Hon Eni Uduma Chima is the member representing Afikpo South West state constituency in Ebonyi State House of Assembly. In this interview he speaks on the emerging political dynamics in Ebonyi State ahead of the 2015 election among other issues. Excerpts:
By Peter Okutu
The elections are coming up early next year, what do you expect from the next Governor of the state?
I expect the next Governor of Ebonyi state to be a patriot; somebody who will have the interest of Ebonyi people and the country at large at heart in all sincerity. Somebody who will come after the model of the present governor, Martin Elechi. Somebody who will have development as his core value in transforming the lives of the people of Ebonyi State. Somebody who will want to cater for the welfare of Ebonyi State and keep up with the pace of development and rapid transformation which is ongoing in the state in various sectors.
Most persons are gearing up seriously to replace Governor Elechi, what do you advise such people?
Our political culture in Ebonyi State is that which is given to dignified leadership. Politics here is not an all comers affair. We believe in the wisdom of the Elders, the experience of the founding fathers and I would want to believe that anybody who is sincere in coming to serve the people, he will not want to impose himself on the people; he will wait for the people to request him to come and serve them and we are looking up to our leaders.
We have capable leaders who are sufficiently exposed to give us proper guidance because what an elder may see sitting down, a youth may not see even if he climbs on top of a tree. So we are relying on the elders and the experience of the leadership of this state which the present governor is in a position to speak for.
How do you access the performance of the senator representing Ebonyi South?
The performance of Senator Sunny Ogbuoji has been excellent in all ramifications. In the past, Ebonyi indigenes were not accommodated adequately in employment in the federal civil service but he has made sure that, that anomaly has been addressed. Today, courtesy of his activities, you see Ebonyi indigenes taking their slots and no more foreigners filling our slots. Then in the aspect of infrastructure, he has done a lot.
What do you think should be the focus of the ongoing National Conference?
The focus should be on the unity of the country. On bringing about situation that will make sure that citizens have faith in the country and the peace and progress of the country and that is the ideals that are encompassed in the motto of the country as a nation. That should be the focus.
What’s your assessment of Ebonyi delegates to the National Conference?
The selection is superb; they are best men and leaders of thought in the state. It is mixture of intellectuals, technocrats and business men in their own right. They are sufficiently experienced to take to the general table issues that are affecting the country as a whole and those ones affecting Ebonyi state vis-à-vis our relationship with the country. I think they are capable of doing so.
What is your advice to politicians in the state who want to contest for one political position or another?
My advice to politicians is to play the game by the rules, if for any reason you are not wanted by the people don’t be desperate to represent the people and you must not insist that it must be you.
And if you put mechanisms in place maybe because you have the apparatus of government in the state to thwart the will of the people then they may resort to other means of expressing themselves which will in the long run not be in the overall interest of the citizens of the country because those who make peaceful changes impossible make only make violent changes inevitable.
One of the criticisms against the PDP in the state is lack of internal democracy, how confident are you that this time around it will be different?
All things being equal, under the guidance of the governor, Martin Elechi, we are confident that the proper thing must be done. Having been in party politics for a long time, he knows and understands the dynamics of party politics. He knows that when parties impose candidates that are not popular on the electorate, they will resist it by voting for the opposition party even if the opposition is less acceptable, they will vote in protest for such opposition candidate.
The governor is wise enough, experienced enough to avert the negative consequences which will come from imposition of candidates and so far in all the elections conducted under his supervision, he has always frowned at attempts to impose candidates and he has always insisted that nothing is right unless it is right. We have confidence that with him as the party leader in the state, credibility will be ensured in the primary elections.