Leading Nollywood Actor and lawyer, Kenneth Okonkwo, is famous for his lead role as Andy Okeke, in Nollywod’s premier home video, Living in Bondage. Okonkwo from the university town of Nsukka recently wrote a letter to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, where he alleged that Governor Ugwuanyi has rubbished democracy at the local government level, hates people of Nsukka town, among other allegations.
Ever since the letter was brought to the public domain, so many pro-Governor Ugwuanyi groups such as The League of Patriots and Nsukka Stakeholders have been falling on top of themselves, defending Ugwuanyi while condemning Okonkwo. In this interview Okonkwo explains the motive behind his letter to Governor Ugwuanyi.
By Dennis Agbo
WHY did you choose harsh words in your letter to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi?
Harsh words? Maybe you need to read the letter again. You failed to mention any harsh word I used because there was none. The words I used include: Your Excellency, with profound respect sir, highest regards and esteem.
Are these harsh words? Contrast it with the words the governor’s paid agents and sycophants use against my person: selfish, clannish, attention seeker, liar, ignorant etc. As a lawyer, I am trained to be firm in my submissions but to be respectful in my delivery. Since most of the governor’s agents are not learned, I forgive their debased manner of speech.
Is it only on local government administration that you fault the governor?
No. I fault him in a lot of ways. How can you allow your sycophants to describe your people with such adjectives just in a bid to praise you? Other states praise their people; call them names like great people of this and that, but his sycophants describe Enugu people as the “wretched of the earth.” God forbid!
Can you believe that some local governments in Enugu State owe arrears of salaries in excess of one year? I learnt that NULGE demonstrated against their unpaid salaries last week. Do you know that Nru ward in Nsukka Town, the zonal headquarters, has never had any tarred road passing through it from creation?
What was your main motivation for writing?
I don’t know how I am going to answer this question without appearing proud. However, it’s a notorious fact that at age 24, I acted the first movie, Living in Bondage that started Nollywood and gave me a world class name. Powerful Nations on earth invite me to their occasions on the strength of my personal achievements. So it couldn’t have ever been that I wrote the letter to make me to be known.
I am comfortable as a human being and I am not greedy. So it could not have been for resources that I wrote. In fact, after the election, the governor was so impressed with my support that he called me to his residence in Enugu, thanked me and asked, “What is your interest in all this, because I know that people’s interests differ in politics. Some do it for money and some for other purposes”. I told him, “my people” I said,
“I have been blessed by God and am grateful. I have tried on my own to alleviate my people but I discovered that there is a limit to what I can do as an individual. I am looking for a way to serve my people so they can be more empowered to enable them meet their basic needs”.
He lauded such objectives and promised to do something in that regard. He is alive today and he knows that I speak the truth. You can imagine how disappointed I was when he came into power and visited my people with the harshest marginalization without reason.
Why did you particularize the alleged hatred on Nsukka community alone, why didn’t you have a larger picture of the entire state?
The letter is self explanatory. The fight for the restoration of democracy at the Local Government level is for the entire Enugu State. I used Nsukka as a case study to show that if we are suffering like this, you can imagine the fate of other people from the other zones but my writing is for the entire Enugu State. Read the letter again.
Is it true you have defected to the APC and if true, is it to stamp your feet as opposition member that made you write the Governor?
Respectfully, I did not defect to APC. I was party-less for more than six months after I resigned from PDP because of the anarchy that has descended on the party. After reading through the constitution of APC, I came to the conclusion that their objectives are compatible with my principles. So I joined APC.
Because our democracy is still evolving and the party structures are not fully established, which make parties sometimes depart from their initial lofty objectives, I cannot guarantee you that I will not change parties but I guarantee you I will not change my principles in politics, which is service to God and service to humanity.