..We ’ll end wastage, embezzlement that cripple governance
By Clifford Ndujihe & Nnamdi Ojiego
Dr. Godwin Maduka, a triple professor in medical sciences and philanthropist, is the candidate of the Accord Party in the November 6, 2021, governorship election in Anambra State.
In this interview, the chief executive officer of Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre, USA, unveils his lofty plans and how he would transform the state to an enviable status, if elected. He said that his achievements as a private individual show he has a vision for the ultimate greatness of Anambra and her people.
On why he is abandoning his flourishing career for politics
Before I go into the reasons I joined politics let me tell you a little about myself and how it all started. I was born in 1959 in Umuchukwu, formerly Nkerefi autonomous community in Anambra State. For some of us that were born around that time, we didn’t start school till age 11 or so. I migrated to the United States of America in 1982 after gaining a scholarship. I was lucky to finish a 4-year course in one year and six months.
Then, we used to read above and beyond the course of study for external examinations like WAEC, GCE, etc. So, upon migrating to the US, it was easy to go through the class. They were able to test me from freshman to sophomore and junior. It was the middle of junior year that my knowledge could take me.
So, within two weeks of being in the US, I had already read two and half years and later, obtained a bachelor of science degree in Chemistry at Rust College, Holy Springs, Mississippi in 1984. After that, I completed my Doctorate programme in Pharmacy at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1988. In 1989, I entered the Doctor of Medicine programme and finished in flying colours. In 1992-1993, I completed my internal medicine internship at the University of Tennesse School of Medicine and gained admission into Harvard School of Medicine to study Medicine, which was where I did my four-year course in Anesthesiology, Critical Care, and Pain Management in 1997.
Upon completion of my course, I went to Las Vegas where I was working as a physiologist and doing minor surgeries. I had to leave after a year and a half to open my practice called Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre. I was doing most of the minor surgeries, which entailed pharmaceutical as well as surgical interventions to pain management. I ended up building six pain hospitals in the US. My extensive training in pharmacy, anaesthesia and critical care medicine enabled me to offer valuable insight and unique knowledge to which treatment options are best suited to various patients. These often result in new levels of pain relief.
God has blessed me beyond my imagination. At one point, I had to think of home. So, 20 years ago, I made a pact with God to use his blessings to better my people and the land of my birth, Anambra. Over the past years God has helped me keep this promise because, even as a private person, I have done what no politician has been able to do in Anambra and Nigeria.
One of the worst calamities that can befall anyone is the lack of a proper roof over one’s head. One of the first things I ask God was to bless me so that I could provide befitting roofs over my less fortunate people. I have been able to build 100 houses in Umuchukwu, which I handed over to beneficiaries free of charge. It might interest you to know that I don’t know most of the people I built houses for. All I did was to bring down thatched houses wherever I see one, and it would only take two weeks to build a modern five-bedroom house for the person.
Also, I had to go into the education sector. At that time, we didn’t have a primary school in my community, so I built both primary and secondary schools and hospitals and gave them to the church to manage. I built churches and homes for resident priests for both Anglican and Catholic churches. I built homes for our deceased monarch’s family as well as the current traditional ruler, and they are very happy about it.
I constructed a civic centre and over 100 km roads and bridges all around my community. Other projects I started and completed include: High Court complex with judges residential quarters; Magistrate Court; Police Station; Barracks for the Civil Defence personnel; two monasteries with chapels; standard community market; provision of transformers to boost electricity; and Recreation centres, among others too numerous to mention here. Why I built the courthouse was to decongest cases at Ekwulobia. Cases were not being dispatched fast, so I thought it wise to build a high court to ease the workload.
If I can do these on my own, with God, I will make Anambra the best place for people to live and achieve their potentials in Igbo land and Nigeria. I’m being reminded every day why I had to come home to liberate our people. I thank God Almighty that it is happening. I used to be an APGA sympathiser but was never a member. I watched them over the years and saw the trend of APGA taking Certificate of Return from people who won an election and giving them to some others. At that point, I was like “this is not happening”. That is one of the things that made me start looking into joining politics. At that point, I decided that the PDP was the next thing.
I joined PDP and when it was time, I declared my intention to become the next governor of Anambra State. I won the primary election going by the nominations. Anybody can check it out. I had the majority of the Ad-hoc statutory delegates because we have bonded. You know, they forgot that I have been a philanthropist for more than 20 years. So, I made sure that I continued my philanthropy using the statutory Ad-hoc delegates. I enlightened them on what I intend to do when I become governor.
Why then did you leave the PDP for the Accord Party if you won the primary election?
They swindled the whole process. However, one good thing that the PDP did for me was that I fought like hell to win the primary. That gave me the experience that I needed. When they swindled the whole process and denied me the ticket, I had to find another party so that I can fulfil my mandate. I joined the Accord Party because first, it is the number one party on the ballot paper, the winning party. Two, officials of the party are reputable individuals. By the way, almost all the political parties involved in this coming election approached me to join them but I discovered that Accord is a different kind of party. It is a clean party devoid of crisis and legal wrangling.
