By Vincent Ujumadu
Mrs. Uche Ekwunife is a two -term member of the House of Representatives for Anaocha/Njikoka/Dunukofia federal constituency. She contested for the governorship seat of Anambra State in 2010 on the platform of Peoples Progressives Alliance, PPA. In this interview, Ekwunife spoke on her governorship ambition, the crisis in her party, APGA among other issues Excerpts.
Are you going to contest the governorship election?
This is to tell my brothers and sisters in Anambra State that I am contesting for that position in the election. I also wish to state that I am not just coming out to join the bandwagon of those who say that they are contesting, but that I am fully prepared and ready to contest as a person who is contesting to win by the special grace of God.
Your party, APGA, is in crisis. Don’t you see this as an impediment?
I know you are talking about the disagreements in our party. This is normal in any political organization and it is an ingredient of democratic process. In politics there are bound to be litigations and there could also be controversies. Though APGA is a minority party in Nigeria, it is however the leading and majority party in Anambra State.
I am sure that you are aware of the court matters about APGA leadership and what the Enugu Appeal Court said about the High Court judgment against Sir Victor Umeh. Going by that, Victor Umeh is still recognized as the National Chairman of APGA.
Issues at the high court
We still have issues at the High Court, the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court over the matter. But at the moment Victor Umeh remains the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance and that is where I belong, unless something else happens legally. Besides, the Appeal Court position on the matter remains substantive until it is reversed.
Don’t you see the fact that you are from the same local government area with the outgoing governor, (Anaocha) as a challenge?
Anambra State is a unique state. Our people are highly politically aware and cannot be misled. What the people of Anambra State want is good governance irrespective of where the person comes from. I wish to make it known to you that zoning is not the issue in Anambra State. There has never been a time Anambra State agreed on zoning or a zoning formula. It is only when Anambra people come together through any manner and say this is what we want and which of the senatorial districts would start, then we address that issue and it takes off from there. Even those who are saying that it is their turn had contested with other zones in the past.
There is this insinuation that you have gone into a political marriage with an oil magnet also contesting for the governorship for the purpose of being his running mate. Is it true?
Nobody runs for the post of Deputy Governor. I cannot be spending all my time and resources, draining energy, creating all the awareness across the state in the name of becoming a deputy governor. I wish to reiterate that I have what it takes to manage the affairs of Anambra State creditably. Anybody telling you that I am going to become running mate to anybody or deputy to anybody is not saying the truth. I have heard it before and I see those stories as rumor and it does not hold water. I want to make it clear that I am running to win and I have the belief in God that I will win the election.
You have moved from the PDP to PPA and now to APGA. Some believe that you would soon return to PDP. Is it true?
I have no intention to join the PDP at anytime. I am a member of APGA and the party is dear to us and to me in particular. When you look at our party, APGA, you will discover that the party has done well in our state. This is through the instrumentality of our governor, Mr. Peter Obi. He has done so well and that is to the credit of APGA as a party. That is also the testimony that we are using as APGA. So we in APGA shall build on the foundation that he has laid to better Anambra State. So there is no point going to the Peoples Democratic Party when the APGA -led government has done well.
Like I said before, the leadership problem in APGA does not mean an end to the party. We have a National Chairman, Sir Victor Umeh and he remains that. One cannot because of the normal democratic developments in his or her party, join another party.
As a woman are you intimidated by the presence of many men in the contest?
I am contesting for the post of a governor to render service to my people. Any person can render service to the people of Anambra State and it doesn’t matter if the person is a man or a woman. What matters is service to the people. I will like to adhere that being a woman is not an impediment at all.
Come to think of it, we are not going there to fight physically where you would say we need men. Again at my level and stage in politics, I am above such fear of intimidation by men. You should also know that I have passed that stage of intimidation in politics. I have spent close to eight years in the National Assembly and in the National Assembly we have about 360 members who are men and women of integrity. People experienced from all walks of life and we share ideas and rub minds on issues about our people and you feel that with such an experience any law maker cannot make a good governor? So it is not a man or woman thing. It is all about service to the people and it does not matter if the person at the helm of affairs is a man or a woman.