Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
National Auditor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr George Moghalu, is obviously not a happy man. Considered as the favorite candidate in the November 18, 2017 Anambra State governorship election, Moghalu did not get the party’s ticket, let alone take part in that election. He hinged his failure to pick the ticket on multiplicity of factors, ranging from sabotage to insufficient financial muscle to match other contestants.
He expressed disappointment over how the people he trusted so much betrayed him, even as he dismissed the impression that his greatest undoing was his inability to secure the favour of the godfathers.
He also spoke on President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 presidential election among other issues.
What actually happened, how and why did you fail to get the Anambra State governorship ticket of your party?
What I will say is that I am brought up to believe in what the Bible tells me that all things happen for good for those that trust Him. I also strongly believe that power belongs to God and He gives it to who He pleases at His own time. I equally believe strongly that God does not make mistakes. Whatever happened was exactly the way God designed it. So, if you take these references into account, I will say that it is not the will of God for me to run for that election.
However, I must not also fail to admit that I did my very best but I was disappointed. I was betrayed by even those I trusted. Some people I had confidence in failed me, but I still bear no grudge against them because you never can say what would have influenced their actions at that point in time. The election has come and gone but I will say that I, at a point, foresaw it coming when the process became almost monetised. At that point, I was not totally disappointed; but I know very well that I was betrayed by even those I trusted. There was an element of surprise in the process because there is a level you assume that you have relationship with somebody that you can place your confidence on them but when they betray or disappoint you for reasons best known to them, which could be inducement, you feel very bad and hurt.
Don’t you think your lack financial war chest also counted against you?
I will say yes because I am not known as a money bag but a simple contended person. I am comfortable by any stretch of imagination. But I don’t see not having so much money as a plus.
Yes, I completely agree that money played a key role even before and during the primary. I equally agree with the impression that I did not have that much to compete with them. But I also know that you can’t buy what I have with money.
Why didn’t you secure a godfather to bankroll your mission since you don’t have enough money?
Well, I made it clear from day one that God in heaven is my godfather. I don’t have a canal godfather to give me money. I don’t need such backing and I made it clear to everybody. My godfathers are the ordinary Anambrians and leaders of the party at various levels that placed their confidence in me. They believed that I will live up to the expectations and that I will never fail them.
What are the biggest lessons you learnt in contesting and failing to win the election?
We learn a lesson or two in every process, whether you lose or win. It also gives you the opportunity to understand the people you are working with, to understand more about the environment you live in and understand the polity more. The exercise thought me huge lessons. The good thing is that every experience prepares one better for the next attempt.
In your assessment, why did APC lose Anambra governorship election?
I will say that it was in the plan of God for APC to win, but I think that even though the APC candidate did his best, the choice of determining who wins is the prerogative of the electorate. This time around the Anambra electorate felt that the incumbent should continue and it is a case of APC not having any choice.
What about the impression that APC did not match APGA money for money?
I wouldn’t know to what extent money decided the outcome of the election but the truth is that though money played a role, I am not in the best position to know the extent. I operated only in my polling unit. I also campaigned for APC like every other loyal party member.
How true is the report that President Buhari’s visit to Anambra contributed to APC’s failure?
It is not true and in the contrary, it contributed to our getting what we got. His visit to Anambra was the clincher as far as I and the party members are concerned. People had opportunity to see him because of so much rumours about him and his health status then.
There was much enthusiasm that an average Anambra person felt his presence. It really added to the vote we got because many undecided electorate made up their minds to support the APC. The good thing about election is that there are some positives whether you win or lose.
One of the positives to take out of the election is that APC is expanding its hold and strength on the state. It provided many people the opportunity to change the impression they had about the party. It helped us to reach the grassroots to sell our messages. We have expanded our frontier as a party which created the enabling environment for the party to grow. It is now left for us, the Anambra politicians, to build on what happened and take it from there.
Are you implying that APC will upstage APGA in Anambra State in future?