On my part, I have the reputation and arguably the most popular candidate for the governorship election. You can do your findings to prove me wrong. I am popular because nobody has done more for humanity in Anambra than me. My Motto is “Humanity First” and in everything I do, I put people first. That explains why the people followed me to the Accord Party. The people of Anambra are in favour of the Accord. Today, we have persons from APGA, PDP, APC, Action Alliance and other parties identifying with us, saying that they would follow me wherever I go.
What are your vision and plans for Ndi Anambra?
Over the past 20 years, I have used my God-given, hard-earned millions of dollars from my thriving medical practice in the USA, to develop my home town and Awka province, including assisting the state government in some important sectors without asking for any form of compensation. My achievements have shown that I have a vision for the ultimate greatness of Anambra and its people.
As a globally recognized professor and successful practitioner in the medical field, giving my people of Anambra the best health care service of a global standard is my priority. I have already laid the foundation for the greatest healthcare system ever seen in Nigeria, with the construction of the first phase of the international medical facility, a 17-storey glass building (first of its kind in Africa). After decades of empty promises by our politicians, Anambrarians still do not have access to functional and affordable healthcare services and many of our people die from preventable ailments and diseases.
The idea of medical tourism is aimed at improving the standard of healthcare delivery and boosting the revenue potentials of our state. As an expert in the medical field, I have plans of how I’m going to boost Anambra’s economy through medical tourism. The international medical research centre, when fully operational, will be the largest medical research centre in the whole of Africa, attracting key experts (foreign and indigenous). I will ensure that Nigerians stop travelling to India and other countries for medical treatments for life-threatening cases that affect the heart, liver, kidney, prostate, diabetes, etc.
Another area that I will bring influence to bear is the establishment of pharmaceutical industries. This will not only create jobs for well-qualified youths but will also be an effective measure in the battle against fake drugs especially in our state. With adequate legislation, I will subsidise the cost of getting standard healthcare for Ndi Anambra.
I will introduce a mechanized and non-mechanized farming system. We will dedicate more interest and time to facilitating prompt relief strategies in the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. New farm and agricultural facilities shall be introduced for both public and private investment. Both youth and elders shall be encouraged by empowering them to maximize their farming and agricultural skills with loans or take-off grants. This system shall also be open to Youth Corps members exercising their mandatory service in the state.
I will designate a large expanse of land in every local government, use government funds to acquire necessary mechanized agricultural tools like tractors, combine harvesters and other farm equipment and build silos near the farms. Then farms will be put under the authority of the state’s ministry of agriculture to be managed by respective local government councils. We will also partner with genuine companies to establish food processing plants in the local government areas. This initiative will not only reduce hunger but will also help us process agricultural produce and create revenue for the state and enable farmers to reduce losses due to the decay of their produce before they get to the final consumers.
I will restore the lost glory of mandatory free education in our state through our social welfare leadership system. I will partner with the churches, major state contributors, academic stakeholders and private investors to enforce free education at both primary and secondary school levels. At tertiary levels, I will through proper legislation introduce a 50% subsidized policy of the cost of school fees for the benefit of all Anambra indigenes in all tertiary institutions.
We will staff our state university and other tertiary institutions and technical schools with competent lecturers and instructors. We will upgrade and equip the buildings and classrooms to international standards and make education in Anambra the showpiece of Nigeria.
Young Anambrarians will be equipped with ICT skills, both basic and advanced, on technology manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence through the establishment of technology entrepreneurship hub centres across the three senatorial districts of the state. This transfer of knowledge, techniques, skills, methods, and processes shall be used in the production of goods or services or the accomplishment of objectives of Nigeria at large. With ICT skills, the Anambra youths can better organize themselves to address their own economic needs and interests. They can make their respective contributions to the socio-economic progress of our dear state.
Transportation is a major component in terms of moving raw materials, goods and services from one place to the other. Today, Anambra stands to be the state to beat in terms of both rural and city road networks. We will focus on improving what is currently in existence. Ihiala River and other rivers in the North and Central Anambra that empty into the Atlantic Ocean will be dredged and built for proper water transportation in conjunction with other South-eastern states, to boost trade and tourism.
The establishment of an international and world-class airport to cater for human travellers and cargos will be a major priority for this is long overdue. This will help to reduce the risks to life and properties in transporting goods & services from Lagos or Port Harcourt that serve as the current ports of entry of goods and services for businesses based in Anambra. This will in turn reduce the time and cost of transactions for international businesses and on the other hand, increase our sources of internally generated revenue (IGR).
Energy is an important factor in all sectors of any country’s economy. To solve the issue of insufficient energy supply in Anambra State, I will adopt a renewable energy system to improve the ever-increasing demand for energy, especially by the industrial sector. Renewable energy has an important role to play in meeting the future energy needs in both rural and urban areas. The development and utilization of renewable energy will be given a high priority, especially in the light of increased awareness of the adverse environmental impacts of fossil-based generation. Anambra is blessed with a large amount of renewable natural resources, which when fully developed and utilized, will lead to poverty reduction and sustainable development. Renewable energy resources and technologies are a key component of sustainable development and my administration will adopt them if I become the governor.
