Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu representing Ebonyi Central Senatorial District is the chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs. He is the first among the many speculated gubernatorial aspirants to openly declare his aspiration.
Senator Nwagu in this interview rebuffs suggestions that the gubernatorial ticket has been zoned to a senatorial district saying the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP had never discussed it in any platform.
He also bared his mind on some key national issues including how the Federal Government is tackling the insurgency championed by the Boko Haram Islamic sect. Excerpts:
By Peter Okutu
WHAT is the security situation in the country?
You can’t fight insurgency in one day. I can say clearly that what police and other security agencies have done to curtail it. Can you throw more light on your governorship ambition in the state?
If you know me very well, you will know that I don’t talk anyhow. If I say something, I stand by it and if am determined to do something, I will do it. I am ready to serve the state because I have the capabilities. I have served in most political capacities and it is one area I also want to serve in and that is being the Governor of Ebonyi state.
What areas would you put focus on if you are elected governor?
Every area is important. But there are areas of utmost priority. Security is the first as far as every state of the country is concerned.
Having served in one of the largest committees of the National Assembly, I should know how to secure the state. Even as a local government area Chairman, I knew how to secure my area. This is before infrastructural development. All I will do for the state are contained in my manifesto.
How do you react to the suggestion by the incumbent governor that his successor should come from the Southern Senatorial zone?
I have not been everything in politics. If I had, I would not be contesting the governorship. I had only been a councillor, chairman of a council, member House of Representatives and now a Senator. I have never been a governor or House of Assembly member.
In democracy, there are two principles: freedom and participation. This gives rise to a democratically elected government. I have said this before and would still repeat it again, zoning is for weaklings.
It has not been discussed in Ebonyi. After winning my election, I will call the people for us to discuss zoning. I am a lawmaker I know what I am saying.
Zoning is for those who are not ready to serve the state. If you are ready, come out and say what you can do. One should not wait to be given governor and even those who want to be councillors should come out and showcase their plans. If Obama, a Black-American can win that country’s presidency, why shouldn’t I, an Ezza man and a Nigerian not be allowed to contest for the governorship?
Are we going to sacrifice efficiency on the platter of zoning? The state is young and we need to stabilise. Anybody discussing zoning is selfish. I have not even heard the governor talk about zoning. I have been in politics for 36 years and I know what I am talking about. If it has ever been discussed, I will be the first to canvass for it.
The PDP has never discussed it. In 1998, before the 1999 elections, nobody talked about zoning. In 2007, there was still no zoning. Agboti from the south contested but Elechi from central won. I know what our people need. We don’t need a weak governor. We need someone who will improve the already existing structures. By the time I am elected, you will see the difference. I know this because I am equal to the task.
If you didn’t win the primaries conducted by your party, will you join another political party in order to fulfil your governorship ambition?
Do you look at me like someone who would contest election and fail? Those coming now into the party are doing so because they feel the food is ready. Where were they when we were fighting for the party? My party however believes in the rule of law. We can’t go against the constitution of the party and that of the country. We are going into primaries and all the delegates will file out and vote for the person of their choice. We all would come out. I am a founding member of the PDP and no one would edge me out. All these people making this noise now were former members of APP.