Anambra Times | News at your doorstep..

R-L, Paul Nwosu, Editor-in-Chief Hon.Ben Nwankwo, Francis Nwosu Online Editor
Rt. Honourable Ben Nwankwo, Isingidi Akpu, Representing Orumba North and South federal constituency needs no introduction. He cut his teeth politically in his adolescence at St. Michael Nimo when he formed the Young Umueezeakpu Welfare Association. At Anambra State polytechnic Oko his union activism saw him become the President of National Association of Technical Students. On Completion of his National Youth Service in 1990 he joined PSP from where he moved on to the Social Democratic Party where he played a major role in the political campaign that brought Dr.Chukwuemeka Ezeife to office as the first elected Governor of Anambra State .
He was rewarded for his effort with an appointment as Personal assistant to Dr.Ezeife and thus commenced his meteoric ascent in Anambra State politics. From there he became the Special Assistant to the Governor on special duties. When Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju came on the saddle as Governor of Anambra State.  Hon  Nwankwo was appointed Commissioner for works and Transport. He was later moved to two key ministries of Finance and Budget, and later Housing and Urban Development.
He voluntary resigned to contest for the Federal House of Representatives in 2003.
Isingidi, a three term member of the Federal House of Representatives is one politician whom political godfathers made his journey to Abuja a torturous one. He won election three times and on two occasions the godfathers stopped him only for him to recover his mandates in court.
He says Governor Willie Obiano,s performance in office is one of the compelling reasons he dumped PDP for APGA. He says he proudly looks forward Obiano,s second term because the man will take us to the next level. He says the Governor is going to leave a standard his successors cannot afford to go below.
Anambra Times: Why do your people call you the messenger of Orumba?   
The Messenger: My people call me the Messenger because the work of a “Messenger” aptly describes the role of a legislator. You are a well paid massager who runs the errands of his people. You’re the one get who communicates and interact with the Federal Government vis-a-vis the needs of your people, their yeaning and aspirations, you feel their political and social pulses and then bringing back Federal Government’s interventions with regards to the social, political and economic demands of the people.
Anambra Times: Lets talk about your travails at the polls. Three times you won election and three times you were denied only for you to recover your mandate subsequently. What was the whole experience like?  
The Messenger: In one way, it helped to better defines my career, Anambra State is a state where you have to follow the will of the godfather hook, line and sinker, and people like us, with the level of our political understanding, with the level of our understanding of our role for your people, we have a choice to make between serving the imperial master and serving your people. And for me I choose to serve my people and not to do the will of godfathers and that brought me a faceoff with them at every pointing time. They would want me to be replaced with somebody in order to strip me of the political momentum that I have built within the communities I have represented. Orumba people are of a kind and I have been battling with these godfather to let Orumba be. We are entitled to self determination; it is our right to determine who leads us, who represent us. It should be an internal affair of Orumba  and each time they try to come in, I oppose them and the effect is that they try to show their muscles and when they do that, I take them through the rigorous process of the law and I had always won them and that is to the glory of God because Bible says that one with God is majority. Moreover I am guided by that philosophy in the Bible that: “if God says Yes, nobody can say No.” The godfathers have always said “No” but God had consistently said “Yes” I have sent them a massage as a result of all those fights. The central message is that if you are a political godfather in Anambra State, you should remember God the father, and when God the father is your godfather you are above every other godfathers because he that liveth above is above every other being.  
        
Anambra Times: Must of your political career has been on the platform of PDP. Just the other day you joined APGA. Why did you drop PDP for APGA? 
The Messenger: There are 2 reasons. PDP is the biggest beneficiary of democracy in Nigeria; and paradoxically also, the worst destroyer of democracy in the country. They took the people for granted; they don’t know that nothing goes for nothing. In Physics they said that action and reaction is equal and opposite, and also it’s said that, to whom much is given much is demanded. When people give you their mandate don’t take it for a granted. They played with the power God vested in their hands for 16 years and they bred all kinds of political monsters. They deviated tangentially; they skidded of the track and they were not guided by any ideological principle. For them anything goes, and it is a political party where godfatherism is the order of the day. I am not trying to destroy them because am no longer with them.
2. Politics is all about the people. Remove people from politics, it is empty. Our people need galvanization. Our people need consensus building. Our people needs to have a platform for them to begin to negotiate so many social, economic and political deficiencies and inadequacies. A platform has to be provided for all of us to come together and speak with one voice and I saw APGA as the platform for us in the South East to come together for the good of our people especially the younger ones who are growing up very fast. It is very unfortunate that I cannot proudly say that we are handing over to the younger ones a better and stronger Nigeria that is capable of demonstrating political superiority, economic distinction, social provisions within the contest of Africa and that to me is a disappointment. So in APGA I found a party that believes in the people and they are very pragmatic about that.
