Senator Solomon Ewuga has stated that his actions throughout his career in politics have never been motivated by selfish desires.
He stated this during an exclusive interview with Eggonnews at his residence in Abuja and in response to the plethora of criticism that greeted his recent move from the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Recall that Senator Solomon Ewuga had recently during a visit to the Nasarawa State Government House in Lafia, announced his decision to dump the PDP for the APC.
This sparked a lot of reactions. One of the most prominent reactions was the one credited to the Nasarawa State PDP Chairman, Hon. Francis Orogu where he implied that Senator Ewuga said ‘I will not die of hunger because Ombugadu wants to be Governor’ alluding that Senator Ewuga’s decision to decamp was influenced by selfish reasons.
While speaking to Eggonnews Correspondent, Hassan Lega, Senator Solomon Ewuga described the criticism as ‘chicken-hearted’. He also went further to speak on the 2023 General Elections and the controversial roles allegedly played by some of the PDP leaders in Nasarawa State.
The full text of the interview is presented below:
You were reported to have gone to the Nasarawa State Government House Lafia sometime last week.
Yes, I went there.
Can you tell us the reason why you went there?
I went to see my Governor and it is normal. That’s it.
You were quoted in the news as having defected to APC. Have you done that?
We went to discuss fundamentals about value addition and governance. In addition to that, the issue of my returning to the foundation which I have built. And the foundation is APC. I was on the technical committee that was involved in the merger of CPC and other parties.
Don’t forget, I went to the Senate in CPC because PDP had denied me the ticket. And so for some time, I have had friends in the system who have spoken to me, given the fact that we were working together as a team during the process in which APC was formed. They invited me back and I felt this was the appropriate time to do it. This is what happened.
After your visit to the Government House and after the story of your visit went viral on social media, there was another story that came after that credited to the Nasarawa State PDP Chairman, Hon. Francis Orogu who called you so many names. I don’t know if you read that story. What is your reaction to that?
Yes, I read it. Actually, I laughed over it because the… of his statement is that I am a hungry person and I had told Eggon elders that I went to fill my tummy. I don’t know which Eggon elders and where they met that that kind of discussion took place. That is one fabrication.
Two, he talked about the fact that I even visited the Governor to procure judgment against Ombugadu which you read yourself. Good enough, in the tribunal of the first instance, Ombugadu won. So he is also saying that they procured judgment in the tribunal of the first instance. And probably Engr. Sule also procured judgment in the Court of Appeal. You know, when you are making such sweeping statements, you forget you are also abusing yourself in the process.
Three, that I am involved in serial betrayal. If I have betrayed, I want to say, that I am a founding member of PDP. I am one of the only people in Nasarawa State who contributed to building the office he is using. But PDP has never felt it wise to consider me for any electoral position. Apart from being a Deputy Governor and then I became Minister.
I also wish to say as I told you, that I went to the Senate in CPC after PDP failed to give me the ticket. The same people who are complaining are the people who worked against me in Akwanga. They beat the people who voted for me and one of them was even stabbed. Some of those who are saying I betrayed them, benefitted from my political stance. That was how they won elections into the various offices they got. If I betrayed, then I must have betrayed for even some of the people he is working with, that is why they won the election.
So, people are talking without proper thinking. I started my business in 1982 and I am grateful to God I don’t need… I am older than all of them. When I started politics, he was a low-level civil servant. When I started my business, he was a low-level civil servant. How does he compare my pedigree to his own to the point of even abusing me?
Sometimes you don’t get yourself involved in their chicken-hearted behaviour. It is too childish for me to begin to defend myself before them because my political pedigree is higher than his own.
One of the accusations in that report is that in the 2023 elections, you refused to support the candidacy of Hon. David Ombugadu because the APC government promised to make you Aren Eggon. How would you react to that?
The Aren Eggon, do they vote in Government House or in Nassarawa Eggon? They voted in Nassarawa Eggon, they took it to Government House and it indicated that it was Justice Ubangari. Justice Ubangari is somebody I have respected since I was in the university and at this stage, do I start fighting somebody like that who is much older than I am?
Let me just say here that I was not promised anything by anybody. Let me also say that these very people had claimed that I was working for Engr. Sule even during the election. You know, they sent nothing to my ward but David won in my ward. Engr. Sule got 335 votes. Don’t forget, my ward and Gudi are neighbours but Sule didn’t win my ward, David won by almost 2,000 votes. But they were the people who were going around to say I was working for Engr. Sule.
So, this spin of lies continues. It doesn’t matter what I do. You are also testimony to the fact that one day I woke up and you read on the news that I was suspended. No reason up till today. That is the level of disdain and disrespect from this quality of urchins. And they enjoy doing that.
