From Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia
In Anambra State, Hon. Charles Chinwendu Odedo is a household name. A two-term member of the House of Representatives (2007 – 2015) for Idemili North and South Federal Constituency, he is a strong member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) having been elected into the House on the platform of the party starting with Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN).
Currently, he is contesting for the governorship position in the November 18, 2017 election in Anambra State. He spoke with select journalists in his country home of Nnobi. Sunday Sun was there and brings the excerpts…
Why are you contesting for the governorship position of Anambra State in the November 18, 2017election?
I am running to provide excellent service to our people. I have been educated in University of Nigeria and Porland University, USA. Elected twice to the House of Representative, performed exceptionally well. In the seven years, I served as Members House of Representatives. I introduced 15 Bills and 10 Motions including the very popular motion on the passing on of Prof. Chinua Achebe in March of 2013.
Bills on Telecoms equity HB. 680, prohibition of Repugnant Widowhood Practices HB 734 and the Nigerian Career advise for School Child Bill amongst many others. Down in the constituency, I introduced the concept of Town-to-Town Representation, where all 17 towns that make up Idemili North and South Federal Constituency benefited from Human Capital Development and Empowerment.
Over 1,000 Scholarships award, construction of constituency projects, distribution of over 50 vehicles, providing about 40 full time employments and even cash empowerment for folks to start or expand their existing business. All these were done on the basis of Town-to-Town. Every community benefited.
My decision to contest the governorship is therefore born out of my background, education, experience and performance in earlier assignments. I come with a lot of good will and I believe my people will prosper under my service.
You see, my agenda for Anambra State will have as its foundation the potentials, comparative advantages and capabilities of the State both human and material resources in order to create wealth, create jobs, reduce poverty, empower our people, create the enabling environment and actively promote the private sector as the engine of growth.
I envision a befitting capital for Anambra State and a major focus on 6 urban areas including: Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi in the first phase and Abagana, Otuocha and Ekwulobia in the next phase. These are my 10-point priority agenda for Anambra State: security, agriculture, health, education, power, urban areas, youth development, oil and gas, erosion control and infrastructure. Central to all these is the human capital development and empowerment.
So why the choice of All Progressives Congres?
I was part of the formation of APC, having been elected to the House of Representatives from ACN in 2011. By the way, the only member elected from ACN to the House of Representatives from Anambra State in 2011.
I will like to return my state to the main stream of Nigerian politics. As you are aware, many of our people are into business and we are not used to opposition politics. Anambra should return to the APC-led Federal Government and get its share for the development of our dear State.
But you left the APC just before the 2015 General Elections, why? Are you returning just because of your governorship ambition?
Like I said earlier, I was a foundation Member of APC, having been elected to the House of Representatives on the platform of ACN in 2011. I have been involved in at least 5 elections where I was the major support of ACN/APC from 2011. These elections include: 2011
House of Representatives and Senate Elections, 2011 House of Assembly Elections, 2011 Senate Re-run Election, 2012 House of Assembly Re-run Elections, and 2013 Anambra State Governorship Elections, I was in-charge and also the major sponsor of the these elections in my constituenecy (Idemili North and South of Anambra State). And you know what, APC won all these elections in my Constituency. Anambra State was the very first governorship election APC as a party participated
in. I was in charge of Idemili North and South in that election. APC won in both Local Governments.
Let me put it on record, what I mean by being in-charge, I sponsored all the activities of the party; including all the billboards, all the rallies, posters, T-shirts. I financed the activities of the party in my constituency. Despite my contributions, APC denied me the ticket to return to the House of Representatives. I left in search of ticket. I am now back to APC where I belong. I have worked very hard for the party, paid my dues and may be now, I could be repaid.
The South East have been marginalization under the APC led Federal Government, what is your take on this?
I belief that the cries should be looked into and amends begin immediately to follow. Every part of this country should benefit from the Federal Government. I offer myself as part of the solution to the problems of our people. I will speak up and most importantly, I will negotiate to attract development to our people.
There has been a lot of defections from PDP to APC especially among the aspirants. What do you think of this?
I sincerely think that this defections is good for APC. It will be critical to the party winning the forth-coming Governorship Election in Anambra State. Out of the four (4) leading parties in that election, three (3) have virtually merged with the APC. If the APC aspirants are managed carefully, this could be a landslide victory for the party.
With about 14 aspirants on the platform of APC, what is your advice to the party on the best way to manage this rather high number of aspirants?
One thing you must know, our party APC is well organized and have already set up a committee to manage the situation. The South-East committee on Anambra 2017 election is made up of eminent personalities, led by the former Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Dr (Sen.) Dr Jim Nwobodo. Other members include: H.E. Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu as Vice Chairman; Senator Azu Agboti as Secretary; Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Nkechi Nworgu, Chief Gbazueagu Nweke Gbazueagu, and Chief Cosmos Maduba as members.
Things are looking good because so far, the committee has performed creditably well; screening all the aspirants, keeping issues in proper perspective, guarantying a free and fair contest and most importantly bringing in the spirit of brotherhood into the contest. APC may end up in a landslide victory in the forthcoming Governorship election on 18 November 2017.
What are your chances in the APC primaries. Do you think you will clinch the ticket?
I come with a lot of good will, having performed exceptionally well as a two-term member of the House of Representatives. I was a foundation member of APC having been elected to the House of Representatives under the ACN platform in 2011 when most people did not give us a chance. For three (3) years, I sponsored the ACN/APC party structure fully and financially in my constituency and also in part to the APC state party structure. APC members know me and my track record and I believe that they will vote for me.
What contribution have you made to the APC that makes you think you can clinch the partied ticket for the governorship?
I have chosen to contest the forth coming Governorship Election under the platform of APC because of the following reasons: I was part of the formation of APC in 2013, have been a member of ACN from 2011. I was the only elected member of the House of Representatives under ACN from Anambra State during the 2011 general elections. I have been involved in at least five elections, where I was a major support of ACN/APC from 2011, these elections include: House of Representatives and Senate, 2011; House of Assembly Election, 2011; Senate Re-run Election, 2011; House of Assembly Re-run Election, January, 2012; Anambra State Governorship Election, November 2013. I was in-charge and also the major supporter of these elections in my constituency (Idemili North and South) during these elections.
You know what, ACN/APC won all these elections in my constituency. I was in-charge of Idemili North and South in the 2013 Governorship Election, – the very first Governorship Election that APC contested.
APC won both Idemili North and South Local Government in that election, see 2013 results. For the ACN/APC Party Structure. For three years, from 2011, I supported the State ACN/APC and fully sponsored the APC in my constituency of Idemili North and South.
To avoid rancor and possibility of factionalization, some APC leaders are advocating a consensus arrangement to select the candidate of the party. What do you think?
APC in Anambra State is very lucky to have a group of highly qualified and experienced aspirants from Senator Andy Ubah to Hon. Tony Nwoye, Dr. Obinna Uzor, Engr. Barth Nwibe, Chief Ralph Okeke, my humble self and many others. I believe that whatever formular that the party adopts, if it is fair, will be acceptable to me and I believe will also be acceptable to them as well. As I said earlier, the integrity of the South-East committee is not in question and their activities so far is encouraging. If they decide on a consensus, I can assure them of my full support.