Mr. Chinwengozi Obike, Lagos-based legal practitioner, hails from Abia State. He is poised to govern the state from next year, after, according to him, dusting Governor T.A. Orji at the polls.
In this interview, he says Abia State has sunk so deep in criminality that it required not only a God fearing man, but a politician with vision and love for the proud people of the state to reverse the unholy trend. Excerpts:
Your posters are all over Abia State. People say you want to lend a helping hand. How?
I have watched the leadership not only in Abia State, but throughout the South-East for some time and know for certain that what has been lacking is leadership.
To govern Abia State, for instance, we need a man with a strong voice, not just a voice, a man with vision, not just everyday vision, a man with the love to understand certain primary issues.
We are a special people, so we need politicians who can understand our people, who can hearken to their aspirations and promote their well-being. That is why I am coming out.
I want to contest the governorship of Abia State, to provide the leadership that has been absent in the state since this dispensation.
What do you think is wrong with Abia State?
Leadership! A man cannot give what he does not have. That is why the Bible says that King Solomon prayed to God for wisdom. You will always need wisdom, not necessarily money.
In a leadership position, you will always need wisdom, you need vision, you need passion to lead a people. And, above all, you must have the love of the people at heart. That is exactly what I am offering to my people in Abia State..
There are people who say the South-East could speak with one voice?
The constituent states that make up the Eastern Region have gone their separate ways, but we need to restore the spirit that held the Igbo together that made them excel in the past.
One cannot understand why a Federal Government programme in Owerri cannot attract the attention of the other states in the region in the spirit of solidarity and brotherhood.
Again, when you talk of insecurity in Aba, the businessman from Imo is there, those from Anambra are there, the same with Ebonyi and Enugu businessmen. So, they are all suffering the insecurity that is in Aba.
Therefore, it cannot be ideal to leave such insecurity problems to Governor T.A. Orji of Abia State alone, it ought to be a regional insecurity problem.
Soldiers are now deployed in Aba. They are a necessary evil only in times of crisis.
What does it say about security in the state?
They will not be there forever. But, by their presence, they are fighting the symptoms and not the sickness.
The soldiers will return to their barracks, and the hoodlums will continue to wreak their havoc until a sound purposeful leadership is enthroned in the state.
The people must be presented with the path they must follow either economically, educationally, through their health system, employment opportunities, youth programmes, empowerment opportunities, sports, entertainment.
These are all embracing leadership wheels that must be properly oiled by the leader and the people will chart a progressive course. Our people are never parasites, we are hard working people.
No people in Africa are more enterprising than the Igbo, so it pains to hear the level of deprivation that is in Abia State that has brought this state of affairs about. Any proud Igbo person must be pained at the level our young people have sunk. It has never been like this. So, it is not a question of deploying soldiers or killing people.
Thereafter, when the kidnappers are gone, the ones that are jobless, what will they do? They are there, still watching you pillaging the state, pillaging the economy, running around with their sirens, you have no love for them, you have no vision for them, you have no plans for them. It is that pathetic.
Abia seems the weeping state now in the country – with incidents of kidnapping, armed robbery, etc. How would you handle these?
We are a very robust people and we respect leadership. All a leader needs is to present the good side and the people will follow. But if the leader presents the other side of the coin, of course, the people will also respond accordingly.
And the people have been led wrongly. The people will think these activities are the right way to follow. That is why, right now, nobody is interested in opening up shops in Aba.
Everybody is interested in securing appointments in the government of the state, people want to be commissioners or members of boards of parastatals, so that they can continue to wreak havoc on the economy of the state while impoverishing the people further.
With a good leader, Abia will not be the weeping state it has turned out to be.
In this quest, how do you deal with incumbency factor?
The incumbency is gone. Our people are not stupid, they know when they have been taken for a long useless ride. The incumbency is not in existence.