BY EMMANUEL ELEBEKE
Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC) Governorship Candidate in Enugu State and immediate past Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Mr. Dan Shere, in this interview speaks on his ambition for the Coal City and why Governor Chime cannot stop him. Excerpts:
What really informed your ambition for joining this race?
I was the campaign coordinator of the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP in 2007 elections in Enugu state. Immediately after the election, government at the state level derailed and I felt we were not implementing the Four point Agenda. It therefore, became clear that this government has lost focus.
All it started pursuing are the elitist agenda, talking about retiring the billions of naira that come to the people through white elephant projects like traffic lights, through local governments’ graders that don’t work., street lights where we do not have rural electrification, water fountains that water flowers, when we do not have bore holes in the rural areas.
With my background, I decided to look for alternative platform that will address the basic needs of the majority of Enugu people, who were forgotten in darkness of their rural enclaves.
What gives you the confidence that you will win this election, bearing in mind that apart from the incumbent governor, you have another major contender from labour party from your zone, Enugu North?
We are in a democracy. Majority of my votes may not come from Enugu North. It can come from anywhere. I was Secretary to Enugu State Government and Enugu state commissioner in various ministries and Enugu people know me while in office.
Looking at the power of incumbency the present governor is enjoying, don’t you think it will pay you better to go into alliance with other parties?
We have not formed alliance yet, neither are we saying that we are not going into alliance. Alliance can only be between people of like minds of Enugu State. As long as there is no voting agreement to reach, alliance can be reached any time.
How do you intend to resettle power from the incumbent governor of the PDP?
It is your duty to make sure that the power of the people should be more than the power of incumbency. That is why you are journalists. And that is why the governor should be interested in the will of the people, rather than the will of the party and be more sensitive to the feelings of the people, rather than the feelings of the party hierarchy.
Looking at the PDC in Enugu State, many people believe that Chimaraoke Nnamani is your God father, how will you react to this?
Well, God is my God father. Chimaraoke for me, is a senior brother and a leader and somebody I idolize but God remains my God father.
Looking at the reputation of Chimaraoke, while he was still in office as Enugu State governor, do you think, he still enjoys credibility?
If he does not, I would not say he has been the only person I idolize. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two governments to compare. How are you going to compare a government that got less than N60 billion in eight years and what it was able to do with the money and government that has spent over N400 billion in four years? If you are talking about the two governments, then there are no basis to compare Chimaraoke and the present governor.
To that extent, Enugu people now know the difference. They know that when Chimaraoke was governor, he built a brand new university in 18 months, 396 buildings, the road networks, borehole and other infrastructure. Infrastructure alone, is more than what you are talking about in urban roads in the entire Enugu urban now.
What then will be your priority if you become the governor of the state?
My priority will be education, agriculture, health, rural access, so that all the communities in Enugu state can be accessed all year round. My priority is rural empowerment, empowerment of our women. When a woman is empowered, you empower a nation. We need to go back to the basics. What our people require is support. This will bring community development coordinating Committee, CDCC of Chimaraoke era into focus. Then, women come together under this as corporative groups and access fund to start business.
Do you think you have the machinery to make these things happen, if elected?
I’m sure of what I’m saying because I’m tested. As former Chairman of Nsukka local government, when I inherited 18 months salary arrears, I to paid 15 months of this arrears. Also, apart from solving the issue of zero allocation, I was the only Chairman in the state who had been able to plant a rural hospital.
If you know where Opi Agu town is, where you need to pull out your trousers before crossing a stream. I did a hospital there, doctors, nurses’ quarters. I did a hospital in Edeobara community too. I did rural electrification in some communities.
My priorities are rural development, agriculture, health, education. I was pro-Chancellor in ESUT when school fees was N25,000. When I was Prochancellor to the university of Agriculture Makurdi, shcool fees was still N9,000. I was Prochancellor to the university of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State and School fees is N26,000, and now Prochancellor to University of Port Harcourt and school fees is affordable there and parents can afford to send their children to school. That is my priority.