Chief Emma Anosike
For about one month now, he has been carrying out treatment on victims of flood disaster in Anambra State. In an interaction with journalists in Umueri, Anambra East Local Government of the state, the former Senator for Anambra North district, Chief Emma Anosike, spoke on his medical mission and the 2014 gubernatorial election in the state. Charles Onyekamuo was there. Excerpts:
Why did you choose to shoulder the treatment of flood victims in the state?
The areas that were most affected in the flood disaster is Anambra North and that is my senatorial zone. The purpose wasn’t for me to behave the way other people were behaving. The purpose was for me to take care of my people. When I was elected by my people to represent them in the House of Representatives, I saw it as a call to serve. Even when I was sent to the senate, I saw it as a confidence reposed in me by my people.
So I owe it as a duty to serve them and ever since, any opportunity I get, I try as much as possible to help them. What I did was to set up a mobile clinic. And by the time I set up that mobile clinic, brought in about seven doctors, and twelve nurses and of course, I was lucky to have somebody that was very willing to help and coordinate the exercise.
He left all he has been doing for a living to take this task. This is because he saw the situation the same way I saw it and he offered to co-ordinate the exercise. By the time I set up the mobile clinic, I asked myself; how are you going to sustain the exercise? I started talking to my friends and by the grace of God, I have some good friends and when I spoke to them, they were excited about the idea.
Then when one of my contacts spoke to Neimeth Pharmaceuticals Ltd which took over Pfizer, they were also interested. I also spoke to Chief Onyema Ugochukwu and he bought into the idea. I also spoke with Chief Jude Osude and he agreed to help. I also contacted Juhel Pharmaceuticals and some other friends. We also bought some drugs on our own before we started asking for help.
On the day of the flag off of the exercise, Neimeth gave us drugs worth about N5million and Chief Ugochukwu sent his own as well as chief Osude. Even though we have been having some challenges, we have been battling with it since we have made up our minds to carry out this activity. I also want to put it on record that while the exercise was going on; a lot of people have been working hard to ensure that the drugs are well distributed. I also want to put on record that before this exercise started, I wrote a letter to the governor, Mr. Peter Obi, telling him what we intend to do as well as the commissioner for Health. We had to make them understand that this is a humanitarian thing aimed at assisting our people. The governor also saw it as a kind gesture and was indeed supportive of the exercise.
We intend to continue this project even by the time they might have gone back to their homes; we shall always reach out to them. We shall go to their villages to see what we can do for them. If we get to villages where they do not have health centres, we will use the churches as our base. Generally, we shall make sure that doctors visit the villages at least once in a week.
Since the flood incident, people have been making donations but a section of the public sees your gesture as being politically motivated. Is there an iota of fact in that?
Usually every move you make even in your living or bedroom, in fact, everywhere in your house is politics. You also play politics with your family, when you will be battling with your daughter and your son all those things are home politics; some people have the penchant to reduce it to politics.
But, for me, I do not subscribe to that. If you check my records from the time I was in the House of Representatives, everything that I have done for this area is to make sure that I rendered services to people. God has been so helpful to me. I tell people, sometimes, that I am the person that has seen God because wherever I am today, I never envisaged it. I went to the House of Representatives election with N5,000. That was the only money I had then. At the end of the day, my election was one of the toughest and one of the hottest, but God used a lot of people to make me succeed.
So, the only thing I have to do is to send it back to the people. I am from Anambra North, there is no point politicking with them. If I don’t do this, some of them will also come to my house with their problems. In Ayamelum, I have people in Anambra East; I have a lot of them as well as in Ogbaru local government area. Virtually anybody that can read and write has my phone number and I do not switch off my phone.
When I saw the pressure I had on health related issue from every angle, I had to move into it. If I wanted to play politics, I would just come here with minimal money and donate to them and go my way. I have been able to do it in such a way that no one sees my face everyday going from one camp to other.
I just put up the structure and the project goes on. If it gets to the time of politics, we’ll play politics. All through my life, I believe in rendering service to my people. When I went to the House of Representatives, I never knew I would also go to the senate. I did a lot of things in the National Assembly, the major reason that I went to the House of Representatives was to build Otuocha–Abagana road.
That was the purpose of getting into politics. And the day then governor Chris Ngige came here and we commenced the road he told everyone that though this road is a federal road, he is doing it because of his friend, senator Anosike. I have played my role well in Anambra State that you can never hear me at any particular time fighting the system. I believe that whatever position anybody finds himself is what God has planned for that person.
