I got involved in politics because I needed to contribute my own quota to help fix the things that are wrong with our country. I want to see whether I can change the way things are done. I set up a Foundation in my community, about 12 years ago, and through the foundation, I discovered that there is pervasive poverty in the land and this is holding us down. I just realised there’s poverty in the land; our institutions are in bad shape due to poor leadership.
As a successful businessman, yes you can try, but it’s only through politics that you can effectively impact your immediate environment. If people like us don’t get involved, then these other people will get there, make laws and do all sorts of things to control us.
Life is not just about being comfortable; there’s need for some of us to get involved in politics. My take is that we can do it differently. It is people like us who when we start something, see its end, people like us who had worked and started our businesses from the scratch and taken it to a certain level that should be involved in governance; people like us who have good background in terms of education; if somebody wants to lead or do something by himself, he should be prepared.
The challenge in Nigeria today is leadership. The country is in a mess today because of poor leadership. Religion is also part of it. Pastors preach prosperity as opposed to hardwork. Our tribal sentiments too: He is Ibo, no, he is Yoruba, oh, and he is Hausa. Sometimes, they are the force of our support. We have to work together to change that mentality. I’m in the race to provide quality leadership for Ndi Anambra and by extension the Igbo race, which is in dire need of credible leaders with track records.
Look at my own state, Anambra, people involved are career politicians. Times are changing. The oil resources is thinning out, so, I believe that it is time for people to think out of the box. That’s why I’m offering myself. I’m in the race to provide credible leadership in Anambra State.
Politics in the state had always been fixed in the past; it was always kind of rigged. People get together sometimes in a place, write results and announce them. Sometimes, they use the Police and Military and do whatever they want to do.
Do you think you can make any difference now?
These people you are talking about are not popular on the ground; they don’t win popular elections. I know this time around, they are not going to have INEC, DSS and Police with them; they are going to come out and contest this election like every other person because of the times we are in today; because of the politics of change.
PDP had been manipulating things in Anambra State until APGA got into it. APGA was not standing alone; they had a deal with PDP. So, all the elections in Anambra State were always manipulated one way or the other. But I believe that times have changed because of the man we have today as the President; I think we are going to have a level playing ground in the election.
For the first time, the so-called powerful politicians will go and test their popularity on the ground. It wouldn’t be a situation where somebody stays in his house to write election results and announce. That’s what gives me confidence; I believe we will see real democracy in action this time around.
Let us look at your party primaries; what are your chances?
I come from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) bloc and George Muoghalu comes from the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) before we merged to become All Progressives Congress (APC). As far as I’m concerned, we are the only two people, who, morally, should be contesting this election. We shouldered with our leader, Chris Ngige, whatever it took to keep the party alive. You know how politics is played during registration and you know when people are poor, they expect you to even pay for the passport. Before the election, we spent our money.
It is not easy to play opposition politics. But some of us who believe in certain principles, when it was fashionable to be in PDP and APGA and get the benefit of being in government, but we said no, this is the right way to go. And when election came, those guys gathered together and called us all kinds of names. Some said we were Boko Haram. Terrorists. Some called us Yoruba names. Some said Fashola deported Igbo people in Lagos. They caused all kinds of opposition in Igboland. Fortunately for us, APC won the election and today, you see these people jumping into the party. But they have come in like armed robbers, and want to contest election. All you hear is: “I want to contest for the governorship election.” It is morally offensive for a person, who believed in what PDP stood for four months ago to now say you’re putting on APC shirt. You don’t even want to recognise that people have been there. The only claim they have is that they have more money than some of us. If you come into the system, you take your time to understand the situation.
How on ground is APC Anambra?
If you check today, the dynamics of who-is-who in Anambra State politics, you will see that almost everybody is in APC. Our people have realised that the PDP was a wrong one and APGA was a lie, a deceit. APC today is the party to beat. If we lose this election, it is because we brought the wrong candidate. APC is on he ground. I have had consultations with people across board, I’m not sure today that Anambra people are going to stigmatise or reject people based on their party. We have come to realise that we have to reconnect.
Fear of incumbency?
Willie Obiano wouldn’t be the first governor in Anambra State that did one tenure. I’m from Anambra South Senatorial Zone and if you recall, governor Mbadinuju did only four years and our people felt he wasn’t doing well. One way or the other, he was voted out. I know he’s the incumbent, but our people will decide whom they want; that’s the beauty of democracy. He’s going to test his popularity and we know how he got into government and disappointed even the people that got him into power.
I believe our people realised they made mistake in the last election, which clearly put us out of political equation in the country. Anambra today needs somebody, who thinks differently and when I get there, I will do things differently; we will refocus Anambra for sustainable development. So, I’m not afraid of his incumbency powers; he will do his show and we will do our show.