From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Chief Maxwell Samuel Okoye is the Director, Political Matters, South-East Presidential Support Committee, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters. In this interview, he spoke on the issue of zoning in the state and more.
Why do you want to be governor of the state?
I chose to contest because I have looked at the development in my state and realized that it is nothing to write home about. I have found out that there is absolute need for change. APGA as a party in power in the state has taken the state for granted for too long. It is only in Anambra we are yet to build a permanent Government House despite the fact that APGA has been in power for 16 years and not less than N5 trillion were received from the federation account within the period. No single road has been completed, some of the projects are still ongoing, no single youth empowerment, no single industry that APGA government can boast of. There is no signature project that APGA will say it is their pride project in the state. The airport project the governor is talking about is still ongoing. So, looking at the developmental decay, I decided to rescue my state and present myself for consideration in the forthcoming governorship election. I’m going to seek nomination from my party APC to fly their flag in the November 6 governorship election
What other areas do you think APGA has not done well that you are coming to correct, if elected?
There is what is called Elders Council; it is a group made up of some elders in the state. This is what this government would have used as a platform to attract more government attention. We have elders council like Chief Emeka Anyoku, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dr. Mbazuluike Amechi, Mr. Simeon Okeke etc, that would come together to meet Mr. President to request and ask the president to add Anambra in the oil producing state which will benefit the state. Then, the place we are having land dispute between Anambra and Kogi due to oil deposit, this is what our elders supposed to have resolved through the elders council if it is in existence. This is what the government should have done to make the state a better place to live not when you give a young man or woman power, he will use it as means of survival but there is more to it. Secondly, if you go to Mgbakwu College of Agriculture, there is no road to the school. If we are preaching the gospel of agriculture, what are the infrastructure in that college? Don’t forget we claim to be the food basket, so if we claim to be an agriculture state, more attention should be given to agricultural sectors, institutions and industries. We should create roads to the college and to access ours farms and ensure that farmers access farm inputs freely; I think we need total overhauling of the system.
Are you aware of the zoning arrangement in the state?
As a director, South East political matters presidential committee in Abuja, I’m not aware of zoning in the state. And there is no way such decision or discussion will be made or held without my knowledge or my consent. The zoning is mere opinion of some persons; people of the South have been canvassing it as mere opinion to favour them in the election. So, if such a thing will happen, my office should be aware. If anything should be done as it relates to zoning, it should emanate from my office in Abuja, whether in Anambra or any other state in the South East because I’m director, political matters. There is no zoning in the constitution of the party but zoning arrangement could be important at the national level. What we should be talking about is competency not zoning because zoning breeds a lot of incompetency. If not zoning arrangement in APGA, Obiano wouldn’t have been governor; despite the fact there was no zoning in the state, former governor Peter Obi imposed on the state and APGA at that time which brought Obiano to power. Have you seen the consequence of zoning in the state? He is a failure and has brought infrastructural decay in the state because he lacks the tenets of good governance. Look at where we are in the zoning APGA brought us into; so we are yet to recover from zoning arrangement because it has disorganized the system and good governance. As far as I’m concerned, zoning breeds underdevelopment; look at our state, no road, no water, no industry, no other infrastructures, nothing to show after eight years because we said let Anambra North zone produce governor. So, we are yet to come out from the problem of zoning APGA brought to the state which is counter productive. Zoning is good especially at the national level but with a lot of critical in-depth look and roundtable discussion where their credentials would be critically checked and considered thoroughly.
Will the contestants support any aspirant that will emerge after the primary in APC to avoid a repeat of 2017 mistake?
My office has initiated a process that each aspirant should sign an agreement form that whoever that wins the primary, every other aspirant will accept it and move together. Whoever that emerges should be supported by all provided that the primary is free and fair. From the arrangement of the party both at the national and state levels, they are making arrangement for free and fair election.
How will APC win the Guber election being an opposition party?
I have been in Anambra for one month and looking at the faces of Anambrarians, you see the need for change. So, people are preaching the gospel of good governance of the APC-led administration at national level and appreciating president Buhari for the various infrastructural facilities in Anambra state. You can see the second Niger bridge and Onitsha-Awka expressway; you can see that road from Awka to Onitsha has been completed, courtesy of APC administration. It is no more promises as it used to be in the past but work is going on speedily at the second Niger bridge. The urge for change is inside an Anambrarian. There is nothing like APGA again, Dim Chukwuemka Odumegwu is no more there again and the wife had warned them not to use her husband’s picture to play politics again. Anambra people are tired of the administration of APGA and need change. In short, I would have called for his impeachment if time permits, but there is no more time.
Are you not afraid of PDP in the state?
PDP doesn’t exist again in Anambra; even at the national level, they are no longer there. They are just doing a club meeting. Atiku and Wike are the face of PDP and don’t be surprised that one day, you hear that they have joined the moving train of APC and that should be completely the end of PDP.
What is your advice to the people of the state for the revalidation of APC membership?
We are going to mobilize for the APC registration of new members in the state. We are appealing for the people of the state to come out en masse to register as members of APC. Also disregard that rumour or insinuation that Mr. President doesn’t love Ndigbo. He is a kind man having been close to the presidency, and having worked in the presidency, I can give you the assurance of his love for the people of Ndigbo and Anambra people in particular. Look at the pumping of money to finance the second Niger bridge, the interconnecting roads from Anambra end and Delta end are going on.