Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Senator Nkechi Nwogu was a member of the House of Representatives for Isiala Ngwa North/South Federal Constituency and a two-term senator that represented Abia Central at the Red Chambers.
Presently, she is the chairman, Governing Council of the University of Calabar.
In this interview, she spoke about the next president coming from the Southeast, among other issues. Excerpts:
This is the first time University of Calabar is having a female Vice Chancellor and being the Chairman of the Governing Council, people ascribed this feat to you. How you feel being a history maker?
Well, I wouldn’t arrogate to myself as a history maker, I would say that God has always been with me; He has always led me to take right, good and acceptable decisions which one of them was this appointment of the first female Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, 45 years after the university was established. So, I will not arrogate what
happened on September 10 as Senator Nkechi Nwogu’s prowess, no, I would rather say that it does appear God has been using me as a tool to make history; I’m an instrument in the hands of God, that’s how I will put it.
With this feat, would you say the gender sensitivity campaign is gaining momentum?
I believe in gender, but at the same time, a woman is not given anything simply because she is a woman. Any person’s suitability preposition, whether the person is a man or a woman should be a guide to what he or she is given. My grouse is that the system in Nigeria and most places in the world has always failed to recognize women when it comes to positions of decision taking; they want to consider women under supportive role which I said no. Women should be valued,
recognised and appreciated. If it comes in the case of interview or in politics, they should look at the woman’s antecedents and the experiences. You don’t pull any woman down singularly because she is a woman.
Does it pain you that 60 years down the line as a nation, Nigeria in the real sense of it has not had a woman governor?
Nigeria is now 60, it is shameful and extremely embracing that 60 years after, the political systems in Nigeria have never deemed it right to make conscious effort to bring a woman on board as a governor of a state. We have had chequered governance in the 36 states of the nation, although some governors have down well, but isn’t about time we had a proper means of assessing true performance of every governor after four years. What I mean by this is if in every four years we
have about four women governing states, what is in the governance of a state? It’s purely administration, putting down somebody’s garnered experience over the years and I believe that there are many of us who are well equipped or who have been well experienced over the years to be given an opportunity, but when the opportunity is not there, nobody
will know what the women can bring on board. Then you have this kind of ego riding in peoples’ eyes over women and it is very sad.
When you talk about women governing states, is your state, Abia ripped to be governed by a woman?
Abia is over ripped to be governed by a woman and I believe not only Abia, many others states that have done well, it doesn’t have to be states that have not done well. Many states are over ripped to be governed by women. I think that in view of what has been happening nationwide, it is about time decision makers allowed women to be governors of some states.
In Igbo land, culturally, it is seen as an abomination for a man to be under the control of a woman. Don’t you think this to a reasonable extent may make it impossible for a woman to emerge governor of a state where she is expected to superintendent over the affairs of men?
God forbid! Simply because a woman is giving better, quality administration to managing a state resource, it does not render that state or action an abomination; please I would want you to withdraw that word. Those of us that have been, even at the level as the chairman of the Governing Council of University of Calabar and many other universities, am I not at the helm of the affairs of the university, am I not a woman? Having been in the House of Representatives for four years, been in the Senate for eight years, I chaired committees on Insurance, Banking, Finance and other financial
institutions, a committee that is rated a grade ‘A’ Committee and it was like 95 per cent men, men of timbre and calibre. That did not render that committee inferior. It is on record that as chairman of the committee on banking, I had a landmark law which formed into an agency and that is AMCON. It is on record today that God has used me to bring on board at the
University of Calabar, a woman who is highly scholarly, not just because she a woman, but because she is a round peg in a round hole. A woman that has an excellent pedigree that eventually emerged as the Vice Chancellor out of 13 candidates. So, I believe it’s that ego of our husbands, our fathers, our brothers that is making them afraid.
The present administration has done well; at least, some many key Ministries are manned by women and they are not found wanton, so, why not allow or encourage women to manage some states?
If your party, APC gives you her flag in 2023, would accept it?
Actually, we in APC want to make a change in Abia. I am in APC now and I’m proud of that. If I am deemed fit to fly the flag of the party in 2023, I will gladly accept the offer because it’s all about service to the people.
There was this thinking that APC would win Abia in 2019, but that did not happen, are we not going to see a repeat occurrence in 2023?
It will not, every four years has a different expectation; there are things that shape the political landscape every four years, either it is the turn of our people or something else. That’s the type of political development we have in Africa and Nigeria is not an exception. In 2019, in our party, there was a lot of sabotage, I was a victim, I was sabotaged, I was betrayed, but I don’t want to continue reminiscing over the past. Definitely, APC will win the 2023 election in Abia.
Some people are clamouring for the presidency to come to the Southeast in 2023, are you in support of that?
I do want the presidency to come to the Southeast of Nigeria in 2023 because we deserve to. I believe that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. I believe it was about time to deliberately give us an opportunity to produce the next president, not necessarily it is our turn; the next presidential slot ought to come from Southeast. It is my thinking that others have had their shot and they have used that opportunity to develop their areas and I believe that we should be
given that opportunity so that we can also benefit from a united Nigeria. The Southeast should produce the next president so that we do not feel alienated, it will help to bring the integration Nigeria ought to be preaching because I believe in one Nigeria and it is when people are treated equally they will start to believe they are part of a system.