By Lekan bilesanmi
Why are you contesting to be governor?
It is borne out of my desire to serve my people.
If your bid is successful, what would you do differently as governor?
If I become the governor, no matter how challenging the economic situation is, I will build on the savings Obi made for Anambra. I shall complete all projects abandoned in the state. We shall work on all sectors.
We shall re-establish the partnership established by the Obi administration with the Church in various sectors.
How do we explain how the state regressed from debt-free status in Obi’s tenure to huge indebtedness to banks and contractors? A study my team conducted reveals that with the current slide, the socio-economy of Anambra will collapse in barely a decade’s time. We need to re-direct the state to the path of sustainability and stability.
Every Anambra indigene must query the rationale for the claim by the current administration that it attracted over US$7.5 billion in investments. Why this deluge of lies and deceit? I’m aware. Trading Economics of Nigeria reported not long ago that the actual foreign direct investment (FDI) that flowed into Nigeria in 2014 and 2015 were US$4.69 billion and US$3.06billion respectively. The projected figure for 2016 is US$3.12, based on figures available from the first two quarters of 2016. So, if we accept that the Anambra State government attracted an estimated $7.5 billion in DFI in three years, it presupposes that more than half of the FDI that entered Nigeria during the past three year is domiciled in Anambra.
As regards producing 230 metric tonnes of rice per annum, what this equates to is 20 ship loads of rice at 250,000 bags per ship, and 4.7 million bags overall. Where is such a huge production being warehoused? Those who are good in maths will have to figure that one out.
Are you implying that the present Anambra government is not sincere?
It is for readers to arrive at conclusions. As I see what is happening in Anambra State, it’s ether the policymakers in the present government are being economical with the truth or its media handlers are being clever by half. Most recently, the achievement highlight was the export of Ugu vegetable leaves worth over US$5 million.. The hardheaded question Ndi Anambra must ask is the same I ask myself: what does it take to grow, harvest, package, preserve and export Ugu of such an amount of US dollars? In even the largest farm in the state, what could be the portion of land allocated to the cultivation of Ugu – a highly-perishable plant? So what does a government hope to gain by lying to the people?
If you are elected governor, what will be your major priorities?
I was part of the team that designed the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy [ANIDS]. Though I was not in government when it took off, I contributed a paper – for free — to then Governor Peter Obi on what I thought should be done so that our people will benefit from his administration. One of the things I suggested, which I was happy was adopted, was the main-streaming of the Millennium Development Goals into the framework of his programme of action for the state. Thus, it was possible to undertake, successfully, projects and programmes in all sectors simultaneously.
Besides developing all sectors, I shall concentrate in ensuring that we have potable water supply in the Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and Aguata in the first place. I added Aguata because we know the challenges they go through getting potable water. Water is one of the little things that matter in the lives of people. For instance, rather than wastefully commit N15 billion to the three fly-overs, built without the requisite permission to ensure reimbursement, that ended up causing more traffic congestion, I would have invested the sum in the provision of potable water for Awka and Onitsha. The impact of that investment on the lives of the people will far exceed that of the fly-overs, which have merely boosted the egos of those in the corridors of power.
You mean you would not continue with what the present governor is doing?
I have not said so. Purposeful and adaptive leadership and governance is about weighing options and determining what is most beneficial to the people. I will also review projects and programmes commenced by the Obi administration which may have been abandoned. In the end, we shall settle for what is best for the people of Anambra S.
What is your message to the people of Anambra?
We are at the cusp of a new dawn in Anambra. I encourage Ndi Anambra to study scrupulously the bona fides and antecedents of those presenting themselves for election and make informed choices.