Ahead of Anambra governorship primaries a lot of eminently qualified aspirants have joined the race to pick the ticket of political parties. MIKE ODIAKOSE reports that the immediate past President of Transcorp hotel Plc, Dr. Valentine Ozigbo, who is a member of PDP had interactive session with journalists in Abuja after collecting his nominate form and gave insight why he believes he remains the best candidate to succeed outgoing governor Obiano. Excerpts:
During your tenure as the MD of Transcorp, the corporation made so much money but share holders never enjoyed the value of their investment. Can you tell us what happened during that period?
I took over the mantle of leadership of Transcorp hotels PLC and not transnational corporation of Nigeria plc. So that’s the first factual incorrect statement you’ve made.
I was the CEO Transcorp hotels from 2011 to 2018 and we paid record dividends never paid in the history of the company. So please, next time before we ask this type of person, go check your records. I want to say this, the hotel within my realm became the best business Hotel in Africa for six consecutive years according to seven stars group, world travel hotels. I became the only black person voted the CEO of the year in the world. Please go check your records. So I want to assure you that all through my span in Transcorp hotels as CEO, by the grace of God, the hotel was unprecedented in performance and both the federal government and the shareholders alike derived sufficient dividends. And going beyond that, we also made sure other stakeholders were fully well taken care of, from FIRS in terms of tax payment, I was the only CEO that ever received acknowledgement from the Federal Island Revenue Service for being tax compliant. If you understood how Transcorp hotel was being run before I took over, honestly you will come here and give me a hug for great performance I achieved.
Is it not possible for the candidates to go for consensus and do you believe in consensus?
Anambra is not different from any other states in Nigeria. We are going to do proper, democratic process where people who are interested in bringing in their wealth of experiences to come to bear in changing the story for good in their state Anambra, have shown interest and for as many people as we have that are qualified and competent, are free and happy and willing to show up. On the day of primary we head to the polls and we make sure the best would emerge through a transparent process that we have been guaranteed by the national leadership. And I’m deeply thankful to our dear Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus for his commitment in ensuring that indeed we go through a free and fair process. I am yet to see in PDP where we go through this process without going through primary. PDP is only party that undertakes primary and we are in line, as Anambra people to go through that process. So I’m happy that we’re going through that process. So when our people step down for people or otherwise there’s no issue about that.
Now talking about building consensus. I’m also an advocate of consensus and peace and I want to tell you that this is reason why I’ve been engaging quite a number of people on a stakeholder level, on relationship level even at aspirant level to say to them less unites, let’s form a nexus, so that at the end of the day, whoever would win the primary will get the support of those who have lost especially when the process is fair and credible.
So, I believe in that consensus, and so if it is necessary for anybody to step down, that will be fantastic so the numbers get reduced and the cost of electioneering also minimized. But also I want to say this, by the grace of God today, I am the leading aspirant, I’m the top contender for the job and by the grace of God, I’m on my way to winning the primary of PDP. And be that as it may, in want to say to my fellow aspirants, please let’s look around; maybe we’ll take the heat of jokes. And if any of us must step down, we are going to be checking who is performing better than the other on the field and that how that decision should be taken because you don’t tell the person running first to step down for number two, that usually is not the practice. So let the grassroot be the decider. Let the people at the base tell us who their favorite favorites should be. And I want to thank God for making me something that’s already close to becoming a consensus candidate of the party given the way we have performed.
I have also been friendly and close to everyone of the aspirants on this journey. That’s why I don’t talk anything bad about any aspirant because at the end of the day, we’re all from the same family PDP. So I want to thank you know you for this question that enabled me to highlight these salient points, because I want to make sure that at the end of the day, we go to the main election as one body. That’s the only way we can overcome whatever may be the influence of anyone whether it is APGA or APC or any other party for that matter. The only way we can make sure we win this election is that we go as one family. My promise to all of you is that I will do everything possible to help in uniting PDP.
Are you not intimidated by the candidate of APGA, Chukwuma Sokudo, who is reported to have the support of the incumbent governor of Anambra state?
I actually want to request that you study my candidacy well enough because when you do, the question should be the reverse. Shouldn’t Soludo be intimidated by my candidacy?
I want to say this to you, there are a lot of unique advantages that I have not by the grace of God may not be equaled by him. As you know, we are in the realm of these two worlds, we’re talking about how do we get Anambra to catch up with the rest of the world. The person you have here is a digital man who understands the future, and not so much about what has happened in the past. So as a matter of fact, if you’re looking for class or modernity and world class, then you come to that conclusion, between both of us who indeed would be trumped higher? If you are also looking for energy that is required for this process, you understand that politicking and governance requires that you are on toes, we are looking for people who are in their prime, not people who may have retired and looking for how to settle. At that point, you understand that I am superior in terms of what I can bring to bear. If you’re also looking for people who are widely acceptable who have no baggages; who have no enemies; who haven’t done anything that has anybody to question about. I thank God that he has been able to take me through that journey for my career, where I’ve shown brilliance in everything I’ve ever done.
And by the way, if you want to know, if you come to the intellect, I’m also not second class to anybody. By the grace of God, everything I’ve ever done, I’ve come tops, my primary school top, secondary school top. I went to University of Nigeria the same place he went to, I made the best results in my department and the faculty. I went to England for masters, I made distinction in finance; I went to the Institute of Accountants, I am a fellow of multiple bodies. I’ve also been to multiple universities in the world and I’m the president of the GCO class that we just finished few years ago. So the point here is that in the banking career, I spent 17 years and within the first year I became the best staff of a bank I worked for. I walked from being branch manager to Regional Manager to General Manager and got to a level where I became the director of international banking, going to multiple countries of the world to open banks.
So if you’re also looking for somebody who’s a community developer, I’ve also been in a very key in making sure we empower women and youths through my foundation. I’m also here to tell you in the world of today, sports and entertainment is the order of today, and am one of the biggest promoters of sports in Nigeria and also the biggest promoter crystal football in Africa. I’m also a big employer, and big investor in the entertainment world. If you understand that movie ‘Merriman I want to be owners’. I can also tell you, I’m a big investor in technology. I am a co-owner of a company that’s also into technology in the development world.
The only way we can make sure we win this election is that we go as one family
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