AS hordes of aspirants file out for the Anambra 2014 governorship election, a member of the House of Representatives Hon Chizor Lambert Obidigwe (PDP, Anyamelu/Oyi Federal Constituency) says that the state is in a for keen contest among the leading political parties and an unlikely candidate may win the polls.
He looks at the internal wrangling the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state and avers that the party is taking effective measures to resolve the crisis in readiness for the forthcoming polls.
The cause of crisis in Anambra PDP and chances at the governorship polls
In which party is it well? The thing is that the PDP is a big family. Even in a small hamlet, when people compete for positions, there are bound to be frictions. When people say all is not well with PDP, I ask, which party is it well with?
There is crisis in APGA and other parties. But we have to come together as a family to handle it as a family affair. Politics is where people try as much as possible to get to the end before the next person. It is all politics. But it is something that should be managed.
The party is doing some underground work to get our house in order. The party executives both national and the state are working seriously to see how we can end the problem. Again, the issue of the party getting the governorship depends on the individual that is nominated because people don’t vote for party; they vote people they believe in. I can assure you that the party is working seriously to reclaim the state.
On demand of Anambra North to produce the next governor and its chances as heavy weights in Anambra South and Central
I am from Anambra North and the truth is this, Anambra North is clamouring for a taste of the seat since the creation of the state. Like you said, we have more political heavy weights in the South and Central but power belongs to God. Look at the present President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, nature has its own ways and there is always balance in nature. Yes, they may have more political weights but if it is the turn of the Anambra North, I tell you, somebody from nowhere can claim it. Someone you cannot even think of. I take myself for an example, I was not intending to go for this position but here I am today. When I was coming out it was like hmm, who is this young man? But here I am today. It is like what the Christians say, when God says yes, no man can say no. God moves in a very mysterious ways. You never can tell.
And that is why nobody can say for sure that this is the next governor of AnambraState. It is possible that in six months time, you can say this is the likely person but as I am talking to you now, you cannot say this is person. Even about like two months to the election after knowing the candidates, it is still possible that you still cannot say for sure that this person will win the election.
So that brings me back to the issue of which party will win. In AnambraState today, we have the PDP, APGA, ACN, ANPP, LP but the major political parties in the state are just three, the PDP, APGA and ACN. And I tell you that it is possible that any of these parties can produce the next governor, everybody will be working to see that his party produces the next governor. In the House of Representatives, we have 11 members from the state, the PDP has five members; APGA, five members and the ACN, one. In the Senate, you have two PDP and one ACN. So, you cannot dismiss the ACN with a wave of the hand neither can you dismiss APGA. The present governor is APGA and when get to the state House of Assembly you have majority of APGA. So, it is not a clear cut something where you can say this is the party or the person that will win the election.
His take on non-conduct of local council elections in Anambra and effects on council autonomy and development
I support the autonomy of local governments. It is a constitutional issue and it is also the third tier of government, which is recognised by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, why shouldn’t the tier of government operate on its own? It should operate on its own. It is like saying that the state government is an appendage of the Federal Government, it shouldn’t be. I would in all honesty suggest the scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC). Federal INEC should take charge so that all elections will be held the same period. If you have conducted local government elections in Anambra for instance, the rural man and woman who is in remote villages can get to the door of his/her councilor, knock and wake him up because the councilor of a ward lives with the people and if there is no water, he should be able to tell the people that there is no water, if there is no electricity, he should be able to tell the government that there is no electricity, etc. These are the things that people in rural villages see and feel.
Non conduct of local government election has led to the situation where you see the rural man moving to the assembly man to ask for amenities and it is not everybody that has access to the state assembly man who is representing him or her at the state level not to talk of the federal representatives, senators or governors.
So, the non-conduct of local government is something that should be looked into because it is not just my state, anywhere local government elections have not been conducted, people suffer. It is affecting development negatively and there is no two ways about it.
On how combat kidnapping
Security agencies are doing their best but they are undermanned. What is the population of this country and what is the staff-strength of the police or all the military and Para-military personnel of this country? This is where the issue of state police will come in because when you talk of state police it goes to community policing. Everybody within the community or locality knows people who are strangers. Like in my community, I know we have active vigilante group and the community is doing everything possible to sustain it so that you can sleep with both eyes closed. The central police cannot be relied upon. Like in my local government area for instance, how many police stations do we have? We have one at Omasi, another at Omo and another one at Anaco and this is a local government of eight communities. If something is happening in other communities, before the police could get there would the criminals not have gone?