By Chris Onuoha
Ahead of the November 2017 Anambra State governorship election, many aspirants will be seeking the mandate to the coveted seat including known names in politics. In this interview, one of the aspirants, Godwin Ezeemo, an industrialist, who is contesting for the second time on the platform of Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), speaks on his vision for the state.
Why are you running for the governorship election?
I am in the race for the Anambra Government House to serve my people, to give them direction and build a solid political mind-set so that they can stand on their feet. I will bring out the best in my people, use the natural endowment the state possessed to reposition her in the world map and also mend the broken wall in Anambra. My people suffer because no one with true intention of changing their misfortune has been at the helm of affairs in the state. I want to lead my people to the path of progress, development and inculcated in them true zeal of patriotism. I will teach my people how to fish, make wine and merry in place of political rascality.
Are you confident that Ndi-Anambra will give you the mandate and do you think your party (PPA) stands the chance of taking over from the incumbent’s party, APGA?
I would say that I am confident because I work and plan my political activities with people. I believe in going to the grassroots and there was never a time that my people have not shown me love judging from my proven humanitarian attachment to them. I am certain that Ndi Anambra is begging for a sincere leader to pilot their affairs but my worry has been this politics of ‘bag of rice’ that some corrupt politicians use to manipulate the unsuspecting electorates in the state. Besides, I am a man of the people with heart for service. Anambra State will be positively transformed by me.
My party the Progressive People’s Alliance PPA has all the ingredients to win the election. PPA is the only political party in the country as of today that is stable, that has a guiding manifesto and their internal democracy is unbeatable. Political culture of our people remains worrisome and that is what PPA is preaching about, money politics and political inducement must be criminalised so that sanity would be recorded in our polity so it would afford room for technocrats to come out to give their services free for the common good of all.
What are those convincing manifestos that will attract Ndi-Anambra to your side?
I have demonstrated my sincere love to Ndi Anambra at a lager extent by my patriotic contributions towards the development of the state in areas like promotion of Igbo values and culture through supports given to ‘Otu Subakwa Igbo’, an Igbo language forum since year 2000, holding a 5-day workshop on the re-discovery of lost Igbo values. In supporting effective security in the state I have partnered with state police command, for traders comforts. I have also partnered with traders of Tools and Allied Market Onitsha. I have sponsored some politicians at governorship level, Senatorial and House of Representative candidates including Local Government Chairmen and Councillors. I have partnered with the media by providing a befitting complex block to discharge their duties.
My core manifestos fall under a 7 point agenda which I titled ‘SHAPE’, an acronym that depicts Security, Health, Agriculture, Power, Education, Empowerment and Environment.
With the prevalent security situation in the country today, my government will build on the existing security infrastructure with a view to achieving a much better and safer environment for our people and their businesses to thrive.The security infrastructure to be deployed will be built on the tripod of community policing, equipment provisioning to the Nigerian police force and Vigilantes, and prompt response to distress signals. Traditional rulers will be the chief security officers of their communities. But much more important is my belief that if the youths are engaged meaningfully in economically productive activity that the appetite for crime will be greatly reduced.
On health, a better Anambra State will be achieved by equipping the existing Tertiary, Secondary and Primary Health Care centers with state of the art equipment and well trained and responsive personnel. We will also build a first class world health center facility in Anambra to stem the tide of expensive medical trip abroad. Pregnant Women and Children will have immediate access to free and wholesome primary health care.
While in agriculture, with my experience as a farmer, we will build Anambra into a food sufficient state and make it a one stop shop for raw and processed food and Agro products in Nigeria and beyond. My government will build an Agricultural research center and provide farmers with the improved seedlings for planting and Agric extension officers will be trained, equipped and deployed to the rural areas. Access to micro credit for Agro related ventures with very low interest will be among the primary responsibilities of our government in ensuring growth and opportunities in the Agro Sector.
On power, we will put the enabling infrastructure in place to generate our electricity from the abundant gas and oil reserves in the state to drive industry and commerce. We will aggressively pursue greener rural electrification projects through the deployment of massive cocktail mix of solar, wind and biomass technology.
Education will definitely have a face-lift. We will overhaul the educational facilities in the state and rebuild Anambra State as world center for learning and technological breakthrough. We will model our educational facilities to look like the Israeli Educational System capable of meeting and surpassing the 21st century demands. Special Education Centers like skill acquisition centers, football academy, special science schools and ICT institutes will receive a very big attention. Youths and girl-child will be carried along in our economic rearmament through quality educational provisioning that is tailored to the needs of the learner.
Our empowerment strategy will cut across the entire demographic divide. Equal opportunities will be created for each strata of the demographic divide while more emphasis will be paid to the youth segment. Key enablers like access to cheap investment funds, ease of doing business, tax incentives, skill development through continuing education, and secured environment will be emplaced and activated for maximum success.
Our rural roads will be maintained by trained youths in the various communities making up our state, while broad band wireless internet access will be provided for our people in the rural communities to improve access to information and opportunities. We intend to leverage on all these in our journey in rediscovering old Igbo values of hard work, integrity and financial independence among our people.
On environment, a visit to the State capital Awka and other urban centers will immediately depict our State as a slump and unhealthy for human habitation. My government will re-open closed drains and build new ones. Proper sanitation will be ensured in adequate and efficient municipal solid waste management system to be deployed. Our roads will be fixed and erosion menace tackled with every resource my government can muster.
Therefore if our electorates are very sincere and honestly desire a true leader they should not look elsewhere no matter the distraction.
What is your popularity rating like in Anambra State?
I can say now that my second outing is far better than what happened in 2013, I just felt we are politically matured that people should assess candidates based on pedigree. Now I know better, I have gone to the stakeholders, interacted with them, went to grassroots robbed mind with them shared their success and failures so I am well grounded and at home with Ndi Anambra. My nearness to the people had given my more courage to go on even in the remotest parts of the state I can say I am on ground.
For some time now, South East has been crying of marginalisation from the ruling party. What is your take on that?
My take on the issue of alleged marginalisation either from the ruling party or those that had ruled is simple, first if I may ask, ‘Is South-East zone truly marginalised or are they living in denial? I would have chosen to wait for an answer but it is like an open ended issue. I can simply say that the South East, if ever considered marginalised, are the ones marginalising themselves.
A glaring point in hand is why Anambra Central Senatorial zone is not being represented in the upper chambers today. When it was said that the Senate President had been zoned to them, why did they lose it? Who worked against who? Was it the ruling party or past leaders? These are questions to answer before considering being marginalised. South East zone should learn to trust and believe in each other. The zone need to pull their capabilities together and whose ever that comes stronger should go while the runner up shows spirit of sportsmanship and wait for another round of quality proof.
How can you rate the current incumbent and APGA in Anambra State?
I have always believed that no administration is same with another because different people with different ideology must have worked for the administration. Government is a continuum. My methodology of governance is largely different from what is on ground today in Anambra, coming from my background as an industrialist, entrepreneur, farmer and a philanthropist I feel the pulse of the people. I cannot rate the current leadership because their background is totally out of my design. I do not believe in propaganda. My Think-home philosophy can vividly be seen when you visit Umuchu. Politics should not be seen as a means for making quick money rather it is a call for service, where people with exceptional endowment with the help of other experts in various field of life would come on board to offer quality service to the common man.