's another one right now.  It is in the minds of every Rivers person.  I just want to take you back to this recent event which has to do with your moving from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  I love the way you put it while speaking at the Government House where you said '…that my people have said we will join hands with the Rivers State government to move the State forward'.  Those were your words and you now went personal to say 'I hope that I will be forgiven'.Now, you said 'my people'.  When did your people send you on this message?

(laughing) I like that.  First, I want to use this opportunity to thank you for the platform you have given me to put to rest most of the speculations that had happened during these two weeks.  You will recall I've been away in the United Kingdom, precisely in the University of Dundee where I went to pursue another post graduate degree in International Law and Security Studies.  I just got back but before I came back, somewhere in February, 2020, my community was cut out from electricity.  All the poles that give us light fell down and for seven months or thereabout, nothing was done to fix the light.  They waited for me to return.

Your guess is as good as mine that I do not have the capacity as it were now to restore electricity.  This gave room for lots of discussions even before I came back from different quarters.  They said to me, whatever points you want to prove, you have proven.  They said the Governor of Rivers State whom they all knew as my friend, had unfettered access to my community before we parted ways politically.

They said this whole thing is not a cult as it were.  That if I were working with the governor, they probably would have had this electricity before I came back.  Before I came back, I understood that the Governor had graciously awarded a road project to one of these multinational companies.  A road project that takes off from my community, Akpabu up to Egbeda.  It connects our kit and kin and this had happened in my absence.  Everybody who is in politics is in it because of his people.

I am not in politics because of my personal aggrandizement.  If it was for what I will get, I am sure I will manage with my present calling.  My target is to see if I can become a Professor of Law by 2025.  That's actually my target and I am not going back on that.

So, when my people said that, we held several meetings and the paramount ruler of my community issued a proclamation and that was where it became frightening.  I became very frightened when the proclamation came.  Lo and behold, two weeks ago, the governor paid me an unscheduled visit and I became very emotional because If I were Governor Wike, Chidi Lloyd would be the last person I would talk to.

So, Wike being the governor that he is, paid me an unscheduled visit.  I was not celebrating anything as to expect him.  Some people are saying I had a premonition that the Governor was coming.  I say this to you that there was no such thing.  So, when I enquired, I later discovered that he came to see the road because he understood that Akpabu a dead end as it were.  For you to get to Omudioga, you need to come out again to Elele Alimini and take back to Elele before you enter Omudioga.  And this is something that you would have connected 16.8 kilometers because we are kits and kin.

So, I'm sure as Governor, security reports were available to him that Chidi Lloyd was at home.  And he came in.  I actually thought it was an arrest for disobeying any of the Covid-19 protocols.  I was scared, remembering where we were! But, lo and behold, it was a convivial visit.  We spent quality time reminiscing on how it was and how we started.  We didn't discuss politics and the governor did not talk about politics.  He didn't woo me to his political party.  It was not a political discussion and I say this as a Knight of the Catholic Church.

And so, he left. If it was conscience, my conscience started pricking me.  My people said we were going to the Government House to thank the governor for his benevolence and on Monday, 24th August, 2020 we were all in Government House with the paramount ruler of Akpabu and the two communities.  There and then, the spirit led me to do what I did and I became graciously thankful, and the Chairman of the party (PDP) did not hesitate in readmitting me into the umbrella.  So, I am a full-fledged member of the PDP now.

Do you think you and your people were not given the needed attention and benefit knowing the too many sacrifices you gave on behalf of the APC and if we try to recount all of them, time will not permit?

I think my attitude towards politics should actually interest people.  It has nothing to do with whether we were not given due attention.  What attention did we seek?  Did we enter into any agreement with the APC that if we do this, we would that?  There was no such thing.  It was a spontaneous thing that we did.  As spontaneous as my rejoining the PDP. 

Recall that the PDP had sponsored me into the Rivers State House of Assembly back to back on three tenures.  The only election I sought to contest under the APC, I lost.  So, originally, I am a member of the PDP.  It has nothing to do with whether I wasn't given any attention.  I don't crave for attention, I don't.

