Recently there was a supplementary election in two Federal Constituencies which produced victory for the Young Progressives Party (YPP). The leader of the party and Senator representing Anambra South District, Sen Ifeanyi Ubah, speaks with OKEY MADUFORO on the outcome of the polls and his vision for Anambra State come 2025 gubernatorial election
How do you feel about the last two elections in Orumba and Nnewi Federal Constituencies?
It is a well-deserved victory for the party because we actually worked hard for it. Don’t forget that it was a rerun and we needed to add the figures of the main election to the one from the supplementary elections to arrive at a final result. We mobilised and made last minute campaigns to our electorate and you know that the incumbent party in Awka, the state capital, had candidates for those elections and it was an up-hill task for us in the party going to battle with the party in power. However, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as a party came prepared, and they came with all their arsenal to make sure that they deliver their candidates, but we had our plans too and to the glory of God we defeated them.
I did not step out of my house to anywhere because it would have been a trap for me and if I had done that they would accuse me of going about to influence the process, though top government officials were everywhere, moving from place to place to make sure that the APGA candidates won the election. But for me I had laid down my plans and you know that I am a veteran of elections, so I did not need to be moving about.
What exactly were the strategies that you made that gave your party victory?
Well, all those plans are history now because we won. This is Nnewi and I am from Nnewi and this is my home. I had to make a strong statement that I am in charge here. I have done so much for my people and I am still doing for them. My people love me and I love them. As a politician you must at all times oil your structure and always interface with your people, so that when election time comes you do not need to waste much energy going for their support or for their vote. In Orumba North and South federal Constituencies it was the same thing and don’t forget I am representing Anambra South Senatorial District and Orumba North and South belong to my Senatorial District and the incident legislator is from my party. So, what do you expect? Some people come into politics and do not appreciate the challenges and expectations from them. I am not an academic professor but a street political professor and I have always been in the streets even be- fore I ventured into politics proper. So that is the magic.
We learnt that you have ambition for the governorship election in Anambra state under APC, why another party instead of YPP?
I single-handedly midwifed the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and produced members of the state House of Assembly, members of the National Assembly including winning the Senatorial District election back-to-back. That is a great milage for me and the YPP politically and I want to replicate the same in the All Progressives Congress (APC). There is the need for us to connect to the center and be part of the national discuss and have a voice in the politics and governance of the country. That doesn’t mean that the YPP will close shop after all their other political parties that are still existing and waxing strong still have alliance with the leading political parties so there is nothing to fear about in the case of the YPP.
The APC in Anambra State has this nag for producing controversial primary election results and sometimes candidates do not emerge. How are you going to overcome this?
I believe that the national leadership of the APC is desirous to hold a free and fair primary election in Anambra State and I see them keeping to that. The party knows that I have the capacity to deliver and I will deliver based on my track records of achievements in the po- l i t i c a l s p a c e and if I emerge as the candidate of the party the APC should consider the fact that the party has won the election at least 50 per cent. I have been talking with the lead- ership of the party and the discussions have been far reaching so far and they know that my membership is to a large extent an advantage for the party. This is because the APC does not need to spend so much trying to introduce me because Anambra people know who Sen Ifeanyi Ubah is and what I have brought to the state in many ways.
But some old members of APC are lamenting about the division in the party since you joined?
A political party has an open door and p e o p l e are free to come in or go o u t but I don’t s e e t h a t division. Politics is all about the people and it is a game for people to play. And when you come into a political party you are coming in to help and build the party to greater heights and that is what I have come to APC to do. A party that needs to win an election in Anambra State needs people that are grounded in the game of politics and the party has to make use of them to achieve success. You don’t go into a party empty handed and expect the party to win, and I can assure you and the APC that if I emerge as c a n d i d a t e and ultimately become governor of Anambra State the usual 300,000 votes or so at every general election would be an old story because the narrative would surely change.
I can guarantee President Ahmed Bola Tinubu that he would get at least 500,000 votes or so and also join hands to deliver the APC in the other four states of the South-East. Of course, you know what that means for us in the South-East geopolitical zone when it comes to the provision of the dividend of governance. We cannot continue to play the lone ranger status again because we have been losing a lot from the center due to the kind of politics that we play at every general election. Despite the way we see the APC, the party since the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari the South-East has gained so much from the party and is still gaining, yet we fail to give it support. Every election we talk about marginalisation yet we get better attention than other geopolitical zones so it is time to change the narrative and the time is now.
But the country has witnessed a lot of challenges under the APC such as the high exchange rate of the Dollar and the cost of commodities like cement?
I have done it before in the petroleum sector even when I was not a senator and it worked and the prices fell and our people were happy. We need a legal framework to protect forex and that is what the government can do to show transparency. There is the need to look into our forex market because every money that comes out of the Central Bank of Nigeria that is meant for importation and those that need them don’t go to the real importers and eighty per cent of that money go into wrong hands. In the case of the exchange rate of Dollar to Naira, just give me 30 days and I will bring down the exchange rate to N800.00 per Dollar.
If the government can set up a parallel line at N700.00 per Dollar it will not go beyond N720.00 or N730.00 per Dollar, because the people involved know what they are making from the present circumstances and they are those eating deep from the Federal Government. Why would you come and give somebody money and you don’t have a backend cheque? And because of that they keep having a field day and using the money to enrich themselves. Let us abolish the monopoly in the business of producing cement in Nigeria because it is that monopoly that is causing the hike in the cost of cement.
Only one person cannot answer to the cement needs of all the Nigerians and we all know that we have enough lime stone in this country and if you is- sue licenses to small and medium scale industries it would make for competition and the cost of cement would drop drastically. We have limestone in Ebony, Sokoto and Edo states just to mention but a few and when you give these Small and Medium Scale Industries the approval to operate those firms the monopoly would be eradicated and the price would ultimately go down.