Raphael Ede, Enugu
Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze is the traditional prime minister of Abagana Community in Anambra State. He is also the chairman of Igbo World Assembly (IWA).
In this interview, he charged Ndigbo not to boycott any election in Nigeria, especially in 2019. He said that all options must be on the table, adding that an agitation for the restoration of Biafra should not stop the Igbo that are contesting for elections or the voters coming to vote to perform their civic rights.
He also argued that a restructured Nigeria is better for Ndigbo, pointing out that Nigeria cannot progress without the Igbo taking up the leadership of the country.
You are the chairman of Igbo World Assembly and head of many other Igbo organisations in the Diaspora. What is your moving spirit?
That Igbo people will speak in one voice, be united and work together. As a young man I grew up in the Mid-west and Yoruba people feared Ndigbo, including Awolowo and we were considered ‘Ndiocha’ (whitemen) of Nigeria.
Okpara will come out and everywhere will be shaking, so what my forefathers did I will not back away from. I will defend what my father did, so I will fight till I die for the Igbo cause and we must get on top because God said we have to be on top. Nigeria will never see light until the Igbo people are on top running things.
As the leader of Igbo in the Diaspora what is the position towards 2019 general election?
We support people who run on agendas that we believe in; there must be restructuring of the country. We will support the one who believes in distribution of power based on merit and distribution of power equally to all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. We, Ndigbo want our share, we don’t want to take another people’s share, but nobody should take our share.
Between the two dominate political parties APC and PDP; which one do you want Ndigbo to follow?
It is too early to say that, but any party supporting human and civil rights, what party that is supporting free and fair elections, what party that is not slaughtering people and killing murdering people for no reason, what party is not respecting constitutional law, what party is not respecting rule of law. I think you can see there is a party that is not obeying and respecting other people; there is a party that is putting ethnicity as number one, they take all the positions and gave to their people.
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Why are you in the Gregory University?
We are in Gregory University because from all our researches we see Gregory University as very interested in Igbo things and have Igbo thick agenda, promoting Igbo things and our people are running it and we have to support our own. But first of all, they believe in Igbo ideology and that is what we believe in.
So, we need to partner with people who believe in what we believe in.
President Trump wants to stop using birth as citizenship in America. What is your take on that?
He is just playing politics. He is trying to incite his races people to back him for the election and that is what they want to hear. That is just for election because constitution of America is there and no one can change it.
The forefathers of America want everybody to be taken care of and Trump is playing to a section; he a sectional man like Buhari.
The election of 2019 is here, are Ndigbo in the Diaspora coming back for it?
We will try to come back to vote as much as possible, but mind you it is hard to make everyone to come back, but people like me I am always here in every election.
I stay here in Anambra election to monitor it and that is why we don’t have problem in Anambra. We teach every town how to vote.
We teach them to wait in the polling units. We teach them to take pictures and by the time INEC calls results we Anambra people have already called our results.
We don’t have problems like Imo were they say somebody imposed candidate. You cannot impose anybody in Anambra because we will do the election and call the result and INEC will just follow.
We are not going to change, we will take cameras to video and take pictures and nobody will stop us in Anambra and that is the same thing we want all Igbo people to do in 2019. It is a shame that you will vote and somebody will go and write result, we are not going to accept that.
Are you advising that Igbo communities should vote and wait until the results are announced at the polling units?
Yes, don’t leave. In Anambra, you vote and sit-down to wait till election is concluded and wouldn’t let the INEC people to leave until the result is called and they will video it and pictures taken; all the towns will take the results and add it up and announce the results. INEC might take a day to do that, but already we know the result, we start celebrating and nobody can rig our election.
What has been your highpoints?
I am a ‘diba’, I am a doctor of medicine. I also studied business administration up to masters level. I have masters in public health, so I am very well educated in America. I run one of the biggest medical organization in America and I employed three thousand doctors.
We can provide healthcare for the whole of Eastern Nigeria. We have 3,000 doctors in all specialties with 20 hospitals. We can light up the whole Eastern Nigeria and we can handle any kind of problem from brain to toe.
Is there any plan to bring your expertise back to Nigeria?
That is what we are working on. Our main focus is helping the youths. Our main interest is working with the youths because without that we are wasting our time.
We have written off the old people, we are focusing on molding the youths so that they can be like Michael Okpara. So, we are here to mold them so that they cannot be stopped by any Nigerian.
I have built a modern farm; I have fishery more than a million fish and young people are running it. I have bottle plant and young people are running it.
We have hectares of cassava farm along the river and I have over 60 young people working for me here in Nigeria and I am hoping that they will reach 100 young people.
The young people from 18 to 35 years are running everything and they are doing it well and we discipline them like in the army.
This call by IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu that Ndigbo should boycott the election. Do you support that idea?
No, he is absolutely wrong. You can’t listen to that because he doesn’t know what he is talking about. We have to participate in the election, if things change then we will change.
Whatever, he is doing I am not against it, but he shouldn’t be disturbing people who want to run for election or people who want to be elected or want to vote. If restructuring works, it is good for the Ndigbo, if Nigeria collapses then Biafra is there; so we can win both sides, you don’t have to remove any option.
All the options need to be on the table. We are Nigerians, we need to play the Nigerian game, we need to win power here and the respect. We need to win power back in Nigeria. Nigeria will never do well until Ndigbo are at the top. When the last time they did well was when Ndigbo were on top.
They are deceiving themselves and they will never march Japan, China, India, Singapore without us, but we will march them and we will pull all the black Africa up with us.
What do you think is the problem of Ndigbo?
You know what they say ‘Igbo enweghi-eze’ i.e Igbo do not have leadership. When it comes to politics we don’t know how to work as a team, but it helps us in business i.e individualism.
Individualism helps us in business, but in politics you have to learn how to be collective, to work as a team.
So, working as a team and being united that is what we need to do because we have more skills and talent than anybody in Africa.