A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC) and Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Dr George Moghalu in this interview speaks on various national issues and also his ambition to be the next governor of Anambra State.
Anambra is seen as a tough state with regards to governorship elections; so, looking at other candidates, how prepared are you to get that position on November 6?
The truth is that every election has two stages – the primary stage and secondary stage. The secondary is the main election. However, everyone is entitled to aspire to be the governor if the person is qualified. So, I don’t see Anambra as tough but I see it as a state that has everything, all the potentials both human and material resources in abundance. Therefore, anybody looking for that position, seeking to be the leader, servant leader of the people, must be such a person who has the capacity to harness these potentials for the benefits of the state. Anambra is like any other state, that’s the truth but it’s a state that has thrown up great names. Therefore, it places the state at a point where whoever desires to be the governor should be able to have the capacity to drive that state so the potentials that abound in the state, all will now, manifest. So to me, it is not tough. And if it is a fault, I have it. I dont look at challenges. As a matter of personal principle, I don’t look at challenges as obstacles, I see them as stepping stones to actualising my set ambition because, I always keep my eyes on the ball. It is very fundamental for me to keep my eyes on the ball.
On the preparation, I believe very strongly, like I keep telling people that power belongs to God and he gives to who he pleases at his own time. What we do is to offer ourselves for God to use us. Now, physically, spiritually, experientially, academically and in every facet of life, I am prepared; most importantly, spiritually. I am personally convinced that I have what it takes to change the narrative. Because one of the major fundamentals, the challenge today in Anambra is that people have lost confidence in their government. So, anything you are doing without bridging that gap between the governed and the government, then, you will continue to have a problem. So, I’m very well prepared for the job if it pleases the people that I serve them at that level.
How about the perception that APC is not well accepted in the state?
You see, that’s actually a very wrong perception. It may interest you to know that in the last election in Anambra State, APC came second over and above PDP, and it wasn’t a fluke; it wasn’t magic. So when people say that APC is not on ground, or APC is not popular in Anambra, it comes to me as a surprise. Because, there is actually no truth in it when you take the reality on ground. Otherwise, how can we come second over a party that has ruled the state for more than two times?
Now, if you now place the candidate that is acceptable to the people, add it to the current narrative of what APC government has done in the South East, particularly in Anambra. If you put all together, I’m sure, the election is ours to win. Because, you have to place it side by side with the performance of the government, place it side by side with the expectations of the people and when you do that, you can do your calculations and will be able to arrive at acceptable results. So, we are very much on ground.
What are the processes that will guarantee free and fair APC primary?
We have mouthed that. The aspirants have spoken, the vice president has spoken. The president like you and I know, has zero tolerance for corruption, or unnecessary abuse. The party leadership as presently constituted has come out to say that they would not disappoint and I believe very strongly that they are conscious of the mantra that to whom much is given, much is also expected. I have been in party administration for quite a while, so, if you want to achieve party unity after election which is usually the cause of failures, the best way to do it is by providing a level playing ground for all aspirants, conduct free, fair and credible primaries so that whoever wins will know he won fairly and whoever loses knows he lost fairly. But the moment he/she feels cheated, the tendency, the likelihood of working against the party to prove a point, will be there. So, the only way to avoid all this is by credible, free, fair primaries and at the end of the day, even if you failed, you can be comfortable enough to pick your phone and congratulate the winner and offer to work for the party because this time around, the party is the one you are working for and it’s not about who is having the ticket because the party has proven to you that you are one of them because they did what is right.
What method is your party adopting for the primary?
As of now, I cannot speak for the party because, I’m not in the leadership position of the party but our party’s constitution provides for direct and indirect election and even, consensus. They are all provided for in the constitution. As of now, the party has not come out to announce which method it will adopt for the primary election.
How do you ensure that you emerge the flag bearer of your party?
That’s what we are doing by reaching out to all card carrying members of the party. I believe in the course of reaching out to all card carrying members; we are also reaching out to the delegates because the delegates themselves are also card carrying members depending whether they are going to use the entire officers of the party as delegates or whether the delegates are going to be selected members of the party and things like that. For now, what we are doing is reaching every member of the party. So for me, it is important and critical because if you reach every member of the party, you get them to be part of what you are doing because after the primary, you go for general election; you need foot soldiers, you need those who can sing your song, those who can sell your agenda, those who can sell your message and those who can sell the party. So by the time you convince the party members as presently constituted, the people will go to the streets asking for support for the party because no individual name is on the ballot as we speak. The ballot has provisions only for political parties.
Why are you contesting to be the governor of Anambra? What are you bringing to the table?
First of all, I’m bringing experience, I’m bringing knowledge, and I’m bringing commitment. Like I said in the course of this discussion, the biggest challenge I found in government today in Anambra is that there is a major gap between the people and the government. The people have lost confidence in their government. They feel betrayed, disappointed and shortchanged. So what we need to do now is to change the narrative, to get them to buy into the government because, the moment you win back their confidence, 70 to 80 percent of your problems are solved. Nigerians, particularly, Anambrarians are willing to be led. What an average Anambra man demands from the government is to provide enabling environment and they will thrive.
For example, in terms of Community service, I don’t think there’s any state like Anambra because issue of town union is strongest in the state. What government needs to do is to do the one the government is supposed to do. For example, a government that is well organised can get all what it wants from the markets. But you have to build a good market. You have to provide them with needed facilities at the market. Good roods, fire service, warehouses, parks, and what have you. By the time you do this, you will now have the moral standing to say this store, you will pay ten naira and people will pay without even you demanding for them because, you have done your bit. It is incumbent on them now to do their bit. But they cannot do that because there is no confidence. There is lack of trust because, they have been failed in the past. Government is not only about building infrastructure. While I agree that it is important to develop infrastructure because it helps in building the economy, but it is not only about it. It is about human capital development also, it’s about re-orientating our youths, telling them to change, to come to the reality, for example, I am one of those who believe that our educational curricular need to be rejigged completely.
What is your position on zoning in Anambra state?
The truth about it is that there is no constitutional demand or provision that says we must zone positions in Anambra. But from what is happening, and looking at it from the point of justice, equity and fairness, leaders have met at various levels, and said, if we must do it, let us do it right. But this time around, it favours Anambra South to produce the governor. That is not to say that there was a meeting called and every one met and agreed that we are adopting zoning. But let the truth be told that in practical terms, there’s zoning but it’s not harmonised or formalised so to speak.
What’s your take on the rising insecurity in the South East?
It will make our zone ungovernable and we will be the ultimate losers at the end of the day because, it is the resources of the South East that would have been used for something else that would end up wasting. So, for me, if you check it, every disagreement, even world war ended at a negotiating table. So, why do we have to go the path of destruction before going to the table? Why can’t we jump the destruction and go straight to the negotiating table. If there are disagreements, there are platforms already existing that we can take full advantage of. We have our sons and daughters in the national assembly; we can use them effectively. We have governors in the five states, we can use them effectively. We have traditional institutions and traditional rulers who can call people to order, we can use them effectively.