BY Lekan Bilesanmi
In 2014, the people of Anambra State would return to the polls to elect who governs them. However, of the three senatorial districts in the state, Anambra North is the only one that has not occupied the Government House. Dr Alex Obiogbolu, a founding member of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the zone and one of the major contenders for the number one state job, bares his mind on why it is the zone’s turn to occupy the Government House in 2014.
2014 is two years away and many politicians are warming up for the state’s number one seat. Interestingly, however, not one of the known contenders now is from Anambra North which is yet to produce the governor. Does it mean the zone where you come from has no qualified people?
Unfortunately, I can’t agree with the insinuation from your question. Who is defining the words “known contenders”? Every part of the state is filled with men and women who are capable of taking our state and the country to greater heights. When you look at Anambra North senatorial zone in particular as you are wont to do in this case, there still remain intelligent, experienced, learned and capable leaders who have contributed and continue to contribute to the nation’s growth and who can take our state to that economic and social prosperity.
You may believe you have people but the rest of the state doesn’t believe you. What do you think makes them think so?
Who are the rest of the state that believe that Anambra North does not have capable persons to be governor of our state? Anambra has a population of 4.18 million of which 1.2 million reside in the North zone.
For a zone that has produced a former president of Nigeria, a reverend priest declared saint, a former Senate president, former ambassadors, commonwealth athletes, sports icons, business moguls, it will be incorrect if anyone states that there are no persons capable of running the affairs of Anambra as governor.
What criteria have they employed as I am yet to be told by anyone that our zone lacks capable hands? Is it educational background, is it cognate experience in Public service and administration, is it physical stature or beauty, is it oratory skills, or is it the financial capacity to run an election? It is only when I understand the yardsticks these people making these claims have employed that I will be in the proper state to respond appropriately.
On the second part of the question, I am not unaware that some politicians and persons, in their quest to score cheap political points, allege that the aspirants from Anambra North don’t have the kind of money that others from other zones have, and, therefore, can’t ever become the governor of Anambra State. Some people seem to brag and intimidate others that the governorship of Anambra is solely available to those that own billions of naira. This line of thought has continued to cast Anambra in bad light since the present civilian administration.
Who are the prominent personalities in your zone you think can be thrown up?
Let me reassure you that in Anambra are many heroes and heroines on whose back the burden of this state has been placed. Many of them who despite the insecurity, reside and do business in this state and pay their taxes by which our leaders run the state. Therefore, in my mind, there are so many personalities, many of whom carry the passion to lead the state as governor.
However, there can be only one governor at any time, and persons like me have been offering our manifestos campaigning to be given the opportunity to lead the state despite years of service in other positions in the leadership of our great state. Let me also interject that the reason you see these so many aspirants at any time even when all know there can be only one at anytime is healthy but we need to have a governor who will take his vision from “me” to “we”; beyond a one-man show; someone, who can mobilize and delegate responsibilities to others, as it does not matter how intelligent or experienced a leader is, if he is unable to achieve results through people.
We cannot afford the luxury of a leader at war with others, chasing people away from governance as he accuses everyone of wanting to come and steal in his government. He sees the government as an extension of his business concern not as a public company for public good.
It is believed your zone doesn’t help matters. When last you contested they did not rally round persons like yourself or Prof Ilochi Okafor. Don’t you think this is one of your major challenges?
Again, this is one of the mis-representations some people bandy around. Remember that we all have to first emerge from political parties before one can contest the governorship as stipulated by the constitution. So the issue of not getting support from our zone does not arise. We are all witnesses to the fact that the party primary in 2010 in the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) which I belong to was terminated midway by some persons who successfully frustrated the process.
I have always believed that thousands of our loyal party members understand who carries their vision, their passion for the development of the state and the peaceful growth of PDP, and I have never been angry with them or spiteful of my fellow members because I know that if they were given the opportunity to freely elect their candidate, that person who will get majority of their endorsement shall be me.
This does not impugn on the ability of my fellow aspirants to be good governorship candidates also. So I would tell you that the major challenge for all of us including me is our party offering us more transparency as was done in Edo, and Bayelsa states recently. Some may argue that these primaries where delegates went and cast their votes may not have met acceptable standards but were it to be done in Anambra in 2013, it will be a miracle that will rejuvenate the party.
What alliances is your zone forming to ensure the rest of the zones support you?
That question is better channeled to the political and social leaders in our zone as I have been campaigning to all the 177 communities, 21 local government areas and three senatorial zones. My constituency is the 4.177 million people resident in Anambra.