Dr Sam Amadi is a former Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and a governorship aspirant in Imo State under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In this interview with our correspondent, ABBANOBI EKU-ONYEKA, he believes that Imo state needs total excavation and rebuilding. Excerpts:
Imo politics is believed to be dominated by money bags, what are your chances
This is not the issue of money bags and the system isn’t dominated by the money bags, it is all about the people and whoever the people chooses. So if they vote rightly or wrongly, that is the outcome. But politics is about the people, not about misconception being caused by the belief in money bags. The idea of money bags is wrong, because Imo politics is for successful businessmen and professionals. Mbakwe and Achike Udenwa were professionals. Okorocha and Ohakim are successful and high profiled business men. So, credible candidates will always get their way, if they appeal to people. It is not about money bags, but about genuine politics.
There has been an outcry against the APC government in Imo State. What exactly are you going to do differently from this government
The first thing is, how does the government come to play and what does it do? If you provided people a plan and you also thought of a plan of governing when you come to power, all things being equal, you implement that plan. However, there is this philosophy that says no war ends exactly on the plan which it was designed, but it ends close to the plan.
First and foremost, we have a plan. The present government does not have a plan, but it has sangs a lot of songs and has skills to mobilize the people. Imo today represents the apogee of planlessness. Look at the infrastructures, you find out that the roads are nothing to talk about. If you go to Owerri, you see roads being opened here and there and half of them are in slumps and debris; houses being demolished and traffics being worse than what it used to be. The real motor able roars are narrow. If you go to Owerri, what you see is acute lack of sense of order, strategies and plan. You won’t understand if they are trying to create industrial or commercial city or human capital or manage the economy.
The difference is about governance and we are thinking about governance, not about unending politics of organising conferences everyday; manufacturing all kinds of slang People are tired of being addressed on different topics without solutions to them. I want to tell you that there is no governance in Imo. So the difference is that we want to come up with governance by involving experts, because there are too many Imo people who are knowledgeable and skilled about so many things.
We have a agenda of prosperity, wealth creation, among others. I believe in Biafra: economic Biafra; the Biafra that is based on maximising the human capital and entrepreneurship of Ndigbo, the hard work, the resources we have, both natural and human and creating economic prosperity. We saw it with M.I. Okpara in 1960 when the eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in the world, built around plantation – agro reform. We saw it with Sam Mbakwe when old Imo was the most industrializing state in Nigeria through Adda palm and all kinds of industries. We are basically talking about Imo dedicated to creating wealth through enterprise, building agro industries. We want to implement agrarian revolution without tears as canvassed by my uncle, Late Dr Nnanna Ukaegbu and that was what the Asian tigers: Japan, China, Korea that grew by reforming agriculture did. We shall leverage on our agricultural potentials to create industrial take-off. The new Imo under our plan will be entrepreneurial governance. We shall run free and qualitative education in which anybody who can’t afford it will have his children in school from primary to secondary schools. There is no need to put children under fallen trees and open roof in the name of free education.
Are you saying that the free education in Imo is not qualitative?
Yes! It is not qualitative. How many teachers are paid? In order to meet up, the teachers engage in trades such as selling of cloths, among others during the school hours. The features of quality education include, qualitative and effective curriculum reform; adequate payment of teachers’ salaries; and their retraining. In tertiary institution, we shall encourage building of private universities in the South east through land grants and fiscal support and designate state ones as centres of excellence through global partnership, we raise their standards. So we shall focus mostly in primary and secondary education where government will spend money and use incentives to attract more investments in tertiary one.
It is one thing to make promises and another to fulfil them, could you tell us the promises you made and fulfilled?
It is not about fulfillment of promises, but about what you have done. When I was in the NERC, I was the first to declare for Freedom of Information (FoI), Bill, now Law. I was the first to comply to Public Procurement and I got an award. My promises in NERC, I kept. within my two year in NERC, I took the Commission out of public budget and relied on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and our success was as a result of effective management of resources. I was the first Chief Executive to refuse flying first class and made all the commissioners know my reasons and people in the AEDC I was supervising used first class. The difference between first class and business class is about N1 million and think of about an agency on the average, where about 10, 15 people may fly out of the country four times in a month. Do you know how much you are saving?. That is why when I became Chairman of NERC, I established the best mortgage policy for the staff and everybody in NERC had a house. I put in over N2 billion to fund the house and that is why they said NERC staff were not corrupt. They had good remuneration and moved into nine story building which they mortgaged; no loan or debt. When I came to NERC, there were no zonal offices and I opened them. In OwerrI, Imo, we purchased about 146 buildings with value for money. So what we are talking about is prudent management of public and human resources.
Talking about guber aspirants in Imo at the moment, the APC doesn’t have good aspirants; the PDP has only two people who are in my opinion not good for governorship; in APGA, there are only two or three who could be Governor, because they are the people who can take the state far away from where Rochas dumped it. So, there are many aspirants and few credible ones. What Imo needs now is total excavation and rebuilding .