By Onyedika Agbedo
Chief Kingsley Abeze is a Nuclear Physicist and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State. Abeze, who won the House of Assembly seat for Dunukofia Constituency in 1997 during the late Gen. Sani Abacha Transition programme, is currently a legislative aide in the Office of the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Abuja. In this interview, he predicts victory for the APC candidate in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election, Dr. Tony Nwoye, describing him as a “humble politician with monumental mass appeal.”
The Anambra State governorship election is days away. What is your take on the preparations for the election?
Well, many candidates have emerged from different political formations and are on the last lap of their campaigns for the votes of the electorate come November 18, when Anambrarians will go to the polls to elect their next governor, who will pioneer the affairs of the ‘Light of the Nation’ for another four years. In my view, among the foremost gladiators and, indeed, the greatest of them all, is Dr. Tony Nwoye, of the APC.
I have known Nwoye for years now as a selfless, fearless, committed, honest, workaholic and humble politician with monumental mass appeal; he has been a leader all his life. He started his journey into the mucky waters of politics far back in school at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu Campus, where he was elected the President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG).This was followed by his meritorious election as the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). His emergence as NANS’ President was a testimony to his hard work, brilliance, dedication to the campaign for the upliftment of the poor, respect for human rights, deep concern and affection for students’ welfare and promotion of democratic ideals. These are genuine attributes of modern societies. Nwoye is a bridge builder and a peace maker. Anambra needs someone like him at this time.
But as you know, student unionism and governing a state are two different things. What makes you think that Nwoye will succeed as governor?
Recall that Nwoye’s brilliant performance as the president of NANS catapulted him to national height politically. Thus, soon after living office as NANS’ leader, he was elected as the chairman of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra State chapter. While in that position, he clearly demonstrated his capacity as a grassroots leader and one with mass appeal and capacity to deliver. For instance, his party won all the Senatorial and House of Representatives seats in Anambra State, majority of the seats in the State’s House of Assembly and the governorship during his tenure as state chairman. These victories stood the judicial tests as they were upheld by both the electoral tribunals and the appellate courts except the governorship, which was voided by the Supreme Court on the ground that the tenure of the incumbent governor of the state, at the time, had not expired.
There is this view in some quarters that the unpopularity of the APC in the South-east will work against his victory at the poll. What’s your take?
Well, the electorates have become wiser these days; they will vote for candidates and not political parties. Nwoye is a grassroots politician; the people know him very well; they can attest to what he can do. As a member of the House of Reps, Nwoye hasn’t rested on his oars to present the challenges of his constituency and, by extension, those of Ndi Anambra and entire Igbo land to his colleagues for redress. Those of us who know him from home and have followed his proud activities from his days in NANS to date know what he would be able to do as the governor of Anambra State if elected.
As a grassroots man who is enthusiastic about rural development, Nwoye is the best candidate in the election, because he, unlike the other contenders, wears the shoes of the oppressed, marginalised, neglected and pauperised and therefore knows where they pinch. He is the right person who can use his expansive connections, cognate experience in politics and social struggles and humility to bring home Anambrarians in the Diaspora and their friends to Anambra to develop our state. He is well disposed as a man of the people to attract both local and foreign aids with which to mass develop the state and link up the rural communities with the cities. And by so doing, enhance the life of the massively suffering rural dwellers. I can assure you that Anambrarians will vote for him. Besides, the so-called unpopularity of APC in Anambra is a myth as we shall see on Saturday.
Nwoye is said to be enjoying the backing of a renowned billionaire in the state. Don’t you see that as a disadvantage to him going into the election?
The godfather in question is Chief Arthur Eze, (Ozoigbondu), Prince of Ukpo Dunukofia Kingdom. Let me state without fear of contradiction that the involvement and the fatherly support of the international business mogul in this election is a plus for Anambra people. And I want to salute him for his deep philosophical insight and wisdom in choosing Nwoye, the Ayaka of Nsugbe, as the most qualified candidate for this job. Ozoigbondu is only after what will benefit the generality of Anambra people as we shall see in the end. I must also salute the political sagacity and wisdom of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, for endorsing Nwoye. Ngige like Eze, has rendered very wonderful support because he knows that Nwoye has the capacity to deliver.
Dr Ngige opened up governance in Anambra State you know; so, I urge Ndi Anambra not to repeat the mistakes of the past which would set us back and keep us crawling for the next four years. Anambra must move forward to take her pride of place in the comity of states in our country. The way to achieve this giant feat is to vote for Nwoye on Saturday.