Let me add by saying this, nobody has bothered to ask me to do anything about David in this election. I stood up and went to the house of Maku, the DG of the campaign. I met people there and I said once he has time, let him come let’s discuss it. Up till today, he has neither visited nor taken my call.
Don’t forget that I also decided I was going to look for chieftaincy. You can’t be looking for chieftaincy and be doing partisan politics because we are not all in the same party.
Lastly, the demise of my daughter was quite traumatic for me and I am just beginning to come out of it.
But in 2019, who took David around? And nothing has been more robust about the campaign than that one. I took David around, I headed the campaign and I did it very gladly. If today I am not doing the same thing, then it means that they must know the reasons. But this issue of always castigating Ewuga because they want their own issues to be in the forefront, I don’t understand it. That is my own position.
Let me take your mind back a bit. Some years ago when you returned to PDP, you did an interview with Eggonnews and you said coming back to PDP was going to be a final bus stop, why have you decided to do a U-turn now?
It is because of the interests that have developed. It was against my growing process and maturity in the system. I have friends across the country in all parties. I could easily have been sedated. But those who are doing the politics now, have also trans-mutated from various parties into the present situation. So it happens that one allows his interest to… his behaviour.
Don’t forget, that when I won the election, I returned to PDP voluntarily. It was at my discretion because it is my constitutional right.
Let me also say another thing, there is this very strange behaviour that not working with PDP is an anti-Eggon agenda. Do you know that these people have been fighting Danladi Jatau for being Speaker? That he shouldn’t have accepted to be Speaker. They are blaming Abel for surrendering to Danladi, that Abel has betrayed them. So, it is a continuous… of abuse and sanctimonious behaviour. It is either what we want or nobody else. But they are not even consulting anybody.
Let me just add to you on a personal level. In April I had surgery and not one of them has greeted me. Even when I told one of them and told them that I had a surgery, not even a greeting. That is the extent to which there is a very poor level of emotional intelligence. No association. No connection. If any of them says there is a connection, they should come and tell me. What is worse than anybody being sick?
You were quoted some time ago too, that you said you will now serve as a godfather and would not be in active politics. But by this recent move, are you not returning to active politics?
I am still doing the same thing. Don’t forget the interest in serving people is a wide spectrum of activities. I have younger ones who are behind me. I have others who are looking for dispensation and this is where I am. You yourself know the number of people who have enjoyed political office as a result of my expression. It will continue in the same manner. It doesn’t matter whether or not I am seeking office. I think you should allow my political history to govern my own decisions on what I do. And my political history has been that I am not a selfish person.
It is interesting to also observe that it is those who have benefitted directly that are going around saying I am a very selfish person. They have benefitted directly either as Senators or as Commissioners or as Deputy Governor. They have benefitted directly from my political largesse. But they are the ones going around creating the sundry lies about my political attitude.
Your Excellency, with this recent development some people opined that your timing is rather faulty.
In what respect?
That maybe this is not the right time because of the issues still before the court.
Am I one of the justices of the Supreme Court? Most of them don’t even know what I am doing.
But having said that, can you hurry the sunshine? Can you determine when the sun rises and sets? So I don’t understand when you say it is not timely. Who will determine when it is time? It is God.
Some of your supporters may look at it as if you have abandoned them and the moves you have made are personal and not in their interest.
Can I say this? Don’t forget, when I was in CPC, there were people I met there and promoted their own interest in government. They are still there. So, I also have an interest in the APC. Remember I told you I was in the national thrust for the creation of the APC. So I still have people in Nasarawa State who have enjoyed the benefit of the politics that I did which is making them to hold office.
As I am talking to you, you will be shocked by the number of people who have called to tell me they are going with me. Those who have been in the PDP.
You have been reading all the abuses about timeliness and all those things. Let’s assume I went there for a selfish reason, to seek political office, I can assure you if I get something today, those very people who are abusing me will come. One of those who is very acid was in my house last week saying I should help his wife come to the federal level. They forget that the federal level is a different ball game. If I get there and I help, the same people will come with their tails between their legs to plead that I remember them.
One issue remains. The PDP has gone to the Supreme Court after losing at the Appeal Court. Why couldn’t you wait for the judgment to decide whether to leave or remain in PDP?
Of what value is that to my decision? I have made my own contribution to the same case that has gone to the Supreme Court both by virtue of voting, and financial support. So if I decide to change, what is wrong with that?
Are you also afraid that if PDP loses at the Supreme Court, the APC will say why didn’t you come since?
