Magnus Eze, Enugu
Member representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Toby Okechukwu, has asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop daydreaming of winning elective seats in the coming polls in the state.
How prepared is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the general election?
PDP in Enugu State is a going concern and things have been made a lot easier by the disposition of the governor; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to entrench peace, very accommodating and extension of hand of fellowship to everybody. This is one governor who has been governor to everybody; governor for all the parties, in spite of the fact that we have inter-party issues, you can observe that he is a man for all the people. We never had it so good. But traditionally, you discover that Enugu State is home of PDP-from the governor to the executive council, down to the legislature; the council chairmen, the councilors to the Development Centres; they are all PDP. So, when the entire structures are occupied by one party; I don’t know what else to say; we are good to go. But most importantly; it has always been so from 1999 and when you have a governor who has the kind of momentum Ugwuanyi brings to bear and the various achievements; I don’t know what else to say. We’re fit for purpose and we’re ready for the election. Moreover, if you look at PDP; those who have been in PDP and remained in the PDP in the state; like former Governor Okwesilieze Nwodo; he’s been National Chairman of the party; National Secretary of the party. You can also appreciate the fact that Ikeoha Ndigbo (Ike Ekweremadu) has been three-time Deputy Senate President; recognised here at home and at national level. If he doesn’t have the social and leadership skills; he can’t be elected three times. So, he has the stability of character and content to lead his people and also lead at the national level. Then, you also go to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani; he’s tried it in other places but he’s always feels comfortable with the PDP. He has come back home and is running for the senate. Also, appreciate the fact that just recently, the governor of Old Anambra State; Chief Jim Nwobodo came back to the PDP. They’ve married two wives and they know the difference and also the taste of the pudding. All these people who for one interest or another, left PDP a week to the primaries will always have biases or remorse; but believe me, they will always come back to the PDP one or two months after the elections.
Are you not seeing the rejuvenated APC as a threat in the state?
If there is any other party in the state; including the APC, it could have been self-evident. If you go round, you see that they are not campaigning, they don’t have the manpower; they can’t get people together. What you see is people moving to ceremonies like the Ofala festivals, especially during the Christmas or get to already-made situations like the markets and they tell you that they’re on ground. They don’t have the structure and manpower; otherwise let them say the campaign events that they’ve held. So, the PDP is not threatened at all. PDP in Enugu is a properly run party, made more efficient by the presence of the governor and the peace he brought. I will tell you that there was much more threat in 2015 from other quarters than now because we had some intra-party issues but now we’re completely on the same page and that’s why we have our bigwigs that are coming back. Check the other side; it’s simply empty. We have the levers of government; of peace and of loyalty of our people. Somebody will go and take pictures; if he wants to be published, he visits Toby or Ekweremadu. You may have been a journalist interviewing big people; getting some little exposure; but what we are used to is interviewing our people here. We’re at home with them. I remember my friend Vin Martin Ilo, who is running for the same position; who met a woman in Nenwe market who asked him whether he was Toby Okechukwu and he said no. Eventually, the woman complimented him for what I had done thinking that it was me. And he was presupposing that I don’t meet my people. Properly read; I represent 450,000 people; my preference is that they know me for the good work that I am doing and that was why the woman asked whether I was the one that was there. So, we reach out to our people. If you met one person; what about the 449,999 others? What we are bringing to the table is that we are giving account of our representation; the quality of it and you can judge us by our records. There isn’t any Local Government that the governor has not intervened; there isn’t any Local Government that our representation has not affected; including my own. All the Local Government Areas, I threat them with equal attention.