By Doris Obinna
Come November 18, 2017, Anambra State voters will decide who their next governor will be for another four years. To this end, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has slated August 26, 2017 to select the candidate that will fly the party’s flag. As the APC delegates prepare for this arduous task, one of the aspirants, Dr. Obinna Uzoh, in this interview with select journalists, spoke on the forthcoming primary election, zoning and other issues.
On Saturday, your party, the APC, will pick its candidate for the Anambra governorship poll. What do you expect from the delegates?
As the delegates prepare for the ballot this Saturday, 26 August to select a standard bearer to represent our party on November 18, so many factors must be put into consideration. These include the aspirants’ political antecedents, pedigree, philanthropic efforts and previous contributions to the development of the state, church affiliation, senatorial district, and godfatherism, among others. The delegates should support a candidate who have all the credentials I listed above and many more. It is only a candidate with such credential that will win the election proper. I am the person who fits into this.
You are from Anambra south, which produced a governor for four years. Where do you stand on the issue of zoning?
There is a general consensus that this single tenure done by the current administration headed by the incumbent, who is from the Anambra north senatorial district was been smeared by lack of confidence stemming from poor performance. In 2003, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju who is from Anambra south (precisely Ihiala L.G.A where I come from) was accused of lack of performance and denied a second term. When I offered to remedy the situation, there was stiff resistance, insisting that the baton must shift to another zone, thus paving the way for Anambra Central to have 11 years in power under Sen. Chris N. Ngige (CON) and Sir Peter Obi. It will be inequitable to again insist that the governorship position be zoned to Anambra north. In fact, what is equitable is that the baton goes south. There is a need to correct the injustice meted to Anambra south in 2003 by allowing a capable person from the south (precisely Ihiala L.G.A) to take over the position.
The APC must go south as the north stays with APGA. It is unfortunate that the present government has failed to consolidate on the good records of the past administration and has lost popular support. If the APC zones her ticket to the south, it gives her the opportunity to garner more votes from the zone as Obiano did little or nothing for the entire state particularly the south. If we make the mistake of remaining in the north, that will be a collateral damage for our party.
The church plays an important role in Anambra politics; do you think it will play any role in this primary too?
In the politics of state, it is crystal clear that the church plays a vital role in determining who wins an election. Some people may want to push this point aisde, but it remains the truth that the church plays a major role in making and unmaking a candidate. Thus, the delegates must check the standing of the aspirants with the church, before deciding who to go for. They should go for a man with an open heart and a cheerful giver. That’s the person who wins the heart of the people. Some aspirants start to give when election is around the corner, thereby playing to the gallery just to score cheap political points. The society never forgets those who give back to it. Thus, the APC must go for a candidate who, aside politics, has employed his personal resources to better the life of the masses.
You are believed to be one of the favourites in the election. There are others who are equally known names. What type of candidate do you think will win the election for APC?
We must not make the mistake of selling to the people an unpopular figure. A candidate that is not known in all the senatorial zones will do more harm than good to the party’s prospects. We need a candidate with good character. I, for instance, eats, dines and wines with the downtrodden, the less privileged, the high and mighty in the society. Many people attest to this. I will refer you to what Archbishop Okeke said of me. He had declared: ‘I have followed the activities of Dr. Obinna Uzoh towards the less privileged and they are edifying. He has assisted many indigent students through scholarship. He has built houses for the poor, he has built hostels and lecture halls for students, churches for worshippers of different denominations and he renovated one of the cells in Onitsha prisons. He identifies with the poor and the lowly. He has not excluded the rich, his friendship cuts across the poor and rich. He has identified with the governments, states and federal. He is a good man in all sense of definition.’
Therefore, the APC should listen to such personalities in Anambra in making a choice.
Many of the aspirants are banking on godfathers to pick the party’s ticket. What do you think of godfatherism in politics?
The real godfathers should be the delegates, during the primaries and the voters, during election. The candidate of the APC must not be a person being sponsored by an individual or groups within or outside the state. Anambra people have had bitter experiences with godfatherism. The state cannot afford another bitter taste of such.