From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
John Chuma Nwosu, an Information Technology expert, technocrat and politician, is an aspirant for the governorship seat of Anambra State under APGA platform. From Nnewi, the CEO, Jetlink Ltd in this interview bares his mind on the state of the nation and issues surrounding the coming guber poll in the state.
There are too many sad stories in the country these days. Some are blaming the government for everything bad happening, what is your take on the state of the nation presently?
Nigeria is in its worst trying times. Since I was born, I have not seen it like this and this is a cumulative effect of bad leadership, wrong planning, and wrong recognition of institutions. Our institutions are weak and we are too undisciplined. We disobey laws in Nigeria and you cannot plan without adequate statistics. In fact, we are supposed to have done census in 2016 but today no one is talking about that. But we all know that census is very important and strategic to national planning. Today, I don’t know where we are in electricity while you know that power is the enabler for any country moving forward. If you also consider the cost of doing business in Nigeria and what will happen if we have steady power supply, you will know that the cost of business will go down by at least 40 per cent. We are told in economics that industries are greatest employers of labour. Agriculture is helping but if you look at the trend, you realise that if not for government intervention, only agriculture cannot do much. Today, in Nigeria, our industries have collapsed; we churn out half baked graduates because our educational system is being threatened by the same lack of infrastructure. Healthcare, education, commerce and all others cannot function optimally without electricity. Look at the cost of importation, diesel and petroleum products we use in Nigeria. To me, what is needed in Nigeria is for us to go back to the basics, build up the foundation, provide the infrastructure needed for industries to spring up.
It seems that the Southeast governors have been foot-dragging on taking action over the issue of open grazing. They met recently also with their South-South counterparts and restated the ban on open grazing but there is no mechanism of implementation yet. What do you think is the reason why they have not been firm in this regard and what’s the way out?
Well, it goes back to what I said earlier about having strong institutions. Governors of the Southeast know their problems but as far as I’m concerned, I know that the Northern Governors Forum has come out to condemn open grazing too. Cattle rearing are private businesses but the state governments can have a kind of partnership with the herders and make enabling laws too. The cattle rearers can buy lands and start ranching which is the modern way to go. Before the advancement in development, people travelled with donkeys but today we use rail, airline and vehicles, so we cannot remain in the old ways of rearing cattle.
This year November, Anambra people will elect their next governor. You are in the race but have not been making ‘noise’, what is actually happening?
I’m someone who believes in God’s intervention in anything I’m doing. Politics is not a do or die affair. I was in this race about eight years ago and was told that it was not our turn then. Governor Peter Obi then was in charge and he was the one who introduced this zoning stuff saying that power should go Anambra North. I contested because I was against zoning then because it was never in the constitution. But I also believe that people can come up with an understanding on how they would want power to rotate among them but in that case, there was no discussion of any sort then. So I said no and I contested to challenge him that it was wrong to do it that way. Today, power has been zoned to the South and what everyone is saying is since the central has taken eight years; the North is completing its eight years, let the South now go and do their own turn so that the circle can be completed. It is after the south that people can now come back to the table to decide either to continue with zoning or leave it open.
I have been consulting widely and reaching out to stakeholders. The most important thing is not jumping around everywhere and putting up posters here and there, the most important thing is securing the party ticket during the primaries.
For my party APGA, it has not been so rosy because there were some issues but I have been meeting with party stakeholders too telling them the need to embrace peace and go into the primaries with one mind to ensure a free and fair contest. Having free, fair and transparent primaries will go a long way to give us the right person to take over from the incumbent governor. I’m no more a greenhorn in the race and I’m well known in the state, that’s why I believe that if I win the party ticket , winning the governorship election proper won’t be a problem.I’m coming from the problem solving background of Information Technology , having managed my company, Jetlink Group successfully for the past 27 years. Currently, we are engaged in the National Identity Number (NIN) enrollment nationwide which is one of the noble ideas that the current Buhari administration is implementing. I mentioned earlier the importance of data and statistics; I said that without statistical records, there is no way a country can progress because you cannot plan.
You are supporting zoning now with emphasis on power going to the South in Anambra. But within the South, there is also another struggle on which zone takes it between the old Nnewi, old Aguata and old Ihiala axis. Some are of the view that Nnewi should take it. What is your position on that?
Looking at the three blocs in the South, I am someone that believes in equity. Aguata bloc has produced an elected governor in the past in the person of Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the Ihiala axis has produced a governor too in the person of Mbadinuju. It is only Nnewi axis that has not gotten even one. But if you look at the political history of Anambra State, Nnewi axis has shown commendable leadership and sacrifice in the past. They have sacrificed so much for the entire Igbo race.