Chief Osita Chidoka, Ike of Obosi is the candidate of United Progressive Party, UPP. He is a man that command huge respect in the state ahead of 18 Novemeber gubernatorial election in Anambra State. In this interview with ADEWALE OGUNNIRAN, Chief Chidoka, a former Ministetr of Aviation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a Corp Marshal for several years in the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), who changed the faces and raised the bar at the FRSC to what has been adjudged as international standard, a standard yet to meet, explain his Mission and Vision for Anambra State if he wins the fast approaching poll.
Many people sees you as being a young,intelligent,upwardly mobile man but you are in a lowly rated party, how will you react to this?
Well what I have to say is that those who said that are still living in the past. In the past you needed large institutions to do many things, in the past you needed to build a tall mask to be able to make calls, have either a radio or a television station.
But in todays’ world, you can do this interview live, many people can watch it on facebook life or twitter without much effort and much people would watch it more as they would watch it on TV. What that means is that the barrier of entry for new entrant has been greatly reduced. So if you form a party today and have a written resource and internet, you can become a big party within months. There was an online party that was founded by a comedian, today they have won three cities in Italy. The party that brought the president of France to power was founded few months before the election. So I don’t think people should waste their time thinking about the party because starters are taking over the new establishments due to their improved technologies. I think what people should be asking is that does UPP has the commitments, and focus on winning an election? and my answer is yes.
And I can tell you that there is no barriers to entries, so people in the big parties may have more resources or may have more members as of today, but their members do not transform to more votes. No party has enough members to win an election, they need to go out to convince the voters. Almost 80% of Anambra people doesn’t belong to any political party, so it is only 20% that belongs to political parties. So we are actually competing for the 80% votes.
What would be your first assignment as the governor of Anambra state?
Well My first assignment would be to tackle the structural imbalance that makes the South East has a sense of alienation. So I would propose the creation of the sixth state in Igbo land. This idea is because marginalization of the South East in the Senate. For instance, every zone has a team and North East have 21 while the South East has 15, for me it is time to begin to address that.
The issue of viability of state is the issue we would deal with how the state can be viable. I will make it known to all of the need to either merge some states or set the standard but the new Anambra state would be more viable than 20 states. So I believe firmly that we need to deal squarely with the issue of imbalance in the federation so that the Igbos will feel a sense of belonging and not of alienation and that would help us to reduce the manner of street agitation in Nigeria. I will also push for the abolishment of state of origin as an identity in Nigeria. Because it is bad for a society that wants to become one, you can’t be two and become one at the same time. You cannot be judged from where you come from but from where you live. There are some Igbos that have spent their whole live in Yoruba land who speak Yoruba more that Igbos, so when they want admission you remind them that they are Igbos.
Government operation here is old, we need to modernize it to deliver a system that will give value to everybody . I think we are celebrating the ordinary. We need to go beyond that. We need to bring back innovation and transparency in government by using modern governance structure. We need to go back to the basis all over again. We need to number our streets and houses, draw back our services and then define a new vision for the state that will involve all stakeholders. And the starting point is about knowledge. What is happening in each sector. We need to involve all the stakeholders to do that then we launch into execution to be able to build the civil service that will do those things. Then we talk about sustainability. We have to build a process to ensure that laws are pass, relevant institutions are created to sustain what is working. We don’t need to get everything right on the run but if we get one or two things right because as for me the priority is education; if I get education sector working with the benchmark of OECD and what they call program for international student assessment. We must know how many Anambra people are sending their children to school in the state to benefit from the good schools we have that are cheaper than the private schools; so I am looking forward to
What do think about your relationship with Nnamdi Kalu, leader of IPOB whose organisation has been declared as terrorist group. We understood that when he was being released from the prison, yoyu used your jeep to drive him home?
My simple answer is that it takes the judiciary to declare a terrorist act and the court of competent jurridiction have accepted the motion of government so it is left for IPOB or those involved to challenge it again in court. Since it is a court pronouncement, it then required that upon provision of new evidence the court would be able to reverse itself. So I want to believe that the court would reverse itself because there is no evidence of terror here, there is no evidence designed by violence or by force to compel anybody to do anything. Whether their agitation is right, I disagree on street agitation which tyey are doing. I believe we should agitate within the political process but it does appear in Nigeria that the only time government listen is when there is street agitation, which is sad because it creates room for more people to want to agitate. We must, as political elite, find a way to make concessions and continue to renew our union to make it fairer, with that, we would not be providing the fuel for street agitators.
Where would you get fund to execute most of your lofty ideas in your blue print?
Well funding is an issue in Nigeria, and it would be an issue for us but we are thinking that we have to seat down and think outside the box; we have to think of a way to raise finances for the state. For me, that would require us to do some of the unusual things; by simply modernizing government. We are going to have a lot of visibilities on government processes and we will see where the bars are. We are going to have visibility on our structure in terms of Internal Generated Revenue and where these revenues are coming from and what we can do to raise it without clapping down on the poor and the dispossessed. We would unveil our plan of making Anambra a self-sufficient territory as we progress in this campaign.
What is your word for the Anambarians?
Anambra this is the time to move up, to move to UPP. Time to vote for that leader that would be a great representative of the state, that will be a symbol of our desires, aspiration and dreams. We need to vote for a leader that will reflect where we want to go, how we want to get there.
