Obinna Odogwu, Awka
The member representing Anaocha I Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Ebele Ejiofor has said that the people of the state would want somebody who has sterling leadership qualities like the former Governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi, as the next governor. He said Mr Obi who was the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election left a leadership shoe far too big for the current governor, Chief Willie Obiano to fill. He also spoke, among other issues, on the allegation that Gov. Obiano distributed car gifts to the House members so that they would always dance to his tune even if such is against the interest of the people.
By the year 2021, Anambra will be going to the poll to elect the next governor of the state. What are the chances of your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), taking over the state again having been out of power for long?
Well, the most important thing is that we are working hard towards that; to make sure that the PDP takes over the state in the next governorship election. Based on how things are in Anambra State as you can see by yourself, I believe that things are not the way they are supposed to be. There are so many abandoned road projects here and there. That’s not what the people of the state want to see. I have strong belief that a PDP governor should be able to take care of that and add to what Mr Peter Obi did in Anambra before he left office. And we are working hard to achieve that.
On that note, how would you rate Governor Willie Obiano’s performance so far?
When you talk about leadership, what you should know is that everybody works according to their belief and how they know to lead. But what you must know is that you cannot compare Peter Obi’s administration and Willie Obiano’s administration. That’s the major thing. Peter Obi did wonderfully well in terms of governance, in terms of provision of infrastructure, education, even in the healthcare system. But this time, there is a great difference. Peter Obi did excellently well. There is a big gap between the two administrations. So, I believe that with him, we are looking for somebody else in PDP who should be his type; who should be able to lead Anambra State the way Peter Obi did when he was governor of the state.
What quality or type of candidate should Ndi Anambra be looking out for from the PDP? What type of person should they be expecting from your party?
Well, our party is looking for a candidate who must have the interest of Ndi Anambra at heart; who must be able to provide quality infrastructural development to Ndi Anambra most especially in the area of road infrastructure. Somebody who must take the issues of education, security, and other sectors very seriously. During the time of Peter Obi, he was simultaneously working on all the sectors in the state. So, we want somebody who should be able to emulate Peter Obi and follow his footsteps.
During your first term in the House of Assembly, you were in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and now in the PDP. With the knowledge and experience you have about your former party, do you think it can spring up surprises during the next governorship election?
Looking at what is happening in the political arena in Anambra this time around, for me, I don’t so much believe in the party even though you must get into governance through a political party. For me, it is not the issue of APGA or not APGA. The issue is about presenting a party candidate that the people can work with. That’s why I keep on saying that the person of Peter Obi, I believe that with him, things will go well. He is not a man who would want anything that will tarnish his image. That’s why I always want to work with him. He is somebody that is straight forward. He is somebody who believes in the society; somebody who wants good governance for his people. He is somebody who will not support a governor who is not performing in the state. That was what happened the first time he presented Willie and when things were not working the way it should be, he made known his disappointment. He said that, that was not what he expected. So, I believe that with him, whoever should be the candidate of the PDP, if he follows Peter Obi’s advice, things will change for better in Anambra State; better than it is now.
It was alleged that Governor Willie Obiano shared Jeeps to all the House members. Some said that it is a package to buy the lawmakers over in order to dance to his tunes always. What would you make of that allegation?
When they say that they bought Jeeps, that is false allegation. There is no way the House members would be able to work without working tools. Part of those working tools is the vehicles. There is no way you can go to your office or constituency on motorcycle or foot. For example now, I don’t have a car and I need a car to be going to my office. So, if the governor gives us vehicles, somebody should not say that he is using that to bribe the House members. It is not true. That is a false allegation. And besides, the whole Nigeria, not just in Anambra State, the governors give the House of Assembly members car for their operations. So, if somebody says that the governor has given the House cars in order to bribe them, that is a false allegation.
Ok. Let us be specific. I think the taxpayers will like to know the brand of cars the governor gave to their representatives.
When you talk about the brand of car, as of now, I have not seen any car. Therefore, I cannot say that this is the brand of car until I see the car. As of now, I have not seen any car. There has been a promise that the governor will give us cars. But I have not seen any car. Until I see the car, then I will be able to say that this is the type of car it is. That is the issue.