You have been a three-time member and Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly.  You have a very interesting dynamics of Rivers politics in spirit, soul and body.  I know that about you.  A lot of people want to know why you can't you just keep the trust and help to revive the APC from the present doldrum it finds itself.  Why can't Chidi Lloyd tell his people to hold on.

Did they even believe that the APC is in a doldrum?  I am not here to talk about the past.  I am trying to reconcile with my God.  That is what I am doing.  I don't bear anybody any grudges.  Sometime in November, 2020, I will be one year as a Knight of St. John's International.  I think that's focus.  My focus is that I want to be at peace with all men and focus on God.  I have moved on.  I am in the PDP and I have come with my vigor.  I have come with my candor and I have come with all.  That's it!  I didn't need to ask anybody to hold on.  Anybody who is in politics knows why he or she is in politics and should be able to know when you are not making progress.

Why are you in politics?

I am in politics for my people and I have said so.  I'm in politics because my people said I should be in politics.  I have just one vote, so if when you hear Chidi Lloyd owns Ward 10 or influences things in Ward 10, it is because of my person. 

So, even if I am in Guatemala or Nicaragua, I will win.  My people will do as I have directed them to do.  It doesn't matter the platform, even if I decide to go to the National Conscience Party.  I have carved a niche for myself.  I have brought home, conquest.  Conquest have followed me home.  For those who do not remember, you know what Akpabu was before 2003 that God used the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to get me into the Rivers State House of Assembly.  So, I have conquest that have followed me home.  I am not quarreling with anybody.  I am not carried away by what the Facebookers, Instagrammers and Whatsappers write with un-censored English language.  I am not bothered about that.  I have grown past certain level.  I am a university don so it should be seen in character in my behavior and learning.

Would it be correct if I say that it doesn't really bother you what your political friends think, as long as you are good with your conscience?

Absolutely, I am not here to impress anybody.  But for those who think I am wrong, Segun, put today down, they will join me very soon wherever I am.  I can assure you that, in less than no time, this whole razzmatazz will end.

Let me take you back to December, 2017, the Rivers State Government dropped all charges against you.  The government had attempted to withdraw from the Nolle Prosequi granted you. Then State Commissioner for Justice, which is now late, Emma Aguma, through the Director of Public Prosecution argued that the State has no power to continue with the case that had ended.

Now, your Counsel, Emenike Ebete, while speaking to journalists, said that the constitution does not allow the state government to rearraign someone who has been discharged.  Emenike Ebete also said the state government cannot exercise its power twice. 

While we were interviewing, he said: “We are surprised at what government is doing.  We don't know why they decided to pull out of the matter.  They argued strongly that they could prosecute.  They were actually informed about the decision last month but we had to wait until today when they came and officially informed the court.  There is a name for this kind of gift but what I can tell my client is that he has to be watchful because you never can tell that what these guys are planning to come up with”.

That was Emenike Ebete in 2017.  He said there was a name for this kind of gift given to you.  I recall that when I interviewed you after this, you described the gift as a Greek Gift.  Are you accepting another Greek Gift this time around?

No. You are muddling up issues.  What is a Greek Gift?  It is a gift that is unsolicited.  The state government, on its own, having entered the Nolle Prosequi sometime in 2014, after the fracas that took place on the floor of the House, came again under Governor Wike to try to revisit the matter.  We argued that under The State versus Ilori, an Attorney-General cannot review a Nolle entered by his predecessor in office.  But I am sure that Governor Wike and his Attorney-General had their reasons why they reopened the matter.  To our chagrin, they dropped the matter.  They said they were not prosecuting and you cannot force a prosecutor to prosecute.

