The Sun News

Anambra 2017: PDP set for comeback, says Emeka, aspirant

Prince John Emeka, former minister of  state for transportation and scion of a political beacon, late Igwe John Emeka of Anam  is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)  for the  November 18 poll.

How ready are you for this mission, because you have been categorized elitist, who is not really on ground.

I am surprised at the erroneous categorization, because I came into politics from a rich political background. I was privileged to be introduced into grassroots politics by my late father who was a great politician of note in this country. I cut my political teeth at the grassroots level contesting and winning in the 2002 PDP election for local government chairman. I also successfully ran for the senatorial election on the platform of the PDP in 2006. You can see I have not been disconnected from the people, my people know me and I know my people.

This is part of the reason why I am throwing my hat into the ring in this governorship race.

What new thing would you bring up to sway the electorate in your favour, assuming you get the nod of the PDP?

I salute past and present governors for their services to the state. A lot of work has been done by the past Governors from 1999 and vision laid in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Example was the ANIDS under ex-Gov Peter Obi. I don’t think these visions have been sustained in the past three years. I believe our economic growth would be guaranteed when we remain consistent and committed to well thought out and agreed policies, programmes and projects.  We, therefore, need a governor who understands this simple strategy, who will not deviate while grappling with future challenges; a governor who understands that government is a continuum but where the end result differs, a manager of our scarce resources, a listening ear, defender of our core social values and a Governor in touch with the people.

Considering that you are from a political dynasty with rich achieving background, it’s disappointing that not much has been attracted or done for the senatorial zone.

Anambra North has undergone tremendous changes in the past 18 years. Infrastructures like roads were built by both the state and federal governments. At individual level, as a minister I was instrumental to the bringing of the federal road from Anam to Kogi State -the shortest route from Anambra to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). And the work that was done on the River port was another. All these were done to boost the economy of the state and her citizens. More needs to be done in order to harness the large economic potentials of our state and make life easier for the common man.

It’s surely not going to be a tea party this time, as more political parties-APGA, APC, UPP, PDP, PPA and the MPPP have gained a lot of political weight and sagacity in Anambra, especially for the coming Nov 18 guber poll. Do you think you have what it takes to beat them?

Yes, it will be a tight race but I believe it’s a straight fight between APGA and PDP, given the peace in the PDP today where all previous factions have agreed to work as one. I believe I have all it takes to sustain the unity in the party and take it to victory, being a loyal party member and my experience as an entrepreneur, politician and having served as a minister.

Many had suggested zoning is imperative for equity and fairness in the state polity. What do you think, especially when it has not been formally discussed?

The disquiet in the country presently is as a result of agitations by different ethnic groups, which is a fallout of bad governance and marginalization. People want to have a sense of belonging and equal access to opportunities. I believe this informed the wisdom of the elders to introduce the concept of zoning.

Zoning as a matter of fact is enshrined in the PDP constitution because PDP as a party believes in justice and equity. Though not formally discussed in the state but our people are accepting it having overwhelmingly voted for an Anambra North candidate in the last gubernatorial election in 2013; and I believe this has come to stay. If elected governor, I will absolutely respect the zoning policy and have it formalised if need be.

PDP has faced a steady dwindling fortunes, considering that the party lost the state, lost the Federal and is now tottering behind APC for a come-back which no one is sure Nigerians and Anambra citizens are ready for.

That is the beauty of democracy. When you are not delivering on good governance, the people have the right to change you by voting you out. I believe in one-man-one-vote and I believe in the power of the people. In Anambra State, the November 18, 2017 is for the people to decide and choose a leader who will run an all-inclusive government, where no one and no voice is shut out. A governor that can prudently manage our scarce resources, invest in the future of our state and provide the comfort we need now. This is the governor I will be. No doubt, the PDP has learnt her lessons.

Insecurity was the bane of the state, until Obiano tamed the monster; the Airport project; Refinery; Agric revolution; Restoration of Peace in the state; multiple MoUs; Market development, return of the International donor agencies, etc. Why do you think he deserves to be replaced at this time?

The people are the judge and jury. It is left for the people to decide if our schools are better now than they were 4 years ago. Or whether they are now better secured. Just this morning (Sunday August 6) dozens of villagers were sent to their early graves in Ozubulu where they had gone for a 5am church service, in their own village. May their souls rest in peace. In Law, there is a popular maxim -”the fact speaks for itself”.

So it’s for our people to decide if our students are still among the top three in WAEC, GCE and JAMB overall performance rating. It is for them to decide if jobs have been created and provided for the people. It is for the people to decide if our projects are properly priced and our scarce resources has been properly managed. It is left for the people to decide if there are concrete and visible foreign investment on the ground impacting on their socioeconomic well-being or if multiple MoUs like you pointed out are sufficient to meet their hopes. I believe we need a leader that will be radical in tackling development issue. We need development now.

Besides zoning, Anambra North had been serially accused of political weakness despite commanding the numerical strength that usually makes the difference. Are you ready to make the difference?

I disagree with the assertion. Anambra North has produced great leaders not just for Anambra State but also for Ndigbo and Nigeria, like the great Zik, Ajie Ukpabi Asika, Rt. Hon. Chuba Okadigbo and my late father, Igwe John Emeka. These were great leaders and that makes us the heirs of great political heritage thus setting a bench mark for us. What makes us different is that the people of Anambra North have long supported others in political affairs. That’s why we have supported other zones to produce Governors of the State. I believe also that it’s the realization of this fact that persuaded the elders to decide to zone office to Anambra North not out of weakness but to ensure justice, fairness and equity.

Will I deviate from the principle of Anambra North fathers, the answer is no, I will continue in their linage.

Assuming you get elected, what would be your first 100-days priority?

I will be coming into office prepared and ready to serve, as such I will hit the ground running from first day by restoring orderliness in the business of government.

I will create a highly motivated civil service structure to prime the government for work towards achieving greatness by implementing my agenda.

What would you like to be remembered for, as governor of Anambra State?

Our people have become cynical about politics and political leaders. They have lost hope in the ability of the elected leaders to meet with their expectation of a government. I want to be remembered as the Governor who gave back hope to the people and a sense of pride to the future generation.

Everyone and segment of government (councils, states and the Federal) today lament paucity of funds and lean resources. What do you intend to do to pull funds in for development that the electorate yearn for?

Anambra need a governor who will be a prudent manager of our scarce resources and not one who will waste them on frivolities. We will improve the internally generated revenue (IGR) without overburdening the people with taxation. We can achieve IGR with a friendly tax system. We will close all leakages and wastage in government.

Anambra needs to be made an investor friendly state by being an accountable government and providing basic infrastructure. In being openly accountable, you will attract development partners, who have the funds to invest both in infrastructure and industry which will drive growth and development in the State.

Everyone and segment of government (councils, states and the Federal) today lament paucity of funds and lean resources. What do you intend to do to pull funds in for development that the electorate yearn for?

Anambra need a governor who will be a prudent manager of our scarce resources and not one who will waste them on frivolities. We will improve the internally generated revenue (IGR) without overburdening the people with taxation. We can achieve IGR with a friendly tax system. We will close all leakages and wastage in government.

Anambra needs to be made an investor friendly state by being an accountable government and providing basic infrastructure. In being openly accountable, you will attract development partners, who have the funds to invest both in infrastructure and industry which will drive growth and development in the State.

Who really is Prince John Emeka.

I am a peace loving, devoted husband and father, a Christian and a Catholic with a listening ear to the people and a believer of our core social values.

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