David-Chyddy Eleke interacts with Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Technical Matters on his aspiration to govern Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance
Why are you in the governorship race? What difference do you intend to make?
I am in the race because I think that what is missing in the state is a leader that is able to bring the entire Anambra people to play roles in the development of the state. That’s why I call myself “a facilitator”. You need to be smaller in the space, for the space to get bigger. Our state needs a leader who is not afraid of the successes of other people in Anambra State. One who is not intimidated by the massive array of talents that we have. But one who is actually inspired by it. And is willing to reduce present himself for scrutiny. Because they are not going to come along with you if they don’t think that you are serious, or failed to present yourself for scrutiny. So Anambra needs a leader who is willing to stand under the bright light where they will see his skin, skeleton and everything. Such that even as he stands under the light, he won’t be scared of the rich, the brilliant professors we have all over the place, the well-established traders or those our young talents that are breaking out all over the world. But instead he’s drawn to them like a magnet. You know that magnet doesn’t transform the objects it attracts to itself. It is not like acid that corrodes whatever it comes in contact with, he rather lets people come together to blend to evolve a massive successful environment. That is what is attracting me. That is what I think is, or has been missing in the state. The person that sees the state as an interactive platform where talents, gifts, potentials come together to create a home.
Why did you choose APGA, despite having been a prominent member of the PDP before now?
Specifically APGA offers the first fundamental of development. If you want to develop a people, there has to be some harmony in their overall environment. So APGA offers the state one harmonious political party under one God. Remember we are predominantly a Christian community. We have one party, one language, one God. We have a cultures that enables you work development. And globally, that is a standard that when a group of people grab it they make waves. With APGA, we are under one party, one God and one culture.
What is your opinion of the zoning formula being canvassed in the state?
Well, I am an advocate of fairness and inclusiveness. Zoning addresses both. It’s a business of people in leadership at any point in time. If you are not a legislator, governor, traditional ruler or church leader, it means that at that point in time God in His infinite wisdom has not given you a platform. Because it’s God that gives people places to lead. And I found out that at this point in our history, our governor, our legislator, our traditional rulers, our church leaders -those people God has given platforms to lead Anambra State said that we would be better if we allow every zone produce a governor in turns. And it’s not unique to the position of governor. It’s something that appears to be in the culture of the state, because if you go down to the villages, town union leaderships are done in rotation. They balance it, as all the quarters will bring nominees to the executive. Same for the national and state assembly positions, etc. There’s always some form of zoning or rotating arrangement in everything that is done in the state.
When you complete eight years and want to go again, the people will say no; that you have to give way for other people to go. So those saying they don’t understand zoning are just being dishonest. If you go down to even their kindred meeting you will find out that the positions were always zoned. But now sitting in a corner of his compound thinking because they have made some money to buy a few SUVs that they use to run round the state, they then convince themselves that they can now ignore everyone. Come on. That is not the way things are done.
Democracy is the rule of the majority, and in Anambra State, anytime there is an election a greater population appear to be coming from one particular faith. It’s actually democracy, not religious politics. However, if there are people playing obvious religious politics with it, then it’s necessary we address it. Again, because of their higher numerical strengths and voting along the line of the value of their faith, that cannot be construed as religious politics. I think it’s just democratic. However I think it will be unfair for any religion, in spite of any view that is contrary to the value of the people to insist they must have the position. That’s when it becomes religious politics, hence counter productive. I sincerely think that Anambra state doesn’t necessary fit that picture.
There are reports that APGA’s 2021 governorship ticket has been foreclosed, as the party has settled for a candidate, what is your view?
That is only a kite being flown that the ticket of the party had been reserved for Prof. Soludo, but it is mere propaganda meant to dissuade others from announcing their intention to run. Soludo is a very brilliant Anambra son who is renowned and very well travelled. I once teased him by asking him why he is here (gubernatorial race), when he ought to be in the world space. I hear Okonjo-Iweala every day, doing all the things she does around the world, and we believe he should be there too. That is the kind of place that befits him. The notion that the APGA ticket is settled and reserved for him is a strategy to convince everyone that the APGA race for the ticket is closed. It is a brilliant approach, but it is not true. It is only a gimmick to scare others.
I have never heard the leaders of the party say that the APGA door is closed against other aspirants, but somehow, our great professor has convinced all that they should stay away, because he negotiated the ticket of the party many years ago. He is just playing a stunt that is making it look like everyone is demanding for him, but what you must know is that it is not true. I have tried the APGA door and it has opened, that is why I am convinced that the door is not shut yet. APGA is a democratic party and very rooted in democracy, so I have no fear that the ticket has been reserved for anyone. Once, Obi was able to do that, he went everywhere, telling people that his reelection was the last wish of Ojukwu. It is the same thing that Soludo is doing today. He first made it look like he was being begged by the people to come and contest.
Given the opportunity, what are the three things that would engage your immediate attention as the governor of Anambra State?
The first and most important thing is education. I am going to focus on education. That’s the first priority. That’s why I insist that Anambra families come first. When I talk about education for living, I am looking at that education that gets the population to understand that the family is the most important unit of the state. So we look at how to help parents organize their homes so that they look after their children effectively; and bring them to the school system that we have organized. It involves earning power for the parents. It involves special attention to pregnant mothers, because education begins in the womb. The nutrient with which you feed the child in the womb is fundamental. So we need to deal with provision at home. That’s why you cannot be discussing education in the school where hungry children come. Consequently, when I talk about education, it is integral to family livelihood. Parents are therefore assisted to nurture healthy school children. That’s why if I choose to address the issues affecting education in the state, as the governor, I will begin with what happens in the family.
That means that when the father comes home and is able to address the responsibilities of a father. So that the wife and children give him respect. Also, I will look at how the man lives. Therefore I will pace up to family enterprise -supporting and developing micro businesses, to support families. I will go to look at assets that you can bank that to families. Anambra streets are littered with buildings that are not bankable. So am going to intervene with special instrument, negotiate with the banking world so that parents raise some low interest capital to enable them invest in family enterprise that would guarantee a stable home that is ideal for the raising of children.
When this is achieved, I will then go to the next step of standardizing the outer environment -the school, and the space between the school and the home. Because you don’t want when the child leaves home and is heading to school and along the way there were dustbins and all manner of debris littering the roads. This is a child being taught hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation at both the school and at home. And he sees debris and wastes as part of his lifestyle. That is very contradictory. I need to sort out the space. The standard must be high -at home, in the school and in-between. It must be maintained.