…Urges APC to zone governorship to Anambra South
Chief Modestus Umenzekwe (Onwa Achina) a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost his mother to the cold hand of death recently, he spoke on life and time of his mother and what he will miss about his mother. In this interview with CYRIACUS NNAJI in Lagos, Umenzekwe, as a critical stakeholder in Anambra politics used the opportunity to advise his party on zoning.
Let’s meet you again, in case you have added some other titles
I am not here to collect titles, but I am here to do the work of God and champion human evangelism.
You lost your mother to the cold hand of death, when did this happen?”
In as much as death is a necessary end which will come when it will according to Julius Caesar, my beloved mother passed on on the night of 2nd March, 2021, about three hours after she had telephone discussion with me.
Your mother looked so healthy until her death, at 85, what was the magic?
One is that it is God that manages health, all this medical attention, this and that depends on God. But be that as it may, myself and my family took a very firm decision to handle her properly, give her adequate medical care, place her on a very good diet; we tried as much as possible to remove stress from her, and engage her in physical exercise, engage her on trekking exercise and all that, for about, say, one hour or two hours about three times a week depending on her disposition.
And again she loved music, she was a member of the Catholic Choir, each time she was free she would be singing one music or the other, nothing bothered her, no matter how difficult a situation was, she would always tell you what would be would be, even if there was earthquake she would tell you God knows about this thing, why are you stressing yourself? She would say, if you have money fine, if you don’t have money, relax, whatever you see in a day, take it, and her philosophy which I have adopted is if your desirable is not available, make use of the available and love the situation the way it is. So that was the magic.
What kind of person was mama, you have touched on this but it is a question of its own?
Mama was a no nonsense woman, in as much as she didn’t acquire formal education, she loved education, that was why she enrolled into primary education at her very old age and managed to finish Primary Two before domestic issues truncated that programme. She used to be the rallying point of our community, she always spoke her mind, she was a disciplinarian, and she liked being neat. She didn’t like dull moments, and she talked and told you whatever she wanted to tell you whether you are angry or not, as far as she had made up her mind to talk to you, she would talk to you.
And again Mama could really cook. I missed her delicious delicacies. All those traditional food that are known in Igbo land, like the one they call ede mbieri, ofe olugbu, ndudu, achicha, akidi, ukwua, Indian cocoa yam and all that, she was good in all that and she used to eat them a lot, it was even one of those things that sustained her and we placed her on some food supplements.
In what ways are you going to miss Mama?
I will miss her prayers. Each time she saw me in the village, my children or my wife, the first thing she would do was to kneel down and start singing praises to God. Her welcome was always kneeling down and singing praises to God and that touched me a lot, I will miss that so dearly. And her word of advice, she would ask me how are you doing in Lagos? What of your business, you are a politician, how are you getting on. So her advice, I will miss that so much and she is no more there to keep the house very well, because we see women around her and once I was in the village more women would come, she would be giving them whatever she had and all that, so that motherly care is completely lost.
What roles did your mother play at community level during her lifetime?
My mother was a community leader, she led her age grade, she was a founding member of the Egedege Dance of our people, a prominent member of Catholic Women Organisation (CMO), a firm believer in the efficacy of the Holy Rosary, to the extent that she had the Holy Rosary in her hand and passed on. She was also a member of the Catholic Choir, the parish Choir, Deanery Choir and Diocesan Choir. And above all she was a business woman, she was dealing in fabrics, combined it with farm work and domestic engagements. She assisted the husband in taking care of the family and taking care of herself.
Now a little of politics, the timetable for the primaries towards the Anambra Governorship election has been released, what are we expecting from your party, APC?
We are expecting a person with integrity, a person with capacity, a person that is known, a person who can draw people from Northeast, Northwest, North Central, Southwest, South-South, Southeast, and even beyond this country. The person must be properly connected, somebody that knows this country very well. Somebody that has gathered experience in governance, we don’t want a push over; we don’t want somebody that hasn’t even got the capacity to run for governorship election because you are contending with other parties. It is going to be a very big battle, not battle with gun or machete or whatever, but political battle with PDP and APGA, so we have to get somebody that is neat, that even hasn’t gotten any dent at all, but has capacity to lead us and with that we are good to go.
Looking at the number of aspirants, I read that about 30 persons and still counting, just for the governorship of Anambra…
Is it in APC or all of them?
All of them, now is this number not going to cause confusion?
What confusion are they causing? It can’t cause confusion to the best of my knowledge, because all of them are going to go into primaries, whoever that emerges, others will support. That is the way it should be. The number doesn’t really matter; it gives us room to actually choose so you don’t accuse Mr A or Mr B of trying to hijack the process, so it is even better that way.
Now looking at the persons aspiring to be governor under APC who would you give your support?
It is the Primary that will determine that, they are going to the Primary. All the candidates in APC are qualified, very powerful and very clean candidates. I am proud with the array of candidates that have emerged in APC; yes I am proud of them.
Can we look at the issue of zoning, zoning has become germane in our political calculations, though not constitutional, is APC looking at zoning, in as much as in recent time APC has not produced governor for Anambra State, but having looked at the zones that have produced governors for Anambra, would you encourage APC to allow their candidate to emerge from a particular zone?
I don’t know yet, but as a person, as an individual I would advise our dear party to zone the governorship of Anambra State to Anambra South; I would advise them to do so, taking into consideration what you have said now, Anambra South has not had a fair share, in as much as it is not constitutional but let them zone it, but I don’t want it to be a do or die affair, because APC is a family, let them sit down and discuss it and extend hand of fellowship to all other zones, let them do it amicably and leave it for Anambra South.