It is a party thinks well for the people of Southeast Nigeria most especially the heart of that Southeast which is Anambra State, I saw that party having a connect between itself and the welfare of the people and you know that the primary responsibility of every or any political system is to produce verifiable and impactful political dividends for the people. Having on impressed APGA, I felt I should reinforced that by joining my little effort, little strength with theirs so that we can all move toward one direction. Now we all can talk under APGA platform. We can now say hey! You people in Abuja, look at what we want in the Southeast and then if you need our support to be at the centre, we could then say we need A, B or C. It’s all about negotiation. So, I think I needed to avail our people my services, experience, my strength and my little social assets on the platform of APGA to make things a little much easier for our people.         
Anambra Times: For emphasis, do you think APGA is a platform through which the Igbo man (Southeast) can negotiate a space in the centre, and realize all this talk about Igbo presidency? 
The Messenger: Exactly what I have been talking about Politics is all about the strength of your voice. If you have a coral group in the church and they are singing from different directions in the church you can hardly hear their voice output. But when they are together and the microphones are amplifying their output it will be superb. What we need is a stronger Southeast, united, with consensus built on the platform of APGA, then we will move to Abuja. This will afford us greater benefits. Anybody or group desirous of the Southeast will say, let’s negotiate with APGA. Let’s talk to APGA because that is the our window to the Southeast. I don’t see PDP being an alternative because they don’t think about Southeast. See where they have taken the chairmanship of the party and no presidential candidate is going to emerge for Southeast. Then look at the APC. What I see that could happen in 2019 is that no one party will win it all. It might end up in like what we have in those days, the NPN – NPP accord Concordia and if we have a strong APGA we should be able to cash into that opportunity to make an inn road to the centre.
Anambra Times: What do you think about Willie Obiano’s performance in the last four year? How would you rate him?
The Messenger: Performance has no enemy and no one lights the candle like the Bible and keep it under the table. You don’t cover pregnancy, you can just pretend for few months but after four-five months no one needs to ask you weather you are pregnant or not. The performances of Obiano are all speaking for themselves. First and foremust I saw him as somebody who is diligently committed to the welfare of the people. When you converse with him, what I see is a man who doesn’t want his people to be unhappy and aggrieved and from that point of view it manifest from what he does in day to day bases. He is widely travelled, he is experiences as a finance person has also shown in the way he turns around projects in Anambra State - huge –huge projects without necessarily committing large recourses of the state, yet obtaining the same result that he will ordinarily get using the state fund. That is the edge he has above every other person. When you build physical infrastructure and you didn’t build human infrastructure it doesn’t work well, he has taken the welfare of the people as his primary responsibility. This manifests in prompt payment of salary. Physical governance of the state is second to none.
Anambra is a none oil producing state and the level of its financial stability speaks volume about his prudence viz-a-viz recklessness. Then with regards to project; every community received 20million naira for community development. It has nothing to do with what he is doing in urban centers, health, education, environment, ecology etc. this is just for all communities to be developing at the same time. And when I visited so many communities, you see so many infrastructures springing up, some water projects, community centers, health centers, etc. And the project management frame work for that money also reflects the character of the Governor and his ability to manage his resources and to manage the projects; That was what endeared him to me. If I will rate him, and I am saying this with every sense of responsibility, every sense of duty and modesty. I am not a praise singer. I am a critic going by my training. I have worked in public systems, I have been a consultant to governor’s forum. The first retreat of the governor’s forum in Nigeria when the Senate President, Saraki was the chairman. I was the consultant and I brought in so many people from outside Nigeria to help the state. I was involve in peer review mechanisms for all the states. So when I rate a governor, I beg to say it is with all sense of humility and discipline that I am doing so professionally, looking at what he has done so far and what he is doing with the people and what he intend to do, I rate him, if it is academics, I will say he is a first class material. I rate his performance as being first class and as far as I am concerned, he is leaving behind for us a standard we cannot afford to go below.
Anybody that cannot raise the bar is a disaster for Anambra State because Willie has made us realize that Anambra can have it all. When my friends talk about roads, I tell them that roads are so many I don’t even know which one to take. Then security, Anambra is being regarded as the most secure state in Nigeria and I have the privilege to listening to security briefings as a member of House of Representative with the security architecture and security condition in the country. What we have in Anambra State cannot be enjoyed in any state of the federation.  For instance, you don’t see any Police man in this compound. In those days I wouldn’t come here, relax and talk with you. I would have gone. You peep in and dash out. But today, people go around without security guards because every part of the state is secured. You see tranquility, you see social coherent, you see conviviality, you see community living well, you see happiness manifesting in the faces of the people. It is the discharge of the primary responsibility of governance abinitio which is security of life and property. Secondly, welfare. I think on this too, the young man has done Anambra proud and I am proud to have him as my Governor, I am proud to have him as the leader of my party. If he wasn’t performing, I wouldn’t have join his party because I hate to have a none performer but he is one person that Anambra State will rise and say they are proud of him. I look forward to his four years to come. It’s going to be a wonder experience in so many ramifications because the man will be taking us to the next level.                     
