By Vincent Ujumadu
Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, businessman –turned politician joined the Progressive Peoples’ Alliance, PPA, and contested the governorship election in Anambra State in 2011 and lost. He has since then been busy restructuring the party and embarking on membership drive, such that PPA is currently among the three most popular political parties in the state. As the November 18, 2017 governorship election in the state draws near, there are speculations that Ezeemo might be dropping his gubernatorial ambition in PPA to run as deputy with the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano of APGA. In this interview, Ezeemo described the rumour as totally false, insisting that he had never met with Governor Obiano, not to talk of discussing politics with him. He also said that Nigeria is not ripe for independent candidates and his plans if elected the governor of the state. Excerpts:
Some people are advocating for independent candidacy in Nigerian elections. Do you think it is feasible?
We have many political parties as platforms to pursue our aspirations. We are not yet properly organized to allow independent candidates in our electoral system. It cannot work in this environment. Though the political parties appear not to have clear- cut ideologies, it does not make any sense to me for people to be jumping from one political party to the other. I have been in PPA and I believe that we can strengthen it to be in a position to win elections. I have always said it that anybody who wants to lead Anambra must have a sense of character, good antecedents, must have an impeccable character and be a humble person. I am an embodiment of all these. I left the United Kingdom since 2012 and decided that I will concentrate my investments in Anambra. Even some of my investments outside the state have been brought to Anambra State. This is because of the love I have for my state. I have never been involved in any shady deal and if I haven’t done it since 1986 when I began business, I cannot start it now. So I have all the qualities needed to be the governor of Anambra State.
There are speculations that you are discussing with Governor Obiano for the purpose of becoming his deputy in the November election. Can we know the true situation?
I have not related with the governor privately on political matters. We only meet at political functions. There is nothing like that and there will not be anything like that. I am gunning to change Anambra State for the better. I had been offered the opportunity to be a running mate to past governors and I rejected and I can’t do it now. My decision to govern Anambra is borne out of the passion to serve the people of this state. The governor must see himself as the servant of the people and it is with this mindset that I am aspiring to be the governor of Anambra. I want to give the people the very best they have never had. In all my life, I have always worked with approved ethics and that is what I am going to apply in governing Anambra and no amount of propaganda or threat will discourage me from pursuing this.
Recently the state signage and advertising agency banned the pasting of posters by politicians on public places and slammed a fine of N9 million on anybody who would default. How do you think this would affect your campaigns?
The issue is in court. But it will be unfair for anybody, after a long period of military rule, to use intimidation to stop people from aspiring to certain positions.
It is unfair to enact a law to deny people the opportunity to actualize their ambitions. We should not force people to operate a one party state. We are in a free society.
Which areas will be your priorities, if elected governor?
My areas of emphasis will be security, health, agriculture, power, education and environment. These are the six points I will pursue. Special emphasis will be placed on power generation because if we succeed in this area, investors will be flooding our state. Thank God power is no longer in the exclusive list. If we have adequate power supply, other five programs will succeed easily. Unfortunately, successive governors in the state have been shying away from this.
Your party, PPA, cannot be said to be among the leading political parties in the state. Why are you sticking to it?
PPA has come a long away. Of the major political parties in the state, one is in disarray, another one is uploading and after that, explosion will follow. The one controlling Anambra is in tatters. So, PPA is the only party without any problem. We have been practicing internal democracy and that is making the party stronger. I am therefore telling Anambra people that though I am coming out on the platform of PPA, they should look for candidates that can deliver; candidates that have shown a lot of good will for the people of the state. We should know where the candidates are coming from. This is important. If we continue to allow parties to dictate our choices, we will continue to have ourselves to blame.