I don’t behave that way politically. When I went to CPC, were they in power? I am a risk taker and I work according to the risks available. I have never worked because there is a party. When I went to ANPP to contest for governorship, were they in power in Nasarawa State? They were not. And you know what happened. I was taken into detention. In Nasarawa State today, in this current dispensation, I am the only person who has been detained for 10 days because of my belief.
ANPP was not in power. ANPP was in the opposition. The same way we went to CPC. So this issue of thinking I am going to fester my nest because they are the ruling party, that is not my pedigree. My pedigree has always been to work with the party whether or not they are in power.
When I joined NPN in the then Plateau State, they were in the opposition. I became the State Publicity Secretary of the NPN. Clearly, you can see that I always work on the basis of audacious behaviour and a brave attitude. I don’t go because there is a party office waiting for me to have it. I don’t go there. I go there to accentuate my political values. And that is what I have always done.
I have done three moves and in all the moves, none of them was in power. How do you say I am going to APC today because they are in power and I am going to look for food? I don’t work that way. I work to energize the process. That is the first thing I always have in mind.
You were said to have been unusually quiet in the heat of the 2023 general election, what was that?
I have just told you about what happened to me. I wanted just to have some peace of mind. It was quite traumatic going through what I have gone through. But I am beginning to come out of it. You cannot change what God has done.
What role did you play during the general election?
I have just told you how David won in my Ward. I won in every place I wanted. I won in my constituency. Everything I have done, I have won.
These people who are criticizing me didn’t win in their wards. The House of Assembly seats, none of them won. These people abusing me didn’t win. Orogu didn’t win his House of Assembly seat. The DG of the campaign didn’t win his House of Assembly seat. Didn’t I win mine? Is that not the lowest level of election at that time?
Finally, what is your assessment of the 2023 General Elections and the performance of INEC?
I have gone through the tribunal three times. Two for governorship and one for Senate. INEC takes responsibility for everything without having the power of remorse. When you go into the election, the election law says it is what is announced that you are challenging. So they go to the tribunal to protect their announcement. You must have that in mind even if you have won.
Secondly, you must have a quantitative assessment. Your figures must be presented in such a way that makes it difficult for them to dispute.
Three, if INEC is not with you, you have lost. So INEC is key to whatever substance of your electoral victory or even announcement. Because first, they have to announce you. And if you want to go to tribunal, if INEC decides to mess you up, you are dead. This is my own assessment.
In that report, you are quoted to have said the people of Nasarawa State voted for A. A. Sule and that A. A. Sule won that election. What do you mean by that?
Don’t forget, I went to the Government House and the interview was there. They will always add salt and they are going to issue a corrigendum. They have actually issued something and you saw it yourself, that that portion is sub-judice. I’m a lawyer, I couldn’t have slipped to the point of making statements like that.
I called their attention and I was able to find out who wrote the report and he admitted and apologized for that. But the thing had gone viral and sometimes this is what happens.
He said there was a crack in PDP and I don’t know what the crack is. But this is the position.
Do you have any other thing you would like to say?
My attitude about all this is that your decision about each party is discretional and constitutional.
Two, I have never moved to any political party based on the premise that they were in office and I was going to take advantage of that. I have always worked to bring a government or bring people into the party. People who won the election on the platform of PDP in 1999 because we worked hard for it. People won the election when I was in ANPP, they won the election from an opposition. Those who won the election in CPC were from a position not from PDP.
So, I have always been active and gladiatorial and I always won elections. Not because the party I worked for was in government but because of the role I have played. If I am going to any party today, it is not because they are in government but because I am adding value in all circumstances.
Let me say finally that in the last election, these people crying did not work for their own party. If they did, how come the Labour Party? In our zone, it is the first time the PDP did not win any seat at the federal level. They never worked for it. So, they laid the foundation for the crippling result that has come to affect the announcement that finally came.
As I am talking to you, people wanted to get personal credit in the election and did not involve key stakeholders at the collation. Instead, they are accusing all the key stakeholders of not working with them. Whose problem? To me, David is a younger brother and I worked for him. But you cannot work and strengthen David in a situation where they are the ones that created problems for themselves. All of them, none of them won his election. They were the ones that orchestrated Labour Party. You wouldn’t believe that they didn’t even work for Onawo. We know what we did for Onawo to win.
If I am not relevant, they will not talk about me. You stone a mango that has good fruits. You don’t go and stone a mango that has no fruits. I think they are just coming and they want to take some of the fruits I have. And they are just shouting instead of taking it with some level of humility and value.
So I can confidently say you are a member of APC?