Chief Godwin Ezeemo, a foremost industrialist and former governorship candidate of the Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA) is one of the front runners in Anambra state governorship race on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with select journalists, he spoke on his vision and mission in politics, and what he intends to achieve for Anambra.
ou have been in this governorship race for quite some time now in Anambra State. Why have you remained consistent in your vision?
Well, Anambra is what Anambra is all the time. It is a special place with a special problem but anybody who has good intentions will always insist on having his way to give what he has to offer. Somebody who does not know what he is after, after running the race once or twice you will say, you are done, that you will want to go and rest. What has made me consistent is that I have a vision for the state which I have not achieved. I know that the vision can make the state better if given a trial. It is that vision and purpose that made me leave where I lived in the UK to come home to reside with my people, that vision, that purpose if I do not achieve it when I have blood still running strong in my vein, when I am strong enough and have the conviction that I can selflessly give of my best service if I am unable to do that I will not be happy or to put it the other way: I may be happy but I may not have lived a fulfilled life.
What exactly is that vision in terms of priority?
As far as I am concerned there is no particular area that is more important than the other in that leadership vision. You have to carry them out simultaneously, with your team of experts, a team of commissioners, and aides who must be knowledgeable, technocrats, so that we can take on, on all the areas, sectors and make sure they are delivered for the good and welfare of our people. Mine will be to supervise and make sure it is done the way it should be done for maximum results. It will be teamwork, so it is not the one you will say you will face here and leave the other one because if you do: water will be leaking in those ones you have neglected. I am an individual with passion to make Anambra, Igbo nation, Nigeria and Africa the best place to live in. I have lived in London and Lagos State for long. I decided to return to my hometown permanently out of my own volition. We are suffering and I want to play a part in making our people smile again. I want to make Ndigbo, not only Ndi-Anambra to fully realise and utilise their creative ingenuity.
Looking at Anambra state since its creation, what has been your level of dissatisfaction or otherwise?
In Anambra state since its creation, some leaders have come on board and they have done the best they can. All the leaders that have been in action the people have rated them according to their performances. For me, their performance is good to the level of their ability, to the level of what they know. Of course, people only give what they have. If somebody doesn’t have a quality or an eye for aesthetic you cannot deliver a work that requires such a blend, rather the person will deliver anyhow job because you can’t give what you don’t have. But the person that has an eye for aesthetics will deliver it correctly and people will acknowledge the difference. So all the previous leaders in the state have performed and criticising anybody is not my area of strength, I don’t dwell on that rather on the capacity of what I know I can do if given the opportunity. It is the reason why if you look at my slogan I say Anambra can be better and this is to give room to whoever that has been there and done his best because that is what the person knows. You cannot give what you don’t have. I know I am loaded and I know I can make the state better and better again. This is not political talk, I have all it takes to fix the state and get it better than it is today.
So what will be done differently by your government?
The point of departure will be in different areas. Let’s take our environment. If you look at our environment, town planning, managing Awka as a capital city, Awka is a glorified local government area, no single area in Awka is organised, why should we have that? A capital of a state and a state that has so much to offer is like a child’s play when you come to its rating in a committee of state capitals. We are nowhere, so I look at putting things like that in its proper perspective. Just look at the Awka environment, planning is zero; buildings crash here and there even those under construction. Something requires to be done, serious town planning that will be befitting as a state capital. How can you build an estate today and the estate we built ten years ago is better than the one of today? Does that show that somebody is working? What we build today should be better than what we built 10 years ago. Look at the way we handle erosion. Of course, you know that erosion is man-made. No government has critically looked at the danger posed by this erosion and offered a lasting solution, the reason it is destroying more each passing day, creating more and more difficulties for the people every day. Are you telling me it cannot be tackled? If you find yourself in a cold-weather you should be able to design wooly materials to warm yourself, isn’t it? Why do we find ourselves in an erosion-prone area? The reason why we call ourselves erosion-prone area is not that from inception God created us to be erosion-prone area, it is because of the buildings that we are building here and there without planning. You build with corrugated iron sheets, one person will build in up to 5,6,7 plots and then he will concrete everywhere, then water that comes out from your home how do you contain it? Originally nature made it that once the water is released the soil which is porous will absorb it but we have now compacted that soil and it becomes so tough that water can’t permeate it anymore. So you must find how to contain those water adequately. The erosion has affected our natural waterways where our people use to fetch and drink, it now contaminates and destroys everything, aquatic life’s dead.
How would you react to the zoning controversy in the coming election?
Zoning in Anambra without mincing words, there was and there is still zoning and this is simply the truth. For me as a candidate running for the election, it is not zoning that is my strength. I have traversed the length and breadth of Anambra state, all the nooks, and crannies of the state and I am accepted everywhere. I have done one philanthropic work or the other at our different zones even before I wanted to be governor. So I am comfortable with any criteria required. Whether it is zoned or not is not a problem or an issue of any disadvantage for me. I am accepted across the board both the churches and all stakeholders are comfortable with my candidacy. What is good for the geese is good for the gander; we should allow the people that are their turn to produce the governor so that there won’t be this bickering. Let me give you this scenario: The South East are complaining that the North is dominating everywhere including the presidency if we are saying this and Anambra state is among the state of the East complaining, what is then the morality in the complaint? You have to make all zones feel belonged, that is the essence of zoning. It is shameful that some of our elders are not sincere on this issue of zoning. Mine is to raise the bar of leadership in the state, that is what is driving me not zoning.