Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Why Obiano is unqualified to represent Anambra north as governor—former minister

In this interview with our CEO/MD, COMRADE OKECHUKWU ONUEGBU, Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Transport, Prince John Emeka, while declaring to run for Anambra 2017 gubernatorial poll, wondered why the incumbent governor of Anambra State abandoned several projects it inherited like ANIDS.

Who is Prince John Emeka?
Prince John Okechukwu Emeka is son of late HRH Igwe John Emeka of Anam in Anambra West Council of Anambra state. I am a peace loving devoted husband and father, a devoted Christian of Roman Catholic denomination with a listening ear to the people and a believer of our core social values. I once served as Minister of State for Transportation, former senatorial candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, and now running for the November 18, 2017 governorship seat.

Why are you in for the race when there is an incumbent governor from your zone?
Well, I must commend His Excellences, the past and present Governors of Anambra State for their services to the State. There is no doubt that a lot of developmental projects were executed by the past governors from 1999 till date especially in clear vision of  the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Perfect example of this was those achieved under Anambra Integrated Development Service (ANIDS) under ex-Gov Peter Obi. However, I don’t think these visions have been sustained in the past three (3) years. I believe our economic growth would be guaranteed when we remain consistent and committed to well thought out and agreed policies, programs and projects. This is why we need a governor who understands this simple strategy. A governor, who will not deviate while grappling with future challenges. A Governor who understands that government is a continuum. We need a manager of our scarce resources, a listening ear, defender of our core social values and a governor in touch with the people. 

Sir, how ready are you to unseat the incumbent administration considering the allegation that you are not on ground?

It is erroneous to categorise me as such because I came into politics from a rich political background. My late father introduced me into grassroots politics. Then, I contested and won the 2002 Local Government Chairman of Anambra West Council Area under the platform of PDP. I also ran for the senatorial election on the platform of the PDP in 2006. You can see that I have been connected to my people since I was born. My people know me and I know my people. This is part of the reasons why I am throwing my hat into the ring in this governorship race.
I will create a highly motivated civil service structure to prime the government for work towards achieving greatness by implementing my agenda. Our people have become cynical about politics and political leaders. They have lost hope in the ability of the elected leaders to meet with their expectation of a government. I want to be remembered as the Governor who gave back hope to the people and a sense of pride to the future generation.

Your zone, Anambra north is often regarded as one of poorest developed senatorial district. Don’t you think people might want to know what you were able to attract to them as a serving minister?

Anambra North has undergone tremendous changes in the past 18 years. Both state and federal government have brought infrastructural developments like roads there. As a Minister I was instrumental to connection of the Federal road from Anam to Kogi state -the shortest route from Anambra to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT). Also, I attracted the River port road. All these were done to boost the economy of the State and her citizens. However, more would be done as soon as I takeover in order to harness the large economic potential of our state and make life easier for the common man. 

How prepared are you to execute these developmental projects now government at all levels across the federation lament paucity of fund and resources?

I will make Anambra state an investor friendly State by running an accountable government and through provisions of basic infrastructures at both rural and urban areas. You know that being accountable attracts development partners, who have the funds to invest both in infrastructure and industry which would in turn, drive growth and development in the State.
Anambra need a Governor who will be a prudent manager of our scarce resources and not a Governor who will waste them on frivolities. We will improve the internally generated Revenue (IGR) without overburdening the people with taxation. We can achieve IGR with a friendly tax system. We will close all leakages and wastage in government. 

Since 2015 general election, PDP has been facing steady dwindling fortunes following its lost of several states and federal government executives and legislative seats. How do you think Anambra voters would consider it as an option?

Well, the beauty of democracy is that when you are not delivering on good governance, the people have the right to change you by voting you out. I believe in one man one vote and I believe in the power of the people. In Anambra State, the November 18, 2017 is for the people to decide and choose a leader who will run an all-inclusive government, where no one or voice is shut out. I am sure they will surely vote a governor that can invest in the future of the state and provide the comfort we need now. Since PDP has learnt its lesson, I believe that the state would massively vote for its candidate.

Considering the political gladiators and parties warming up for the excise, do you think you have what it takes to win the price?
I know it will be a tight race but I believe it’s a straight fight between APGA and PDP because peace has finally returned to the PDP. All the previous factions have agreed to work as one. And I believe I have wherewithal to sustain the unity in the party and take it to victory. I can do that because I am a loyal party member and experienced entrepreneur, politician and a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Zoning is one of the agitations from people contesting this poll. Would PDP consider it as well?
You will agree with me that the current disquiet in the country is as a result of agitations by different ethnic groups due to bad governance and marginalization. People want to have a sense of belonging and equal access to opportunities. I believe that this informed the wisdom of our elders to introduce the concept of zoning. Zoning as a matter of fact is enshrined in the PDP constitution because PDP as a party believes in justice and equity. Though not formally discussed in the State but our people are accepting it having overwhelmingly voted for an Anambra North candidate in the last gubernatorial election (2013) and I believe this has come to stay. If elected governor, I will absolutely respect the zoning policy and have it formalized if need be.

But it is generally believed that the incumbent administration brought insecurity to a standstill in the state as well as attracted so many international organisation. Why do you think he deserves to be replaced at this time?
The people are the judge and jury. It is left for the people to decide if our schools are better now than they were 4 years ago. It is also left for them to say if they are now better secured than before. You remember that last Sunday, dozens of villagers were sent to their early graves in Ozubulu where they had gone for a 5am church service, in their own village. May their souls rest in peace. In Law, there is a popular maxim -"the fact speaks for itself". So it's for our people to decide if our students are still among the top 3 in WAEC, GCE and JAMB overall performance rating. It is for them to decide if jobs have been created and provided for the people. It is for the people to decide if our projects are properly priced and our scarce resources have been properly managed. It is left for the people to decide if there are concrete and visible foreign investment on the ground impacting on their socioeconomic well-being or if multiple MoUs like you pointed out are sufficient to meet their hopes. I believe we need a leader that will be radical in tackling development issue. We need development now.

Is it true that Anambra north is clamouring for zoning because its of alleged political weakness despite commanding the numerical strength?
I disagree with the assertion because Anambra North has produced great leaders not just for Anambra State but also for Ndigbo and Nigeria. We bore the likes of the great Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ajie Ukpabi Asika, Rt. Hon. Chuba Okadigbo and my late father, Igwe John Emeka. These were great leaders and that makes us the heirs of great political heritage thus setting a bench mark for us. What makes us different is that the people of Anambra North have long supported others in political affairs. That’s why we have supported other zones to produce Governors of the State. I believe also that it's the realization of this fact that persuaded the elders to decide to zone office to Anambra North not out of weakness but to ensure justice, fairness and equity. Will I deviate from the principle of Anambra North fathers, the answer is no. I will continue in their linage. 



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