Eziomume Solomon, Nnewi
The traditional ruler of Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe (Dr) Keneth Orizu, the Orizu III of Nnewi, in this interview, contends that the community, having contributed immensely to nation building and to the overall survival of Anambra State, and having not taken any shot at the Agu-Awka Government House since inception, should be allowed to produce Governor Willie Obiano’s successor.
What is your view on agitations by Nnewi people for the industrial town to produce Obiano’s successor in 2021?
I believe that those agitating for a governor of Nnewi extraction to succeed Obiano are right; because, one has to take into consideration that some of the governors that have emerged over time in the state do so through the contribution of Nnewi community. From inception, Nnewi has not produced a governor, and given our status and population, we believe that a Nnewi man emerging as governor will be the best for us and best for the state. It is my utmost belief that a Nnewi man will do excellently well at the Government House. Meanwhile, in looking for governor of Nnewi extraction, we are not looking for a governor for Nnewi; we are looking for a governor for Anambra State. Even though we are looking for an individual from Nnewi, the person will be somebody who will be the best for Anambra State. We are not looking for a person from Nnewi because we just want to be in government; we are doing so because, we believe that governor of Nnewi extraction will be the best for the state.
What in your opinion should be the character and capacity of the person that should succeed Obiano in 2021?
Such person should have the ability to keep on with the game as it is. He should be a person who has the interest of the generality of Anambra people at heart; somebody who has the heart to work for the welfare of mankind. Some individuals, who emerge as governors think that their mission there is to fill their pockets and seek their selfish interests and those of cronies around them; no! Obiano’s successor should be a person that will understand that the primary purpose of leadership is to see that people under are well treated. The primary purpose of leadership is to provide infrastructure, to build good roads, health care facilities, and quality education, among other things. There are many things we should expect our next governor to do. He should be one that can form a synergy with other South East governors to build an internal railway that will link the region. We wouldn’t want a governor that will look up to the Federal Government for every need of the state. The governor that will emerge in 2021 will be a person that will be able to wipe the tears of the people. So, I am expecting a pragmatic human being, who will be healthy; one who understands what leadership entails, and who can surpass the legacies already on ground. He should have good character and be imaginative. He should be a person who will be able to think out of the box. We need a governor, who will understand the need for a mono rail line in the state. Mono rail will ease transportation and reduce accident. Those are some of the things we expect the governor, who will emerge in 2021 to be doing in order to make the state one of the best in the federation; and I will assure you, we have capable hands to make it happen.
Since Nnewi is interested in producing Obiano’s successor, what is your advice to politicians in the community?
It is not enough to say that Nnewi will produce the next governor; we should march words with actions. This project is what we cannot achieve alone. We have to do it in partnership with other communities and zones in the state; especially those in Anambra South; where it is believed the slot is zoned. Nnewi should be able to reach out to other local government areas for that dream to be realisable; because, it is not something we can achieve with force. We can only vote in Nnewi. We cannot vote in Nnewi and also determine how voting process will go in other areas in the state. But with proper agreement with other zones, we can achieve it. We advise the politicians in Nnewi to reach out to their friends and associates in other parts of the state to make them understand the need to have Nnewi man in Awka in 2021. I also believe that a Nnewi man, with our capacity and tenacity in business and governance, we can offer the best to the state; such that by the time we finish in the governance of Anambra, maybe, the state will beg us to continue until we get tired, because, I know that Nnewi governor will offer to the state the kind of governance the state never had before.
What appeal do you make to individual political parties as regards picking flag bearers from Nnewi?
I will also advise politicians in Nnewi to reach out and convince their numerous political platforms to consider Nnewi aspirants as their choice candidates. In any case, we are already reaching out. When the game becomes hot, you will see that political parties will have no other alternative than to pick their candidates from among Nnewi contestants. We are not resting on our oars; we are moving on to see that we achieve the target.
Is there any existing infrastructural or administrative deficiency you would want Obiano’s successor to correct?
Apart from the mono rail line which I’ve talked about earlier, which I believe will save cost, decongest roads and minimise accidents, another important area is health. This is because, when a people are healthy, they can do and achieve anything. Another area is provision of portable water. Apart from boreholes sunk by individuals in the state, the state does not have any steady and reliable source of water supply. The state needs to have a good source of drinking water, which should also be reticulated to people’s homes.
What is your final advice for Anambra people as we approach 2021?
I will advise that our people should play politics without rancour. I will also advise that anybody that sees himself in leadership positions should govern in line with the tenets of governance, fear of God and provide good leadership.
Who are the prominent sons and daughters of Nnewi which this community will continue to be proud of?
Nnewi produced the first senate president, Senator Akweke Nwafor Orizu, who also acted as Nigeria’s president before the military take over. His contributions are well known, because, apart from bringing out the name of Anambra State, he was part of the independent struggle together with the likes of Zik of Africa, Awolowo, and the rest of them. Nnewi has also produced the likes of Major General Moumah (Rtd.) who was the former Minister of Science and Technology. Look at the likes of Prof. ABC Nwosu, who was a one-time Minister of Health. Look at the likes of Ibeto, Innoson, Coscharis, Chicason, Mrs Nkoli Okoli of the Emzor Pharmaceuticals, among many others. You can see what they have done and what they are still doing in the areas of commerce and industry. Today, everywhere you go, you will hear of made in Nigeria car. It is produced in Nnewi by Nnewi man. Sons and daughters of Nnewi extraction have done Anambra State proud. Nnewi people have done Nigeria proud. I can also say that in education, Nnewi has produced more professors than any other community around. Nnewi is the only town where every household has been able to produce at least, one millionaire. I do not believe there is any single town in the entire Nigeria that individual sons and daughters can achieve the kind of feat achieved by Nnewi sons and daughters. Also think of Sir Louis Ojukwu, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and a host of others. They are numerous.