Emma Anosike represented Anambra North in the senate between 2003 and 2005 and before then, was a member of the House of Representatives. In the 2003 governorship election he was running mate to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo. In this interview, Anosike, who is one of the governorship aspirants in the PDP asserts that though many people have indicated interest in the race, the election will not be a do or die affair so long as a brother of his from Anambra North emerges governor. Excerpts.
Do you share in the clamour for the next governor of the state to come from Anambra North?
I am not saying that it must be Anambra North or never. Anybody has the right to contest, but what I am emphasizing is that my party, PDP, is operating on the principle of equity andjustice. Our party was formed on the principle of zoning. By the time Governor Obi finishes his tenure, Anambra Central would have done 11 years.
In Anambra South, they have done about six years. North has not got any. When you talk about the population and the voting pattern in Anambra State, it is Anambra North that determines the winner. During the last presidential election, Anambra North had 610, 000 votes, and of course the total vote for Mr. President was 1.3 million. Therefore Anambra North contributed about half of it. What we are saying is that it is our turn.
So, what would be your role in achieving this?
I will contest for governorship by the grace of God, but I need to make up my mind to decide on what to tell my people. Definitely when the time comes, I will make up my mind to know where am going to. But what is important to me now is that somebody from Anambra North should become the next governor.
Candidate from Anambra north
I am not taking the election as a do or die thing. If I get to a stage where my people will say Senator Anosike you need to step down for someone else, of course I will support. So what is important to me is that support. What is important to me is to have my brother from Anambra North to become the next governor.
With your party, the PDP in disarray do you think you the party can make a headway in the coming election?
Our party is very much alive. You know very well that for one to emerge the candidate, it is the National Chairman and National Secretary that will send your name to INEC. The state executive is like a custodian that makes the party to move. We don’t have a problem with the national leadership of the party and whatever the party wants to do in Anambra State, of course it will do. Therefore, that we have some problems with our state executive does not mean that the party is dead. When we get to the level of primaries, all these issues will be sorted out and it is being sorted out now as I speak to you.
Don’t you think this will give other political parties an advantage over your party?
Which political party in Nigeria does not have a problem? Is it APGA? Is it ACN that is now APC? With the merger, there is nothing like APGA again. There is another faction of APGA that said it is not part of the merger. So it is not only PDP that has problem. Whether it is Amoured Personnel Carrier or APC tablet, they are the same thing. They cannot move a big machine like PDP. As far as I am concerned, it will not threaten PDP.
So we are not scared of the merger. Going by our past history of political groupings, do you think this merger will work? I know that when they get to the point of choosing candidates and so on, the thing will scatter. In that APC, they have people that think they own it. Our political party is not owned by anybody, but the so called APC is owned by some people and that is the kind of problem we will see.
So how do you react to the emergence of aspirants from the South and Central Senatorial Zones?
I have said that my own political party PDP was formed on the principle of equity and justice and we also emphasize the issue of zoning in PDP. If there was no issue of zoning in PDP why should Igbos be talking about the presidency? One zone will just hold president and keep it there. If there is no zoning, why do we have to talk about a Bayelsa man, a man from minority area being President?
Within Anambra North, we have several blocks also contending. How would you resolve the contention among the blocks?
What we have in Anambra North are two blocks namely, Omambala and Onitsha/Ogbaru, We don’t have any problem supporting Onitsha man, but we may have problem of winning. Non-indigenes from other parts of the country are usually scared of our brothers from Onitsha and Ogbaru because they fear that when an indigene becomes the governor or a local government chairman, they may lose their stores.
That is why it has been very difficult for indigenes of Onitsha or Ogbaru to produce a local government chairman apart from appointment. If we go for election, we may end up losing to the non-indigenes. Therefore, we are working very hard to convince these our brothers that are from other parts of the country and other parts of the state not to habour this fear. Come to Anambra North we don’t have that kind of threat.
We are mainly farmers and so on and we have the population. That is why the non-indigenes in Ogbaru and non-indigenes in Onitsha feel more comfortable supporting anybody from Omabala. They also send such signals during contests for the office of the Senate. Any time we come for election for the Senate, you will see that majority of our votes come from Okpoko and Onitsha South and about 65 per cent also come from Onitsha North.
Is that not against the equity we are talking about?
I want to assure our people that if an Omambala man becomes the governor, we must sit down and discuss with our brothers in Onitsha and Ogbaru so that they will also make their own presentation, in whatever they are doing.