Okwe Obi, Abuja The Aso Rock Presidential Villa is to gulp a whopping sum of N4.9 billion to ensure the effective maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment for 2018, if it gets the nod of the National Assembly. According to the proposed budget for the year, the amount which is higher than N4 billion voted…
By Chinelo Obogo
Bufo Nwike, a Dublin, Ireland based medical practitioner, hails from Ogbunike, Oyi Local Government of Anambra State. He is the younger brother of the former Deputy Governor in Anambra State, Chief Chuddy Nwike under the administration of Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife as governor. Nwike, who later became the National Vice Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), was abducted by kidnappers who eventually killed him after a ransom was paid.
Younger Nwike speaks about his aspiration to govern Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Three year ago, you abandoned your governorship aspiration half way and fled the country. What happened?
Yes. I nursed the ambition to contest for governor but what happened that led to my fleeing the country is still in the public domain. My brother, Chuddy Nwike, who was the deputy Governor to former Governor Ezeife in the administration of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), was kidnapped and later killed by his abductors after a ransom had been paid. It was devastating to me in particular and my immediate family. For a whole year, I was not able to establish conversation with anybody. I was most of the time absent minded. I would just be staring at the space oblivious of things around me. It took God’s grace, prayers from friends and support from the family that brought me back to life.
The tension and the insecurity occasioned by the event compelled me to abandon my aspiration and flee abroad. I moved to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland with my family to continue my medical practice.
Remember I practice medicine both at home and abroad. So, even with my sojourn abroad, I am always in contact with my good people who are yearning to see me contest to serve them as governor.
How would you assess your chance of clinching the party’s ticket?
Without sounding immodest, I can tell you that my chances of being the party’s choice are very bright. I believe the leadership of our great party would look at the programmes the aspirants would present to the people. It is about programmes and not about personality. I am not rich in terms of liquid cash but I am rich in ideas. I am a civil servant and my source of income can be verified. It is the people that would assess us and ask questions about how some people came about their sudden wealth. People would ask them about their investments both at home and abroad and if they are using their money to create jobs at home. If our money they stashed away is brought back, it is capable of bailing this country out of recession. We are in the race to market ourselves for the people to assess. But I can tell you without sense of contradiction that I am eminently qualified to govern Anambra State as I have all what it take to do so.
You think APC can defeat APGA in Anambra?
People are disenchanted with false claims of achievements. They want concrete achievement and not noise without action. It is our programmes against theirs. This is the time to separate the substance from the chaff. People will, on their own make the assessment and then judge. APC has come to deal with the rot which is a carryover from the military era. It is not easy. President Buhari is doing his best with what he met on ground and his vice Osinbajo is also toeing his path. And with the credit rating of the rating agencies, we are confident that Nigeria, under Buhari is on the right track. Our economy is in save hands. We have to swallow the bitter pills to get it right. So, with the right candidate, APC will beat APGA in Anambra hands down.
Can we then have an insight into your programmes for the people?
To start with, our slogan will be; New say, new voice, new ideas. We will do away with the old ideas that had failed to move the State forward and replace them with new ideas that will ensure growth, progress and massive development of the State. I admit that paucity of fund can hinder performance, but the government under my leadership will engage in Private Public Partnership (PPP) to make funds available. We will involve the communities in our day- to-day activities. Their full involvement and participation in government would rekindle their trust in my leadership and thus have sense of belonging. This will surely enhance commitment, dedication and patriotism on the side of the people.
We will not behave as an all-knowing government that would choose projects and execute them for the people without their inputs. People will identify their needs and the government will implement their need for them.
We will make education very compulsory and free up to the Junior Secondary School (JSS) as it obtains in many countries in Europe. We will also emphasise vocational/technical studies which is the education of the heads and the hands or call it Perpendicular education.
Health will be another priority because healthy people are wealthy people. Other areas of infrastructure like roads, security would be improved upon. We will restructure and reorganise things with emphasis on efficiency and functionality. And by so doing, we will be creating jobs indirectly. We will also emphasise community policing by reorganising community vigilante groups. Everybody knows everybody in the community including the criminal elements. Our policy will be; to show the light and the people will find their ways.
What is your take on the Biafra agitation?
Inequality in the polity caused the renewed agitation for the state of Biafra. The agitation could not have arisen if the recommendations of the 2014 National Confab have been implemented. The recommendations were meant to address the inequality in the polity and the agitations would have died down. True fiscal federalism as recommended by the confab delegates is the only panacea to the clamour for the State of Biafra. I recommend negotiation and dialogue. Politics/governance is about negotiation and compromise-give and take. Zik, Awo and Sadauna practised politics of compromise. You don’t send people away. Listen to their cries to see what could be done to assuage their feelings. And that is why I love and recommend the speech of the Ohanaeze leader, Chief John Nwodo, to all Nigerians to read. I agree with the speech he passed across to other zones as message of wisdom, truth and hope.