One of the issues on the front burner on the political tuff is the issue of restructuring of the country. What is your position on this issue?
It has become obvious from the things happening around us that we need to rethink our corporate existence. I am one that believes that a stronger nation is beneficial to all. We have had in the past, the republican system where we had some regional leadership and regional government.
A typical state has really about 80% of what they need to run itself. So when you have state assembly, you have your local government, and then you have your laws and bye-laws to generate your own revenue and use it to run your budget, then it has covered a lot more unless you are coming from a state that obviously has larger natural resources that makes you earn more. But in a state like Anambra, what we have is a skill, that is our own oil and gas for now. I am one who believes that we support discussions on how we should engage and come into a mutually acceptable situation where we should give more powers to the state. The local government obviously must be independent because any development that is not bottom-up, then a larger percentage of the population will not feel the impact of government. I support discussions that will give more powers to the states.
How do we tackle the security challenges confronting the country?
I believe that security starts with our individual homes and the local government. It is not every security issue that you should bring to the attention of the federal government. But that can only be done when there are more powers given to the states and the local government and the regions.
Over the years we have noticed that a lot of aspirants are pretenders and only pushed into the race by some unseen godfathers. How ready are you to for the primary contest?
When a masquerade is dancing in public, it is not in his place to watch himself and assess how well he is dancing. Under the masqueraded body, he is doing his best. So those who will judge how well he is dancing are Tue bystanders and watchers. So I will ask you, pressmen, to have a closer look at me the masquerade in the public dancing and make your own assessment.
You know that if I am to assess myself, I will assess it very highly maybe 100%. But again we are not here because we don’t have anything to do, we have by the special grace of God achieved a high level of private and individual engagement, and we feel that we can as well do better if we have a bigger platform like the governorship and that’s why we are here.
One key item on your 10-point agenda is urban renewal. Can you shed more light on this?
We expect that our huge infrastructural development with rural development will shore up a lot of revenue. We shall target a lot of private infrastructural development through PPP. You can rest assured that the private estate developers both in Lagos and Abuja are those who is a one way or the other have their root in Anambra. We shall create an enabling environment for them to engage and partner with the government. This investment I believe will not be too much of a stress for our government to achieve.
We are also going to have a look at our land use act. We are going to make sure that sure everything is put in place and planned to put Anambra and ensure that a typical person who has an investment in land can convert it to money and that can only be when he has easy access to his certificate of occupancy. This will different sources of revenue to the government. We are witness to the magic AGIS did in Abuja here, we are going to replicate it. There is nothing wrong with copying what is good.
We have identified different regions in Anambra State so that we can open up new towns. For us, as a government all you need to do is to make sure that you are credible, you have integrity, you can meet up with your obligations with our partners and when that is done, we shall write an MoU and an agreement, and you will be surprised to see the kind of investors that will come to provide the infrastructure that is needed and obviously individuals will come themselves and provide the investment that is needed.
What plans do you have for the education sector in Anambra state?
We are going to lay special emphasis on talented individuals. We are going to set up special schools for those with special skills and talents. These schools will be opened in the three senatorial districts if Anambra state, well funded by the government. We are going to invest a lot in our educational infrastructure and then make sure that at levels of primary to secondary schools, people have easy access to education. Our tertiary institutions will attract a whole lot of investment. Our budget for education will be huge because we have just lost a lot of time in the last 21yrs. So most of the foundation we are going to put on the ground might be something that will start featuring on the stage when we are gone. Ours is about legacy. We will like 20 – 30 yrs after, people will be talking about the string educational foundation we have laid.
One issue that may likely come up before the primaries are the zoning of the governorship ticket. Will you remain at the party is the ticket is zoned to any of the other two senatorial zones in Anambra?
It is on record that every zone in Anambra state has produced a governor. But we are here in the Secretariat of PDP and for the business of PDP. We are party faithful who have remained in the party since 1999 with the hope of actualizing our vision and political ambition in the party. So if you go by what our party has done and not what other parties have done, if you go by that record, as a matter of fact, PDP has given out three tickets in the past to the southern senatorial zone and has given two tickets to the north senatorial zone. In the north, they have given to Dr Tony Nwoye, given to Dr Oseloka Obaze. In the south they have given to Dr Mbadinuju, they have given to Senator Andy Uba and then Prof. Soludo. The central PDP has given a ticket to only one person and that is Dr Chris Ngige whose tenure was terminated at some point in his government.
So I really think that if something fair should be done from PDP if at all there is a need for that because we are here for our competence, for our belief in what we can do but if anything has to be done to be fair then it is making sure that the centre has the ticket at least for a second time because we had only one. And it might interest you to know that Anambra central has a 60% voting population and that is where you have the strongest presence of PDP. I believe that for PDP to win, you start from your strong base, you don’t have to go to your weak base. I believe that with the state of affairs in Anambra state, it is only so mundane and parochial to be talking about where the saviour will be coming from.
I believe that for PDP to win, you start from your strong base, you don’t have to go to your weak base.