Moghalu: It’ll Be Wrong for Ganduje to Impose Leaders on Anambra APC

Former Managing Director of National Waterways, and a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief George Moghalu, in this interview with Adedayo Akinwale, speaks on salient national issues including recent developments in the Anambra State chapter of the ruling APC.

How do you describe life after office?

It depends on the attachment you place to the office. Life is about life, it is for the living. If you don’t allow the office to change  who you are, then you  will not notice the transition from being in office and being out of office. The only time you have a challenge is when you allow the office to control your being, to determine who you are, when you lose your friends, because you hid yourself in a position and things like that, then that is when you have a difficulty. But when you are yourself, enter the office, believing that one day you will exit, maintain your friends,  remain who you are, don’t allow the office to determine your person.

Do you still  have the set of friends that milled around you when you were in the office?

Certainly you must not lose sight of the fact that in public office, there are friends of the MD, of the office you are occupying. There are also your friends who you have been with in or out of the office. Those friends are there for you. Whether you’re in office, whether you are out of office, it is just like family. But there are also friends you make, that were attracted to you because of the office you are occupying.

It would be foolish of you to now expect that those friends will remain when you have lost the office. So it depends on your expectations. There is an Igbo proverb that says somebody that is not carrying anything has nothing to break. So when you relate and work with those friends of the office, you relate with them also, as friends of the MD of that office. So by the time you leave the office, you’re not expecting your friendship to continue.

But there are some exceptional cases. Those who may not have been your friend, but who became your friend by virtue of your office your are occupying, and by the time you leave the office, they still remain your friend, they still make effort to remain free. I have cases like that.

Looking back, what do you think you could have done better as MD of NIWA?

I have no regrets about all the actions I took. When I was given the appointment, I gave myself a target, which was principally to change the narrative. Because prior to my going there, I didn’t know NIWA. A lot of people didn’t know NIWA. And if you recall, my first interaction with you guys, I told you that NIWA was under reported and pleaded to the media to please help me to bring me to the forefront, which the media did, I must thank them.  They helped me. They brought NIWA out to visibility.

Today, the NIWA I left is not the NIWA I took over. So for me, that was quite remarkable, which I’m very grateful to God, for my colleagues, my friends, members of the media for the support I received.

After the achievement, did it come to you as a surprise when your tenure was not renewed?

Why would it come as a surprise? You are at liberty of the appointing authority. Because authority that appointed you for the first four years  with a proviso  that you can be renewed or not renewed.  So, renewal is a probability. So, if  the appointing authority decides they want to try somebody else, why not? It is not cast in iron.

What of people who did not even finish their term. I finished my term,  what you’re talking about is renewal. What about a situation where you don’t even finish your term? What are you going to complain about?

The off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states have all come and gone. Did the outcome of the elections take you by surprise?

No, not at all. Let me use this opportunity to congratulate the Imo state Governor for his re-election,  congratulate the Bayelsa state governor for his reelection and congratulate the elected Kogi state governor  for his election. For Imo state particularly, I see it as a reward for hard work because the governor  actually campaigned aggressively  in the course of the campaign.

So for me, I didn’t see any surprise, you must also not lose sight of the incumbency factor in the politics of our country. It is possible to defeat an incumbent, but it requires extra work because all the paraphernalia, all the machinery of governance is at his disposal.

It is like the beginning of a race, everyone is not on the same line when they are fighting an incumbent. The incumbent has a few steps ahead. So it requires greater work for the opposition to be able to upstage the incumbent, so I wasn’t surprised by the results.

The last time we met with you, I remember basically asking you whether you have returned to APC, you say you’re still part of it. Recently, there was an Anambra APC stakeholders meeting, you were conspicuously missing, what happened? Is it that you have not been integrated fully or there are still issues to be sorted out?

Let me put some issues very clear. The issue of integration does not arise. You can only talk of integration when you’re outside.

I am a bonafide APC member, I’m a founding member of APC.

This present generation says it is an error for tenant to sack a landlord in his house. So for me, the issue of integration does not arise.

I am a bonafide APC member. But I’m one of those who insisted that things must be done properly. As a matter of my personal orientation. due process must be followed, so that you create the enabling environment for things to work.  Like the last time you asked me, why did I go to court? I said I went to court because things were not properly done. You cannot ask us to come and contest for primary, you will now turn back and sit back in your bedroom and write result and come out and announce it and expect me, George Moghalu, to accept that as a result. I will be honorable enough to congratulate the winner if I lose in an election. But when you manipulate the process, I will tell you it will not work.

