By Gilbert Ekezie
Ahead of the 2017 Anambra state governorship election scheduled for November 18, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, an industrialist who is contesting for the second time on the platform of Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), speaks about his renewed vision for Anambra people, and the need for the contest to be thrown open among the three zones in the state, so that the best would emerge, among other issues.
Why are you running for the Anambra governorship?
I am in the race to serve my people as a chief servant, to give them direction and build a solid political mind-set, so that they can stand on their feet politically to get what they deserve. I will bring out the best in my people, use the natural endowment the state possesses to re-position her in the world map and mend the broken walls in Anambra state. My people suffer because no one with true intension of changing their misfortune has ever occupied that office. I want to lead my people to the path of progress, development and inculcate in them true zeal of patriotism. I will teach them how to fish, make wine and merry in place of political rascality.
Are you confident that the people of Anambra state will give you the mandate to serve them?
I am indeed confident and convinced that Anambra people will give me the mandate to serve them as their governor. This is because I work and plan my political activities with people. I believe in going to the grassroots and there is never a time that my people have not shown me love, judging from my proven humanitarian attachment to them.
I am very sure that ‘Ndi Anambra,’ have been begging for a more sincere leader to pilot their affairs. But, my worries have been this politics of ‘bag of rice’ that some corrupt politicians use to manipulate the unsuspecting electorates in the state. Besides, I am a man of the people with heart for service. This time, if I am given the opportunity, I will transform Anambra state positively.
What is your take concerning the zoning arrangement in the state?
Obviously there was no stakeholders’ meeting in Anambra state at any point where it was formally agreed that governorship should be based on zoning. The current zoning noise was based on selfish enrichment and to serve the interest of a few and not the state in general. I am a law-abiding citizen of any city where I find myself. As such, if there were concrete plans by past and present governments on a zoning pedestal, I will yield to that agreement.
Let me refresh our minds that equity means doing the right thing all the time. As such, Anambra -North robbed the South of its mandate of second term in office. In the past, Anambra -South produced Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju who had only one term in office as governor on the basis that he was not doing very well, then, power moved to Anambra Central for 11 years. So, if there is true zoning, it should take place at the instance of the South and not the Northern zone. Even if zoning of the governorship seat should be discussed and written today, equity demands that Anambra South should be allowed to produce the next governor. This is because Obiano is from North, just like Mbadinuju from South had done four years, it is better for the South to complete its eight years before the North. Where this is not possible which is not a surprise, it is better that those behind it should discard it and present scorecard of their aspirants, especially that of Obiano, with the billions he has received as governor. At any rate, zoning breeds and sacrifices meritocracy on the altar of mediocrity; is it not better people are elected on the basis of their pedigree, instead of on sentiment or emotion?
Are you saying that the contest should be open to all?
My zone does not believe in zoning, which is why I am not the only one coming out from there. So, it will be better for the contest to be thrown open so that the best candidate from South, North and Central would emerge. But, if we are now insisting on zoning, then Anambra- South should be allowed to select its candidate from different political parties and present same for election, afterwards, north will complete its tenure before Anambra Central would start afresh again. If this is not done that way, then we are not telling ourselves the truth of the moment, and we dwell and live in denial.
Let us be our brothers’ keepers which Igbo are known for, and stand in gap for the sake of protecting our culture.
Do you think your party has the strength to take over from the ruling party?
I will say that my party has all it takes to win the election. Obviously, PPA is the only stable political party in the country as at today because it has a guiding manifesto and its internal democracy is unbeatable. Political culture of our people remains worrisome and that is what PPA is preaching. It is also preaching that money politics and political inducement must be criminalized, so that sanity would be restored in our polity. So, it would give room for technocrats to come out to give their services free for the common good of all.
I have demonstrated my sincere love to the people of Anambra at a larger extent by my patriotic contributions towards the development of the state in many areas. My core manifestos fall under a 7- point agenda, which I titled ‘SHAPE’, an acronym that depicts Security, Health, Agriculture, Power, Education, Empowerment and Environment.
What gives you the impression that you will win the election?
I can say now that my second outing is far better than what happened in 2013. I just felt we are politically mature now and people should assess candidates based on pedigree. Now, I know better, I have gone to the stakeholders, interacted with them, went to the grassroots robbed minds with them, share their success and failures. So, I am well grounded and at home with ‘Ndi Anambra.’ My nearness to the people gives me more courage to go on. Even in the remotest parts of the state, I would say I am on ground.
For some time now, South- East has been crying of marginalisation by the ruling party. What is your take on that?
My take on the issue of alleged marginalisation either from the ruling party or those that had ruled is simple. If I may ask, ‘Is South-East zone truly marginalised or are they living in denial? I would have chosen to wait for an answer, but it is like an open ended issue. I can simply say that the South- East, if ever considered marginalised, are the ones marginalising themselves.