‘Second term coming to an end for Obiano to show his report card’
Ex- Minister of Transportation (State), Dr John Emeka, recently decamped to All Progressives Congress (APC) from his former base of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with LAWRENCE NJOKU, Southeast Bureau Chief, he spoke on why he and others joined APC and the chances of the party in the November 6, governorship election.
Switching camp by someone of your political status is surely weighty and serious. So, what is it all about?
WELL, in political leadership you are always out for what is best for your people – where they stand to benefit in terms of education, agriculture, infrastructure, jobs and empowerment, among others. It is my firm belief that Anambra North Senatorial zone, especially my core area of Omambala needs help from the centre. We need to be connected to the Centre of Nigeria to be able to have infrastructure development, education, empowerment and all other life enhancing facilities. That is, things that would make them excel. I believe that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government will remain in power. I believe that working with Sen Andy Uba we can key in to the Federal Government and attract all that we need in the state. It is very important that we have somebody who has been there before and understands the dynamics of how our Federal Republic works.
Curiously, the people in this part of the country feel differently with the alleged marginalization by the federal government in terms of appointments and other infrastructure?
Well, APC being the party in power has the major responsibility to protect the citizens, and keep the nation together. If I am the President, I will really be worried if I have multiple agitations. However, it’s okay for anyone to agitate if you are marginalized or feel marginalized; including myself I will agitate if I feel unfairly treated. But the process of going about it matters. People would want to embark on arms struggle, or want to get involved in politics to be able to get to the centre to enable them to present and represent the views of their people.
I am totally against anything that has to do with arms. Rather, I’m for raising your voice when marginalized, I’m for seeking for what is best for your people. That is what leadership is all about. But how you go about it is a big question. I repeat, I’m completely against arms struggle. We have been through the Biafran war and it wasn’t an experience anyone would want to go through again. I was about seven years old then. But I still recollect jet fighters bombing the Otuocha area, and the terror that a young boy of seven would feel. So if I have a better way of actualizing my agitation I will pursue it. More so, we have a Constitution and processes that we can pursue. Young people must agitate because nobody wants to be a second-class citizen.
What is the possibility that an APC candidate can win a governorship election in Anambra State, even with very popular faces like you in the party?
There are lots of issues including very damaging negative propaganda against the party by the opposition parties in the state. We all know that in politics propaganda remains a potent tool. But today, APC is witnessing more and more of our people coming into it. It can be explained that this party, like any other formidable party, belongs to all of us. I didn’t see in the APC Constitution where it says it’s a party for Fulani, North, East or West.
The Constitution is there for all to verify. Anyone is free to join and participate actively in all its activities. But if you keep yourself out, that is your choice.
Personally I feel like this is a Nigerian party; the party at the Centre, that has bright chances to retain power. So we like to be present at the table where Nigeria’s business is discussed so that our people benefit from it. It doesn’t stop our very dynamic young ones who are everywhere from participating in the power equation where Nigeria is discussed in a proper way.
To start with, we are looking at APC as a Nigerian party. Also we are looking at the candidate of the party who has touched so many lives, not minding where you come from, for so many years. It’s therefore not surprising to me. Any very discerning politician, looking at the qualities of the APC candidate, looking at the possibility of the party remaining in power, looking at the situation in the country; I’m not being sentimental, you can simply conclude that what is happening is surely what it should be.
I am not being personal; it’s acknowledged that every party in the nation today has its own issues. I have been a top member of the PDP in Anambra State. Well, all parties have been having their internal issues, so it’s not for me to come out here to point out, say, the PDP. No. We all know there are problems even at the national level. But I wish them well because almost all of us are products of PDP.
Apart from your personal convictions about APC, what are your hopes and expectations from the party with regards to your people, assuming your candidate wins?
First of all I have to acknowledge it openly here that the candidate is a man with listening ears, accommodating and humane. A situation where more voices of reason say this is how it’s going to be fixed; I don’t think he will play Mr. Know all. He will listen. I also believe he will be equitable in distributing things. I believe he will focus on where and how to get the state going. I know he’s someone that will engage technocrats in their core areas to get the state working optimally. That is my hope and belief, having worked with him before at the Federal level I know that he has the good of Anambra State and the South East zone at heart.
Assuming Senator Uba wins, what three things would you like him to address immediately, at the state level; then for Anambra West Council area, your core area?
Education, infrastructure and the Youths. There’s the need to keep our youths busy. To me these three things are somehow interwoven. Getting the youths engaged will ensure they do not get in the wrong direction. We have to ensure the education they get is the best, especially the Information Communication Technology, which is driving today’s and tomorrow’s world. All schools must be given adequate attention. Get specialists in the areas to come and advise us. Again, note that in all areas, infrastructure is key. Looking around the state today drives me to tears, considering the huge resources coming to the state as daily and monthly revenue. But I know that if Senator Uba wins, which I know he will; he will surely change all that. This is because he is passionate and concerned about the welfare and needs of the masses, and exudes an undying love for the state. To that extent I hold him in high esteem.
Considering that the outgoing governor is from your area, how do you mobilise and convince people from your area to support another party?
Well, without sounding like an attempt to run anyone down, as a young pupil under my parents, at the end of every term you come home with your report card to face the music. This is because your report card will show whether you have been a serious student or not.
So for our dear governor the term is coming to an end and he’s going to present his report card to the people of Anambra State and they will judge. All we are going to do in our campaign is to make it issue-based and tell citizens of the state what the APC administration is going to do for them – our education, infrastructure, empowerment agenda, etc.
Looking at the caliber of people that are coming into the APC I sincerely think that the hope of Anambra people will be rekindled, believing that the government will take care of them, and provide the basic necessities of life for the state’s economy and the people to thrive and excel. So we are all very anxious and hopeful.
It is now a few days to the election and the sound bites are not favourable at all with the insecurity threatening the process. How optimistic are you?
I understand the worries but we have a constitutional obligation to discharge on November 6. I am also confident that our people will be prepared to discharge whatever responsibility vested on them, no matter the circumstance. We have already kicked off. I have been involved in a couple of our public and private campaigns, consultations and organizing things.
The momentum is building daily because of the caliber of person our flag bearer and the party. I have been involved in Anambra politics and know that the crescendo of the open-air campaign will peak up real soon. We must do it. We must soon take our message to the people. I will be personally involved in the door-to-door campaigns because of the issues involved. I need to tell our people why and what we stand to benefit when we pool our support and votes for the APC.
Every citizen of the state, especially my Anambra West Council area people must brace up. Things are tough and really difficult. It’s double jeopardy for us in the state, no roads, no hospitals, no infrastructure or empowerment of any kind.
If we muster a winning support for the APC candidate to win, we will have a governor that listens. It’s important that when you are managing the people’s resources you take proper care of the citizens. The flag bearer is one who is going to take the state to the Centre and put it in its rightful position. He will work on the provision of infrastructure, education and empowerment so as to keep our hope alive.