All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship aspirant in the 2021 polls, Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo, says that he “wants to create a new Anambra where talents and potential unite to create a home.”
Between the economy and leadership, what do think is the issue in Anambra?
Anambra is endowed in all dimensions. We have people with first class leadership skills who have proved themselves in academics, business, military, medicine, etc.
With all the resources available, it will be more appropriate to discuss where the state is in the context of the deployment of the resources. Anambra requires an interactive setting where leaders work with the population to create the kind of state that we want. The question is what is it that works in Anambra? Have we been doing that? If not, why not? I feel that a new dialogue is required where the leaders become more responsive to the people on the critical issues that affect lives.
How do you think government should tackle infrastructural decay to enable a wholistic development agenda?
We need boldness in dealing with infrastructure of the state. The state governor, Willie Obiano has shown that boldness in building the airport. He has also shown it in building roads. So I think that having the right will power will do the magic. Hitherto, that will power had been politicized to the point where development is skewed, but Obiano sees things differently. The airport project is huge and bold. It will open Anambra to the world in a massive way. That’s the kind of things we need.
Why are you in the governorship race?
I am in the race to bring the entire people of Anambra to play roles in the development of the state. That has been lacking so far in the state. Thestate needs a bold leader, with a cosmopolitan mindset who can manage the array of talents in the state. Anambra needs a leader who is willing to stand under the search lights. The state is missing a person that sees the state as an interactive platform where talents, gifts, potentials come together to create a home.
Do you think your aspiration can find expression in APGA?
Yes. APGA offers the state one harmonious party. With APGA, we are under one party, one God and one culture in Anambra. The party has set a tested foundation over the years and I don’t think any other party’s has its acceptance.
What is your position on zoning, which APGA is accused ofsmuggling into the state’s polity electoral process?
I am an advocate of fairness and inclusiveness; zoning addresses both. I found out that at a point in our history, stakeholders gathered to say that we would be better if we allowed every zone produce a governor at one time or the other. It’s not peculiar to the position of governor. There’s always some form of zoning arrangement in everything that is done in the state. So those saying they don’t understand zoning are just being dishonest. If those people go down to their kindred meeting, they will find out that the positions were always zoned.
Have you heard the rumors that APGA’s governorship ticket has been foreclosed, which is the reason they are having only two aspirants.
I have not seen anything in the party or in the conduct of the governorthat indicates that they have anointed anyone as the party flag bearer. I would have asked what they then expect members to be doing in an election year such as this. Whoever is peddling that rumour is hurting the party. It must be the handiwork of moles planted by our opponents.
Given the opportunity, what would be your priorities as governor?
The first is education; education for living, education for skills. Education for living, means looking at that education that gets the population to understand that the family is the most important unit in the society. Parents are therefore assisted to nurture healthy school children. I will look at how the man lives and I will face up to family enterprise, supporting micro businesses, to support families. The next is the environment. The state of the environment indirectly affects the wellbeing of the people.
Are you surprised at the large field of 22 aspirants so far acrossAPGA, APC, PDP and Labour Party?
I am not surprised and there’s nothing to worry about. I really appreciate that there are people keeping the names of all these other parties alive in the state, because sometimes they actually enter into negotiations with APGA on positions. When Mr Peter Obi was the governor he negotiated with the PDP president and he had some positions given to them. Sometimes in the course of the friendship they give positions out and that makes people think that they have suddenly become so strong to take out APGA.
What will you do if you fail in your aspiration?
I will take it in my strides if I fail to get the ticket. I am a party man. If God has not chosen you, you go to your party, work with the party and build your home.
With the growing rate of insecurity, do you have special plan to keep Anambra safer?
I come with over 15 years experience of managing conflicts, violence and insecurity in the Niger Delta states. I understand that security is not an issue of guns and muscles. Security is obtained by order. When a community wants to be secure, that community must respond to order. And orderliness is not just an attitude that is meant for the criminal. It’s total in the environment. For example, if you are going to any part of the state and you see a bomb on the road and there is chaos everywhere. That is insecurity. It’s such little behaviors that transmit to other aspects of life and then manifests perhaps in gun totting and lack of confidence in the system.
So, for me it’s a problem. But how to deal with it is that orderliness has to drop from the top to the bottom. As the governor you cannot be reckless and expect the citizens to be orderly. Yes when you live by example and get every other person in the system to respect rule of law, you would have established orderly society and it spreads. Let the rules work.
Do you think that the South East can produce the President in 2023?
It’s definitely the turn of the zone and it’s been on every lip for so long. The next step is to engage in dialogue and diplomatic shuttle to get other geopolitical zones come to your position. It needs high level dialogue and lobby. I think our people are already at it. I hope that down the road they would find unanimity of purpose. No one can order it. What you need is discussion to get other people, other zones and parts of the federation to work with you.