Chief Godwin Ezeemo is one of the front runners in the Anambra State governorship race on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He is not new in the political game in the state as he told Sunday Sun that there is no better candidate than him in terms of experience and capacity to deliver.
Ezeemo, respected entrepreneur, speaks on his vision, mission, problem with Anambra politics and solution, among others. Excerpt:
You have been in this governorship race for quite some time now in Anambra State. Why have you remained consistent in your vision?
Well, Anambra is what Anambra is all the time. It is a special place with a special problem, but anybody who has good intentions will always insist on having his way to give what he has to offer. Somebody who does not know what he is after, after running the race once or twice you will say, you are done, that you will want to go and rest. What has made me consistent is that I have a vision for the state which I have not achieved. I know that the vision can make the state better if given a trial. It is that vision and purpose that made me leave where I lived in the UK to come home to reside with my people, that vision, that purpose if I do not achieve it when I have blood still running strong in my vein, when I am strong enough and have the conviction that I can selflessly give of my best service if I am unable to do that I will not be happy or to put it the other way, I may be happy, but I may not have lived a fulfilled life.
What exactly is that vision in terms of priority?
As far as I am concerned there is no particular area that is more important than the other in that leadership vision. You have to carry them out simultaneously, with your team of experts, a team of commissioners, and aides who must be knowledgeable, technocrats, so that we can take on, on all the areas, sectors and make sure they are delivered for the good and welfare of our people. Mine will be to supervise and make sure it is done the way it should be done for maximum results. It will be teamwork, so it is not the one you will say you will face here and leave the other one because if you do, water will be leaking in those ones you have neglected.
Looking at Anambra State since its creation, what has been your level of dissatisfaction or otherwise which will warrant a new style of leadership?
In Anambra State since its creation, some leaders have come on board and they have done the best they can. All the leaders that have been in action the people have rated them according to their performances. For me, their performance is good to the level of their ability, to the level of what they know. Of course, people only give what they have. If somebody doesn’t have a quality or an eye for aesthetic you cannot deliver a work that requires such a blend, rather the person will deliver anyhow job because you can’t give what you don’t have. But the person that has an eye for aesthetics will deliver it correctly and people will acknowledge the difference. So, all the previous leaders in the state have performed and criticising anybody is not my area of strength, I don’t dwell on that rather on the capacity of what I know I can do if given the opportunity. It is the reason if you look at my slogan I say Anambra can be better and this is to give room to whoever that has been there and done his best because that is what the person knows. You cannot give what you don’t have. I know I am loaded and I know I can make the state better and better again. This is not political talk, I have all it takes to fix the state and get it better than it is today.
So, what will be that point of departure in your style?
The point of departure will be in different areas. Let’s take our environment. If you look at our environment, town planning, managing Awka as a capital city, Awka is a glorified local government area, no single area in Awka is organised, why should we have that? A capital of a state and a state that has so much to offer is like child’s play when you come to its rating in a committee of state capitals. We are nowhere, so I look at putting things like that in its proper perspective. Just look at the Awka environment, planning is zero; buildings collapse here and there even those under construction. Something requires to be done, serious town planning that will be befitting as a state capital. How can you build an estate today and the estate we built 10 years ago is better than the one of today? Does that show that somebody is working? What we build today should be better than what we built 10 years ago. Look at the way we handle erosion. Of course, you know that erosion is man-made. No government has critically looked at the danger posed by this erosion and offered a lasting solution, the reason it is destroying more each passing day, creating more and more difficulties for the people every day. Are you telling me it cannot be tackled? If you find yourself in a cold-weather you should be able to design wooly materials to warm yourself, isn’t it? Why do we find ourselves in an erosion-prone area? The reason we call ourselves erosion-prone area is not that from inception God created us to be erosion-prone area, it is because of the buildings that we are building here and there without planning. You build with corrugated iron sheets, one person will build in up to 5,6,7 plots and then he will concrete everywhere, then water that comes out from your home how do you contain it? Originally, nature made it that once the water is released the soil which is porous will absorb it, but we have now compacted that soil and it becomes so tough that water can’t permeate it anymore. So, you must find how to contain those water adequately. The erosion has affected our natural waterways where our people use to fetch and drink, it now contaminates and destroys everything, aquatic life’s dead. And all these things are playing a role in the eco-system. We need to keep the atmosphere clean, keep the air clean, but we are destroying them now, that even our natural stream doesn’t exist anymore. These are man-made problems and I intend to tackle it squarely. We will design a system to contain it, and