From Okey Sampson, Aba
A founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State, Chief Okey Nwagbara, has said that the party would win the state, come 2019.
You are from Abia Central senatorial district; are you satisfied with the representation of the zone at the upper legislative chamber so far?
Do we have a senator in the Senate? Maybe he is enjoying his personal leave after being a governor. I don’t think he has made any appearance in the Senate that will attract our attention to say we have a senator in the Senate. The only senator Abia has is Enyinnaya Abaribe and, perhaps, Mao Ohuabunwa. If the other one is a senator, I need some clarification on that.
What’s your assessment of the present administration in the state?
I believe Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is trying his best, but the problem is the people working with him. It is the same old people that worked with Kalu, but who are today antagonising him (Kalu); they are the same people that worked with T.A. Orji. In the next few years, they will start to antagonise him. They are the same people that are also with Ikpeazu today and you don’t expect miracles from them. If they would allow the governor to make an independent choice of people, professionals to work with, he would leave this state better than he met it.
To add to what I said on this, Kalu left the state better than he met it and I pray that Ikpeazu also leaves the state better than he met it.
Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has joined the APC. What’s your reaction to this?
Well, Orji Uzor kalu is one of the best things that have ever happened to Abia and he is propelled by God. I may not have been a beneficiary of this man, but almost all the politicians I see in Abia today were sighted by Kalu, even the incumbent governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, was a Local Government Transition Committee chairman during Kalu’s administration. It is unfortunate that those he made are those against him, but there is God that will decide tomorrow. Kalu’s entry to APC is one of the best things that have happened to the party in the state. If the leaders allow him to bring his wealth of experience and political vision to bear on the party, I think APC will be the party to beat in the state in 2019. I give you an instance, All Progressives Grand Alliance was nowhere in Abia, but when Dr. Alex Otti joined the party (things changed), today, APGA has 11 seats in the House of Assembly. So I thank God for giving us somebody like Kalu in APC.
You spoke glowingly about Kalu, but someone said the other time that his entry into APC would make no difference, what is your take on that?
There is liberty of views and also liberty of expressions. Everybody is at liberty to say his mind. But what I would say is that the statement was made out of context because you cannot (talk about) a man who formed a political party that produced two governors in 2007, yet you say he will not add anything to the party. If a man who controls part of the country’s economy would not make any difference in APC in Abia and indeed Nigeria, I wonder if it were the person that made the statement that would make the difference.
How would you assess Buhari’s government?
I must say that Buhari has done well in the area of fighting corruption, but the major problem the country is facing today is the economy and if he fixes it, he will be rated among the best leaders of the country.
Finally, what are the chances of APC winning the 2019 election in Abia?
With the entry of many great minds to the party in the state, there is no gainsaying the fact that APC is going to win the state, come 2019, that one is a foregone conclusion, I must say. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are master-riggers, they have mastered the art of rigging and have become very experienced at that, but we will match them this time around. In the area of voting, Abians will always want to vote them out, but they would not like to go. They voted them out in 2015, but they refused to go but 2019 will definitely be different, especially now that we have in our party people like Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Senators Nkechi Nwogu, Chris Adighije, Bob Nwanunu, High Chief Ikechi Emenike, Chief Tony Ukasanya, Dr. Nyerere Anyim, Prince B.B Apugo, Hon. Acho Obioma, Stanley Ohajuruka, K.C. Ugboaja, Ralph Egbu and many more.