When Ngige was governor, I was the only person in the senate that supported him. I was doing it because I am from Anambra. Whatever you destroy in Anambra, you are also destroying my own property. When Mbadinuju was there, I was also there. When Peter Obi was impeached, I was at the centre of it even though I was a PDP member. I tried to stop that impeachment. By the grace of God I contributed in making sure that the House of Assembly did not have the two-third majority to impeach him. If I did not withdraw most of the Assembly members from Anambra North who were loyal to me they would have succeeded and the governor appreciates this. He has been very supportive of what I have been doing.
By March 2014, Anambra would have had a new Governor. What is your take on the clamour for Anambra North people to produce the next Governor for the state?
On the issue of 2014, when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. What I am facing now is the issue of the flood. By the time I finish the issue of the flood, if the environment gives me the signal that I should continue or contest for the governorship election in Anambra, so be it. If the signal says it is senate, so be it. If it says local government chairman, so be it. My intention for the remaining part of my life is to help my people.
There is a perception that your zone Anambra North does not have a governorship material. How do you feel about such position?
I feel highly insulted if anybody tries to come from that direction. I do not want to join issues with anybody. But I know that Anambra North has a lot of people who are capable of managing the affairs of Anambra State. Let me use the words of Peter Obi, even if the person is a mad man let him come to the government house and also behave like a mad man. We have had a lot of people- those people that were okay and those that were not okay who had managed the affairs of Anambra State. The only thing you can say about Anambra North is that they do not have people that have so much money.
We don’t behave like that; we are not crazy about money in Anambra North. We are not crazy about relationship. That is why they say, in any election, if you get Anambra North people, you have won. This is because we believe in ourselves. We love our selves. The issue in the Bible is to love your neighbor as yourself. You go to other zones; you’ll see them fighting themselves because of too much money. And God can never give you two things at the same time.
The only person God has given everything was David in the Bible even though he passed through torture. It wasn’t easy if God has given you money and you feel that He has given you money and good business and you also want to get into politics; God is not sleeping. If you think that you are so rich and you are from one particular zone and you can swallow the other zones, you are making a mistake. What is important is that we have to be alive. It will come to pass. I will give you an example. All the governors in the South-east, none of them planned to be governor. Martin Elechi did not plan to be governor. He has retired and God said come and lead my people. People went to him and brought him out. Abia State governor had crisis. He was detained in Lagos. He was in that place and election was conducted and he won. He was sworn in from detention.
The man in Enugu State had no intention to be governor. When Peter Obi came, he wanted to experience the terrain and at that time, everybody was shouting Okey Nwosu but at the end of the da,y Peter Obi became the governor. In the case of Rochas Okorocha, he had no chance because his zone had done eight years, it was just because of the confusion in Imo State and Owerri Zone; people like Martin Agbaso and they said because they had problem with the then governor and PDP, he emerged. So, you cannot tell me that anybody has structured himself to be governor. It is not as easy as your think. Let us look at the statistics they have and those of Anambra North. The only difference is that yes they have money. I am doing what I am doing because of the little money I have. But some people from other zones that have too much money cannot bring out 10 kobo to solve their brothers’ problems.
Is it true that you have been romancing Peter Obi for a possible defection to APGA from PDP to contest gubernatorial election?
The truth is that, if you understood senator Anosike, I do not gallivant. I have said severally that I shouldn’t be governor of Anambra State to do what I am doing. The governorship of Anambra State is just secondary; what is primary is myself. For me to be myself, I told you severally that when Ngige was there, I was in PDP, even Ngige went to Action Congress, (AC) when we were chased to AC.
When Ngige came back I just voluntarily left and I said go ahead if you want to be governor. What is important is that I am not romancing Peter Obi to become governor. I am romancing with Peter Obi because he is my governor. And for the fact that he is my governor, God has said you must respect authority. I do not have any intention at any particular time to leave PDP for any other party. I am in PDP and you remember I was at the centre of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign.
I have benefited from PDP and so on. So, it doesn’t make any sense to me. Moreover, all the former governors that brought people to take over from them, how are they feeling now? Confusion all over the place, fighting all over the place. Any smart governor will not be talking about bringing anybody; he will just present a level play ground and any one that emerges will of course work with the governor.