“Peter Obi’s nomination as vice presidential candidate is not a South East affair. Obi is a friend of Atiku Abubakar.”
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Chiedu Eluemunoh, who had represented Oyi/Ayamelum Federal Constituency of Anambra State, is the APC candidate for the same position in next year’s election. He speaks on the forthcoming poll.
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Considering the fact that Anambra is an APGA State, what are your chances of winning the election next year?
As a political scientist and lawyer, I deal with empirical evidences. If you check the last Anambra governorship election, even though our party was largely sabotaged, our party polled over 900,000 real electoral votes, believably and without support. So, based on statistics, our party is the party to beat in the coming election if we improve on what we did in the last governorship election. We are very upbeat about it, and we are sure that given the right environment, APC will win the National Assembly, presidential election and the state Assembly election in 2019.
We are very happy the way things are going, especially the unfolding events at the Anambra State Assembly because it gives us more impetus to claiming that victory.
Are you hinging your confidence of victory on the drama playing out in Anambra State Assembly?
Yes, we already have a pass mark, looking for credit. With what is unfolding in the Anambra State House of Assembly and in the last primary elections, APGA is a party that betrayed and failed its members. The leadership of the party, including the governor, failed to live up to the expectations of their supporters. With the overwhelming disgruntled party members, and with the current situation, I believe that the APC, with our rising membership register, will make a good headway.
How do you intend to achieve that with a president that is unpopular in the South East, Anambra State inclusive?
No, that is not true. There is no empirical evidence to substantiate the fact that Mr. President is unpopular in the zone. No, this is one President that has helped Anambra people and Nigerians at large.
Even if you want to talk about the last presidential election, I can tell you that he was outside then, but now he is inside. He has done enough to help the people of the South East. Before he came in, the Enugu-Port Harcourt road was not done; the Enugu-Onitsha expressway was not done. But, if you visit there now, you will attest that the road, especially the Enugu-Onitsha is the one done with the standard of a federal highway.
The Onitsha-Owerri road, which had some problems around the Imo section, has been fixed. Then, the Aba-Port Harcourt road is also ongoing. So, the president has done enough for the South East. The president has also improved on our airports even though it started from the last administration.
The president through a programme has insisted that every primary school child must be fed at least once in a day. It trickles down to saving some money in the pockets of some parents. Mr. President, for me, has done very well. He has removed tears from the eyes of Nigerians. We have to give him kudos and I endorse him to continue with what he is doing.
How do you hope to change this perception that most South East legislators don’t seem to be vocal and assertive in raising those issues of concern to their people?
I can tell you that I did everything possible to fight for the region when I was there. I was a thorn in the flesh of those who don’t believe in the South East project. I was always defending the South East interest. I once jumped on top of the table to defend my people. So, I am not a new person as to what our people want and how we are supposed to represent our people. If I am able to get there, I will ginger the younger ones and let them know that it is our constituency first, our region second, before we refer to Nigeria.
Everybody has their own base of representation. I think that tempo will change, if some of us with experience return to the National Assembly.
Based on that sentiment, will you support your brother, Peter Obi, who is the running mate to Atiku Abubakar?
No, I am a party man. My party comes first when it comes to political party issues. It is a different issue when it comes to affairs of South East. Peter Obi’s nomination as vice presidential candidate is not a South East affair. Obi is a friend of Atiku Abubakar. When it comes to party affairs, I am a good party man. I believe in my party, and my president is number one; Osinbajo is number two. There is no number three here. But, when it comes to family affairs, we talk about them.
What is your take on the myriad of crises plaguing APC?
There are problems in every political party and APC has the least problems. For instance, as small as APGA is, its problems are so massive that what we have in APC is just one percent of their problems.
Discussions are ongoing to remedy areas where people feel things were not done rightly. So, I know that as a family, things will come down in the coming weeks. Some ambitions are fake, while some are real. The party has set up a committee to look into those that are aggrieved to accept party supremacy.
What is your take on the allegations that the leadership of APC collected humongous bribes from aspirants and candidates?
I am not aware of any bribery scandal in APC. I don’t see APC as a party that takes bribes. I didn’t bribe anybody; use me as an example. I was elected based on my person, my antecedent, and what I have promised to do for my people. But, if there are allegations of bribery, I pray it will be looked into.
Considering the security situation in the country, what does the APC-led Federal Government intend to campaign with ahead of the 2019 general elections?
We have pleaded with our people in the North East, North West, and North Central to give us time. Having being in power for a very short time, it will take time to turn around what PDP had destroyed. So, we are just turning things around to put the aircraft on the runway. We appeal to the people to allow us taxi appropriately. It takes time to navigate the problems APC met in this country. We just managed these three years to position the aircraft for take-off. We are only asking for time for us to now implement our policies for our people. APC has done a lot within these four years. We are not saying we are sleeping; we are only saying that even in the face of all these problems, we still managed to do certain things. But, if we are given second opportunity, we will do better.