From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
The member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Chris Azubogu, has advised political parties to consider picking their governorship candidates for the 2021 election in Anambra State from Anambra South Senatorial Zone for the sake of equity, justice and fairness.
While pushing for zoning, Azubogu, however, made it clear that zoning cannot guarantee electoral success especially if a political party fields an unpopular candidate who is also incompetent.
The three-time lawmaker, in this interview with Sunday Sun also spoke on other burning issues. Excerpts:
There are a number of persons from your side who have shown interest to contest the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State. And these people are heavy weights. Are you worried that that might pose a challenge to your aspiration?
It is not about the size of the person. You said that there are many people. It is a contest and it is democracy. People must make their choice. Nnewi, we are not contesting for the governorship of Nnewi. We are contesting for the governorship of Anambra. If you like let 10 people come out from Nnewi. When they come they present themselves to Anambra people and they will ask questions and make their choice. Nnewi will not decide who will become the governor of Anambra State. Anambra people will decide who will become their governor. If it is a local government election, then it will end up in Nnewi. So, we want Ndi-Anambra to interrogate whoever that is actually out for this. It is their choice. All the aspirants need to come to an arena to engage themselves on issues of governance. Give us assignments to do; engage us in a debate. I am here to offer governance. Anambra people will need to make a choice between noodles, rice and somebody who wants to put structures of governance that will improve their wellbeing; between N3,500 and N5,000 or somebody who will institutionalize governance so that Anambra will move forward. It is shameful that Anambra will sit back here without relevant infrastructure to drive economic development and industrialization. Even to control the market, you have market given to us naturally. Israelis control their sector. It is the same thing with the Japanese. Everybody controls their sector. In Nigeria, we are to dominate the economy and we are playing with it. They are playing politics with us in the country. We have not got leaders that will say no to that. Once we have a good leader who will encourage our people to invest in infrastructure, we need to develop and, of course, bring home some of their businesses, we will overtake everybody. Everybody must come to Anambra. Take it from me. Obasanjo became president and took infrastructure to Ogun State. Over five per cent of trades and industries moved to Ogun State. Today, Lagos State, because all federal institutions in it, makes between N49 to N50 billion every month in IGR. Ogun State does N25 billion every month. In the whole of the five Southeast states, none does N5 billion. So, if you put the whole Southeast together, Ogun State’s economy is bigger than the Southeast states. I have told my brothers from Nnewi axis to think home; that I am building industrial park for them in Anambra State. I told them to come home and invest here. Everything you produce in Anambra State, if you put them in a truck in the evening, by 6:00a.m the next morning it is in Lagos. We have two universities here already; one state, one federal. It is the same thing with the two polytechnics we have here. We have private universities. Paul University is here; Peter University is coming up. Pentecost University is coming up in Nnewi. Madona University is here. We have the ability to create manpower. I am going to reform our education system. The content of our education is not driving what we want. I have worked with UNESCO, ILO. Let me tell you, investment flows where people make money. Money has eyes. If you develop skilled manpower, put the right infrastructure, especially human infrastructure which is skills, industries will come; development, economy will come, and everybody will depend on you. We have what it takes to be great here.
How do you intend to get your party’s ticket for this 2021 governorship election considering that there are other heavy weights eyeing the same ticket?
I am not bothered about the persons or number of people coming out for this election. I have more things on ground to show the people of Anambra. I am the most balanced person in this business. I am not too high up there, but I have things to show. I have won three elections back to back. I have touched lives positively. I have been involved in governance. I have been in the National Assembly for 10 years. I am not intimidated by anybody. I am confident and properly informed.
We understand that you worked with the former governor, Mr Peter Obi. Obi is key in this race; and people believe that he is lapping you to get your party’s ticket. How would you react to that?
I am not aware if Peter is supporting me, but I know that he is not against my aspiration. Peter is my leader. Some people are already claiming that Peter has endorsed them. I have never been endorsed by anybody because it is too early in the day. Next year is the election year; we will engage in the field. Ndi-Anambra will have to choose after watching all of us.
There have been divergent views about the zoning of the 2021 governorship election in Anambra. Where do you stand on this?
Number one, I believe in equity. I worked with Peter and anybody who worked with Peter will always tell you; unless somebody who wants to deceive himself. I was one of those who encouraged Peter when he said that the governorship would go to the North. I had a brother who was contesting for that election. I was clearly against him because I told him to exercise patience; let the North have a shot. I did not support Ifeanyi Ubah in the 2014 election because we all agreed that it was going to the North. The same thing happened in 2017. Everybody said let the North complete its tenure. That is why all political parties including the APC, APGA, PDP gave people from the North their tickets. I said that I am contesting because I am eligible. I am contesting not because I am just from the South. I can hold my forte anywhere. However, if Anambra people have come to recognize zoning, I am in for it. And I want to warn anybody even in my party, zoning does not guarantee winning. But without zoning, you are sure of failing. If you zone and take somebody who is incompetent, it is not a must that you will win. If you do not recognize zoning, be rest assured that you will fail the election because nobody from the South will vote for any candidate that is not from the South. Take it from me.