Senator Annie Okonkwo represented Anambra Central in the Sixth Senate. He is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governorship aspirant in Anambra. In this interview, he said the South-East would not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 because of unfulfilled promises. He also, among others, said the other zones of Anambra State would not surrender the governorship to Anambra North without a fight.
On whether All Progressives Congress (APC) would provide the needed alternative
If we want this country to survive, we need a party like APC that would compete with PDP, a party that will give people the opportunity to have an option instead of creating doubt in people that after voting for their choice party, the party will not win. Majority of us that left PDP were not satisfied with their conduct.
We would have decamped long ago but there was no alternative platform and when APC was introduced, we decamped immediately. APC was formed in order to rescue the people and the country from PDP’s undemocratic way of leadership. No party can rule forever, we need to try APC since PDP has failed. They don’t think of the welfare of the people, they don’t think about how to provide security for the people, all they are thinking about is themselves.
On perception of APC as Yoruba/Hausa party and fear that the Igbo would be marginalised in the party
That perception is wrong because APC is not a Hausa/Yoruba party. We, the people of the South-East observed that the only political party where the Igbo will have a say and ample opportunity to actualize their presidential ambition is in the APC. Don’t forget that I am the President of C21, a socio-political group that is seriously advocating for the emergence of a President of Igbo extraction. With the signatory of the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and with the support of C21, APC has become a recognised national party and every position will be shared equally. The focus point of APC is internal democracy and I am very optimistic that an Igbo man will emerge as the presidential candidate of APC in 2015.
His assessment of President Goodluck Jonathan in terms of infrastructural development
Now, we have not seen tangible things that we can point at as what he has offered the South East. Starting from the dredging of the River Niger, nothing has happened, construction of second Niger bridge, the roads that lead to the East or that are in the East are still in terrible condition. The other time they came in to say they have commissioned Akanu Ibiam International Airport, nothing is there, and we are now going into the final stage of the race.
I do not see anybody that will come and tell me that the promises have been kept. South East has suffered for this government and we cannot boast of anything that will give us hope or convince us that the South-East will be taken care off. If they have not done anything before now the probability of trusting them that they will do something is very slim and dangerous. We cannot be asked to continue with this government; yes Ndigbo as far as I am concerned will not accept promises that have not been kept. So we are looking for an alternative that we are sure will keep promises.
On unfolding events in Anambra ahead the 2014 governorship election
Things have started happening in Anambra because the election is six months down the line. Our concern is to ensure that APC captures the state. Anambra election will be the first test for APC. Presently in Anambra, the two political parties, PDP and APGA that can compete with APC are having serious crises. With the way things are going in the state, it will be very difficult for any party to beat APC. APC will win the election.
On his chances of emerging as APC governorship candidate in Anambra
Forget about the people coming out, at the end of the day the party will produce only one candidate. APC believe in internal democracy and not where you impose candidate on the people. It is the people that will decide their candidate but if they think I am not the best candidate to carry the flag, anybody the people elect, I will support the person. I am not a neophyte in politics. I have been in Anambra politics for over 20 years and the people know me too well. I have been able to positively affect lives in the state.
Because of my achievement, recently, some group of people without my knowledge went and wrote 100 reasons they want me to become the governor.
On agitation of the People of Anambra North for power shift
Since the creation of Anambra there was never a time that the people of Anambra State sat down and discussed zoning. In all the elections that took place in Anambra, the North, the South and the Central participated. So I don’t see the reason they will come out now and be saying that it is their turn. If they present a credible candidate, no party will deny them of the mandate but if it is leaving the election open for the people of the North it is not possible and it has never been done anywhere. The present governor is from the Central but I don’t see anything special that people of the district have benefited. So the most important thing is to elect somebody that has the people at heart.