From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Auditor, Dr George Moghalu, has expressed confidence that the pendulum will swing towards him to occupy the Government House, Anambra, as the state could no longer afford to continue in the opposition.
How true is the speculation that you have chickened out of the governorship race?
That sounds like a joke but I know that everybody is free to speculate. My surprise is that while the media described me as frontrunner, you are telling me about the rumour of my stepping down. If I may ask, who am l going to step down for? It sounds unbelievable but I can tell you that it is a rumour from the pit of hell.
Is there anything that can make you pull out of the race?
There is absolutely nothing that can make me pull out of the race except God by way of death or incapacitation. Apart from that there is nothing that can stop me from contesting. There is no amount of pressure that will make me chicken out of the race.
In fact, I am not sure anybody will look at me in the face and ask me to step down for anybody. On what basis will anybody do that? Leadership is not about money and if you check records, no successful leader has ever been a rich man. They are only comfortable. Leadership is about contentment, who you are, your capacity, integrity, commitment and dedication, not about fatness of one’s bank account.
Have you weighed your chances?
My chances are very bright. I have no iota of doubt in my mind that I will coast to victory. For me, the number of heavyweights joining the race is not a problem because the more, the merrier. Those who want to join are free to join but the truth remains that each and every aspirant has his own selling point. Mine has to do with integrity, loyalty to the party, capacity to work and willingness to serve with the fear of God.
Are you following up the gale of endorsements going on for the other aspirants?
Everybody is free to endorse anybody but it depends on what is influencing the endorsement. Some people are even winning awards left, right and centre as part of the game. But the truth is that the people we are dealing with are no fools. Anybody is free to do whatever that is legal and legitimate. Some people have endorsed me also.
Who is your political godfather in Anambra?
I have said it repeatedly that the only godfather I have is God the Almighty. I don’t have any political godfather in Anambra. I respect the successful political figures and business men in Anambra and human beings for what they are but the final determinant as to my fate is the God Almighty. I strongly believe that power belongs to God who gives it to who He pleases at His own time. I respect the godfathers but I can’t pick any of them as my godfather because I have none.
Do you see those joining APC as a threat?
I cannot see them as a threat because a tenant cannot tell a landlord to park out of his house. Truly, we are happy they are joining us. It means that they are just seeing what we saw a long time ago. It is good that it is happening now because they saw us as leprous, called us Boko Haram and many other derogatory names. We were disrespected but the story has changed today because we remained patient, consistent and laboured to produce the President.
How will APC avoid a repeat of Edo and Ondo primaries controversies in Anambra?
The guideline is very clear; the delegates’ lists format used in all previous elections will be used in Anambra state. The delegates are statutory because they are officers of the party at the Wards, Local Governments, state and NEC members. The National Organising Secretary of APC has cleared the alleged manipulation of the delegates’ lists for the Edo and Ondo APC primaries. Let me emphasize that there was nothing like manipulation of the lists of the delegates.
How much of assistance will the national headquarters of the APC give you during the primaries?
I don’t know of any assistance I will get other than the efforts I will put in, in canvassing for vote from the delegates like any other aspirant. I am not expecting any special treatment or favour from the headquarters of APC and that is why I am always at home talking to the delegates.
What is your relationship with Dr. Chris Ngige and will you be surprised if he does not support you?
My relationship with Dr. Ngige is very cordial and my expectation is that he is going to support me fully. I have worked with him, I have worked for him, he knows me closely and he can attest to my capability. I want to be human by saying that I can take his words for granted because I have every confidence that he is going to support me. I am not worried about him. I don’t think towards the direction of his betraying me.
What about the speculations that he has already endorsed another candidate?
I have not heard such but even as we are in the realm of speculations, I won’t be surprised with all kinds of speculated stories of endorsements and all that. However, most of them are not verifiable. My advice will be to confirm such speculations from the person involved.
Have you settled on who becomes your deputy?
I have not taken anybody as my deputy for now, and I have made it clear that the issue of who becomes a deputy is a decision to be taken by the party. By the time I become the candidate of APC, as the product of the party, we will sit down to decide who is going to be the deputy and where he/she will come from.
What I want to add is that whoever wants to be my deputy must add value to the ticket but the truth is that we have not decided on my deputy. Yes, as a member of the party, I have input on who becomes my deputy, but deciding my deputy is going to be a party affair.
How ready are you financially considering the fact that money is a deciding factor in Anambra politics?
I am not going into the battlefield believing that I have money. I don’t have money and my selling point is not my wealth but I want to say that money will not count in this governorship race.
APC governorship ticket in Anambra is not for sale. It is unfortunate that Anambra has been positioned to appear to be a theatre of the absurd where the unholy happens. This must be corrected. It should not be about how much money you stack in the bank, but about your person, integrity, capacity, ability to add value and that is the area that concerns me. So, in terms of being ready, I am ready.
I also know that money will play a role but I am looking at money from the perspective of logistics. However, what will differentiate me from other people is my contentment, my integrity, my capacity to deliver, my willingness to represent my people well and to serve with every sense of humility, honesty and respect.
How APC does intend to dislodge APGA from Anambra state?
We will certainly dislodge APGA because the most important thing is what we are placing on the table. What is the expectation of an average Anambrian, to what extent has our interest been protected and to what extent has the present leadership served our people? These are questions people are asking, are there any advantage been connected with the party at the centre and should we continue to remain a one party opposition in a country of 36 states? These are questions arising, which the APC will provide the answers. Anything about APGA or any other party is in the negative.
If you add it to the person the party is presenting, you will know that APC is going to win the election. Our people are actually tired. More importantly, Anambra needs to have a direct leverage with the party at the centre. We cannot afford to continue playing opposition. It is not in our interest economically and in any other form.
How close are you to the Presidency?
It is not about how close I am to the Presidency that should be my strength, I have been around, my journey in the opposition has been long since 1998. I was the first elected national secretary of APP in 1999 and I have remained in opposition until APC emerged the ruling party. There is nobody around in the Presidency or out of Presidency who went through this part that don’t know me. So, I can boldly claim that I am known within the party.
I was also fully part of the formation process of this party. I was the secretary of the merger committee of the ANPP, one of the merging partners. I was among the 89 persons that midwifed the APC which brought us to where we are today. I can boldly say with every sense of humility and modesty that I know everybody and everybody knows me.
Will you be disappointed if you lose the election?
Why should I be disappointed when I am not God? I have said repeatedly that all power belongs to God, who gives it to anybody he pleases and at His own time. God does not make any appointment with anybody. I have made myself available for service but the decision of actualising it rest with God.
What is your message to Anambra people?
I want to tell them that I am coming with integrity, honesty, competent and capacity to deliver. I will justify every confidence reposed in me and will not let Anambra people down for the sake of posterity and God. I want to serve my people with all sense of modesty and by the time I finish as governor of Anambra, they will see of truth that a sincere man was on the thrown.
What is your take on Igbo Presidency, are you for 2019 or 2023?
Igbo president is not impossible but I would want us to concentrate on 2023 to allow the present administration to finish its eight year tenure. I don’t see anything wrong with President re-contesting in 2019. If truth be told, a 75 year old man is not a 30 year old. New born babies die, people of 20, 30, 40 years equally die.
What is wrong with anybody becoming sick and why is President Buhari’s sickness a big issue? We must also look at it from the integrity perspective of his admittance that he is sick. What we can do is to pray for his recovery but as for what will happen tomorrow, we don’t have control over it.