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APC is the party to beat in Anambra guber election –Okafor

Engr. Emeka Okafor is the running mate to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the November 6, gubernatorial election in Anambra State, Senator Andy Uba. In this interview with OKEY MADUFORO, he speaks on the chances of his party in the poll, among other issues

A lot of people still have the opinion that Senator Andy Uba does not deserve the ticket of your party. What is your view on the assumption?

First of all, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a political party that has a process of nominating its candidates for elections, and for the Anambra governorship, the party opted for the direct primary election which is in line with its constitution. The party has another form of nominating its candidates; that is through the delegates’ primary election like it did four years ago. The direct primary election is like a general election were all card carrying members cast their votes.

That was exactly what the party did. Granted that there is no perfect situation, and in some areas, there may have been hick-ups but that does not mean that there was no primary election on that day and people are free to comment on the conduct of the exercise either positively or negativity.

But it is good and instructive to point out that primary election is an internal business of the party and the party’s decision is supreme. So, with the endorsement of Senator Andy Uba by the party’s leadership and President Muhammadu Buhari, all issues have been laid to rest. We are more concerned about giving our people good leadership and ensuring that the mandate of Anambra people that would be given to us in November is respected.

You are too sure of victory in the coming election; what informed that conviction?

The difference is very clear. Our party has been able to interface with the Anambra electorate in the last six to seven years under the leadership of President Buhari and there are evidences to prove that. All abandoned Federal Government projects in Anambra State are almost completed and you can name them one after the other. We had a programme called NPower which our people benefited from and are still benefiting even as a lot of Anambra people have been gainfully employed by the federal government and more are being employed. The business community is not left out in this because on four or five occasions, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo had visited Anambra State to encourage the businessmen and industrialists and the Agu Awka Power Plant received a boost recently and power supply in Anambra State has improved greatly.
You remember the TraderMoni that was given to petty traders as well as MarketMoni to poor market women in the state. You also know that in the Federal Executive Council, Anambra State has the highest number of appointments with two ministerial appointments. The MD/ CEO National Inland Water Ways Authority (NIWA) is from Anambra State. If you go to Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), you will see Anambra people and when you compare it with other states in the South-East, you will discover that Anambra has gained more and all these appointments have multiplayer effects on the electorate.

Do you see APC defeating the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) that has been the ruling party in Anambra State for almost 16 years?

It is not how far but how well. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in power for more than that number of years at the centre but they lost to the APC. Those years of leadership should have made the PDP to still remain in power up till now. So, it is not how far but how well. Look at our road network and tell me if APGA deserves to be reelected. Where is the infrastructure that the party promised Anambra people? The party only relishes in grandstanding with so much noise about what they claim to have done, but when you do a check, you will see that it is more of flash on the pan with no substance.

A majority of Anambra people have their reservations about APC in view of the killings by Fulani herdsmen. Won’t this perception of your party affect its chances in the election?

The security situation in the country is being addressed gradually and the situation is even worse in the North though this is not any reason for what is happening here. However, you can agree with me that every state governor is the Chief Security Officer of his state and the governors swore to protect lives and property and they also receive security votes to perform their duties. So, it is not a question of blaming the APC government at the center. We also have PDP governors, who are facing similarly situations including the APC governors and efforts are being made to nip the perpetrators on the bud. You also know of the recent exploits of the federal government in the fight against insecurity which is commendable.

Your candidate seems to have issues to settle when it has to do with his alleged role in the ugly event of the kidnap of a sitting governor and attack on government facilities?

You see; a good striker in a football match gets all the tackles because he is good. That explains why everyone is after Senator Uba. Other candidates are afraid of Uba because he is the best and he is on ground. Since he emerged as the candidate of the APC, a lot of people have dumped their former parties to join the APC. Today, the party has six state Assembly seats with more to join. Anambra has an APC senator and a lot of top members of other parties are now with us yet some people claim that Anambra people don’t like the party. This is propaganda of the PDP and APGA and other parties. The mass defection to the APC is an indication that our candidate is on ground and that our party is loved by Anambra people. On the issue of mayhem and kidnap of a sitting governor, you are a journalist as it were and you can answer the question yourself. Senator Uba as at then was an aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abuja and could not have had the time to plot anything. Secondly, the Justice IKeazo-led panel of inquiry into the mayhem did not mention the name of Senator Andy Uba in its report neither was he indicted. During the mayhem, Senator Uba was not seen burning down anything and no one reported him to the police. So, at what point did he become an arsonist? This is a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it and that is why they are doing everything possible to blackmail and ruin his image and reputation because of election. This is a kind of hate speech and there is a law against it in Nigeria. It is rumours about what happened but no one has come out openly to clearly say that in writing. All they do is to hide and cover their mouths and say what they like.

How would you react to the claim that APC’s belief that it will the election, gives credence to allegations that the results have been written before the election?

That is not true. These are the antics of those who did not prepare well for the election. It is unfortunate that in this modern world of information technology, people are talking about writing results. The Independent National Electoral Commission (IÑEC) is talking about electronic transmission of election results, while some people are still dwelling in the past. Our party has been campaigning and reaching out to the electorate and every stakeholder in Anambra state and the responses have been great. That explains why we are optimistic about the election and not writing the results. How are you sure that those accusing us of trying to write the results are not planning to do so and they are making a diversion by accusing us.

Back to the issue of defectors, we learnt that so much money is being spent to lure members of other parties to join APC?

How much can you spend on buying people? How many people are you going to buy? Everything is not money; people have seen the light and they are following the light and going out of darkness. These parties are losing grip of membership and they are no longer comfortable with what is happening, so they now brought this allegations of buying people. Please if these parties are not ready for the election, they should withdraw from the race and stop wasting people’s time with all these allegations.

There are pending cases at the court challenging the primary election of your party, are you comfortable with that?

This is democracy and the law gives room for anyone to go to court but I cannot talk about it because it is subjudice.

Some members of your party are not happy over what they term as imposing of new members on the campaign organization. What is your take on that?

APC is a very big party and has enough room to accommodate everyone and the new members should be given a sense of belonging and a soft landing. They are now members of our party and you have to integrate them into the party. Those complaining are doing so merely to shake the table and that is politics of interest. However, every member of the party has a role to play in the election campaigns, so there is no need for protest.

What would Anambra people expect from Senator Andy Uba if becomes governor?

Good governance! Taking governance to the grassroots; giving governance a human face. We have a good and workable programme in the areas of health care, water supply, quality education and job creation, among others.

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