Ahead of the conduct of the gubernatorial election in Imo State on November 11, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen Emma Anosike, speaks with OKEY MADUFORO on the chances of Governor Hope Uzodimma in the coming gubernatorial election and the state of insecurity in the South-East
As a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), how do you see the next governorship election in Imo State?
Well, we are in a democracy and the masses, that is the electorate, would decide who to vote for in that election. Candi- dates have emerged from various political parties and they are deep in the race. So, our brothers in Imo State would certainly choose their governor.
Do you think the controversy over the emergence of the APC as the winner of the presidential election may likely affect the fortunes of the party in Imo State?
I don’t think so at all. How can a political party that won the seats at the State Assembly and National Assembly lose in a governorship election? The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has made its declaration and those who do not agree with the declaration are in court and we have an election in three states including Imo and you think that it would affect the fortunes of the party.
It has to do with the performance of the sitting governor and the manifesto of those that are contesting against him. In this modern Nigerian democracy people are looking beyond the parties and what the person had done or doing or his past records.
In Imo State some believe that the incumbent governor won by the Supreme Court?
This is laughable; everyone knows the story. There were valid votes of the APC that were not included in the final results and a candidate went to court, saying these votes according to INEC are APC votes and I am the candidate of APC, give me my vote and the other parties did not challenge that prayer.
So, the court cannot give you what you didn’t ask for and those results were not cancelled at the polling units but at the collation center which is against the Electoral Act and the Constitution. So, Hope Uzodimma was never and had never been a Supreme Court governor but a duly elected governor by the electorate.
You are from Anambra State, how do you know so much about Imo State? What is the difference?
We are Igbo people and we are together. Whatever affects the eyes also affects the nose, and besides I am in politics and governance and I have friends, relations and in-laws in every part of Igbo land, so I should be concerned.
The APC as a party is seen as one that is anti-Igbo and you think that your party will win the election?
APC is not anti-Igbo and you can see for yourself with the litany of capital projects across Igbo land and the key appointments from the South-East even with the President Ahmed Bola Tinubu regime you can agree with me that APC is not anti-Igbo. Come to Imo State, you will see what the APC government is doing through Governor Hope Uzodimma.
He was faced with a multiplicity of dilapidated and abandoned infrastructures, coupled with security and financial challenges. He began by blocking the leakages of government revenue by introducing the Treasury Single Account policy which led to the raising of the state revenue profile up to N5 Billion and ultimately raising the state monthly allocation to 75 per cent of the annual appropriations for capital expenditure.
Armed with funds at his disposal Governor Uzodimma moved the tracks in mobilizing men and material resources to salvage the sorry state of infrastructures in Imo State. With the hopeless state of over 120 roads in the state, it became imperative that the first line charge of Uzodimma administration was to give this basic infrastructure the much-needed attention which he did by rehabilitating, reconstructing and construction of those roads to meet the transportation demands of the people.
So far, 47 roads have been redeemed in the Owerri Municipal, while 62 roads have received attention in the three Senatorial Districts of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe respectively. Most instructive and audacious is the construction of 43 km Owerri-Orlu road and the construction of dual carriage road of 66km from Owerri to Okigwe hence linking the three Senatorial Districts.
But most of these roads have not been completed at the moment?
You are getting it all wrong. You need to go to Imo and see for yourself. People derive joy in turning the truth upside down. Well, we are in an election and this idea that all is fair in the act of war is being applied by the opposition. Currently the construction of Mass Housing Estates in Okigwe, Owerri and Orlu has reached advanced stages.
Under the arrangement of Public Private Partnership (PPP), which is designed for Imo State Civil Servants under mortgage arrangements hence providing soft landing for Imo state workers and offering them the opportunity to own houses after retirement.
When you come to health care delivery which has always been the sick baby of successive administrations in Imo state from the out of stuck syndrome in respect of availability of drugs to other medicaments to the poor health facilities in the state’s hospitals and health centers are being renovated.
Imo hospitals and other health facilities had become moribund with countless numbers of deaths hitting the mortality rate index under the noses of Authorities concerned. That was why Governor Hope Uzodinma commenced the rehabilitation of an- otv305 health facilities in the state and it has made health care delivery available to the masses. This also includes provision of Mobile Clinics and ambulances.
But the real sick baby of Imo State is this issue of insecurity which has claimed more lives than other states in the South- East?
That is very wrong. I make bold to say this. To the blessed memory of our brothers and sisters that have lost their lives to insecurity in the South East, what is happening in the South-East is the machinations of pure criminality. Apparently, the insecurity challenges in the South-East also affected Imo state and this is trying to throw the spanners into the good works of Governor Hope Uzodimma administration.
The activities of miscreants under the guise of freedom fighting attempted to decimate the state when non-state actors took up arms against the innocent law- abiding citizens of the state. Consequent upon this sad commentary Governor Hope Uzodimma administration in conjunction with the Federal Gov- ernment injected fresh impetus in crime fighting which has indeed recorded commendable results.
Though there can never be a crime free society, most kin pins perpetrating that contempt against human lives are gradually being brought to book through the instrumentality of the South-East Joint Task Force on Security. Governors in the geopolitical zone have been interfacing to nip the problems on the board hence the renewed Airstrikes In major security flash points in the area.
Those that turned in their guns were granted amnesty and provided with gainful employment in a bid towards encouraging those in the bushes to abandon their bloody trades. Being the Chairman South-East Governors Forum, Governor Hope Uzodimma is on the vanguard of the release of the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra IPOB Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Similarly, the Governor Uzodimma is working with the Ohaneze Ndigbo led by our Elder Statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu a move that would definitely end the activities of the unknown gunmen in the South-East as well as Imo State.
So, you cannot say that it is only Imo State. But I must salute our people; Ndigbo for standing up against this and our rural areas are getting more involved and in Imo state you see people assisting to fight insecurity just like other states in the South-East.
Are you by your submissions convinced that Governor Hope Uzodimma would win the November election in Imo State?
As the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial election draws closer it is clear that Uzodimma is coasting to victory based on the phenomenal socioeconomic development in Imo state under his watch. Already other chieftains and top standard bearers of other political parties are currently defecting in droves and making public endorsements of the second term ambition of Uzodimma who they see as the only candidate in the race while others are in the race to fulfill the constitutional provisions of the Nigerian law as regards elections.