The powers that the Attorney-General exercise were powers that were given him in the constitution and you recall that Lord Denning had described an Attorney-General as 'Law unto Himself'.  Whatever the Attorney-General does cannot be reviewed.  The only thing is that he prayed the Attorney-General to be guided by good conscience and public good.  For example, an Attorney-General, even if he has powers to discontinue the trial of a notorious criminal, should be guided by good conscience.  Is it the right thing to do, to stop the prosecution of a serial killer?  So, those are the issues and when the gift came in 2017, I also described it as a Greek Gift because it was unsolicited and was not discussed anywhere.

Don't you think we are beginning to see the reason of the gift now?

Oh no! no, no, no. That's the problem because people are confusing things.  What did Martin Luther say?  He said the best way to achieve peace is to show love.  If Governor Wike has shown me love at different fora that I don't merit, what should I do? Work with him.  It means he has my wellbeing and those of my people at heart.  Do you just fight for the sake of fighting?  Don't you focus on your fight?  I'm not a Chinese movie actor.  I don't fight for the fun of it.  My fight should bring dividend to my people.  That is why I'm Chidi Lloyd.

I'm not a movie star.  I don't work with Chike Ejiro or Zeb, his brother.  My fight should be aimed at a target.  I can't be fighting to impress people and play to the gallery.  I know when to say, enough is enough.

Will it be correct to say that the making up of your mind was done three years ago, that is in 2017 and not when Governor Wike visited you?

That is preposterous.  Whoever says that does not know me.  I wouldn't have made up my mind three years ago.  I appeared on Channels TV shortly after the 2019 elections.  That was not the posture of a man who had made up his mind several years ago.  Whatever happened within this period, took place in swift seconds.  I did not need to wait to three years ago to consider this.  As at January, 2020 it was not an issue.  As at July 20th 2020 when I got back into the country, it was not an issue.  But when I got home and noticed that the road had been given out, it became an issue.  I started contemplating. 

Recall also that shortly after the election, the governor also dropped the charges again against myself and my cousin, Ojukaye.  Some members of the APC went to town to say this and that was the reason why I compromised their case in court.  But I ask, was I the counsel in court?  What role did I play other than run errands for them?  And the rumours were awash everywhere that I took N250million from Wike to compromise the election as if we were on the ballot.  I only hoped that God will intervene because it was obvious that were not going to be on the ballot.  It was very obvious especially to those of us who have legal background.  We were only hoping that something could happen.  Of course, what we hoped as Christians to happen, didn't happen.  And we continued with no option than to support the candidate of another political party.  So, at what point did I compromise their case?  They cast aspersions on my person, ridiculed me.  So, take your party, I don't want to destroy it again.  I don't want to compromise your cases in court.  And good a thing I hear they are still in court with about five different suits. 

Election is not an event but a process.  You start preparing for the next election the day the winner of the other one is announced.  It is not something you buy off the shelf.  I hear they are still in court – about five different suits.  I don't know how many Chairmen they have now.  I don't fight like that.  I am not in politics for what I will gain.  God, using the Minister of Transportation, has been gracious to me.  For crying out loud, its not a personal thing for me.

You just mentioned the Minister now and I'm very happy you did because elsewhere while you were also responding to the same issue, you said: “I still respect my leaders in the APC”.  Again, are there members of the APC that you think shouldn't even be there, that you begrudge?

(laughing) I'm a Catholic so I don't begrudge anyone.  There are rabble-rousers in the APC with due respect. 

Are they the ones responsible for the crisis in the APC?

Well, I don't know but the end will justify.  Just a few minutes and you will see them.  You know some people don't know when the match has ended.  For everyone, He gave his talent.  Its somewhere in the bible.  Some are spectators and some make things happen. There are different talents that God gave to different people.  But we have rabble-rousers in the APC who are vacant and yet would not let people rest.

Twice you have mentioned the Minister for Transportation but that's not the topic of our discussion.  And the two times you mentioned him, you said God used him to help you.  Has he called you since you defected to the PDP?

That is a personal issue and not for public consumption.  I would like to decline comment on that.

You are a strategist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Private and Public Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.  In strategy, you strategize to win.  You were in the PDP, left for APC and back to PDP again.  This is not an election year and a strategist wouldn't work that way.  Don't you think so?

