From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State, Chief Chidozie Nwankwo has spoken on his ambition and the fate of his party in the South East and Anambra in particular ahead of the 2021 governorship election in the State. He talked about Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State’s defection to APC, Igbo man’s peril to ignore the APC. He predicted that Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and his Enugu State counterpart, Ugwuanyi would join the APC before 2023 and lots more.
Recently the Governor of Ebonyi State joined the APC. What are your views and the prospects of Igbo Presidency in APC?
That is a timely movement and it is a welcome development for the South East. His defection to APC has boosted our chances to bargain for the number one seat in the country. There’s strength in unionism, a tree can’t make a forest. We need to align ourselves with the ruling party and champion our course. The truth must be told; we cannot continue to play the low ranger status to the detriment of our people.
APC is the party in power in Nigeria and no matter what any Igbo man says about the party he is doing it to his own peril and you can agree with me that we stand to gain a lot from the APC government at the center.
I know that our brothers and sisters in the PDP are not happy about this but Governor Umahi knows what he is looking for and he appreciates the fact that it is only the APC that can ensure that the South East produces the next president of Nigeria and that explains why we must have this hand shake across the River Benue.
Those criticising Umahi failed to understand the bold political move made by the Ebonyi State Governor and in the next general election the PDP would still present Atiku Abubaka or another person from the Northern end, for us down here they do not seem to have interest in allowing the Igbo man to be in Aso Rock as president of Nigeria.
Do you think that if all the PDP Governors join the APC, it would better the fortunes of the South East in the next presidential election?
Yes, of course.
It will increase our bargaining and negotiating power. PDP will also know that it’s no longer business as usual. We’re ready to negotiate with other geopolitical zones to support our bid for 2023 Presidency.
At the moment we have APC Governors in Imo State and Ebonyi while the rest are PDP with only Anambra as APGA State. But you cannot go to the center without a strong bargaining power and that has been the bane of the South East geopolitical zone.
Why the South West appears to be playing deep into the country’s politics is simply because the entire South West is APC and that is why they are more rooted in the government of the day.
I have this strong belief that the two other governors would soon join the APC and that would be of great benefit to the zone in 2023. You cannot go to Abuja to negotiate without any thing on the table and that is the massage Gov Dave Umahi is passing across.
I can assure you that before the next election both Okezie Ikpazu and Ugwuanyi would join the APC and other geopolitical zones are watching to know how committed the South East is in its pursuit for the Presidency of Nigeria of Igbo extraction.
A lot of people are calling for electronic voting system to stop rigging, do you support that?
Yes, the world is turning to a global village. People should be able to vote from their comfort zones without fear or influence.
It will also help to reduce the rate of rigging and restore the confidence of the electorate that their votes will count.
That’s the practice in most developed countries. It is as a result of the absence of the electronic voting system that results are not released on time and we continue to hear stories of result sheets and other sensitive materials missing during an election and that has remained our problems.
However, I urge the authorities concerned to carry out the necessary legal frame work and enabling laws to give it bite . Nigeria must get it right for once and allow the wishes and aspirations of our people to prevail at every election.
We have had several elections in Nigeria and it all end up the same way. Those who do not like the electronic voting system are those who are not popular and those who know they do not have the call for service to humanity.
The PDP has boasted that the APC can never win the next Governorship election and that they are coasting to victory. What do you say ?
The same way, they boasted to rule Nigeria for sixty years. The party claims to be the largest party in Africa but at the end of the day we have seen how the party plunged Nigeria into poverty.
The advent of the APC government has exposed the fact that the PDP gave Nigerians a false picture of what is on ground and today Nigerians can now appreciate the real picture. Every body has gone into agriculture and people are now looking inward for a way out of the woods. No more long convoys and wasting tax payers money in buying gasoline and sharing money to touts who are apparently jobless. Instead of providing employment you dash money to people who did not work for it. When we get to the bridge we cross it.
Anambra is the industrial hub of the South East but the sector is not growing. What can be done as an industrialist to improve the sector?
As an Industrialist with vast experience in wealth creation and management, I will change the narrative of governance, create enabling environment for both foreign and local investors. I will build industrial parks in some strategic areas of the State, thereby creating employment. We’ve other plans to unveil as time progresses.
Anambra South is being destroyed by gully erosion as well as other parts of the State, what are your blue prints for environmental protection?
I will introduce operation clean up your environment, construct drainages to checkmate the erosion menace in all the communities, while we partner with the Federal Ministry of Environment to ensure incorporation of the affected areas in our national budget because most of them are beyond the State government.
I will also solicit for aid from the likes of World Bank and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
The agricultural sector has been having challenges. What is your take on this?
The Agricultural sector is an untapped opportunity that we need to develop and create employment, especially now the price of oil is dwindling.
I remember vividly what the then Premier of East Central State, late Chief Micheal Okpara did to the agricultural sector and as at then the crude oil was not in the picture.
Today we talk of Obudu cattle ranch in Cross River State and that was the achievement of Okpara, we had the oil palm plantation that was the main stay of the old Eastern region and that was our source of revenue.
But today we have abandoned all that to our own detriment and Malaysia has taken over the sector. At what point did we forget everything? It is not too late to start again all that we need is to prioritize our needs in agriculture.
You also know that COVID 19 pandemic exposed us in the area of agriculture and we must learn from it and my administration would take agriculture as a first line charge and ensure that everyone contributes to that sector of the economy.
APC has always been accused of conducting undemocratic primary elections do you agree with that?
How do you know? Are you a member of the APC? Before primaries, the party always come up with the modalities of conducting its primary in agreement with the concerned State. It is either direct or indirect primary and the masses will always prevail.
Some people are insisting that zoning would not produce the best Governor for Anambra, do you agree?
Are they saying there are no competent candidates in the zone being referred to? The essence of zoning is to ensure there’s justice, equity and fairness in distribution of powers and resources.
It gives every participant sense of belonging, minimise agitation and cry for marginalisation.
The election is between the Old Aguata Union and the Old Nnewi political block, how prepared is the Old Aguata Union?
The election is for the entire Anambra State and all the zones are preparing seriously including Old Aguata Union where I come from. We’re negotiating with other zones to support our bid to clinch the number one seat in Anambra State come 2021 gubernatorial election.
We’re fully prepared by God’s grace.