Anambra 2025: I’ll Lessen Anambra People’s Yoke – Engr Barth Nwibe

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As the clock ticks away towards next year’s governorship election in Anambra State, an aspirant on the platform of Labour Party, Engr Barth Nwibe, speaks with me on why he is running and other matters.

Excerpts

Kindly introduce yourself, sir.

My name is Bart Nwibe, from Igboukwu in Aguata LGA of Anambra State. I had my Primary School Education at Igboukwu and Secondary School at CKC, Onitsha and read Civil Engineering at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I am a registered COREN Engineering professional and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE). I have been in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry since 1987 and have specialized in exploration, drilling and production services.

My professional career spanned working for International Oil Service Companies like Sperry-Sun, Halliburton, BakerHughes, Schlumberger Oil Services for over 15 years before I joined Shell Petroleum as a Consultant and served the global oil giant for 5 years. In January 2006, at the onset of local content policy implementation, I quit my consultancy work with Shell to establish a Drilling Services Company which I run as the MD/CEO till date.

I am involved in Community service and was at a time the 1st Vice President of Igboukwu Development Union (IDU). I hold the Traditional Chieftaincy Titles of Ugo Igboukwu, Ugo Ekwuluobia and Ugomba Ora-Eri na Umunri. I am a member of Nze Na Ozo Society of Igboukwu. A Christian of Roman Catholic faith, I am a Paul Harris Fellow and a major donor of The Rotary Club International and was former Board Chairman of Jos University Teaching Hospital. I am happily married with five Children.

You’ve been out of circulation politically for a while. Was it on purpose or for any other reason?

I think the better way to put it is, I am not a career politician in the Nigerian sense. I see politics as an avenue to increase my ability to impact on our people and environment and so, I have at different times, offered to serve at different levels, from aspiring to represent Aguata Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, to aspiring to the Governorship of Anambra State.

I have also sponsored and supported many candidates for elective offices. So, it is not correct to say that I have been politically out of circulation. I have been politically very active and involved. I do not contest every election and do not unnecessarily play to the gallery to be noticed. I have a business to run, so, whenever I offer myself and things pan out differently, I retreat and concentrate in pursuing other live endeavours to continue to build capacity to impact my environment and society.

Can you confirm the stories that you’re gunning for the governorship of Anambra on Labour Party platform?

Yes, I am a member of the Labour Party and would want to contest the upcoming Anambra State Gubernatorial Election under the banner and platform of the party.

What informed your choice of party?

As it were, I have seen it all in APGA, ACN, and APC. I have had the benefit of participating at very high levels within these parties and have seen the strengths and weaknesses in these parties. I have seen promises, hopes and expectations raised and dashed in these parties. The Labour Party today, under the Leadership of Mr Peter Obi, is the only vista of hope for Nigeria to do things differently, to restore and rebuild Nigeria.

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It is the only hope that Nigeria can truly reduce the debilitating cost of governance in order to free resources for development, as well as eliminating the trend of creating wealthy individuals without enterprise; where government monies end up in people’s pockets. That’s why I belong to the Labour Party because it holds the best hope for a better Nigeria.

How do you rate your chances of clinching the party’s ticket ahead of those seen to have established more ground in the party?

All of us joined the Labour Party immediately Mr Peter Obi became the Presidential Candidate of the Party in 2022. You very well know how the election was won at the polling booths and lost at the courts. I believe we have all introspected on the performance of those who are seen to have established ground in the Labour Party. And if I may ask, which ground are we talking about? Is the ground you are talking about located in the social media or where? I believe the situation calls for the ability to think out of the box and offer sustainable solutions for a paradigm shift.

That is the advantage I have and that is the ground that will enable me to clinch the ticket. The essence of politics is to win an election and use the position to create a better society. That’s what I bring and I believe the Leadership of our party will distinguish the serious from the pretenders. So, my chances are very very high and bright.

Have you made consultations with relevant stakeholders and what are the results?

Consultations are ongoing, and so far so good. It takes time to build relationships and momentum. I have seen that our people want someone different who will bring back the era of a Governor with a businessman’s mindset. A businessman is one who has been able to create a sustainable enterprise through training, knowledge and experience.

Such a person works harder than any person in the organization, someone who is awake when others are asleep, the chief sales man, the chief accountant and dreamer of the business. That’s the leader that Anambra needs today to secure Anambra State, create wealth for massive infrastructural development, including generating electricity to power industries and health systems in Anambra which will create jobs for the teeming youths of our state. I share these ideas as I consult and these are the very areas where our state is lagging behind and these are what our people are yearning for.

