Dr. Tony Nwoye, the member representing Anambra East and Anambra West in the House of Representatives, is one of those that can be described as grassroots politicians in Anambra State. Though elected on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he has defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
A former national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, and later the Anambra State chairman of PDP, who recently qualified as a medical doctor, Nwoye is one of those who have set their sights on the governorship ticket of the APC. He spoke to Vanguard on his quest among other issues.
By Vincent Ujumadu
SOME people are clamouring for the change of the APC executive in the state. Do you support it?
Why are we changing them? I don’t support changing anybody. Yes, we were PDP yesterday, but we have left the party and we have come into APC with all our PDP supporters. This was the party I was the state chairman, the House of Representatives candidate twice and Senatorial candidate. So I won’t criticise unduly. But the truth of the matter is that we entered APC and met the structure on ground. My position is that those officers have been there and should not be changed.
Let us allow them to finish their tenure. When their tenure elapses, most of them may even return. So we should support them. I will personally resist any move to change them. If I were to be selfish I would clamour for their change so that I will put my people who came with me from PDP.
But these are people who have been labouring to keep the party together. We should go to primaries with that executive.
There is also the fear that the influx of PDP members will create problem in APC. What is your take on this?
It will not because the PDP problem was self induced. The problem was caused by PDP national leadership. The then PDP federal government did not want PDP to win election in Anambra because they were supporting APGA to please the then governor, Peter Obi.
So they used few Anambra people to create problem in PDP. This time around, I believe that the more the merrier. Let more PDP people move into APC. I believe the APC primary will be free and fair and whoever wins will enjoy the support of others. So I don’t see what happened in PDP happening in APC. APC is a disciplined and focused party and it will not allow any crisis to come in.
Your name has been mentioned as one of those to contest for the governorship. Can you confirm that?
Yes, I am running. I have not declared yet, but I will do that in due course. I have consulted widely but I need to consult more with stakeholders and youths (you know I was one time national president of NANS) and religious leaders. As long as there is life I will contest. I won’t contest based on zoning. I will contest because I want to bring change. I want to put food on the tables of the oppressed people of this state whose local government funds are being deducted with impunity by APGA -led government.
Whipping up the propaganda
It did not start today. It started since 2005 with impunity, without caring for the welfare of the people. That is why there is so much hunger in all nooks and crannies of the state where the people don’t enjoy over 90 per cent of their local government allocation.
In fairness, it did not start with Obiano. In fact that is going to form the crux of our campaign because we want to change that bad system. Our campaign will be a mass movement. The APGA people have been whipping up the propaganda that APC is not for Igbo people and when we get to the field, we will tell our people that it is about the individual. Let them stop using APGA. They have used APGA enough to rob Igbo.
If APGA is truly an Igbo party, why is it that up till now, it is only in Anambra State? Why is it that in the House of Representatives there are only two APGA members and out of 109 senators, none is an APGA senator? Why is it that since the time of Ojukwu who is the symbol of APGA, they could not win one single state outside Anambra? They have been using it to hold our people down; to siphon our money and we must stop it.
Considering the fact that the incumbent governor is from your local government, how do you rate your chances?
Power belongs to God. When I ran for 2011 election, I won massively here. They did not allow me to enter. The same forces said Tony Nwoye should not be sworn in at the House of Representatives and I said no problem. In 2013, I ran for governor and won the PDP ticket, the same forces used Jonathan, the former president, to support APGA.
Jonathan did not know Obiano, but he was trying to please Peter Obi. A lot of things happened. They kept me in court and used the then INEC chairman to ensure that I did not campaign because they said I did not pay my tax on time. Less than 11 days to the election, they said I should campaign and it was so late.
The aim was to make my supporters to support the APGA candidate, knowing that I am from the same local government with Obiano who later became governor. God gave him power because He is the only one that gives power. Obiano is my brother and ordinarily I am not supposed to challenge him because we come from the same clan, but he has failed our people.
This is a man who has not put a project of N10,000 in my town, apart from the so-called N20 million he gave to every town. And in my town, we are supposed to have benefited from projects worth N350 million because we have calculated what should be our share from the local government allocation since he was sworn in as governor.
Local government allocation
We are not even talking of allocation from the Federation Account. So how can we not challenge him? To go to the House of Representatives, they nearly killed me at the collation centre. They stopped results from my town from being added. He brought a candidate from Anambra West and out of 10 electoral wards, I won him in eight.
They did everything to stop me and I went to court and the court gave me victory and that is why I am still here. Despite the fact that they added all the results they wrote in Aguleri, today I am in the House of Reps to the glory of God.
If God says he will continue to be governor, he will be. But if he is doing well, why should Chinedu Idigo from the same Aguleri, his town, who was chairman of his inauguration committee, be running for governor under PDP?
We have waited for him to come and execute projects in my town, but he has failed to do so. The only tarred road here is the one done by former governor Peter Obi because he signed an undertaking with us that we would support him if he did the road. But my own brother is the governor and he has not done a single project in my town.