Colonel Chinyere Obi (retired) is the founder of the Atiku House to House Campaign Organisation (AH2H), a grassroots mobiliser and advocate for peace. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, she spoke on the presidential bid of the former vice president, the group and other issues. Excerpts:
How was the House to House Campaign Organisation conceived?
Initially, I was the national women leader of the Hameed Makarfi campaign group; when we went for the national convention of the PDP last year, then Atiku came in and announced that he was returning to the PDP which is his original home and I said okay.
Personally, I have known Atiku since 2005 when I was a Colonel in the Nigerian Army. On the 25th of November last year, I established the House To House campaign group and we have been mobilising for Atiku around the country since then.
In 1995 when I was in Yola, Adamawa State and I visited Atiku’s residence. One of Atiku’s wives happen to be my friend; at a point I was hungry and I told her I wanted to eat but she said it was not time, that Baba the (cook) had not prepared the food. I said what is the meaning of that, does it mean when you are hungry you have to wait for Baba to cook for you? And she said; it was only Baba that cooks for the whole house.
I was surprised and said if this man can manage his three wives successfully like this, then there must be something special about him. I have been with Atiku for long.
I was at the last national convention of the party where I was one of the people who counted the votes.
I was formerly with Makarfi as the national women leader of his group and I know him well. I was the one spending and I know that he cannot rival Atiku for the presidential ticket.
Atiku is the only person that can salvage Nigeria. The only aspirant that can make give us roads, hospitals, good railways and bring the prices of rice back to N5,000.
You know Atiku was with them before he moved back to the PDP, so he understands them and they understand him as well, that is why they don’t want him to emerge because he is the only person that knows them well.
Atiku knows their power and immediately they give him the ticket you will see what will happen.
He is coming to change Nigeria. For now, he is the one that will take us to the Promised Land. Look at how people are being killed in Plateau State. What is the president doing?
But how do you react to the corruption allegation against Atiku?
Atiku is not corrupt, he has always been rich. He lost his father at a very young age and build a house for his mother. He went into business at a very young age, even when he was in Customs Service he was also into business. He has built a university and several other businesses across the country, so it is wrong to say the man is corrupt, it is his hard earned money.
How is the structure of your group in the country?
I have done inauguration for about six states in the country now. I just finished inauguration of the Akwa Ibom state chapter; and I am in here in Lagos for the inauguration of the Lagos and Southwest chapter of the group, tomorrow am going to Yola for their inauguration.
Anywhere I go, I wear the Atiku T-shirt; people would remove my cap from my head even form the airport and ask; mummy how do we join this group? I was in Port Harcourt recently and the reception was massive.
Look at the situation in the country presently. There are no jobs. Imagine graduates riding Okada and if you go to school, there is no job after the NYSC programme and it is bad.
There is something I see with him. My son is not willing to come back to Nigeria; the president says the youths are lazy but they are not willing to help. What I have been doing is to go to the prisons to help people. I also go with a lawyer to the courts and bail them. We cook food for widows, hoping that when Atiku wins we can continue with this.
We printed Atiku’s branded books in thousands and we are giving them to all the tertiary institutions in the country.
How confident are you that Atiku would clinch the APC presidential ticket ahead at the national convention?
Atiku will get the APC ticket; I am extremely sure of that. Markafi is not a serious aspirant. Is it David Mark? I have been to one of his campaigns. He in the past; I know him very well. There was a time I went to his house I saw over 200 cars. He just uses the money we generate for him to buy cars. He even lost in his poling unit. Nobody can rival Atiku among the aspirants. When I go around, I tell people to forget the money and fight for the man.
Nigerians are disillusioned that successive leaders have failed them, what would make Atiku different?
All the other ones may have failed us, Atiku will not. Buhari was a soldier and a cattle-rearer. It is only Atiku that is a businessman of all our recent leaders. He is coming to change Nigeria; he is coming to save us from slavery. Atiku is coming to salvage Nigeria with his resources.
What is your assessment of Buhari’s administration’s far?
There was so much expectation from this administration when he assumed office. That is because he promised so much but he has failed so far. He was only desperate to rule; he did not come to save the country. After all they have said about subsidy, look at what is happening, look at how snakes are said to be swallowing money. Money is being found in flats in Ikoyi without anyone been apprehended so far as the owners.
So what is the method of operation of your group so far?
I did a world press conference the other time in Abuja and I have been inaugurating state branches that would go and set up branches in wards.
What I am doing now is ‘operation show me your PVC’. Anybody who says they don’t have PVC, I go to INEC office to help them. I am not happy with the way the process is going in the country, in Abuja, if you don’t speak Hausa they will not answer you.
What is your view about restructuring?
It is important that the country is restructured. Atiku supports restructuring and he also said if after six months he does not deliver, we should remove him. He promised the youths 40 per-cent of positions. Go to his house, he feeds Christians. Every Nigerian will be okay if he wins.