From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Okeke Chika Jerry is a renowned author based in Onitsha, Anambra State. He veered into politics and was the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance in the 2013 governorship election. He is still eyeing the office.
Why are you in politics?
The essence of government and being in politics is to use the collective resources of the people in making their lives meaningful. Unfortunately, it has not been that way in Nigeria. What we see is a case of selective attention. Like in Anambra State, sometimes you hear that government is sharing rice to civil servants who doesn’t constitute even 10 percent of our population. It is high time those in position of power and authority stops playing with the lives of the citizens. When they fall sick, they travel abroad for medical attention, where will the ordinary man seek help when sick he is sick, if our hospitals are not equipped? The Bible tells us that a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Who among our leaders will be ready to sacrifice his comfort for the led, instead they will not even hesitate to order for the killing of the masses at the slightest unrest.
The Nigerian System of government breaks my heart because primitive accumulation has killed us in this country. Struggle for political power is all about the quest to accumulate stupendous wealth. That is why some people laugh at me when I tell them that I want to be governor, they make jest of me saying that I’m struggling so that when I enter, I will make money more than them. But they have failed to realize that some of us are seeking to enthrone the right order in the system. I will spring surprise in the political system when I’m elected into office. I’m an employer of labour today but I know where I started. I will not touch security votes or receive salary for two years when I become governor. Rather I will use both sums of money to empower people in productive ventures. This is the best way to solve security issues because insecurity is fuelled by idleness, unemployment and joblessness.
Is it possible for Anambra to be Nigeria’s Food Basket?
Just like Joseph in the Bible stored food in Egypyt that saved many nations during famine, so I will store food in Anambra. Our state can be made the Agricultural hub of this nation. It is different from inviting investors to come and plant crops in Anambra. In my own case, I will ensure that every local government have its own farm while the teeming youths roaming different motor parks in the State will be engaged in Agriculture. All these misdirected energy which they dissipate in extorting money from drivers and traders in the name of government revenue will stop. It is the youths that will stop recession in Nigeria and not the old men in government. It is a misnomer to see elders in government while the youths are sleeping at home, drinking and going to parties. These anomalies in the system are part of what is pushing me into the race even though I know it is risky but somebody has to do it. For how long shall this continue? It is now left for us to take the bull by the horns.
In Ghana, they had to resort to killing of some political bad eggs so that the system can be made right but we don’t have to kill here despite the fact that there has been too much killings in the country too. Move into Agriculture meaningfully and not politicise it. When farm settlements are created and the youths are engaged there, it will eradicate restiveness.
Why are you running for the governorship?
There is need for change because we don’t need Diaspora governance again in this State. It’s true that Obiano was born and brought up in Anambra but it was at the era that Nigeria was good. By the time things was getting bad, he left this State to Lagos and from there to abroad. That is the reason Obiano doesn’t know the level of suffering people go through in the State today because he has been outside for long. Some of us were born and brought up here, passed through the elementary school to the university here and also live and work here, so we can say that we know all the peculiarities of the State. Today, Obiano relies on wrong feedback from his aides to govern the State because he is no more on ground to know what is actually happening.
Of all other parties, why are you running on Action Alliance’s platform?
When God wanted to chose a king for Israel, he sent the Prophet to the house of Jesse to anoint the king. Jesse brought many of his children who were physically endowed thinking that one of them was the chosen king but they were rejected until that little forgotten one tending the sheep in the forest was brought. It is like that now in Anambra. There is the so called big parties in the State today like APGA, APC, PDP, but I want to tell you that the people will reject all of them and go for AA. If God wants to change the situation in a State that is in need of credible leadership, He doesn’t look at the big parties, he looks for the insignificant or forgotten party or person and by the time such person is brought to the stage, God will use him mightily for His glory.
If I become governor of Anambra State under APGA, the party will say, ‘yes, we have revived Anambra State.’ If APC features me, they will say, ‘yes, we are the party in the federal level ‘ and so on, same goes for the PDP. But today, if AA performs well, God will take glory because nobody knows the party. Obiano is trying his best, I’m not among those who say he is not doing anything but the truth is that the man cannot go beyond his capacity. He has exhausted what he has for the State and there is no magic to perform again. He should have made investments in his first tenure that would yield returns for the State in his second tenure but he did none. The only investment we can see is that he is paying salaries.