And that’s exactly what I did last time and we’ll do it again if the need arises.

So, why didn’t you attend?

Because I was indisposed, I felt it wasn’t necessary to be there at that particular time.

Can we now say you are comfortable with the happening in the party now?

Yes, I am comfortable, because I have no reason now to doubt any action because you cannot read the mind of anybody and you cannot challenge an action out of intent. What you intend to do is not an action I can challenge. But the moment you do it and it is not done right, I will challenge it.

When Ifeanyi Ubah came to the party, that same day, the leadership of the party was trusted on him…

Nobody can do that.

The National Chairman declared him as the new leader of the party

Leadership is not by election. A leader evolves from among the people. You can elect a chairman, you can elect a governor, you can elect a president, but a leader evolves among the people. It is the people that choose their leader. Leadership evolves, it is a responsibility that comes from the people. It is a spontaneous reaction from the people. You don’t declare a leader.

 So, who is the leader of APC in Anambra state?

We have leaders who control people by their actions and people relate to them based on that. I am a leader by my own right. There are other leaders by their own right, who are respected.

Will it be right to say in Anambra state, it is not yet hurray for the party in view of the fact that these people that are coming in are being imposed?

A – No! You can’t impose anybody, that is the point I’m making. You can’t impose anybody, not in a party we built. We’re talking of justice, equity, fairness. You can’t,  it’s not possible, except you want to rock the boat.

Anambra APC is still far from peace?

It is not about being far from peace. I’m sure I am a peaceful personality and a lot of others are peaceful. But the thing is that you must give respect  to whom it is due. In the order of hierarchy prior to this time, (Chris) Ngige comes first in APC in Anambra state. After Ngige, it’s me. We are founders, we built the party. Time was when we were called Boko Haram. The videos are there.

APC Anambra stakeholders have already started building for the 2025 governorship election. Is it possible for APC to take over Anambra because the party specifically said Ifeanyi Ubah will grab Anambra and give to APC?

You see, those days are gone. Everybody will throw his heart in the ring. Anybody who is interested, the enabling environment must be created by the party.

You think Ganduje can do that?

Ganduje has no choice as the national leader of the party. He is our national chairman. He has a responsibility to create an enabling environment so that the party can win the election. Because the candidate we present to a reasonable extent determines who wins the election. And don’t forget there is an incumbent sitting on the seat you are eyeing. You must present your right foot forward.

With the array of members both old and new joining APC in Anambra state, is there any chance for APC taking over the state?

Oh yes, the prospects are there. It will only take a fool to ignore the power of the incumbent and that is why the party needs to present its best foot forward. 

Unify the party, build a strong opposition. Create the environment for the right candidate acceptable by the people to emerge.

So when such a candidate emerges, It is easy for all the critical stakeholders to come around the person and then drive the process, because the incumbent  will also fight to retain his position, which is right.

Do you have implicit confidence in the current APC leadership?

Yes. There are some of my colleagues when I was in office who are still there. The national chairman, I have  confidence in him,  the National Secretary, I have confidence in him, and the other leaders of the party who are there today, I have confidence. I’ve no reason to doubt their confidence.

If you look at the case of Rivers, the dissolution of Rivers executive,  the inability of the National leadership of the  party to unite the various factions and now imposing a seven-man caretaker Committee which is against the constitution of the party. Do you think APC has learnt its lessons?

It will be difficult for me to comment on that because I don’t have the facts. I don’t know what informed the decision of the Working Committee to dissolve the elected executive. I don’t also have the facts as to who and who were appointed to the position. But the only advice I will give having been in a working Committee before is whatever decision that has to be taken with regards to elected position, please follow due process. Because going against due process is a recipe for disaster.

What do you tell Nigerians accusing the APC government of insensitivity?

I agree that things are not smooth but at the same time also, I will rather say that the Tinubu administration is  a victim of its speed, in terms of performance. Because of its speed now, in terms of the performance, some people are seeing this administration as one year old,  some are even seeing it as  two years old. But this administration is less than six months or rather six months old.

They were quick in appointment of Ministers, they were quick in taking very strong decisions like the issue of fuel subsidy, insecurity. There’s a lot of very strong decisions that should be commended.

But it’s unfortunate that the results have not started manifesting. So, I would rather  appeal to our people, let us be a little more patient. Things are difficult, no doubt about it, but let us be a little more  patient and see to what extent we can keep supporting the government so that the actions they have started taking, there can be a manifestation with regards to dividends of these actions.

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