By Chioma GABRIEL, Deputy Editor
Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife was the Third Republic Governor of Anambra State. He was also Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and at present, the Chairman of Association for Good Governance in Anambra State.
In this interview, he answers questions on the political situation in the state.
Anambra State is a state on â€˜fireâ€™. What is going on?
God is working in our beloved state. All the problems of the past will stop. All the riggings will stop. All the bad things happening before will stop.
On September 14 ,2009 at Awka, a non denominational Mass was held where we prayed to heavens to take over the government of the state and during the prayers, it was clear to us that our prayers were answered.
The manifestation that God answered our prayers was the abortion of the rigging plan which was made in connection with the PDP primary because people tried to rig but they were not allowed to rig and we believe that from now on, things will be happening in that state that would weaken the hold by which people who are forces of evil operate.
From 1999 to the present day, the state has produced five governors. And there was a recent threat by Ikemba Nnewi , Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu that the political problems inÂ the state could lead to another civil war?
Now, look at that statement. I can guarantee you there would not be a situation of war in the state. There will not be any civil war arising from whatever event, political or otherwise emanating from Anambra State. What civil war? Who will fight who?
Can you identify the factions that will get into fighting? How can something happening within Anambra State lead to civil war in Nigeria? It is not possible and we are not prepared to carry guns anywhere.
So many strange things are happening in the state. Look at what happened to Soludoâ€™s father. There is no guarantee of safety in that state.
That could be said in the area of politics. The normal kidnapingÂ have stopped because we prayed and it was eliminated. This one is high profile kidnapingÂ which I believe is being perpetrated by politicians. But we shouldnâ€™t be scared. As you know, I travel regularly to Anambra Sate because I have to.
There are meetings I have to attend, there are family affairs that demand my presence, funerals, weddings and by the grace of God, I go and come back because I have a chief security officer called Angel Gabriel and I go and come without problems.
So, you are expressing optimism that come 2010, there would be no cause for alarm?
We know there are all kinds of things going on and we know we cannot do it ourselves and that was why we went to God and we handed it over effectively to God. And what you hand over to God cannot spoil. That is the confidence we have, that our God does not fail.
It is being alleged that many well-to-do citizens resident in the state are leaving the state due to the political situation. Is it true?
I will not advise anybody to stay if he doesnâ€™t want to stay. And I wonâ€™t advise anybody to leave either. I think there was a time it was so rough even to the point thatÂ you cannot go to your bank and withdraw money because of armed robbery. That was when we went for the prayers but now, that is history.
So, there is security now?
There is nowhere you have special security. There is a general problem in the security situation not only in Anambra but in other places. What we need as human beings is divine security, divine intervention. There is always a way God can stop evil from befalling you. It is not by your might or by having guards around you. It is strictly Godâ€™s way and that never fails.
All these insecurity is due to unemployment. People, young people go to the university and graduate and stay for years without job. There is nothing to do. And there is no power supply to get them busy on their own. Some of the graduates who could be self-employed today are not because there is no power supply to sustain them. The industries that could employ them donâ€™t have power to operate.
Therefore, employment has become very scarce and because these young people desperately need to survive, they go into all kinds of things: armed robbery, kidnaping and they become easy tools in the hands of these politicians. But as I told you, things have changed.
For sometime now, there have not been reports of cases of armed robbery in the state before suddenly, we heard of Soludoâ€™s fatherâ€™s case.
So, what advice do you have for all these candidates and their so-called godfathers who are preparing to contest election in the state by 2010?
Now, I am happy that you asked me that question. I want to use this opportunity to say where I stand in the scheme of things. I am the Chairman of Association for Good Governance in Anambra State. I cannot choose one candidate and support him.
I cannot endorse any particular candidate but God has done well for us. We have people who if they win, it will be good for the state, starting with Peter Obi. He has not done very badly as governor in the past four years. He has not stolen our money. His visible achievements are many.
So, if he is re-elected, we cannot be crying in Anambra State. There is also Dr. Chris Ngige. He is the most popular amongst all the candidates that have come outÂ for governorship election. He has been there before and he performed creditably.
His problem is that his party Action Congress,AC, is not firmly rooted in the state. If he is elected, we have seen him dance before. We like the pattern of his dance. Nobody in Anambra will cry if Ngige comes out and wins. Now, we also have Soludo.
We see in him the quality that AnambraÂ is knownÂ for. Some will have reservations about how he emerged and what happened but if Soludo wins, nobody in Anambra State will cry that weâ€™ve got a bad governor. So, the three most prominent are so good and we can live with any of them.
There are others too. I think there is a woman amongst them and if a woman wins, good. We are ready for anything .God will give us because we handed over this situation to Him and if a woman wins, thatâ€™s the will of God. If itâ€™s Peter Obi, thatâ€™s the will ofÂ God. If itâ€™s Ngige or Soludo, we believe in the will of God.
We have nothing to complain about because we believe God has taken control of the political events in the state. I am confident about that.
Anambra State has produced five governors since 1999. Andy Uba went to court again for his own mandate. What do you call that sir?
You know, many things happen in Nigeria. I believe that the principle of democracy has already been violated in Anambra when after four years of our voting for a candidate, more years were added to the mandate we got. We, the people of Anambra State voted in 2003 with the rest of Nigeria for a candidate. Whatever happened with our votes was controversial.
We voted for four years and after four years, the voters would either renew their mandate for the same person or for a different one. There is nothing in democracy that defines the court giving their own mandate for somebody to govern Anambra State.
That decision given then was wrong. What happened in the case of Anambra State was that the judges usurped the electoral powers ofÂ the electorate. So, with Andy Uba, itâ€™s a matter of court decision and if they decide he should rule, we cannot stop him. If it is the way out of our quagmire, well, okay, good.
So, Anambra people should remain calm no matter the development?
Well, Anambra people are at peace. They are taking things calmly. People are enjoying their normal lives. We are easy to rule.
We understand things. We like to make a noise when things are right. We enjoy ourselves and even talk carelessly. But when we want to do something and set our mind on it, we do it well. This time around, there will be no rigging and I know there would not be any crisis in the state come 2010.