Battling against the incumbent in our political clime isn’t an easy thing. Do you have the structure to upset the apple cart?

It is not going to be about me only. The election will be fought and won on the structure of the Labour Party which will encompass the structures of our Leader, Mr Peter Obi; our Senators; our House of Representatives and House of Assembly members and all Labour Party stakeholders – including the NLC and all Anambrarians who have been oppressed and harassed by revenue collectors under the current APGA Government under Governor Soludo.

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The Labour Party is the home of all the neglected and disenchanted original APGA members and all the people of good will who have been muzzled out of PDP and APC. The arrogance, self-opinionated and garrulous nature of the incumbent will be on the scale.

How do you rate Soludo’s performance after two years?

Soludo is a Professor – very good at coining high sounding rhetoric – like making Anambra a prosperous and livable homeland, Africa-Dubai-Taiwan…but scores zero on performance and delivery of the goods because of his abysmal failure on security, teamwork and empathy. During Okwadike’s burial ceremony at Igboukwu, the Governor was busy chastising the National Burial Committee for sharing printed brochures against the Anambra State Burial Law while kidnappers laid ambush in the very vicinity of the burial and picking mourners leaving the funeral with ease – a case of someone chasing a rat when his house is on fire!

The whole of Anambra South is under siege and the Governor doesn’t seem to care. The Anambra flamboyant burial culture is part of Anambra DNA that helps to bring our people back home and impact on the local economy – musicians, hoteliers, gas and fuel stations, caterers and event planners and decorators… These are vital parts of the Anambra Economy that the Governor is killing with this needless busybody implementation of the Burial Law.

When I become Governor, I will introduce a Bill to modify the current Burial Law. If you have the resources, you should lawfully organize any burial as you wish, provided you obtain the necessary permits. Our people are also over taxed. I will secure Anambra, provide 24/7 electricity to power industries and homes in Anambra. Security and Power will attract Anambra capital back home to create employment for our youths and generate a better tax revenue for our state. Anambra State is blessed with the highest number of billionaires yearning for the right environment to repatriate their wealth home. Creating the conducive atmosphere for this is my number one priority.

Security in Anambra is getting worse, how would you tackle it if you were Soludo?

You mean if I become the Governor, because I cannot be Soludo? I will be better that Soludo. I will ensure that the security agencies (police, DSS and military) are properly funded to acquire all the advanced technology and training that they need to better secure the state.

The town unions will also be empowered to secure their towns under the control of a centralized and better organized and remunerated Anambra Vigilante Service. But the root cause of insecurity is youth unemployment, which has to be frontally tackled with the provision of 24/7 electricity to power industries and bring entrepreneurial capital back to Anambra State.

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Your new party made waves in the last general elections before things ended the way they did. Do you think voters, especially LP supporters, will still be enthusiastic to come out?

Yes, I believe so. It is now even more urgent that more Nigerians join, work and vote for the Labour Party for the ultimate good of all. We have seen the Naira depreciation, the hunger and hardship in the land due to scarcity of food, the high cost of fuel and diesel and consequent cost of transportation, the removal of subsidy on electricity tariffs and the obnoxious high cost of energy. The masses are suffering.

Therefore, I expect more people to join the Labour Party to change the course of Nigeria for the better. Nigeria would certainly have been better today under Labour Party if Mr Peter Obi was president. So, I expect more determination and enthusiasm from Nigerians to change their destiny by supporting Peter Obi in the future under the Labour Party.

After the last elections, do you still think the Peter Obi myth can still work?

Is it a myth or reality? I am sure that everyone agrees that Mr Peter Obi would have assembled a better Cabinet to run Nigeria with; would have reduced the cost of governance; combated corruption like no other president before him and freed more resources for development.

The fuel and electricity subsidy removals would have been better handled with human empathy and provision of safety net for the very poor. The masses are suffering today. This is a Reality and not a myth. So, the Peter Obi reality is still relevant and the message will even be received much better today and tomorrow.

Finally, what things are you going to do differently from the way Soludo is doing them?

I will listen more than I talk to enable me to hear our people and serve them better. I will get more experienced people into Government at the State Level. I will conduct Local Government Elections and ensure that the youths are more involved in LG Administration as a training and learning platform for leadership at the state level. Under my leadership, the Anambra State Government will partner with successful businessmen to bring industries and much needed capital into Anambra State.

I will focus on security, will encourage use of gas from Omambala to provide 24/7 electricity to power the state and create a better health system for our people. These will create employment for our youths and better revenue for the state. I will not tax the very poor in Anambra State as the present government is doing with brute force. Above all, I will run a very effective development-driven government with human face.

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