Anambra Times: The office of the Governor will rotate to Anambra South, where you come from when Obiano completes his tenure, are you going to run for the office of the governor come 2022? 
The Messenger: Is a one billion dollar question. But I can tell you outrightly that there are three things: 1. Governorship of Anambra state 2022 is going to be for the living, not for the dead. I do not by implication pray for death but it’s for those who will be alive because we are talking of four years plus from now. That is one point I want you to note. 2. Politics is very dynamic. Between now and 2022 there would have been so much issues, so much development and I will like to cancel the people of the south to look at the social, and economic profiles of the 7 local governments that made up the South Senatorial Zone and weigh the imbalances therein and think deeply on what they want to do with the opportunity that is coming to them. The third thing I will like to say then I give you my opinion is that what I have leant in this politics is that the issue of kingship is in the exclusive domain of God who giveth power and it is in tandem with the lesson in the Bible, right from the first king of Israel to the last king of Israel the choice belonged to God not to man. In democratic experience, these choices are transferred or delegated to voters to appropriate and if these voters ask for my little experience or to make use of me in order to improve the social and economic conditions from where the Governor will live it, I am not afraid of anybody but God. I am not going to talk about the governorship and myself until when the time comes because we have up to four years. What I want to do is to make myself available. People are talking about it but it’s a matter of experience. Some people will dance themselves lame before the main dance starts. It is like when you are doing a marathon race, they blow the whistle, you take off with the speed of 100 meters race. Before you know it, you’re going to get tired. You should allow people whose responsibilities are to appropriate the mandate to talk about you and bring the beam on you before you can come out. Don’t start it by yourself because politics is for the people and by the people, it is not by you, it is not for the godfathers and all that.            
Anambra Times: But our grapevine has it that already the major stakeholders in your constituency are asking you to come out.
The Messenger: Your intelligence report does not contradict with what I have said that if by the end of the day, I become the choice of our people, I am not afraid of fighting political battle and I will end it up by telling you something. You should not that Samuel in the Bible was a prophet before he was born. He was a child of negotiation between Hannah and God and eventually he became a prophet. Among his first assignment was to go and anoint a king in the house of Jessie. He said that his glory has departed from Soul and has gone to somebody in the house of Jessie. He then went to someone in the house of Jessie and even as a born prophet, he made a mistake by attempting to deep his hand in his pot to anoint the first son of Jessie as the king of Israel, but God roared and reminded him that he does not see the way man sees and when he asked Jessie if there is any other son of him left he said that there is one that is out there in the bush and Samuel said because the glory of God is up on him all will remain standing until he comes. And when he came, the bible said, they did obeisance and he anointed him the king over Israel and David became the most loved king by God. So the lesson here is that if from the forest, from the extremity of the interior where you have come to interview me, the mountain revolves like a hallow around my head and it is the will of God and the will of my people, I will not be afraid.         
Anambra Times: On a final note sir, given the trouble PDP and APC are going through, because their houses are in disarray. Do you think APGA stands a chance to make an inroads in all the contiguous state around Anambra and maybe Abuja in future? 
The Messenger: Yes sir. Political movements that I have read starts from somewhere. It is like a while fire, it starts little and begins to penetrate. The unfortunate thing in the Southeast is that our own level of republicanism is too high amidst lack of consensus building, amidst the growth of so many Iroko’s who are not ready to bow to one another. We should rather harvest these Iroko’s under one umbrella that is bigger than all the Iroko’s, and that is APGA. Unfortunately people are canvassing individual political interest; they are not looking at the children in thousands, hundreds of thousands at Alaba market who are thinking that by being Igbo, they are disadvantaged naturally. We are not thinking about the boys at main market Onitsha who feel that their business are being inhibited and all kinds of road blocks being introduced because of where they came from. We are not thinking about the boys at Ariara Aba market who are in hundreds of thousands etc, and the ones that are coming out from the universities, whose economic and social opportunities are contracting rather than expanding. If we reflect on all these, we should sheath our swords, come together as a people and widen our economic and socials pace for these young ones to come in and then begin to contribute to the productivity of the region and also to douse the various agitations manifesting in various forms – kidnapping, MASSOB, IPOB and the ones that will come up tomorrow which me and you do not know. So talk about self interest, let’s go with the voice that God has given to use, let’s go with the platform that is available that has the appeal. I can tell you that if we institutionalize APGA properly, it is capable of penetrating these political jurisdictions in Southeast and our massage will be very clear. We want to exist within the Nigerian system not as disadvantaged people, not as people who are disparage, not as people who are harassed, but people who will raise their head and chest, walk proudly on the road, beat their chest and say they are from Southeast, not getting boys who changed their names to Stanley Peters, because he is in Abuja and wants to get employment, he throws the name Okoro because if he go by that name, he is likely not be recruited either in Police or Army or in Navy. If he will be recruited at all, his background will be properly investigated and things like that. So I don’t think we need another Daniel to help us interpret the hand writing that is on the wall. We should use our tongue to count our teeth, A stitch in time saves nine.

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.