By Prince Osuagwu & Vincent Ujummadu
ANAMBRA South Senatorial Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Prof Nonso Mojekwu, left his cozy office at the School of Architecture, University of Illinois, Chicago as Adjunct Professor of Structural Engineering, to join politics in Nigeria. He was later to realise that running for elective position in Nigeria was super expensive and vowed to ensure that this scenario ceases to be the order of the day, if elected. Excerpts:
Why did you leave the comfort of the University of Illinois to join politics, knowing that many people see politics in Nigeria as a dirty game?
If something is dirty, someone has to clean it up. There is a saying that the only way for evil to triumph is for good men to keep quiet. So I can sit and complain about how bad the Nigerian politics is or I can get up and do something. I feel that if I don’t do something to clean it up, I lose my right to complain. I don’t like to sit too much. I like to get up and do something to try to improve situations. Quite well, Nigerian politics is dirty but quite frankly I have been in it. I don’t think it is as dirty as they try to make it seem.
You are just coming from abroad, how do you hope to sail through against established do politicians?
I am already encountering the problems. They are almost making it seem like you have to go pay your dues; you have to be kicked around by people who have been there before. It is almost like saying that the position of leadership to which we aspire is a reward. It should not be looked at as a reward. Leadership should be looked upon as service and for people who are willing to do things for their people.
So I happen to not share that belief that I must suffer and spend all my money on political bigwigs in order to get there. I feel I can make it if I have something to offer. It should not be like a favour. Democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people. It seems like what we practice in Nigeria is “selectocracy” _ government of friends, selected by their friends to do the necessary.
You were in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Why did you leave for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)?
If you know my story, I joined APGA based on the belief that APGA practiced free and fair internal democracy. I did everything I was supposed to do. I campaigned in every nook and corner of my constituency only to show up at the primaries and encounter what I encountered.
I think what happened at the APGA primaries, not just in the Anambra South Senatorial District, is a matter of record. It is not for me to begin to talk about it now. I believe it was very short of free and fair. I had to look around for a party where everyone has an equal chance of competing, equal chance of winning and equal chance of losing. I found that in CPC and I joined the party.
People insinuate that you decamped because of a failed relationship between you and Gov Peter Obi. Is it true?
I don’t have a personal relationship with him. I know him and I believe he knows me. So I don’t see where failed relationship comes in here. I have my ideas and they are that the people should be left to choose their leaders. I don’t know if he shares in that idea. As for his performance, I think he has done well in some areas and failed in some areas.
I believe he is taking on too much at the same time. But given the meager resources he receives he should be commended for the projects he is imposing in places. I think he should streamline and take on a few things and do them well.
I also think he should also reach out to philanthropists outside the country. I believe that the outcome of that would be rewarding. The money available to state governments and even the state budget is not even up to some fire departments in some overseas countries, yet we fight over it. Given that the internally generated revenue is so small, I think he should find other sources of income.
What do the people of your senatorial zone stand to gain if they send you to the Senate?
They will gain for sending someone who is companionate, someone who puts passion in whatever he does. My sole motivation of joining politics is to use my ability as a networker to bring people together to create laws that will create an enabling environment for people to help themselves.