If you recall while I was talking, I said election is not an event but a process.  You plan, mobilize and talk to people.  And that doesn't happen two weeks to election.  I recall when the Governor received me with open arms, he said there couldn't have been any better time to come than now.  If it had happened shortly after he won, some fellows would describe me as 'beletrician' and not politician.  These are fellows who lost their units even as candidates in an election in the APC. 

I want to grow above something this morning because I teach students and would want them to learn from me.  I wouldn't want to go personal on any issue.  I have done what I have done and I am convinced that what I did is the right thing for me and my people. 

Who inspired you into politics?

I was inspired in politics by former Governor Rotimi Amaechi as Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly as he then was.  I didn't have a one-on-one with Dr. Peter Odili.  It was Amaechi who had a one-on-one with Odili.  Of course, if Dr. Odili had said 'I don't like Chidi Lloyd', I would have been a member of the Assembly.  What I am saying is that there are layers.  Our loyalty was to him (Amaechi).  He to Dr. Odili.

There are insinuations that your kind of politics is not inspiring the new breed.

That is what I decided to do right now. People are calling me names but in less than no time, they will know what I have done.  This fight doesn't bring any good to anybody. Since I have decided not to fight again, am I not within my right to choose when not to fight again?  Am I not within my right to choose when not to constitute myself nuisance?  I touch people.  Maybe, I would be sounding this way if I wasn't a Catholic Knight now. I should be an example to the younger ones.   If there was anything I did before that wasn't proper, I am restituting for them now. 

CALLERS' QUESTIONS, COMMENTS:

(1)      Amieofori from Abua: “Chidi Lloyd says he heard the APC has about 5 cases in court and I know he was a pillar in APC. As such he should know anything that pertains to APC.  He sounds as if he has left the party for a very long time.  I think he should have quit the APC based on ideology and not because of blackout”.

(2)      Nfasa from Port Harcourt: “Bringing religion into this discussion is rather unsavory to me. When politicians begin to tell you, they belong to this or that religion, it's very sensitive. When exactly, did he move from the APC to the PDP?”

(3)      Kennedy from Port Harcourt: “I love and respect Chidi Lloyd because of his towering intellectual stature and sagacity.  Someone alluded to the fact that his movement our of APC is of no consequence. To me, this is willful unbelief and self-deceit. However, in APC Chidi Lloyd accused Senator Magnus Abe of working with PDP. Am not sure that when he went to Government House to be received by Governor Wike, he saw Senator Abe there”.

DR CHIDI LLOYD: I don't have any intension to name anybody. Kennedy got something wrong. Mine is that I took the bold step to leave APC and joined PDP.  It is not like being in APC and do things that will continue to destroy the party.  Who should be more celebrated?  When I said that Senator Abe was working for the PDP, I mean he was the one that caused us then, not to have candidates because his supporters went to court.  That was the contextbecause when you say things, it should be situate in a particular milieu.  I didn't just say that he was working for Governor Wike.  He took steps that caused us party candidates for the General Elections.

Would you just elaborate more on that when you say he took steps?

Yes, he took steps.  For example, he went to court and said we didn't conduct congresses, challenging the congresses that we conducted.  Of course, the courts agreed with him to say you cannot put something on nothing.

Do you still think Magnus Abe was wrong, even now?

Well, Magnus Abe is an adult and my elder brother for that matter.  I am not competent to discuss his decisions.  What I have done is that I do not regret because those same things still exist and I have left. Somebody should be able to put it together.

And, one Nfasa said I should not bring in religion.  It is a pity that you work without God.  I don't do that.  You cannot divorce me from what I do.  You cannot divorce who I am from the decisions I take.  They are ordered by God and the bible says that the footsteps of the righteous are ordered by Him.

