Anambra guber will be better off by e-voting, says Nwobu
Imposition of candidates a thing of the past
In this interview with LAWRENCE NJOKU, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, expressed the thoughts of his party on the November 6, 2021 governorship election of the state and stressed the use of e-voting for credible election
It’s been about 16 years that the PDP lost the governorship in Anambra. What strategies do you have to win on November 6?
Any responsible organisation will always assess its strategic plans to know why it has been failing so as to get it right. Part of the major problems of PDP is the issue of imposition of candidates. And it stems from all kinds of illiterates traceable to the leadership in the past, as well as high-handedness from different quarters. But since we came to office, we have done a great deal to stabilise once again. We’re in synergy with the national leadership, which before now was always in the middle of the confusion, where conflicting and contradictory directives and letters were thrown out of the national secretariat to the states and other organs almost on a daily basis. But the leadership today, under Prince Uche Secondus, has been forthright in the handling of party affairs. It has also been very decisive, showing itself as commanding the collective mandate of the people who elected it. The leadership has been following the party’s constitution.
It’s part of the reason we have appealed to members, who went to court, especially those who did so for no just cause, but simply to destabilise the party and cause disharmony and disaffection, to come home. Outside these, our party has remained united, cohesive and that was something that was never achieved over the years.
That was what saw us conduct a rancor-free primary in various states during the last general election. So, working in concert with the zonal and national leadership, we are going to conduct very commendable, transparent primary in Anambra State. It will be second to none, such that anyone who loses will know that he lost because the delegates voted more for the winner.
That’s why when I talk about the primary election I always emphasise that it’s not just that day that matters but all that transpired along the line leading to the primary election. Today, once you indicate formal interest to run, you come to the secretariat and we give the list of all the council and ward executives of the party and encourage you to meet and get to know them. It’s no longer the situation where the leadership will be hiding the list and identity of those the contestants need to reach out to. Once you come, we give you the detailed list because they are actually the ones who know all the delegates in their wards. When you go to them, you market yourself, manifesto and other programmes to them. And if they are convinced they will surely vote for you.
So, once we get the primary right, and I’m very optimistic, because our national leadership has shown an uncommon steadfastness and fairness in its handling of all primaries conducted since they came to power. By so doing, one of our biggest headaches would have been addressed. With that, I’m convinced that the electorate especially will begin to see a new PDP with a new thinking and mindset geared towards restoring life in the state to a level of happiness once again.
The party recently mandated members to withdraw all court cases. How has the response been?
It was an appeal to those who have been fighting to cause rancour and discord to sheath the sword. It’s clear that a party leadership has tenure. We were elected in 2017 and by Dec 3, 2021, our tenure would expire. Thereon any other person who wants to lead the party will be free to aspire and if he wins the support of members then he leads. If these people do not have a hidden agenda, what is the essence of going to truncate the leadership of a party that has served three years out of four? There are only a few months to go. However, we are still appealing to them.
The party leadership has a role to play in the next six months, and after the primary, it becomes a matter of bringing every citizen of this state to support the party to win the election. So, ours has been that of appeal, appeal and appeal in the interest of the party. This is because most of these combatants do these things and the party loses an election and it won’t worry them. They are well off. They can take care of themselves. But what about the followers that would be left bereft of any government incentive and dividends of democracy? They go hungry, beggarly and wretched and four years after you come to call them out again to follow you. It doesn’t make sense at all. That’s why we are still appealing to them. The zonal leadership has given a warning, noting that they have seen that these antics were focused at truncating the party, and said it would no longer be tolerated. They observed that there was nothing in those suits. So also was the view of the national headquarters.
Anyone who belongs to an association like a political party must abide by its rules and constitution. When issues come up, you must exhaust the internal mechanisms and channels before considering going to court, if still not assuaged. But these persons on their own continue to go to court against the party for no just cause. That is why the party has given them a mandate to withdraw the cases. We hope they will listen, and if they fail to listen, the party has other channels to handle anyone or group that wants to destabilise it or cause disaffection.
And how many such cases do you still have?
Two of the cases are at the appeal level. Another one is at the high court here in Awka. Basically, there are three cases. Like I said earlier, they have no foundation at all.
How has the response to the directive been?
None has been withdrawn since that appeal and directive from our zonal headquarters.
Can you give further details?
One is Sam Anyakora and 32 others vs the PDP. He is from Ihiala council area. Another one is Andrew Modili and 300 others vs the PDP and then the third one is Hon K.G. Enemo vs the PDP.
APC strongly believes it’s now their turn to run the state. They say the PDP has had its turn, while APGA is currently completing theirs. What are your chances?
It’s a pity. APC has nothing good for anyone, especially our people. Our electorate is wiser and will not have anything to do with APC. Their party has impoverished all Nigerians, particularly our people.
This is a government that knows that most of our people are predominantly into commerce and they closed the borders for almost two years and all entreaties for them to allow goods that had already arrived the borders fell on deaf ears. They have completely wrecked and bastardised the economy of this country. We have become more insecure than ever recorded in history. The federal administration had never been more clueless than under the APC. They are very nepotistic and desperately confused. So, what are they going to offer the citizens of Anambra State?
I call the government at the centre, as stealing from the people. What do I mean? This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that every financial transaction you make you pay the Federal Government. They will take part of your money. Meanwhile, they are encouraging citizens to always carry out formal transactions that we should desist from doing it outside? So for every such transaction you make, they steal your money. That is sad.
Unfortunately, they have not done any tangible, visible project with the money. They have borrowed from every source, institution and organisation. They have literally turned Nigeria into a financial leper before the world. It is such that the nation’s sovereignty is now under intense threat. So in that situation, what would an APC member go to campaign with in Anambra? What is he going to tell any Igbo man? It’s laughable. They have absolutely nothing to show. And if they are planning a repeat of the fraud in Imo State in Anambra, then they need to have their heads examined.
APGA said they have completed the update of their membership register while the APC has started. Is the PDP going to do the same?
The national headquarters has had a meeting on ways and means to carry out an electronic membership drive and update. It’s not concluded. It’s still work-in-progress. But while waiting further directives on that, we are about to hit the ground running with local government area tours soon. It would avail us the opportunity to reach out to all citizens of this state and we are commencing from Ihiala.
PDP lost some states, especially in the Southeast. We keep hearing that some are gearing up to leave, too. What’s happening?
Truly, it is not my wish to see any of our governors leave the party. It doesn’t augur too well for the party. But I must admit that these are personal decisions. That’s the reason you cannot hold down anyone from holding discussions and hence no other person can stop anyone. After all, you were not part of the discussion. I know that in this game, there is so much quicksand where a lot of promises are usually made. It’s such that at the critical moment you discover you have been promised nothing. It’s not our wish to lose any more states. I caution all our members to note that it’s only God Almighty that will determine what will happen tomorrow.
INEC had indicated that some amendments will likely come before Anambra poll. Which areas would you want amendments and why?
Definitely, citizens of this state would be better off if the e-voting system is activated and implemented. Again, if INEC ensures that there would be one-man one-vote. So, INEC needs to look at strategic planning, the security features of the e-machines and so on, to ensure the election would indeed be a one-man one-vote system.
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