With a taste of what an ideal society should be and look like, Godwin Ezeemo, a gubernatorial aspirant in Anambra State in this interview with Peace Obi, said that his ambition to be the next governor of the state was borne out of the burden and passion to give Anabrans, a taste of sincere, objective and fair leadership that will leave the state as a beacon of light
Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Godwin Chukwuneme Ezeemo. I am from Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. I grew up a village boy. After my tertiary education, I moved to Lagos in 1986. Thereafter, I left Lagos for London where I lived from 1993 to 2012, when I returned back here finally. And since then till date, I have been residing here in Umuchu.
What do you do for a living?
I am an industrialist, a farmer and a publisher.
As an entrepreneur, what inspired you going into politics?
My inspiration is based on a personal experience. When I looked at the approach to leadership and governance in this part of the world and putting it side by side with what is obtainable from the developing world where I lived, the contrast is quite huge. And trying to find out what exactly the difference is, one can only see the skin colour. And I started wondering why black people cannot really manage themselves. Why they cannot entrench good governance and pursue sustainable development in the continent in such a way that it will not only become a desirable home for her people but also to able to measure up as a developing country. This is where my worries came from.
When I was in England, I saw the way things were going. There, you see a society that has strong institutions and where everything is given its rightful place. And I told myself that one day, I will come over to my people and give a helping hand. And I think what we need to see is the desired change and development in our country and my beloved state, the commitment, political will by our leaders and the support from the people.
So, giving a helping hand means that I will come and do things differently from the way our people have been doing it without achieving the needed result nor changed the living conditions of our people. So, I am coming to give a very sincere, objective and fair leadership that will liberate my state from the doldrums thus making Anambra a beacon of light and a centre of good governance and development.
How active have you been involved in Nigerian politics and what political office(s) have you held?
I have been actively involved in politics since 2012 but I have not held any political office. All the while, I have continued to encourage and support those who have the potential to deliver good governance to my people and Nigeria as a whole in their political aspirations. I have fully sponsored and co-sponsored some political office holders at different levels. In essence, I have been active in politics and not necessarily at the forefront. But I remain committed to my vision of offering a leadership with a difference to my people. And that informs my aspiration to govern my state so that I can give them what they have been missing for years in terms of quality leadership.
How prepared are you as a player in Nigerian political arena given where you are coming from?
It may look daunting and difficult, but my first reaction to this is that we will not because it is difficult and shy away from the realities on the ground that Nigeria is in dire need of selfless leaders. And now that opportunity has presented itself, it is necessary that I rise to this challenge. So, we have to face our problem and if we donâ€™t, we are not going to find solution. There is nothing so difficult about Nigerian politics. When it comes to Nigerian politics, I have the energy, I have the love and I have the knowledge. To cap it all, what I am doing is not a mere ambition but a passion on how to develop the black man. I am very, very fit and prepared.
What is your leadership ideology?
My leadership ideology is purely a state where Dick and Tom will have the basics; a fair chance; where our youths will have the opportunity of being judged based on what they can do and not according to who they know, where they come from or their status in the society. A society where principles of democracy will really be entrenched. I am someone who appreciates the fact that the leadership position is a privilege opportunity to serve and that it is held in trust for the people. So, when given the opportunity to serve my people, it is obligatory for me to live up to the confidence they reposed in me and as such, I will not let them down, rather I will protect their interest and make sure that they experience good governance in every sphere.
What would you do differently from what the present government in Anambra State is doing?
What I have to do differently here are much. First, I will make sure that I get the youths engaged and getting them engaged means that a couple of things have to be done. It is a known fact that many of our youths are jobless. And youth unemployment is one factor that strokes youth restiveness, thereby giving rise to a lot of social and security problems. And some of the practical ways of getting the youths engaged is by making sure that I create an enabling environment for investors to come into the state. Because when investors have their businesses here, that will further create employment opportunities for the youths and when they are fully engaged, they will go out from the streets and our streets thus giving way for a more secured environment. In doing this, one of the important infrastructure that must be in place is power. For any meaningful development and investment to take place in this state, there is need for an improved power generation and supply. Once I have this is in place, it will now affect the other five key areas I have in my blueprint â€“ agriculture, to make sure that it is purely mechanised, health system, education, security and environment as a whole.
What area(s) do you think that this present government is not doing well enough?
The present government is not doing much in the area of infrastructural development. Much of what you hear or see are mere politics. There is no serious commitment to it. For example, I have never heard them talk about improving power generation and supply in the state. Then ordinary road which common man in the street will appreciate, they are also not doing that, not even in Anambra North, where they have their stronghold, not to mention other areas like Central and the South. The present government is using propaganda for virtually everything they are doing. And you know that propaganda that is devoid of truth is deceit.
For example, the Anambra airport that was flagged off in 2015, was again flagged off some weeks back. How can that be done twice? That is still part of the deceit and propaganda. In fact, not even a single block was laid anywhere. Our health system lacks both qualified medical personnel and equipment. It is not about beautifully painted buildings we have here and there without commensurate personnel and equipment for a good medical care. Another area is the education sector. Our education system is very poor. We need to increase our childrenâ€™s access to education. Provide a conducive environment for learning to inculcate in our children patriotic spirit, good values and hard work. This is part of the things our education system is lacking and we are going to address that. Itâ€™s said that we are rated the best for passing WAEC, that is not enough. When you have taught a child how to work, how to live on his own, how to share and love one another, inculcate in him the values that can sustain him and the society at large. That is when education can be said to be complete.
The position you are gunning for will in a way test your popularity, in what way have you affected the common people of this state to expect them consider you as their next governor?
I have, as an individual contributed so much to this state. I have a charity that has trained over 100 graduates (indigent students). I here through my farm, press and other factories created jobs for both indigenes and non-indigenes. I have built over four kilometre road for the people. I sponsor â€œOtu suwakwa Igboâ€ â€“ a society that helps in sustaining our indigenous language and culture. I have been sponsoring that group since 2012. I have also built a two storey building for Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Anambra chapter. I have donated an engine boat to a riverine community called Igbokenyi to enable them transport their farm produce down to Onitsha for better market value and sells. Igbokenyi is an island that cannot be reached by road.
In 2012, I was the very first person that lend a helping hand to Anambra North when it was flooded and buildings submerged. I went there with medical doctors, I donated good chunk of money and food items because a lot of people were displaced. I have also done a lot within my community here in Umuchu. I have reticulated water, provided power and also built a complete church, with a parsonage; and furnished it fully for people to go and worship God. I have also contributing immensely to the building of the perimeter fencing of the general hospital here.
What stands you out from other contestants?
I am the only politician that has an address. That is to say that I live with my people, I am a grassroots person. Many of the politicians you see here donâ€™t have much stake in the state. They might have them in Abuja, Lagos or elsewhere. But I have virtually all my investments here in the state.
How would you manage defeat if it comes?
This is not a matter of life and death. By my background, I am an English man in heart though a black man by birth. In any game, it is either you win or you lose. And naturally, from my background and my values in life, whatever that comes out of it will be accepted in good faith.