And for Amieofori my friend who says I don't know the number of court cases, I have been away in the United Kingdom since January, 2020.  I have also been reading from the papers that some Chairmen emerged.  There is Igochukwu Aguma who went to court.  He is one Chairman.  There is Isaac Ogbogbula who is another Chairman.  That is what I meant because I wasn't around when all these happened, so Amieofori, what was before I travelled was that were given a Caretaker Committee led by Isaac Ogbogbula.  That was the state before December, 2019.

The events that happened on the floor of the Rivers State House of Assembly, though you have apologized and have also in that beautiful speech you rendered at the Rivers State Government House, said you thanked God that all the actors are still alive and you tendered your apologies.  A lot of people would say that having been accused in this highly celebrated attempted murder case, as a lawyer, your practicing license was at stake.

At no point was my membership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) under threat because I enjoy legislative privileges, but I would rather we don't begin to justify how right or wrong I was.  My brothers have forgiven me and we have put that behind. We have elected not to talk about them again so that we don't frail nerves again.  This is a very sensitive issue.  It is something that happened and nearly took lives.  I beg in the name of God that we don't discuss it.

I will leave that but again, while on that case, whose support comparatively, did you enjoy the most then?  Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Amaechi?

I beg your pardon.  Nobody sent me on any errand.  It was a spontaneous outburst of pent-up emotion.  I am sure you want to get through the window, what I said you shouldn't get through the door?  Please lock both the door and window on this case.

MORE CALLERS' QUESTIONS, COMMENTS

(4)      Tekena Iyalla from Port Harcourt: (in pigeon English) “You were visited by three groups in your house. First was Governor Wike whom you thought had come to arrest you. Another group to visit you were your fellow APC members. You also received another group led by Sergeant Awuse.  Tell us what you told these different groups?  Again, you told us that Governor Wike is your friend while Rotimi Amaechi is 'God sent'.  Now that your friend has talked you into the PDP, would you change your mind if the one sent by God comes to talk you out of PDP?”

Well, if Tekena is asking me to give him the minutes of the meetings, which I don't have here, I think it is uncanny to begin to ask me what I discussed with adults that came to visit me.  He can reach out to those that came and find out what the discussions were.  It is very uncourteous to discuss things that were discussed assuming there were discussions at all.  So, Tekena, I am very sorry the answers are not things that I can willingly give to you.

You are a lawyer and a very intelligent one at that.  Recall the days you were appearing in court, what you said to journalists is Governor Wike should allow the wheel of justice to grind slowly to a halt.  Do you think the wheel of justice is grinding slowly to a halt in Rivers State now?

Of course, certainly.  Somebody had asked me about the things I said against Governor Wike in the past.  I said that the things I said then were based on evidence that were available to me as at the time I said them. 

Do you have new evidence now?

I have new evidence that showed that Governor Wike is indeed a man of many parts. 

Talk to us about that

Absolutely, you will recall that even God Himself in the book of Isaiah 38: 1, He sent Prophet Isaiah to go and tell Hezekiah to prepare his house.  A death sentence had been passed on Hezekiah.  And while Prophet Isaiah read out the death sentence, Hezekiah said no, this cannot be God.  The reason was that his house was not good.  And in verse 5 of that same chapter, God reversed Himself and gave Hezekiah fifteen more years.  So even God reverses Himself. 

I have reversed myself of all the things I said against Governor Wike.  They were based on evidence then.  For example, as at the time I said the things I said against Governor Wike, there was no flyover at Garrison Junction but now there is.  Will I say because I was a member of the opposition, there are no bridges there?  Will I tell you now that there is no urban renewal going on especially in GRA where I live? 

There are things you don't play politics with.  It is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf.  The decision is mine and I don't know why my own movement from APC to the PDP should cause people sleepless nights.  A member of the House of Representatives walked out from the PDP into the APC and nobody seemed to talk about it. 

The Supreme Court of America had reversed more than 206 murder convictions that they had passed.  They had reversed it based on new evidence.  The case of Lurcher against The State of New York which was decided in 1905 had been reversed.  The case of Plessy against Ferguson which was concluded in 1896 has been reversed.  There are persons who have served nearly 30 to 36 years in prison that are released based on new evidence for offences they did not commit and the State would pay them money.