I plan to explore places like Ogbaru and other riverine areas in the state and turn them into tourists’ attractions. We have very cool weather, one of the best in the world. We will invite foreign investors to help us achieve this vision. Instead of the flood ravaging these areas and taking people away every rainy season, we would divert the flood, manage it and build world-class hotels and casinos in those devastated areas. Once we have our minds positioned for development, we will grow. We would build beautiful resorts and create an environment where foreigners and fun-seekers, who have come for leisure and relaxation are unexposed to risks.
Our casinos just like what we have in Las Vegas would be sought after. I plan on bringing some of these engineers and casino owners to come and invest in the state. We would build parks, modern homes and plan our city for the better. You can’t be driving through Onitsha only to be seeing dirt everywhere. We will have better waste management. I just need the firm support of the people to bring the dream alive.
According to the World Health Organization, WHO, investing in the economic empowerment of women sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic because as the saying goes, “when you empower a woman, you empower a community. Women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in business, agriculture, charities, as entrepreneurs, cooperatives or employees and as unpaid home care workers.
If you go to the US and check the percentage of my employees, it is about 92 per cent populated by women and youths. That’s why I’m very successful in the US. When I’m allowed to start building this city, women and youth would have a fair proportion. I know the youths and I get along with them; I know their ways and speak their language. I’m on a mission to make a statement in governance.
Furthermore, I will through legislation, remove the major structure, legal and socio-cultural barriers to women empowerment in Anambra, while prioritizing women and youths development through the creation of opportunities in various sectors such as agribusiness, trade, small scale manufacturing etc. Women cooperative banking will be a major focus to drive the socio-economic impact of the agribusiness revolution.
Lagos is the leading state when it comes to IGR. How do you intend to compete with or even surpass Lagos without putting pressure on the people?
I can tell you that 30-40% of IGR in Lagos is from the Igbo through trading and businesses. That’s why I am trying to encourage them to come home and start building the factories. Let’s start building our state. I’m sick and tired of all of us not realising the fact that the more you put the factory elsewhere, the more our children, siblings, parents, and grandparents, everybody suffers. Our people everywhere should come and invest at home.
Again, IGR from Nnewi and Onitsha plus that of Abuja (allocation) is quite enough to transform the state. I already told you that I would get some foreign investors into the state. So when they come and all these things are combined, we will have enough money to fix our state. The truth is that most of the resources are being wasted. If we make use of earnings wisely, we might not need to depend on Abuja because the revenue from the state would be enough.
It’s going to be zero tolerance to wastage of public funds. Ours is not going to be cash-for-cash kind of government so that our people would get what they need. Do you know that the security votes can do a lot? If you come to work as a governor, you can do a lot. Most of the wastages and embezzlement are what cripples the government. The act of bringing in family members and friends to run the government is bound to cripple the government. I have a mission to build this state to a standard that other states in the federation would imitate.
Talking about coming home to invest, how do you hope to curb the rising insecurity in your state and protect investors and their investment?
Let everybody know that insecurity is birthed from a lack of job and money. Just as women can go into prostitution when they are jobless, men could carry guns when there is nothing else to do. By the time I encourage development in this state, create infrastructures that nobody has ever seen, insecurity would go down because people would have jobs to do. These boys joining cults do so out of hopelessness. Have you seen people who are gainfully employed join a cult? The answer to the security challenges is to increase the literacy level, give people jobs when they are done with school, create decency in politics so that people would not have to idolise thugs.
Security and justice have always been my priorities. Without security, there can never be peace and progress in any community. As a private citizen, I have invested millions of dollars to help the federal and Anambra State governments boost security and justice. I built a magistrate court, a state high court with quarters for judges, which is the first by any Nigerian and one of the most magnificent courts in Nigeria. I also built a police station, police barracks, a civil defence barracks, and officers’ mess and acquired land for a police college in the state. These I built and handed over to the state government. I did not collect a dime for these projects. The main reason for all these is because I value the security of life and property, which is the foundation of peace and health.
To ensure and sustain better security in our state, I will boost the remuneration and welfare packages of the security agencies in the state, renovate and build new barracks for all the security agencies with a focus on 21st-century schools for their children. I will institute professional development and training programmes for our security agents so they can be up to date on new and modern techniques of law enforcement. I will deploy air and land surveillance systems in the pre-empting and prevention of crimes.
Becoming the governor of Anambra State would change a whole lot in Nigeria. As I said, if I can do all I have done, without being a governor, then, if I get into government I would do more. The type of success that I have had in business, medical business, is what most of the governors would achieve by the time they finish governing. So, I have already surpassed the standard most of them would reach.
My infrastructure initiatives will consolidate and enhance what is already on the ground. I have already invested millions of dollars from my pocket into many projects to empower and promote local entrepreneurship. I have done it in my community, where we built day and night. All the projects that you see here were accomplished by assiduously working day and night. I intend to replicate the development you see in Umuchukwu in the whole of Anambra State if I become the governor.