Raphael Ede, Enugu
Mrs. Nnenna Anozie was the governorship candidate of Fresh Party in the March 9 poll in Enugu State. She speaks on her journey into politics, experiences and the need to move away from the present electoral system which she said does not provide for accountability.
What motivated you to go into politics?
Actually, I was motivated after seeing the pains and the sufferings of my people. I always tell people that I am a rural person, sometimes you will see things on the face value, it looks good but when you come inside, you will know that it is not the way it appears. You will see people in the city happy just like every other person but when you go to these rural areas they are the ones that suffer a lot; they are underdeveloped, their hospitals, their schools, their roads and so many things that are not fine with them. So, when I joined politics; I told myself I am joining not because I want to make money but because I want to see how I can better the lives of those people especially those in the rural areas and then the urban dwellers. I relate with youths a lot and can see quite a number of them suffering from unemployment. It is a major issue in the state and such things motivated. I have also looked around and see a lot of things not just going on well that I feel that coming into politics not being outside criticising the government will afford me an opportunity to serve my people and make Enugu State better.
You contested the last governorship election in Enugu State on a relatively unknown party and lost. Did you actually think you were going to win?
First, I chose Fresh Party because it is a party that believes in people to bring out what they have. The party believes in gender equality and that is why they did not allow the men to intimidate me during the primaries. I was nominated unopposed and it’s a party that genuinely has people’s interest; at least so far, I have seen it as one of the best of the parties. Our National Chairman who also contested the presidential election, Rev. Chris Okotie is a man of good record and it was one of the things that made me choose that party to champion my political aspiration. Coming to the election, I thank God for the way it went, though the postponement affected us. What transpired in the presidential election affected us because we experienced a lot of voter apathy on the 9th of March. Many people didn’t come out; they felt that their votes will not count. They related the experience they had during the presidential and National Assembly elections. We interviewed some of them, they said no need, ‘we voted massively during the presidential election and nothing came out of it.’ Some of them said that they were scared because of the militarisation and presence of thugs but I thank God it was a big experience, though some of my party agents were intimidated; in fact, I had to call one of the Police stations when they called me that one of my agents who tried to video some irregularities being perpetuated by the party in power was almost being lynched. But I thank God; it’s part of it and we have gained the experience. You said we lost; I didn’t believe we lost. I believe that I have gained all that I needed to gain; I have gained the experience, I have gained the popularity, I have gained structure, I have gotten a lot of followers, people who believe in me. If you will like to know, anywhere you call Fresh Mama now; it’s now a name to reckon with in Enugu State. Fresh Party like you said is relatively unknown but by the grace of God, my coming into that party and vying for the governorship really gave that party popularity in the state, that when you say Fresh Party they will remember one Anozie Nnenna that contested governorship in that party. So, it is not a wasted effort and I am not regretting anything. I didn’t lose, I gained friendship, I gained contact, I gained love, I gained followership and I am trusting God that in our next outing, we will do better and surely win.
How would you assess the 2019 elections generally?
I have always told people that we need to change our electoral process starting from the process of registration, the process of getting your Permanent Voters Card (PVC). So many of my followers told me that when they went to collect their PVC, they were told they could not find them; in fact, one of them threatened to sue INEC. She did not vote with her husband because INEC could not find their PVCs. This election starting from its process had taught us the need to review our system from the registration to collection of PVC to the electoral process proper-the voting pattern and to the ballot paper printing. I was told that one of the candidates was even in the company or was the one that printed the ballot papers and they were alleging that the person must have been biased.
Will you say the elections were free, fair and credible?
I cannot describe the election as free, fair and credible. There were a lot of irregularities that I had never seen or witnessed in our electoral system since I was born. We have learnt what we need to learn and we are coming back better and stronger. We have a winner already; that is Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. I am wishing him the best. All we want in Enugu is a state we can boast of and be proud of. If he did not get it 100 per cent right in his first term; I am trusting God that now he has been handed another opportunity, he should get it better this time around so that whenever we look back and remember Gburugburu, we say thank God we had a governor that was called Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Gburugburu); that he did this and he did that. All that we want is good governance. I congratulate him and want him to make us proud in this last lap of his administration. I pray that God will help him move the state forward to be able to compete with other states and even be better than every other states in Nigeria.