Charles Chinwendu Odedo, a two-term member of the House of Representatives (2007- 2015), who represented Idemili North and South Federal Constituency of Anambra State, has declared interest to contest the governorship election in Anambra State in the November 18, 2017 election. His declaration brings to 14, the number of aspirants on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).
In this interview, Odedo said that he will make human resources development his main focus if he wins the governorship election and has already a 10-point agenda for the state. He also advises the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, not to join the November 18 race but to concentrate on his political career at the national level. Excerpts:
By Vincent Ujumadu
WHY are you running for the governorship election?
I am running to provide excellent service to our people. I was elected twice into the House of Representatives and performed exceptionally well. In the seven years I served as a member of the House of Representatives, I introduced 15 bills and 10 motions, including the very popular motion on the passing on of Prof. Chinua Achebe in March 2013.
The South East has been crying of marginalization under the APC- led Federal government, what is your take on this?
I believe that the cries should be looked into and amends should immediately follow. Every part of this country should benefit from the Federal Government. I offer myself as part of the solution to the problems of our people. I will speak up and most importantly, I will negotiate to attract development to our people.
There has been a lot of defection from PDP to APC, especially among the aspirants for the governorship. What do you think is the reason for this?
I sincerely think that this defection is good for APC. It will be critical to the party winning the forth-coming governorship election. Look at the 2013 result of the governorship election in Anambra State. Out of the four leading parties in that election, three have virtually merged with the APC. If the APC aspirants are managed carefully, this could be a landslide victory for the party in November.
What is your agenda for the people of Anambra State?
My agenda for Anambra will build upon all the potentials, comparative advantages and capabilities of the state, both human and material resources in order to create wealth, create jobs, reduce poverty, empower our people, create the enabling environment and actively promote private sector as the engine of growth. Central to my 10-point agenda is human capital development and empowerment, the focus on people in everything we do, will make us remain very relevant to the people.
It is rumoured that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, may soon join the governorship race. What is your view on this?
I think our leader, Dr. Chris Ngige, is among very few Nigerians that have been blessed politically. He has been a governor, a senator and now a serving minister. Less than 50 Nigerians fall into this category. This is the group of people popularly referred to as GSM, meaning, Governor, Senator and Minister.
Most of these GSMs are men now aspiring to be president and vice president. Ngige, having rightfully belonged to this group, should rather concentrate on moving higher. However, if he chooses to contest this Anambra 2017 governorship election, he risks losing it because he will rather be coming out late. Mind you, some aspirants have been working hard for over a year. My candid advice is that he should concentrate on his work as a minister because the governorship ambition may fail.
How can the party manage the 14 aspirants aspiring for its ticket?
One thing you must know is that our party, APC is well organized and has already set up a committee to manage the situation. Things are looking good because so far, the committee has performed creditably, screening all the aspirants, keeping issues in proper perspective, guarantying a free and fair contest and most importantly, bringing in the spirit of brotherhood into the contest. APC may end up in a landslide victory in the forthcoming governorship election on 8th November, 2017.
Some APC leaders are advocating a consensus arrangement to select the governorship candidate. What is your view on this?
APC in Anambra State is very lucky to have a group of highly qualified and experienced aspirants, from Senator Andy Ubah to Hon. Tony Nwoye, Dr. Obinna Uzoh, Engr. Barth Nwibe, Chief Ralph Okeke, my humble self and many others.
I believe that whatever formula that the party adopts, if it is fair, will be acceptable to me and I believe will also be acceptable to other aspirants as well. As I said earlier, the integrity of the South-East committee is not in question and their activities so far are encouraging. If they decide on a consensus, I can assure them of my full support.
How do you assess the APGA controlled state government after three years in office?
My honest assessment using 10-point criteria on a scale of 1-10 is as follows: Security-7/10, Agriculture – 6/10, Road infrastructure – 6/10- Health – 4/10, Education – 4/10, Urban development -4/10, Power – 2/10, Youth development – 2/10, Erosion control – 2/10 and Oil and gas – 1/10.