Dr. Nyerere Anyim, Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections, in this interview, speaks on his party as well as Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration, among other issues.
Abia APC has been operating in factions with each claiming to be the authentic leadership. What is the way forward for the party in the state?
APC started on a very sound footing in Abia and was the party to beat. On several occasions, the then government in power in the state didn’t want APC to see the light of the day. Wherever they gathered, our members were hounded across the state.
Why were they afraid? It was because they saw the capacity of the party to make things better for the people. We had intra-party squabble, which the then government in power masterminded and was too happy about. After we started having problems, they never attacked us again.
We have forgotten the past and made progress. Our people had realized their mistakes. Intra-party squabble is now a thing of the past. It was not an issue of ego, families do quarrel, but what is important is the ability to come together.
The APC in Abia is grateful to our National Chairman, John Oyegun, and his national working committee, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Dr. Chris Ngige, Chief Emma Eneukwu, George Moghalu, among other leaders for their support. I want to tell you that in Abia APC today, there is nothing like quarrel, the party is united. Notable people from all nooks and crannies of the state are now trooping into APC.
Don’t forget that Abia would have been the first beneficiary of this change era because the people were tired of PDP’s 16 years misrule. We have made up so that we won’t have any excuse not to win the Abia Government House in 2019. PDP had become jittery as a result of the eminent politicians joining APC in the state. I tell you that if an election were to be conducted today, we will thrash the PDP in Abia.
The APC in Abia appeared to be inactive after the 2015 general elections? Many people believe that APC is yet to fulfill its role as an opposition party in the state?
I disagree with that opinion; APC has been very active. We have been doing the much we can do, but I get worried when people talk about the opposition. The conception of opposition doesn’t mean noise-making; you join issues and criticize whether it is reasonable or not. In APC, we only comment when it is necessary, we discuss issues; not rumours and sentiments. On the first year anniversary of the administration, we made our feelings known. At least, I’m aware of four newspapers in which I spoke on the situation in Abia.
The state Chairman, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, and Publicity Secretary, Ben Godson, did same, among other party leaders. In my assessment, I said there is nothing new to expect from the PDP government that is not used to performance. What are you expecting from them within a year? They have been in power for 16 years, yet Abia is in a state of decay. Unless they accept that they failed for 16 years and embrace the change mantra, that’s when they will have a vision to do something meaningful for the people. By their fruits, we shall know them. The present administration is an extension of the one that was in power for 16 years, you can’t expect much from what it had been from the beginning.
Is the APC not impressed with on-going rehabilitation of roads in Aba and other parts of the state?
It is a statement of fact that some roads in Aba are being given facelift they never had in 16 years. APC acknowledges it, but the issue remains, is it enough to start celebrating the way they are doing? It is just like a drop in the ocean. What is the percentage of what he has done to the massive infrastructural neglect and decay in Aba and other parts of the state in view of the rot caused by his party?
People don’t need to praise Ikpeazu that he has done well. Yes, drainages are being built, few roads are being asphalted, but this is just a scratch on the surface. The PDP messed up Abia for 16 years. It is not only Aba, if you visit Arochukwu, Nkporo, Isuikwuato, Ikwuano, Ukwa East and Ukwa West areas, you will be forced to ask if they are still part of Abia. Abia is in a mess, the rot left by the PDP is not hidden. Between Aba and Ikot Ekpene, there is no road, the same with Port Harcourt road and Opobo -Azumini road; though they are federal roads, it is Abia people who suffer the disrepair.
The inglorious Ukwu Mango area which they celebrated with too much fanfare has gone bad. Look at Faulks, Obohia, Uratta, Ohanku, Ngwa, Omuma, Osusu roads and the Ariaria market roads. The late Sam Mbakwe cried out when Aba was in a deplorable condition in the 1980s and was called the weeping governor. He wasn’t in the same party with the centre Ikpeazu should take a cue from him. Our desire is to make Abia a better place. If they consider it necessary to inquire from the APC what they don’t know, we will gladly render assistance.
If it were in a society where governance is run with free mind, they would have approached the APC to seek help for the good of the people. But here, government runs like a cult whether they are doing right or wrong. Ikpeazu is yet to touch the areas that needs urgent attention in Aba; a proactive government would have prioritized its projects and in a scale of preference, take the most important ones first. In terms of funding, what we have been looking for in Abuja can be found at home. Look at our abundant human and natural resources; Abia can be turned into gold.
The idea of waiting for monthly federal allocations has made governors lazy. They now wait for Abuja for all our needs; it has become a distraction to our governors when they have several areas they can generate funds from. Governors have abandoned potential revenue earners in their states for federal allocations.
Although some of the governors have been creative in managing their states, others are lazy and ought to sit up. The fall in oil price is just a warning, what did they do with the earnings when a barrel of oil sold above 100 Dollars? They should think out of the box to generate revenue to run their states and reduce this over dependence on Abuja.