Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
House of Representatives member-elect for Anambra East/Anambra West Federal Constituency, Mr Chinedu Obidigwe has said that his going to the National Assembly would right the wrongs in his constituency, the state and Southeast in general.
The former Chairman of Anambra East Local Government Area and senior aide to Governor Willie Obiano also said that he would work closely with his colleagues to give oil producing status to the state, among other things.
How did you receive your victory at the polls?
To be candid, the euphoria is high. We have laboured, we sowed and we have reaped. And the outcome of the election is an indication that the people I will represent really accepted me. They showed me love, they stood under the sun, they voted and they stood there until their votes were counted, so we are happy.
What should the people expect from you?
During my campaign, we made some promises: one, to represent the constituency very well. To be a representative entails so many things. There are things we were expecting from our representative before which has not been done and this time around; I assured my people that those things would be attracted and provided under my representation. Some of those things are: regular town hall meetings; as a representative of a constituency you should be able to call town hall meetings, at least, quarterly to brief the people on your activities, what you have been doing and what you intend to do. So, I assured my people that I will be at home every quarter to brief them on what I have achieved and they will be free to criticise me and I will take corrections. Then, another area I will concentrate is on youth empowerment. If as a youth, I was not empowered; I won’t be doing what I’m doing today or have gotten where I’m today. But I can testify to the fact that I was empowered and that is why I’m doing what I’m doing today. So, I believe in youth and women empowerment. I will be coming home within one year in office to come and shower succour on the people of my constituency and empower the youths. In our area, we are lacking in education and my going to the National Assembly will provide a window of opportunity to help the younger generations in that area to secure admission in the universities and other institutions of higher learning. I will introduce what I will call free education scheme for Anambra East and West. Our place is an agrarian area, our people are peasant farmers. I will provide farm inputs ranging from insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other farm inputs necessary for agriculture through constituency funds and projects. People are looking onto me, I pledge not to disappoint them and all I’m going to do in the National Assembly would be for the interest of Nigeria, my state and indeed my constituency. I will represent them well.
Have you extended the Olive branch to your opponents in the election?
I have said it before and I’m repeating it again; I’m not a type of winner-takes-it- all politician. I believe that my victory was a divine mandate from God and if it is a divine mandate from God, even my colleagues in the contest who lost did not lose. I will see a situation where I will involve everybody because I’m not an island, no man knows it all, we need to come together to brainstorm and where I can help; I will help them. I appeal to them to understand that in a contest of this nature, one man must win.
You will be representing an oil producing community; what would you do to elevate the condition of the people there?
Part of my agenda in the National Assembly will be to ensure the inclusion of Anambra State as an oil producing state. Anambra West and the state are oil producing community and state verbally, but yet to be gazetted and accorded necessary status and benefits like other oil producing communities and states. I will use my office as the representative of the area to lobby other lawmakers to see whether it will be recognized officially as oil producing state. Then, it is very important to note that the very location is in my community and constituency. The crisis bedevilling the area has to be settled this time when the owner of the place is going to the National Assembly. So, when I get there; I will still join hands with my colleagues from Kogi State; Ibaji/Igalamela Federal Constituency to see how we can settle amicably all the lingering crises so that even our people living in those areas will have peace. When there is peace and harmony; progress is assured and I will tell you that it is in the National Assembly that we can discuss these matters and I will assure you that in no distant time; Anambra State would be recognized fully and implemented as oil producing state.
There were cases of irregularities in some places during the election, what do you think should be done to curtail such in future elections?
In my area, Anambra East and West Local Government Areas that make up my constituency, the election was very peaceful. It was only in Nsugbe ward one that we witnessed crisis where the PDP candidate held sway in his hometown. In every other part of the areas and wards, the election was very peaceful. The votes I polled was over 19,000 more than the PDP candidate that came second in the election, so the gap is too much that nobody will fault the result because of the crisis in one ward which has about 5,000 voters even if you minus it from my votes I still lead with very wide margin. The only way to curtail crisis in an election is to organize voter education and youth orientation. I need our people to understand that in a contest one person must win, it is very imperative. So, INEC needs to do very conscientious orientation for the people to understand that election is not a do or die, but always by free and fair process. For me, there is no need for fighting.