Posted by News Express | 2 February 2020 | 2,621 times
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and governorship aspirant from Anambra South Senatorial District, Chief Ugochukwu Okeke, has described the zoning formula initiated by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state as a way of giving every zone a sense of belonging.
In this interview with Correspondent PAMELA EBOH, Okeke, who is fondly called ‘Enyioha’ by his followers, said that only a grassroots politician knows and feels the pulse of the people he is leading, hence the need for the electorate to always go for grassroots politicians. Excerpts:
Question: The zoning of the Anambra governorship position to the South is seen as an APGA arrangement. What is the position of your party PDP?
Ugochukwu “Enyioha” Okeke: Well, we all know that for the sake of equity and fairness, Anambra South should produce the next governor of the state. And the zone has capable sons and daughters with the leadership qualities needed to take the state to greater heights. Zoning arrangement is not even the exclusive preserve of APGA or any political party, rather it was a position adopted by elder statesmen, royal fathers and other leaders of thought in the state to ensure fairness and inclusiveness across the senatorial zones. The Central senatorial zone have been privileged to oversee the affairs of the state for about 11 years, North senatorial zone is on the verge of completing its eight years, while South senatorial zone only had four years. So, it’s obvious which zone is being shortchanged at the moment. I assure you the Anambra South caucus of our great party is working diligently to ensure that an aspirant from our zone becomes the candidate.
Many interested candidates from your senatorial zone are gearing up for the governorship contest. How do you hope to pull through the primary election of your party?
Party primaries are usually very dicey; but our great party has been a victim of its own excesses over the years as we witnessed serious fallouts after our primaries. I strongly believe that this time around, our great party PDP will hold a transparent primary election. In fact, as one of the very few aspirants who have never left the party in my entire political life and a true party man, I’m a strong advocate of televised and transparent primaries. I call on the party to adopt a process where the delegates list is published well ahead of our primaries and ensure it’s open and accessible to the public. Transparent primaries will ensure that our party is unified after the primaries and will come into the actual contest with a common goal, which is moving Anambra ahead by occupying Agu Awka seat of power.
The contest in Anambra South is said to be between Old Aguata Union and Nnewi political bloc. To them, Ihiala has taken its turn in Mbadinuju. What’s your take?
Well, there is also a school of thought that is of the opinion that Ihiala zone did not complete its term as Mbadinuju spent a single term. Having said that, this is a contest and will be determined by numerous dynamics and ultimately the delegates will have their say. The three blocs in Anambra South will collectively work together in this regard. We will equally consult extensively with the North and Central senatorial zones since they’re also key to the outcome of our quest to take over Agu Awka.
What do you think is the problem of governance in Anambra State?
Transparency and Accountability: The people must own their government, trust their government and understand how their taxes and revenue are being utilised. We must come down to the brass tacks and bring real dividends to the grassroots.
According to a recent court ruling, Ndubuisi Nwobu is no longer the chairman of PDP in Anambra State. As a true party man, can you give us the true position?
Well, speaking on this will be subjudice, but suffice to say that whatever the outcome of the court proceedings, as a party man, I am comfortable with whoever is confirmed by the courts. We will watch and see how it plays out but it won't affect my membership and commitment to PDP. Our party has been positioned to win the upcoming gubernatorial election. However, if the internal crisis is not delicately and properly managed, it could wreak some havoc. I would also use this opportunity to commend our party and its leadership in the state for the great job they have been doing. Irrespective of the outcome of the court proceedings, PDP has capable hands.
Many are clamouring for a real grassroots politician to become governor of Anambra State this time out. Do you agree?
A real grassroots politician connects effortlessly with his people and understands their challenges and pain. I am called Enyioha because I have this connection with the grassroots and I have always been a part of them irrespective of class, creed or zone; it is my time and, God willing, we will succeed in getting to Agu Awka, and we will reposition the state
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