By Sunday Ani
Princess Nina Oluchi Mbakwe is born to His Royal Highness, late Eze G. A. Aguocha, a First Class monarch and the paramount ruler of Umuohuru, Nkwoegwu community, in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State. She is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC) and contested the recent primaries to represent the Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency, at the House of Representatives. In this interview, she spoke on various issues including her passion to serve the people of Abia State and Nigeria at large.
You are warming up to play an active part in the politics of your state and possibly nationally; what is driving your passion?
I’ve watched with dismay how politics in Nigeria had become an all comers affair…a bazaar where men and women gather periodically to trade on the welfare of the masses, with no empathy whatsoever, for those that supposedly elected them. In going into politics in my state, I’m motivated by the desire to institute the practice of politics with a human face…a brand of politics that puts the welfare of the masses first.
What are your reflections on the 2023 general elections; are you optimistic that the elections would go well?
I believe Nigerians would go out _en masse_ to vote for a new, peaceful and united country, given the challenges of recent memory. People want a new Nigeria where we are all safe and can pursue our dreams.
Your party, APC is perceived to have performed abysmally low in the country; do you think Nigerians would still listen to the party in 2023?
Perception is one thing, reality is another. My party, the APC has performed creditably in the life of the present administration given many adverse economic and social circumstances it met on ground. Our country is still a “work in progress” and no political party can claim to have all the answers. Nigerians will return the APC to power given the quality of candidates we are fielding at all levels, particularly at the center.
You have always been an advocate of politics without bitterness but many consider politics especially in this clime as a dirty game, do you think your philosophy is feasible in Nigeria?
Those who consider politics to be a dirty game shouldn’t be in politics in the first place. When we begin to see politics as the best way to serve the mass of the people utilizing the resources entrusted in our care as leaders, only then would we begin to see the need to engage in politics with a human face, a politics that serves the electorate rather than the reverse. I may be a lone voice in the wilderness at the moment in my advocacy, but so has it always been with most noble causes. It will sink in eventually.
Having virtually been in the United States all your life, what are your takeaways from their political system when you juxtapose it to what we have here in Nigeria?
Positive and beneficial politics has a lot to do with the culture operating in the environment in which it is played. In America, the primary objective of politics is service to the people, service with transparency and probity, politics with adequate regard for the governed. That’s my takeaway from the American politics. Service to the people.
PDP is in control of Abia; do you think APC will be able to upstage the ruling party in 2023?
We, in the APC, are confident of taking Abia in 2023. Today, Abia State is terribly distressed. PDP has been merely in office in Abia State these many wasted years idling away because it has been neither in government nor in power. The people of Abia are tired of the PDP and are disappointed, and will surely give the APC a chance to start a new Abia. It is long overdue.
What is your view on the failing roles of parents in the upbringing of children?
Parenting in the 21st Century comes with huge challenges everywhere. But more so in a developing country like Nigeria where resources are in short supply. Parents are pressed and stressed by the rigour of fending for their families, with little or no social safety net from the government at all levels to cushion the hardship associated with bringing up children in a weak economy.
How do you feel about the influence of the Social media on the society especially the younger generation?
Social Media, in my view, has been more of a blessing to our youth than a curse. Like all social phenomena that had come with great impact on society, the social media had its downside. But on balance, the social media has taken millions of youths off the streets and off crime, put knowledge in their heads and money in their pockets. Therefore, I’d say without equivocation that social media has been a good influence on the youth.
What is your advice to the womenfolk in today’s world?
My advice to fellow women wherever they may find themselves in the world today is simple; Be the woman your culture demands of you. Be the mother your family expects from you. Be the citizen your country expects from you. Be a responsible member of your community. And, above all, be a Godfearing woman and an asset to humanity.
I believe I have a lifelong stake in the fortunes of Nigeria as a sovereign nation. I want it to be well with Nigeria, my country. I want to see a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. And it is for this reason that I became interested in the politics of Nigeria and, in particular, in the quality of leadership that drives politics and governance in Nigeria.
In 2022, I ran for office to represent my good people of the Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency, at the Federal House of Reps, under the All Progressives Congress, (APC), our great party.
In pursuit of my objective to mount a strong advocacy for Politics With A Human Face in Nigeria, I come with an attitude, an attitude grounded in a clear ideology, the ideology of putting the human being first when it comes to leadership and public service.
At the risk of appearing immodest, and sounding my own trumpet, I dare say I have a track record of dependability, accountability, commitment, strong managerial skills and a positive disposition. Furthermore, I would bring excellent communication skills, work ethics, relationship building skills and business acumen to my political office. This mindset in leadership leaves no room for graft while in office and serving the people.
I have been commended for my ability to promote teamwork, organize and foster team-oriented approach to problem solving. I consider myself a creative thinker, a self-starter and a quick learner, with outstanding writing, multitasking, prioritizing, organizational and public speaking skills. My thorough understanding of people sets me apart from others.
I am confident that I would be a valuable asset to my state, Abia, and an addition to the growing number of new breed women in politics in Nigeria who want to see positive change. We are coming to make an impact, positive impact, with the type of politics which we are bringing to the table. For me, personally, it is a cause, a noble cause, to see to the institution of Politics With A Human Face in Nigerian politics.
I am married and blessed with five children.
My secondary education was at the Federal Government Girl’s College, Owerri. I later relocated to the United States of America where I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Sciences, from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. I went further to do a Master’s Degree programme in Cyber Security at the National University, San Diego, California.
I am a member of the Information System and Audit Control Association (ISACA), an international professional association that is focused on IT governance.
Though I’ve lived and worked in America all my adult life, I am well grounded in the culture of my place of birth. Hence, I am very much interested in the governance of Nigeria, my country of birth, particularly as it concerns my state, Abia, and my region, the South East.