Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Member, representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency, Chris Azubogu has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can take over Anambra State if the opposition party does the right thing.
In this interview, the three-term federal lawmaker also decried the insecurity situation in the country and expressed the need for the National Assembly to come up with laws that would deal with the menace.
The people are worried about the security situation in the country, what roles will the legislature be playing in the issue of security?
The general challenge of insecurity in the country have been and is at all time high, ranging from the Boko Haram issue, the herdsmen-farmers clash and terrorists everywhere; there is general insecurity from North to South. But the most pathetic one is the issue of herdsmen attack on civil populace. I can assure you that the National Assembly having been constituted ought to commence proper business. In fact, we have taken a couple of motions already and very soon, the relevant committees and people who are there, who are part of national security and intelligence would be involved in this. The Nigerian Police, Army, everybody would put hands on deck to ensure that the legislature does what is needed to be done because we have a primary role to play. Ours is to make laws for peace, order and good governance and if there is no peace, order in the society, then the legislative role is failing. So, we need to make sure that we support the executive to proffer solutions from legislative angle that would maintain peace, order and good governance. These are the things I can assure you because the primary duty of the government is to protect lives and property and where that is not done, it’s not only the executive that has failed, it’s the government that has failed and the legislature is part of it, the judiciary is part of it. For those that need to be apprehended and made to face the law, they have to because there are provisions in the Constitution of what needs to be meted out to those who committed crime.
So, generally, it’s a major concern for everybody. One, its affecting everybody because peoples’ lives are being threatened and people are losing their lives and there’s palpable fear everywhere and that is affecting our general wellbeing. It’s affecting the economy, it’s affecting food supply because when people are afraid that if they go to the farm, they will be killed, they don’t go there. So, you can see so many news and they are, generally, discouraging investments from flowing in. So, the real challenge we have against our economic development is insecurity. So, nobody can play with it because the heart of governance lies squarely on security and that is the first and the primary duty of the government. So, we have to tackle it headlong. Whatever it’s going to take, we must make sure that security of lives and property is guaranteed so that our people can go about their businesses peacefully and normally. These are the things I can assure you.
I, as a legislator have been in the forefront because the security challenge is not as a result of one thing. It’s a combination of factors that are causing the problems. People say it is unemployment, no. There are social structures that are not in place to guarantee security. So, those are the things. Those infrastructure, social infrastructure that we need to put in place that will guarantee that even if crime is committed, the arm of the law will apprehend those who are involved through those mechanisms, because the truth of the matter is that for a democracy to thrive very well, there must be an enforcement arm of government to ensure that the rule of law is being enforced. So, the arm of government that will have that responsibility, whether it’s the army, police; any of the security intelligence, must apprehend. Where they fail, then the instrument of governance has totally failed. But, that’s the essence of having them. They collect their salary, they collect everything and they are there and these are happening and nobody is able to pinpoint or give us the intelligence of those who are doing it. Then, there’s something funny. So, we have to get to the root of it. If there are those who are in one way or the other aiding, abetting insecurity, it will all be exposed because you can see what is happening. All the key stakeholders, everybody is talking and there is a general warning; either way, either for or against, the situation in the country is not very funny anymore. So, the people are trying to do all they can to ensure that peace returns because without peace, there is not going to be any progress.
Is PDP really strategizing to reclaim your state, Anambra?
Every political party will have interest to win elections and it is important that at this time, Anambra people will decide on their own to know whether they really want to play national politics or not. But I believe that democratic process and democratic elections can always turn around after a particular circle. So, I think that Anambra people have indicated interest that they want to move to PDP with the last election. It’s left for them to make a choice. Once they present an acceptable candidate to the Anambra people, I think they will win the election. That’s the much I can say about that. Their choice and the process of ensuring that a good candidate emerges, that will be acceptable to the Anambra people from a particular geopolitical zone will determine how far they go. It’s a combination of factors, that’s why the party will be very careful. If they assume that they have already won before going to the elections, then they will end up in a manner that might be disappointing but if they put their acts together, work together as a party and ensure that the right candidate emerges, that will be acceptable to Anambra people, nothing will stop them. A party is a vehicle to run an election but you must go beyond that and test and know whom the state and the people will vote for. They are not voting for the party, they are voting for the candidate because it’s about the person that will cover Anambra State. The interest of the Anambra people will be there. It’s not about party only. You might have a good platform but have a bad candidate; in that case, you will not win elections. So, a bad platform with a good candidate might end up winning the election. So, it’s very tricky. The party had to calmly settle down, look at the options, prepare proper campaign team; we should look at what has happened at the ruling party, looking at their weaknesses and their strengths and you know what you will sell to the electorate and what you will tell them.
As an alternative party, what do you have? What have they done that you think you can do better? How do you think you would do it better?
The electorate of Anambra State are sophisticated. So, you need to really convince them. You must come out with details, facts of what needs to be done and how it’s going to be done and they will weigh it very well because it will be difficult for somebody to jump out from frying pan to fire. So, they will want to make sure that you have a credible alternative and that is the assurance you have to give to the electorate in Anambra State. You know, our state is a very sophisticated state. Well over 60 per cent of Anambra State has little or nothing to do with government. All they want is let the government do whatever it has to do, well. We don’t wait for the government to pay salaries before we eat in Anambra State but there are things we need to do and Anambra State will be a model state for a lot of people and I can assure you, after Lagos, in Nigeria, next most viable state is Anambra but we need to do things rightly.
“A party is a vehicle to run an election but you must go beyond that and test and know whom the state and the people will vote for. They are not voting for the party, they are voting for the candidate because it’s about the person that will cover Anambra State. The interest of the Anambra people will be there. It’s not about party only. You might have a good platform but have a bad candidate; in that case, you will not win elections. So, a bad platform with a good candidate might end up winning the election.”
We are not leveraging on government. We are not. We have human resources that if well applied, if we harness it well, create enabling environment, the economy of Anambra State will thrive. That’s the kind of Anambra that people are looking forward to and I can assure you that once that choice is made, it will go a long way once PDP is ready to offer them that credible alternative; we should put up hands that are tested and people will see what they are talking about. It’s to convince Anambra people. For me, I’ve run elections three times here and I’ve won. So, I understand the mindset of our people. Give them what they want. It’s always an easy thing for them to do. They can predictably tell you, it will go this way or it will go that way. So, every party that wants to win must be on ground, must do the needful, organize themselves and the party, make sure they have a proper political campaign team, identify a good candidate that is acceptable, go round this state, ask questions, do survey. If your candidate is not going to win, you make sure you go and find someone that must win election. There’s no magic. The trick is that we must use a particular person to win this election; elections are becoming scientific and elections are sophisticated too. You have to study very well and know how to sell a candidate. So, any party that really wants to win, if you assume, oh, you’ve won it and you go into elections, you will receive a shocker. Some people think that once they have a particular candidate, they’ve won the election and they went to the fields and unknown parties won the elections. So, you must get your strategies right for you to win elections. One, Anambra State is a sophisticated society and they know what they want. So, they can go to any length to get what they want.