It is not about APGA being a traditional party in Anambra State but about the gains and democracy dividend to the people of Anambra. The truth about it is that by the time we get to the next election the story will certainly change.
Is it true that the election created division in the ranks of APC stakeholders?
In every lose situation like we found ourselves, there is naturally bound to be bulk passing and complaints unlike if we had won the election. If we had won, there is every tendency that the victory will heal wounds. Again, don’t forget that there must be post mortem in any failure. There is naturally going to be cracks. People may be angry for one reason or the other, but it is now incumbent on the party leadership to, as much as possible, do whatever we can to heal whatever divides we may be experiencing.
It is when we talk to ourselves honestly and sincerely that we may identify mistakes that we need to correct. We should look at the entire process to know where we actually got it wrong and where we did well. There must be lessons to learn and everybody must be involved now not the candidate, or party in the state because a political party is a living organisation which still has life. For me, as a very positive person, tomorrow must be better than today.
Can you support Governor Willie Obiano in any capacity to move Anambra forward?
How do you mean? If he requests for my advice on the things he should do to better the lots of the people of Anambra, I will give him. Anambra is my primary constituency. If he seeks my view on governance in terms of security, agriculture, infrastructural development and other things I think will benefit my people, I will gladly do that. I am first an Anambra man before a politician and before even joining any political party.
But the point is that we must provide good governance and it does not stop me from criticising the government when they do what I think is not right. The good thing is that I proffer solution each time I criticise the policy of government because for me, opposition is not a battlefield.
How far can the APC go in the 2019?
We are going to do very well because it is about taking the indices on ground; it is about fulfilling our campaign promises when we won in 2015. It is about the quality of the president we gave to Nigeria and his performances. He promised security, he has addressed it drastically and frontally and we are seeing the results. Before he came into office, some parts of Nigeria were in the hands of the insurgency that were hoisting flags and calling it the caliphate but today, no inch of Nigeria soil is in the hands of anybody other than the Nigeria government. Is this not enough for us to celebrate?
He promised to address corruption frontally and that is exactly the battle government is wagging now. He promised the economy and efforts are made to see that the economy is aggressively diversified. Look at the emphasis now on agriculture and we are almost self-sufficient in rice production.
The truth is that we can’t have it better than we are having it now with these indices. But I understand the complaints and it is expected.
Will Buhari’s re-election be a blessing in disguise to the South East geo-political zone?
Of course, it will be a blessing to the South East and I am very excited about his coming back. I will contribute my little quota and do my very best to ensure his re-election. The indices are there that he is delivering. Work is ongoing at the second Niger Bridge we have been hearing all these years. It is the same for the major federal roads in the South East. So, why will I not celebrate?
Why has it become so difficult for some Nigerians to accept the APC despite the claim that you are doing well?
They will do that when the benefits keep manifesting. We came from minus zero and almost became a bankrupt nation. Look at the massive achievements in the transport sector and investment in railways. You cannot see the results in one year yet the Ministry of Transportation is doing very well in the area of railway. In the next few years when the railway comes on fully, people will realise the efforts that went into it.
Why has the national leadership of the party failed to check the escalation of crisis in the party?
The process is ongoing but like I have always said, APC is a living organisation and every human being has reason for joining a political party which results in clashes of interests. The process of reconciliation is a continuum and does not stop. You can reconcile Mr. A and B today only for C and D to start their own.
Do you foresee mass exodus from your party following Atiku’s defection?
Why would there be exodus? I have always said that a political party is like a church or Mosque where you don’t put a gateman to open and close the doors. Naturally, we wish that nobody leaves the APC but the question is to what extent you can manage the individual interests and ambitions. Everybody sees a political party as a platform to actualise their ambitions. Some try another platform when they noticed that their ambitions are threatened.
Will Atiku be a match to Buhari in 2019?
I am a Buhari person any day and time. In that perspective, you will know my bias in favour of Buhari, the man I am associated with. For me, it is Buhari all the way.