But in this case, the things that I said against Governor Wike then were based on evidence available to me as at the time I said them.

Including what you said concerning the judiciary in Rivers State?

Yes.  The new evidence now is that for those things, I was wrong.  And when a man says he is wrong and now says he is sorry, please that is the man to respect because not too many people know when they are wrong.  Because I didn't have evidence but I now have evidence.  That is one thing I want people to look at.  The quality of the character.  Not too many men would say sorry when they are wrong.  That is why I say I would not play to the gallery.  I am not enticing anybody.

We know you as a man who doesn't entice anybody but again, let me take you back to some of the things you said in March 13, 2019, you appeared on a national television where you said that known cultists are now holding government position in Rivers State.

What I said has covered the field.  No need for specifics.  Please, I want to plead that no need for specifics.  I have said those things were based on evidence as at that time.  The evidence before me now shows that I was wrong.

MORE CALLERS' QUESTIONS, COMMENTS

(5)      Ambassador Anosike from Port Harcourt: “Exit of Dr. Chidi Lloyd from our party, APC is a big blow. We must look at the problem of our party to resolve our internal crisis. For how long shall we continue to romance the ego of one man? Our leader must go to the house of the same man he told cannot be governor.  That is the only way to peace in our party”. 

(6)      Dr. Barango from Port Harcourt: “Chidi Lloyd has taken the best decision in five years. Where Chidi Lloyd is coming from is not a political party because it has no structures.  I see it as a social club where one man sits somewhere and decides. I had that another big fish would soon cross from APC to PDP”.

(7)      JAJ from Port Harcourt: “I congratulate Dr. Chidi Lloyd because in everything there is a season.  Time to stay and time to move on.  In Edo State, Obaseki also moved to show Oshiomhole that he is also popular. You said the other time that when the Nolle Prosequi was reviewed that the Governor was after you. Is it that they talked to you for a long time that you decided to concur and move to that area so that atrocities would not come a second time?”

DR CHIDI LLOYD: In this case, JAJ, atrocities came more than twice but the most important thing is that in all these, you will be shocked that nobody did the talking. In all these, nobody wooed me into the party. Because Governor Wike knows me as a man of very strong convictions.  And that was why he respected my wishes and aspirations.  I did the talking and knew when to stop.  I knew when to stop playing to the gallery.  All I pray is that I give my best to the PDP.   It's a home coming.  I didn't change party.

In one of the commentaries, a very strong politician in Rivers State, Sergeant Awuse said you are a very important asset to the PDP in Rivers State.  In fact, Ohna Sergeant Awuse described you as a grassroot mobilizer.  Dr. Chidi Lloyd, talk to us.  What are you bringing to the table of the PDP?  Can you really be trusted in the party?

You just took that out of my mouth.  First, coming from a man like Oha Sergeant Awuse whom we know very well in this state as a political juggernaut, describing me in such words are not things I very lightly.  I want to prove to him because he too, was at the middle of this whole new thing that we have now.  In fact, it was Ohna that I leaned to because a lot had happened and I would not take the things Ohna has said about me very lightly.

He knows what he has seen in me to describe me like that.  But I do know that I live in my village.  I've always lived in the village.  My people, they know me and I know them.  They feel my pain and I feel their pain.  It only takes a grassroot mobilizer to identify another.  So, the issue of trust, I have to earn it. I have to earn it in the party.  Most people would do it at night but I did mine in a broad day light, for crying out loud.  No one has the original of my certificates that I want to impress.  And when I got up on the floor of the House on the 9th of July to do what I did, no one sent me.  These are convictions. I am here now, I will defend Governor Wike with all that I have and I have no regrets, no apologies to tender to anybody.