We should not allow the worst of us to be ruling the best of us. We should continue to seek out those leaders that have the competent and the philosophical understanding of the issues facing the state and who are willing to offer innovative solutions. And I believe if the Anambras vote for me, they have passed a referendum on the future they want.
Aggression In South East: Chidoka Fingers Igbo Leaders In APC, APGA
The Osita Chidoka Campaign Organization has said it stands by its statement that Igbo leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) are to blame for the escalation of aggressions against the people of the south East region and the attendant hostilities.
The campaign office of the governorship candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP) in the Anambra governorship election, also urged youths in the southeast not to resort to violence but resist the temptation to visit the sins of the political elite and unscrupulous uniformed men on other harmless Nigerians on the street.
The Campaign organization in a statement issued by its Director of Media, Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie told APGA and APC leaders to stop inundating the organization with lame explanations but go and face the people who they betrayed.
The statement reads; “Since our statements wherein directly opposed the military action in the south east and blamed the escalation of hostilities against the region on the silence of Igbo leaders in APC and APGA, we have been inundated by the two parties attempting to rationalize their failure.
“APGA and Igbo leaders in the APC should direct their explanations, if they have any, to the people and not to us. They should face the people and rationalize to them the harassment, humiliation and killing of our unarmed brothers and sisters in Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Enugu and recently in Ekwulobia, Umuahia and Aba.
“They should tell them why they kept silent in the face of the constant threats and aggression against southeasterners living in northern parts of the country. They should explain their silence on the heavy deployment of APC-controlled security forces to the southeast and the constant harassment and unwarranted violence against unarmed youth by unscrupulous uniformed men.
“They should tell the people what they have done on the issue of tagging of south easterners and treating them as mere 5% in this country.
“We all know that only the United Progressive Party (UPP), as a political party has been speaking out for the people and defending their constitutionally guaranteed rights whenever occasion demands, while making genuine efforts to aggregate the view of ndi-Igbo to other groups in the country.“The fact remains that if Igbo leaders in APC and APGA had played their roles by adequately aggregating and explaining the views of the southeast to other parts of the country, the agitations we now have in the region and the unnecessary disagreements we face in other parts of the country would not be there.
“On our own part, we stand for peace and reject any resort to violence. We will continue to speak out against all forms of marginalization, injustice and inequality. The key issues for us remain those of equal access to opportunities and abolition of unfair advantages to any group in the polity. We therefore strongly urge our youth to resist the temptation to vent their anger on other harmless Nigerians going about their normal activities in the region.
“Finally, we restate our call on security forces to forthwith end the harassment and violations against unarmed civilians not only in the southeast as being witnessed today, but also in other parts of the country”, the campaign said.
Anambra Poll: CAN Leaders, Consensus Project Pray For Chidoka
As political parties prepare for the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election, leaders of the Christian Organization of Nigeria (CAN) and the Anambra Consensus Project (ACP) visited and offered prayers for the lead contender and candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Osita Chidoka.
The delegation from the two organizations also prayed God to vanquish all anti-people forces plotting to hijack the electoral process and ordain a hitch-free poll where only the votes of the people will ultimately count.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of CAN, Anambra state chapter, Senior Apostle Tim Okpala as well as ACP President, Dr. Emeka Eze said the delegation was in Chief Chidoka house to pray with him and encourage him ahead of the election.
Expatiating, Apostle Okpala said the two groups are non-government and non-partisan platforms committed to a credible, peaceful and hitch free election in Anambra state, adding that they will continue in prayers and advocacy to ensure that God’s will prevailed in the choice of the next governor of the state.
“We want a very hitch-free election devoid of violence, frictions and fetish activities. We will continue to commit the entire process into God’s hand so that His will prevails in the end”, he said.
In the same vein, the ACP President, Dr. Emeka said the organizations have set up structures in all the 326 electoral wards and 57 major markets across the state for continuous advocacy for credible, free and fair election.
“We want a very credible process where only the votes of the people will count. We no longer want a situation where a few persons decide the fate of the entire people. We are therefore working hard to ensure that the people come out to vote and that their votes count, so that they will have the opportunity of electing the governor of their choice”, he said.
The group also informed of its plans to conduct a public debate for the governorship candidates and their running mates to directly present their manifesto and capacity to deliver, adding that the debates will be scored.
The group later handed Chief Chidoka a Certificate of Congratulation among other important documents detailing their involvement in the electoral process.
Responding, Chief Chidoka, who stated that he has no godfather but the Almighty God and the people, noted that his guiding principle has been that of total surrender to the will of God and commitment to the ordinary people, whose mandate he now bears
He thanked the delegation for their prayers and assured that he would not let the people down. Recall that Chief Chidoka has received prayers from various Christian leaders including the Anglican Bishop of Niger West Diocese, Aguleri, Rt. Rev. Johnson Ekwe and the Methodist Bishop of Onitsha, Rt. Rev. Biereonwu Onuagha, who in separate church services in June, prayed for him while charging all those in the governorship race to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.
It would be recalled that in August, traditional rulers from the entire South East region including royal fathers from across Anambra state, gathered and transferred the emblematic Ọfọr Igbo staff (the Igbo traditional symbol of power and authority), from Governor Willie Obiano to Chief Osita Chidoka ahead of the election.