As the people of Anambra State prepare to elect a new governor to lead them for the next four years on Saturday, Chike Nwosu, a lawyer, administrator, entrepreneur and President of Greater Anambra Initiative for Development (GAIN), a leading development, good governance, and sustainable leadership advocacy group, in this interview with Olaoluwakitan Babatunde, makes a case for incumbent Governor Willie Obiano’s re-election
Anambra State has been in an electioneering season.
What for you are the issues? And would you say the parties and their candidates are addressing them?
I think the issues in this election are the need for a credible and honest leadership; how do we create a vision for our dear state and take its development to the next level; and how do we get a leader with the right pedigree to lead us to the desired level. Without vision the people perish. The candidates so far have done their best in terms of political rhetoric, marketing themselves and selling their party manifestos to the good people of Anambra State. Politics is a battle of ideas and contact sports. My thesis and submission is that the election is going to be a sprint and not a marathon race.
What is your assessment of the campaigns? Are you satisfied with the comportment of the contestants and the response of the people to them?
Like I said, the candidates especially that of APGA, PDP, APC, UPP, and of course, PPA have done well in their campaigns. That does not mean that the candidates of other 32 parties have done less. In Anambra, we go for what is authentic. I think Governor Obiano has superior arguments. He has demonstrated a unique kind of consistency, an undiminished stamina and steadiness in delivering infrastructure.
Do you foresee a peaceful election in view of the call for its boycott by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)?
Anambra has always been a peaceful State. The election of 18th November would be peaceful. We are peace loving people. Every Igbo man knows that it is to our collective best interest that the Anambra election succeeds. In the past six months we embarked on advocacy and sensitization of our youths on the need for a peaceful election in Anambra. We have held seminars, town hall meetings and sensitized them through various social media.
Looking at the pedigree of the candidates and their parties, which of them do you find most suitable to govern the state for the next four years?
Honestly, we have interacted with some of the aspirants, and we believe that almost all of them are eminently qualified to be governor of Anambra. Unfortunately they can only be one governor at a time. So many of them have excelled in their endeavours and leadership. However, for now, Ndi Anambra have collectively agreed that the incumbent should complete his second term for the following reasons: he has provided uncommon leadership with quintessential attributes; he has stabilized the Anambra polity; he is methodical, a strategic thinker and intellectually mobile; he has managed our resources reasonably; he has achieved his short and midterm targets and should be allowed to complete his long term targets, which includes the Cargo Airport at Umueri.
He also has visible achievements, he has been up to date in payment of salaries, pensions, and he continues to break new grounds; he has practical and cognate experience on the job; and he has carried our collective interests, sentiments, philosophy, aspirations well. Presently, he is favoured by God, history, geography (where he comes from) and politics. In other words, he is favoured by all the elements. Most importantly, he has ongoing projects that he needs to complete.
Obviously you prefer Governor Obiano to continue in office. But he has been criticised for not doing enough in last four years?
Governor Obiano has pedigree. Anambra people already know him. He is a good manager of resources being a chartered accountant and auditor. Even in the midst of recession, he was able to navigate the state safely. He pays salaries, pensions, emoluments and on time. He is Primus inter pares amongst his contemporaries in other states. Criticism is part of life. Nobody is above criticism. The hallmark of leadership is the ability to solve problems. Amongst the contestants, he presents more convincing and more compelling reasons to Ndi Anambra.
Do you not think his chances of returning to office would be narrowed by array of forces against him? The man who brought him, Chief Peter Obi, is in the trenches against him. Wouldn’t this impact negatively on Obiano?
It is hypothetical and speculative to insist he was made governor by the efforts of only Peter Obi. We are not interested in the jurisprudence of who made him governor, how, and why. We just want him to sustain the momentum of development.
I think the incumbent is a beneficiary of God’s benevolence like his predecessor. That is why we have asked the people of Anambra to allow him complete his developmental programs. Peter Obi is a great son of Anambra. We are proud of him and his achievements. To be a governor in Anambra State is no mean achievement.
This is against the backdrop of contending forces and contradictions. If I were Governor Peter Obi, I would quietly retire to advisory capacity and role. One of the pitfalls of extreme intelligence is that you are so accustomed to being right that you believe you are always right. The future is created, not inherited. Everything in life happens for a reason. Peter Obi should support the incumbent to sustain the tempo of infrastructural development in the state.
And what do you make of the internal wrangling in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)? Isn’t the party approaching the election with a divided house?
I am not a card carrying member of APGA. I do not know about their wrangling. However, I am aware they have some issues in court like all the other political parties. As a Lawyer, I understand the legal implications of commenting on matters that are subjudice. Our interest in Greater Anambra Initiative for Development (GAIN) is to advocate and support honest and credible leadership, support positive development projects and ensure that Anambra youths are put to jobs.
Should Obiano win the election, what would be your charge to him?
Considering Governor Obiano’s pedigree, his achievements thus far, we believe that he would win the election. What are the expectations of Ndi Anambra? Create the enabling environment that would enable entrepreneurship thrive, create employment, which will reduce social vices. As an entrepreneur, I understand the positive effects and contributions of entrepreneurship to national development and our GDP. He should support the youths in Anambra State acquire and attain entrepreneurial characteristics that would equip them in start-up enterprises. The truth is that our education and certificates as presently constituted do not make our graduates employable.
The emphasis globally is on youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, and vocational skills. He should get the youths busy through positive interventions and initiatives that would promote positive social change. We expect the governor to instigate social change through insights and interventions in entrepreneurship and job creation. We shall support him in this regard.
We need to enhance the entrepreneurial and leadership characteristics of our youths. Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of every Anambra person. It is our forte. It is a game changer. We are equally favoured by other factors of production (Land, labour, and capital). With a good synergy, Anambra would be a power- house in the next three years. We must work hard to put our youths out of the streets. Failure to do so portends doom for all of us. The governor must sustain hope through skill acquisition and entrepreneurship, which are the panacea of tackling unemployment. We in Greater Anambra Initiative would oblige the governor our manual and blueprint for massive industrialization of the state.