By Emma Okocha
Debate on the Potomac: Kidnapping in Anambra is prelude to anarchyÂ – Ngige
The recent gubernatorial debate ignited by the convention of the ASA USA , the umbrella organization of the Anambra community resident in the USA, continued after the festivities on the Potomac Gaylord National Resort.
Elaborating on his stance that he did not â€˜â€™forget anything in the Government Houseâ€™â€™…except for the fact that, â€œIâ€™m coming back to give my people the remaining 75% of the 25%, we delivered to them in my short-lived administration, â€˜â€™ Dr. Chris Ngige then quickly commended the Vanguard for initiating the Potomac Debate.
He confirmed his readiness to participate and challenged his opponents from all the contesting political parties, to enter the arena with him. Consequently, the former Governor, who had since departed the US for Nigeria, invited the Vanguard to his Maryland residence and granted us an exclusive interview. Below are the excerpts.
Chris Ngige, who acknowledged that his opponent, the present Governor, Peter Obi, had all the time and more attention during their last debate at that convention, maintained that the first constitutional obligation a sitting Governor owes to his people, is his sworn declaration on the day he was given his staff of office. On that solemn day, â€˜â€™the Governor swears to protect the lives and properties of his people under his charge.
That is a constitutional obligation,â€™â€™ he said. Obiâ€™s administration was caught unprepared for this type of emergency. Not being proactive and with a cabinet of not much depth, the government has no solution. Apart from arming policemen and buying them vehicles, the Obi government cannot do much.
In fact, continued the ex-governor, his policies on curbing kidnapping in Anambra state is turning the state to a battlefield, this is an obvious sign that there is no government. The place has been run to the ground, and the first obligation of this Obiâ€™s government to its people has not been met, he argued.
That the state is daily under siege, ransacked by miscreants created from the lack of responsive and responsible government. “As I speak to you now, nobody is immune from these kidnappers,â€™â€™…. the Royal Fathers, the Bank Executives, the Business moguls, the traders, the young and the very old. A state where the government has lost its ability to maintain law and order, to protect its citizens, is a prelude to anarchy.
“In my next administration, Iâ€™m hoping to first of all solve the problems from the source. You will remember I was talking about the US system which countered the negative effects of unemployment by establishing some institutional cushions to alleviate the poverty and the sufferings of the poor, the unemployed, the youths and their retraining programmes, and of course the provision of power
This is very important departure, as we debate our opponents on this sad issue of kidnapping, the very restive Anambra youths and our overwhelming unemployment rate. â€˜â€™Give the Anambra people steady power and we shall land in the moon,â€™â€™ the former Governor stressed.
He explained that the state cannot, like Governor Obi argued, wait for the Federal Government to restore uninterrupted power. â€˜â€™What is he doing, when I was the Chairman of the South East Governorsâ€™ forum, we encouraged collaboration among those states with the projection to go into projects that will benefit our people.
Anambra should take the lead and the challenge to give our people power; to power our industriesâ€, Ngige said.
According to the former Governor, Nnewi and Onitsha industrial axis is asleep because there is no power to wake up our peoplesâ€™ enterprise and industries.
The motor parts, plastic and the vegetable industries to name but a fewâ€¦I plan to go into collaboration with Delta state, (which is now almost completing its own power supply) or with any other state, so that in the very near future, Anambra state will be in position to expand its work force and reactivate its sleepy industries.
Once we have more of our youths engaged in some of our informal industries and services, those cottage and giant industries would wake up with the extension of uninterrupted power. With other programmes in my manifesto aimed at the youths, we shall start saying goodbye to the menace of kidnappers and the men of the underworld.
On the depth and the capabilities of the Obi cabinet, Vanguard needed some clarification.
Chris Ngige disclosed that his first fight with his erstwhile party started when he wanted to appoint his cabinet. â€˜â€™They came with their nominees. I stood my ground and went for a CPA for my finance ministry, a SAN for my Attorney-General and an obstetrician, a professor of medicine, for my health portfolio.
My agriculture commissioner had to be an expert, he is an Agric. engineer. My party at that time, the PDP, would rather want me to appoint their own party â€˜â€™empowerment shenanigans who would come into government to come and chopâ€™â€™. Of course, I had my way and they did not like it.â€™â€™ He said.
On the Obi cabinet, Ngige argued that â€œyou bring in what you have,â€™â€™ adding that he is a distinction student who trained as a medical doctor and worked his way almost to the top of the Nigerian bureaucracy. He was a top medical doctor who found his way to the top of the civil service and from there went into politics.
With a grin, he stated that he is specially equipped to understand government and politics more than his opponents, most of whom have one path trajectory of life. â€˜â€™The government and its cabinet cannot compare with my cabinet, because you can only bring what you have,â€™â€™ he maintained.
On his vision which incidentally has proclaimed him the safe and the only AC gubernatorial candidateâ€¦.perhaps the only serious candidate who has no fear of the courts, INEC inquiries, party nomination controversies, Dr. Ngige disclosed that one of the reasons he is no longer in PDP stems from his belief that politics should be a game played between like minds.
There is no way I would have continued to stay with certain characters in that party. And when they came back for me, I wanted to make sure my return included in the negotiations, the validation of my nomination as their sole candidate. The AC is the party that accepted our terms and contrary to my adversaryâ€™s propaganda, the AC is not a Yoruba party. This is the party that was formed before the presence of Senator Ben Obi, Dubem Onyia, Tom Ikimi etc. Whatever miracle that is happening in Lagos state, started with me in Anambra state and all those are part of the philosophies of this AC party.
On the contrary, PDP is a conspiracy, a collection of a select Nigerian parasitic elites jockeying for power to constantly plunder the Nigerian promise,â€™â€™ he declared.
While he defends some of his PDP friends like Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, admires others like Dr. Alex Ekwueme, and would wish General Ojukwu well, the former Governor of Anambra state maintains that he had worked for the Igbos, as the former President of the Lagos Aka Ikenga, member of the Ohaneze Strategic Group, and indeed hopes that the people of Anambra state would remember that he risked his life for democratic dividends to return to the people.
On that score, the governor is confident that his people would remember what they did during the Abiola presidential elections, and go all out and return him, and his remaining 75% services back to the Awka Government House.