So, I will earn the respect of members of the Peoples Democratic Party.  I will earn it and that will be by my actions.  You don't expect them to open their doors and trust me from day one because Ohna has described me as a grassroot mobilizer, no.  I will have to earn it because there are different layers of meetings in political parties.  I may not be invited to the upper echelon but when I earn it, maybe they will consider.

What do you think is the problem with the politics in Rivers State?

(laughing) We have tried to personalize politics in Rivers State and that is the problem with it.  This is my own opinion. We are not playing politics but personalizing it.

What is the difference?

The difference is that even if the other party is doing anything right, provided it is coming from him, it is not right.  That isn't politics.  Politics in this state has become such that friends are no longer friends.  Brothers are no longer brothers.  Somebody from Party A cannot visit the other person in Party B without being called names and a betrayer.

I would recommend that people also find time to acquire online diplomas and certificates.  It will do a lot of good because most persons stopped reading in the 80s.  All they do is wake up in the morning, go into the rumour mill and churn out stories and it is not doing us any good.  No wonder a governor in one of the South South states appointed a Special Adviser on Rumour Mongering.  It has become worse with the social media where most jurisdictions use to advance knowledge.  What we use it here for is the opposite. 

Imagine how much Zoom made within this period of Covid-19 pandemic.  They profit they made was more than the budget of all African countries put together.

You have travelled far and wide within this period that you seemed a little bit absent from politics.  You have done a lot of research works, some of them on international journal.  With your interactions with those outside this country, haven seen governments elsewhere, do you think the problem is people personalize politics too much here?

Yes.  Instead of holding onto institutions, we hold onto persons.  That is why we have powerful persons in Nigerian politics other than powerful institutions.  So, once you have a powerful person, it doesn't matter the kind of crime you commit.  Just recently in Beirut, a whole government resigned for creating an environment that could enable the blast that happened in Beirut.  But here people are being slaughtered.  A friend of mine said, 'dailyly', on points of emphasis even though there is no English like that.  And people are not bothered.

What about ideologies?  Someone has just said to you, look, the problem we have is that politics in Rivers State is bereft of ideologies.

Its Amieofori who asked that question.  If there is any ideology at all, it is the ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party.  But the All Progressives Congress is strange.  We hadn't the opportunity to practicalise the ideology of the APC because we haven't been able to win any elections.  I particularly, couldn't win the election that I contested in 2015.  So, if I had any ideology at all, it is the PDP.

What is the ideology of the PDP?

Power to the people, not to persons, not to individuals.  The people matter, and that is why I said to you as if I knew, its about my people.  There was a governor sometime in the South East who always say 'may people, my people'.  You are nothing without your people.  And, I have also seen instance of a governor of the South-South, when he was being hunted by federal forces, retired to his community and his people formed a barricade and said 'You can't take him'.  That is a man with his people.  I also recall former Governor AtahiruBafarawa when he was arraigned by the EFCC in court and he was to be picked up again by the EFCC and his people said 'No'.

You know what led to the Arab Spring?  The people.  Institutions collapsed because one man set himself ablaze.  So, that is the premise upon which the PDP is built.  Power to the people.

I don't blame those who send the text talking about the probability of my moving again.  Nigerian politicians have made it look like the normal thing.  But I can assure them that this is my last destination.

I have started the process of healing in Rivers politics.  I am going somewhere because the journey of a thousand mile begins with a footstep.

MORE CALLERS' QUESTIONS, COMMENTS

(8)      Barrister Chizi from Port Harcourt: “…Chidi Lloyd says all his wrong actions have been reversed.  Is that what he will teach his students?  Is that the Christianity he professes?”

DR CHIDI LLOYD: I will not gratify him with my response. It is infradig.  It is infradignitatum for me to respond to that crab.

(9)      Hon. Engr. Samuel Nwanosike: “Thank you for talking to Rivers people. I use this opportunity to formally welcome you to your house. You made a striking point by saying the ideology is Power to the People.  anyone coming into politics should consider the people first or go back to private business.  There is nothing more to give to Rivers people than this peace and healing you have brought.  Chidi Lloyd, in fact, you have won my heart.