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National Assembly should consider independent candidacy, says Etiaba

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• Insists Anambra is broken
Action Alliance (AA) candidate for the November 6 governorship poll in Anambra State, Chief Ben Etiaba, has said undue emphasis on money and lack of transparency in most political parties make it imperative that the National Assembly consider independent candidacy.

Etiaba, who spoke to The Guardian in Abuja, yesterday, said contrary to perceptions in some quarters, he began preparations for the Anambra governorship contest since 2001, stressing that the fact that his mother, Dame Virgy Etiaba, became the first female governor of the state had nothing to do with his ambition.

“My ambition is to serve my people. My ambition is not to be a politician. If it was possible to be governor without going through election, that is what I will do. If it was possible to run as an independent candidate without belonging to a political party, that is what I will do,” he said.

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Looking back at circumstances that informed his defection from All Progressives Congress (APC) to AA, Etiaba, who is a chartered accountant by profession, said although the national leadership of APC made its choice, he was compelled by the genuineness of his vision to serve Anambra people to seek another platform.

He said factors that propelled him to join APC include the level of infrastructure development the administration has achieved in the last six years, especially the second Niger Bridge and Zik’s Mausoleum, as well as the need to join the mainstream.

The governorship hopeful said it was ironical that in spite of the many wealthy persons in Anambra State, the state remains broken with insecurity and filth. According to him, it was a shame that a state with a relatively small landmass like Anambra could not be tops on environmental sanitation and security.

Assuring that the Action Alliance government, under his watch, would tackle basic socio-economic challenges like poor access to quality education and healthcare, Etiaba frowned at the number of uncompleted projects littering the length and breadth of the state.

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On the claim by a governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2017 that Anambra State was not broken and therefore required no mending, Etiaba laughed, insisting that the number of candidates jostling to govern the state, as well as the many potholes on the roads, shows that the state is in a mess.

He said the easiest task for him is to entrench AA in all the 177 towns and 21 local government areas of the state, pointing out that his emergence is a product of Coalition of the Willing, which consists of embittered former members of APC, APGA and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“People are tired of the state of things. This election will not be won and lost on the basis of the amount of money any candidate of a party can afford. The electorate know what they want; they may sing and collect money, but they will choose the right governor,” he noted.

Etiaba enjoined voters to look at the antecedents of the candidates more than the number of billboards or cars in their convoys, adding that agitations such as the one being pursued by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are a protest against bad leadership.

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