Mr Azubuko Joel Udah, a lawyer and retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), is also a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

In this interview with NGOZI UWUJARE in Abuja, he speaks on President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to Imo State, the security challenges in parts of the South-East and the November 6 Governorship Election in Anambra State.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently paid an official visit to Imo State. How will you assess that visit, especially in the light of the peculiar circumstances in that part of the country?

His visit was very significant and good. It was a very good opportunity, and by the way, this is not the first time the president was visiting the South Eastern states. He was in Aba, I think that was two years ago during the campaigns in 2019 . And when he came to Aba , people lined up the streets and he drove his convoy and entered Eyinmba Stadium and was well received.

So what happened in Imo is a confirmation of the support he received in Aba. Despite the ill-feelings that some people were having, he came and was well received. Even though because of fear by the people that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) members might attack them, most people didn’t come out.

But everything went very well. And it was an opportunity for the creme de la creme of the South East, those that matter, not only the Ohanaeze led by Chief Obiozor but the ex military top brass, to interact with the president. They were all there and they interacted with Mr President. Ohanaeze Ndigbo also made a presentation. It was a very successful visit. And he came to Imo State not only to dialogue with the leaders but also to commission projects that had been executed by the governor there, Senator Hope Uzondima. So it was a good development.

The Anambra governorship election will come up on November 6. What advice do you have for the people of the state?

To me, this is my opinion, Anambra State, though I am not from there, has been very fortunate in having good governors that have maintained the enviable trajectory of progress and successes in governance. We have had somebody like Dr Chris Ngige , who was there and conquered the myth of godfatherism. And since then, Anambra has been blessed. They have had Peter Obi, and now, Chief Willie Obiano, and all of them are making great imprints.

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I know that Anambra people would continue in that progressive direction and will vote for somebody that will continue in that trajectory. They have good candidates, not only in our party, the APC, but even in other parties and so it is going to be a hell of a fight. We just pray that there should be a free and fair election such as we have seen in Edo and Ondo States in the recent past.

What advice do you have for the people?

My advice to the people is that now that the electioneering campaigns have started, they should avoid all elements of violence. It is not a do-or-die affair. They have seen what happened in Germany. They had their election and nobody was hurt. And that is how it should be. They should know that the most important thing is to produce somebody that will produce good governance as governor. After all, people that are seeking the position of governor there, they should have in their minds the welfare and security of the people. We are in very trying times now, and we should have patriotic people at the helms of affairs and not self-aggrandising persons.

As a retired Police DIG, how will you counsel the security agencies covering the Anambra election?

My advice will not only go to the security agencies like the military and the police, DSS and the rest. My advice will first of all go to the government – the Federal Government and State Government.  They are all security stakeholders for the election. If anybody wants to be governor, he should make sure that he supports the security agencies to do their job.

Like the police that I came from and the other security agencies should be empowered. They should be given special allowances for the special duty they are to perform. They should be given all the necessary equipment and logistics to do their jobs and not put them in a situation where they could easily be compromised. And once the security agencies are doing their jobs, I don’t think anybody will have any fear.

So the Federal Government, state and local governments should come together to support the security agencies.

Then, coming to the police and the military, they have been doing well in the past, so why would they not do well in the Anambra election? They did well in Edo and Ondo during the governorship elections last year. So they will do very well in Anambra election next month.