By Nnamdi Ojiego
Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, and a frontline Anambra State governorship aspirant on the banner of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr George Moghalu, has been a consistent politician since and remains one of the few politicians who are yet to defect to a rival party. He started on the block of the All Peoples Party, APP, which later merged with the United Nigeria Peoples Party, UNPP, to form the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP. The ANPP teamed up with the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to form the APC in 2013.
In this interview, Moghal who had served variously as national publicity secretary of the APP, ANPP national vice chairman, South-East, national auditor of the APC, and chairman, board of directors of Nigerian Communication Satellite, NIGCOMSAT, spoke on his aspiration, chances and what he would do if elected.
On his preparation for the poll given the glut of good aspirants
Every election has two stages – the primary stage and secondary stage. The secondary is the main election. However, everyone is entitled to aspire to be the governor if the person is qualified.
So, I don’t see Anambra as tough but I see it as a state that has everything, all the potentials both human and material resources, in abundance. Therefore, anybody looking for that position, seeking to be the leader, servant leader of the people, must be a person who has the capacity to harness these potentials for the benefit of the state.
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On preparation, I believe very strongly that power belongs to God and He gives to who He pleases at His own time. What we do is to offer ourselves for God to use us. Now, physically, spiritually, experientially, academically and in every facet of life, I am prepared. Most importantly, spiritually. I am personally convinced that I have what it takes to change the narrative.
Because one of the major fundamentals, the challenge today in Anambra State is that people have lost confidence in their government. So anything you are doing without bridging that gap between the governed and the government, you will continue to have a problem. So I am very well prepared for the job if it pleases the people that I serve them at that level.
How about the APC not being well accepted in the state?
That is actually a very wrong perception. In the last election in Anambra State, APC came second over and above PDP, and it wasn’t a fluke or magic. So when people say that APC is not on ground or APC is not popular in Anambra State, it comes to me as a surprise because there is actually no truth in it when you take the reality on ground. Otherwise, how can we come second over a party that has ruled the state for more than two times?
Now, if you place the candidate that is acceptable to the people, add it to the current narrative of what APC government has done in the South-East, particularly, in Anambra State, I’m sure, the election is ours to win. So we are very much on ground.
What are the process that will guarantee free and fair APC primary?
We have mouthed that. The aspirants have spoken, the vice president has spoken. The president, like you and I know, has zero tolerance for corruption or unnecessary abuse. The party leadership as presently constituted has come out to say that they would not disappoint and I believe very strongly that they are conscious of the mantra that to whom much is given, much is also expected.
I have been in party administration for quite a while, so, if you want to achieve party unity after election which is usually the cause of failures, the best way to do it is by providing a level playing ground for all aspirants, conduct free, fair and credible primaries so that whoever wins will know he won fairly and whoever loses knows he lost fairly.
The moment he/she feels cheated, the tendency, the likelihood of working against the party to prove a point, will be there. So the only way to avoid all this is by conducting credible, free, fair primaries.
How do you correct this impression that the South-East hates APC?
That’s what I was trying to explain. You see, people give a dog bad name to hang it. It is a wrong perception. Therefore, it is incumbent on us who are key players to change the narrative and once we present a candidate that is acceptable to the people, that has reach, and has the confidence of the people, I can assure you the story will change. You keep saying that people are against APC.
Then, why did we come second in the last election? And we lost marginally in the last election. If we are not acceptable in the East, I’m not sure we would have even come third.
Why are you contesting to be the governor of Anambra State? What are you bringing to the table?
First of all, I’m bringing experience, I’m bringing knowledge, and I’m bringing commitment. The biggest challenge I found in government today in Anambra State is that there is a major gap between the people and the government.
The people have lost confidence in their government. They feel betrayed, they feel disappointed and they feel short-changed. So what we need to do now is to change the narrative, to get them to buy into the government because the moment you win back their confidence, 70 to 80 percent of your problems are solved.
Nigerians, particularly, Anambrarians are willing to be led. What an average Anambra man demands from the government is to provide an enabling environment and they will thrive.
For example, in terms of Community service, I don’t think there’s any state like Anambra because the issue of town union is strongest in the state. What government needs to do is to do the one the government is supposed to do.
For example, a government that is well organized can get all it wants from the markets. But you have to build a good market. You have to provide them with needed facilities at the market. Good roods, fire service, warehouses, parks, and what have you.
By the time you do this, you will now have the moral standing to say, ‘this store, you will pay N10 and people will pay without even you demanding for them because you have done your bit, and it is incumbent on them now to do their bit.
But they cannot do that because there is no confidence. There is lack of trust because, they have been failed in the past. Government is not only about building infrastructure. While I agree that it is important to develop infrastructure because it helps in building the economy it is not only about it.
It is also about human capital development, re-orientating our youths, telling them to change, to come to the reality.
I am one of those who believe that our educational curricular need to be re jigged completely.
The emphasis on certificated education is part of the problems that we have today. What happened to the government training centres?
Technical colleges, what happened to them? All of a sudden, we don’t talk about them again. I grew up in Aba, I knew about the GTC, Girls Technical College. I knew there was BTC, Boys Technical College.
Today, if you want to do ordinary tiling or Pop, you look for a man from Cotonu or Togo. Why is it so? It shouldn’t be so.
These are things we should get our people to do so that by the time they come out of school, they already have a skill and once they have that skill, they will no longer be dependent on anybody rather people will depend on them.