By Peter Anosike
National Deputy Chairman (South) of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Uchenna Okougbo, has advised those planning to contest the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State to use the money to build cottage industries instead of wasting it in campaigns.
He said this is because the victory of the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, is already assured.
The Abia State-born politician said Anambrians were too wise to be deceived by the cheap propaganda and smear campaigns against Obiano since his numerous achievements are there to speak for him.
He also spoke on other issues.
What is your take on the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State?
The election is going to be a walk-over because the incumbent governor has won the heart of the people with his superlative achievements.
You can agree with me that few years ago, Anambra State was notorious for crime. But today, it is one of the most crime-free states in the country. People now sleep with their two eyes closed in Onitsha and other places. If you talk of agriculture, Anambra is now number one. The Federal Government and the other states are now sending delegations to study what the state is doing. If you want to talk about infrastructure, he has transformed the entire state with good road networks and over-head bridges to the extent that somebody who left Anambra five years ago would miss his way if he goes there now. People are seeing this. So, there is no way they can leave the man that has done all these and ready to do more and vote for somebody who they don’t know. That is why I am advising those who want to contest the governorship election, instead of wasting the money, to use it to build cottage industries because there will be no vacancy in Awka Government House till 2021.
Are you not worried by the quality of people that have joined the APC in the state in recent times?
Why should I be intimidated? They are all political spent forces. Most of them are even running from the EFCC. They are not defecting because they like APC. It is their crime that is chasing them into the party and the masses know this. APGA has continued with the legacy of good governance in Anambra State. It is the legacy that former Governor Peter Obi started that Chief Willie Obiano continued with. People have seen this consistency. APGA is the only party for the masses of this country. It is only APGA that takes care of the down-trodden; and Anambra is already serving as a template for good governance. It is the only state that salaries are paid as at and when due. Pensioners are paid as at and when due. And upon that, developmental projects are going on unhindered. So, there is nothing the defectors can do. The masses of Anambra State- workers, traders, youths – all have seen and spoken. They have made their choice and so shall it be.
What is your position on the 2019 election in South-East?
APGA will be very competitive not only in the South-East, but nationally. Right now, we are trying to restructure the party to make it competitive. For instance, in Lagos State, a four-man committee has been set by the National Working Committee to resolve the misunderstanding in the party and make it formidable. I am the chairman of the committee and we have started sitting. In the past, people were using APGA in Lagos to negotiate for money, but now we want to start winning elections. As it is in Lagos, so it is in the other states. We are rebuilding the party to make it formidable for the 2019 election. I want to assure you that the defection of some people to APC in the South-East will not in any way erode the popularity of our party.
Those who decamped have outlived their political usefulness. Some of them are running away from EFCC. Some are looking for rehabilitation while some want to see if they can become relevant. But the truth is that APC can never make in-road in the South-East, I can bet anything on that because we know their mission and vision. They cannot deceive us. We are too smart for them. Even right now, people in Kano, Sokoto and the rest are regretting why they voted for the APC.
Would APGA bring out a presidential candidate in 2019?
In 2015, we adopted former President Goodluck Jonathan because we believed in his policies. We mobilized our people and they voted massively for him but the members of his party betrayed him. If you check all the places that APGA has strong presence, Jonathan won convincingly. But if you check where his party had presence, he did not do well. So, his party men betrayed him. In 2019, APGA would come out with a presidential candidate who will make impact because APGA is a national party that has won election in different parts of the country. APGA will not adopt another party`s presidential candidate in 2019. It is either we have our own candidate or we leave it.