stop the disaster. Erosion is today a disaster in my state. It is within my environmental programme. Also when you look at our education, it has deviated so much from what is needed, from what is right. What we now see or get in our education is nothing to write home about, it is not what is expected. You may say this state came out first, that state came out first, but at what standard? There is no standard, no more quality than it should be. Look at even the type of classrooms we build for our children, classrooms built with metal materials, and you know we are in the tropics, hot weather and there is no good flow of air while in their classroom, they will be sweating, how then can they study or learn well? We need to upgrade, improve the quality of our education. I will also give adequate attention to power. Of course, you know that when power (electricity) is in place other things will fall in line, you empower the people because the effect trickles down and people will be engaged in their different skills. The power will be part of the enabling environment that will attract investors to come in and invest and by that creating more jobs and our youths will get employment. When the youths are engaged they will be away from the streets and they will live a more meaningful life and society will be better for it. You start something, say a project like this power, and where you stop your successor will continue from there, that is what they call continuity. You start a good project and the other person coming in continues with it. We have never had continuity and that is a big problem. Some of our governors will say they are going to attract investors, investors are never attracted, they know what you have and if the environment is good, power, security, labour, etc, they will show up. We have cheap labour, once they see there are good power supply and other infrastructure they will come. There are also a lot of challenges in our health sector which we are going to tackle. What makes a hospital is the equipment and you ask, have we properly equipped the hospitals or the health centers? Do we have the personnel? Anambra State pays the poorest to their medical doctors, the reason medical doctors don’t want to work there, yet we have trained them. These are issues I will tackle if given the opportunity to serve. I have been around for quite some time, I know our problem and without boasting, I can tell you I am equal to the task as far as fixing them is concerned. This interview will not be exhaustive enough to cover my agenda on what I intend to achieve, so I have a document that covers my vision and mission and that is the document that will make the vision plain and I will ensure we accomplish all that I promise to do. No sector will be left behind. Look at even the road infrastructure there is no little effort to maintain any road, maintenance culture is lacking 100 per cent in Anambra State. What we suffered the last rainy season in the state is what we are still suffering now. And you ask, in the days of the dry season what did we do in preparation for the next rainy season? It means that we don’t know what we are doing, we are not focused, so is it with every other sector, there is no sector that is not ailing. It is the reason I want to come to re-position things in better perspective, I am a multi-functional character, I can do a lot of things at the same time and still get good results.
What is your take on zoning in the coming election?
Zoning in Anambra without mincing words, there was and there is still zoning and this is simply the truth. For me as a candidate running for the election, it is not zoning that is my strength. I have traversed the length and breadth of Anambra State, all the nooks, and crannies of the state and I am accepted everywhere. I have done one philanthropic work or the other at our different zones even before I wanted to be governor. So, I am comfortable with any criteria required. Whether it is zoned or not is not a problem or an issue of any disadvantage for me. I am accepted across the board, both the churches and all stakeholders are comfortable with my candidacy. What is good for the geese is good for the gander; we should allow the people that is their turn to produce the governor so that there won’t be this bickering. Let me give you this scenario: The Southeast is complaining that the North is dominating everywhere, including the presidency; if we are saying this and Anambra State is among the states of the East complaining, what is then the morality in the complaint? You have to make all zones feel belonged, that is the essence of zoning. It is shameful that some of our elders are not sincere on this issue of zoning. Mine is to raise the bar of leadership in the state, that is what is driving me, not zoning.
Are you not bothered on the APGA structure on the ground, which may frustrate your efforts if at the end you win the PDP governorship flag?
APGA is no threat at all and I am not afraid of their structure. The structure is already balkanized and besides that, they have not lived up to their promise and Ndi-Anambra are dissatisfied. Forget about APGA, the people are saying it in the open that they will not vote for them. They have outlived their usefulness. Also, on clinching my party ticket, sincerely, I do not see anybody better qualified than me to clinch the PDP flag once we have a free and fair primary. I have shown steadfastness, I have shown Anambra people what I can do even as a private person they know the capacity of what I can do. They know that if I have their resources to control I will replicate the best which I am known for, for them. I have shown Anambra people that I have love for humanity by what I have done before now. I have done a lot of projects that favour Ndi-Anambra and they trust that I will not fail them. I have sacrificed my comfort for Anambra, I have been living permanently in Anambra State since 2012 and you know what that means? It is sacrifice, I know my people better and they know I am committed to their good. Already the PDP has been tipped for victory in Anambra State and I am optimistic about that victory.