Barrister Chima Anozie was the first aspirant to pick his expression of interest and nomination forms at the APC national secretariat to contest for the much talked about Imo governorship ticket. Upon the return of his completed form, the governorship hopeful talked select journalists on why he is in the race, despite an open endorsement of Uche Nwosu by the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha as his successor. EZEOCHA NZEH was there for The AUTHORITY
What informed your decision to throw your heart into the ring for Imo State APC governorship ticket, despite all the reports of the governors endorsement of his son in – law for the seat
I would say it is a divine mandate. Again, the issue of zoning system in Imo State, which the present administration wants to thwart against the wishes of the people. I feel that it is right to tell him that he cannot take away or rubbish what the Imo elders who lived before him wisely agreed on, which has also been in practice and implemented before they came on board. It is not possible that one particular zone will rule Imo for 24 years. Are there no other Imolites? Orlu zone has ruled Imo for 16 years, and now, Governor Rochas Okorocha wants to impose his son in – law on Imo people for another eight years. The law say that he who wants to go to equity will go with clean hands. There is a Charter of Equity, duly signed by Imo leaders and elders, some of them are dead and we must respect that Charter
However, I am not running because I am from Owerri, No. After all I am not going to govern only Owerri, and only Owerri zone cannot make one Governor. I am running because I have sat down and have seen so many anomalies going on in our State. I believe that it is time to put things right in Imo. So I have offered myself to correct such damming anomalies that have taken us far backwards in Imo State.
One wonders how you could actualize this noble intension, looking at the fact the Governor who has not hidden his support for his in – law controls the party structure in your State and as against the directives of the National leadership, the Imo APC had adopted indirect primary. How would you convince the delegates, who no doubt will be handpicked by the governor?
You see, we don’t have any structure for now. Nobody can claim to control any structure of APC in Imo State because the matter is still in Court. We have two factions of APC in Imo State, the Eke and Dan Nwafor factions. The case is an ill wind that no person knows where it will blow. The matter can only be settled by the Court. This can also reach to the Supreme Court for the final judgement. Talking about adoption of indirect primary, they are claiming it was agreed upon at a stakeholders meeting. I ask who are the stakeholders in Imo APC? I was not at that meeting, I am an aspirant, I cannot pay N22.5m to contest the governorship position of a party, and I would not be considered a stakeholder. Is it possible? One who calls himself a party chairman will not impose it on me. We have opted for a direct primary as directed by the National leadership of APC. Politics is about the people. Let us come out and meet our people, those who we are set to represent their interest. Who is afraid of direct primary here? They are the ones that will send us to represent them. Let us test our credibility before them. Also I am not afraid of issue of the so called delegates also let us know who they are. We have the list of the list of delegates based on the last congress of APC. That is also what INEC has because we got the list from them. So we know all their plans in Imo, but they will not succeed. I am not bothered by his so called structure because he is just deceiving himself. The so called structure are there to collect their share of the money and land, they are free, it is Imo money and the governor has a lot to throw about. But what he is doing is affecting the State economy. For example, workers are being owed salary, but the governor has enough money to throw about in the name controlling a political structure.
But the governors in – law seems to have been endorse by several communities even in Owerri zone, he recently received citizenship award by an Owerri community, also he was recently given a highly referred Chieftaincy title by a combined team of traditional rulers from three Local government areas in Owerri zone, all targeted at the governorship race
Definitely he must fail in Owerri zone. No doubt about that, those public outings is mere jamboree. I am not a Chief and I don’t intend to be. Those things cannot vote him. I am only a Church warden. I am not bothered. I learnt they spent about N27m to get the Chieftaincy title, yes, that is Imo money, the people who were also given the money are Imo people, let them take it, it is our money, not from their personal sweat or purse, He went to Umuoyima in Owerri Municipal, where he was adopted as a citizen, all these are mere jamboree that cannot change the narratives in this election.
All the so called endorsements from Imo communities were sponsored by Rochas, after he had lied before the federal government and APC National leadership that he has not endorsed Uche Nwosu. He returned home and started the so called endorsement visits by communities with Imo peoples’ money, where he now said that it is the people that said they wanted his son in – law. Do not forget that all the Imo House of Assembly members and party Local government chairmen that refused to be part of that charade called endorsement were suspended till this moment. He collected their vehicle back. Also those that signed were given Land allocation papers in Owerri. These are forced endorsement that is not democratic. I told them to come to seek my son’s endorsement, I will urge him to endorse Uche Nwosu and collect our own share of the money and land, because that will not change anything. Let them carry them on the face and carry me in mind. If they are sure of themselves, let us try our strength and popularity with the people in a direct primary.
You have just said that he has been spending Imo money for the election, using the State treasury, One would now wonder how financially prepared you are to compete with them for the APC ticket
Yes I cannot challenge him with money. He is sitting governor, controlling the State treasury, there is no way I can challenge him with my hard earned money. But money is not everything. There are many things that gives nm=me courage in the battle. In 2011, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim was a sitting governor, with his power of incumbency, his federal might, what happened. People are now wise. It’s obvious he is not spending Imo money wisely.
Some people will also ask why the choice of APC to redeem Imo people, giving the fact that the party is not much popular in the South East?
Now people are wiser. I disagree with you; APC is very popular in the South East. But outside that, I think what are people are looking at now is the person, not the party. For example, a certain governor in a political party may be doing well in Ebonyi, but another individual in the same political party may not be doing well in another State, so it is not about the political party, but the individual involved. You also know that the only party that can guarantee an Igbo presidency in 2003 is the APC. That is why wise Igbo people are teaming up with that agenda. No other party.
Back to Imo APC, it is obvious that the are two faction of the party in Imo, the Coalition and the “Agburu anyi” factions, which of them do you belong to?
When the founded the Coalition and the “Agburu anyi” factions, I carefully remained neutral. I told them that my faction is the APC, which is the party. I align myself to where we have equity and justice.
I feel that the Coalition group are fighting a just cause, but I am not part of them. Members of the “Agburu anyi” group are only afraid of the wraths of Okorocha. That has made them to become nocturnal politicians. They only identify with you in the night because of fear. They are not even happy with what is going on, but because they want to keep their jobs.
It is believed in some quarters that Governor Okorocha has de marketed APC in the South East. Are you not concerned that such may affect who ever emerges the APC candidate in the zone, no matter how good he may be?
Yes, with Rochas and his in –law, APC has no place in the South East. But with the faces of other note able stakeholders like me, and others, we have a future in the party. I am ready to support any other Owerri man who could be adjudged better than me. I will rebrand all my vehicles for the person and also contribute to his campaign fund. This is because I am for Owerri mandate. So the whole thing will change if APC gives an Owerri man the ticket. Especially, the Owerri Municipal and Ngor Okpala, who have remained marginalized in the distribution of political offices in Imo State. I am a party man. In 2011, I branded my entire vehicle with Buhari, even when I never contested for any position, then nobody in the South East, including the present governor believed in him. In all Okorocha’s campaign vehicle, there was no trace of Buhari. I campaigned for him and he won in my ward. So I believe in APC