Ahead of tomorrow’s elections of the Anambra State Towns People Association (ASTPA), a candidate for the post of president general, Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie, speaks on his plans if elected.
How will you project the culture of your state in FCT?
Even before I joined ASTPA, I was approached by the then PRO, Mr Nelson Ndefo, to draft the means of promoting our rich cultural heritage. That was in the maiden ASTPA Anambra Day brochure. I am a consultant on culture and tourism, so anything pertaining to culture is my familiar terrain. I recall that I wrote a classic on it, which I entitled, ‘Culture and Life’. It remains a masterpiece till date. At the end of that article, I recommended citing a museum at the Okija Shrine to boost tourism. Then was the height of the Okija shrine saga, and I knew that something positive could be woven around it.
Hence, my concern will be to promote our Anambra Day in Abuja to the next level. It has become a brand over the years. I recall that I also introduced the international community to the Anambra Day by inviting all key embassies to the 2015 and 2017 editions. Once I become PG, I will place it on the cultural calendar of the FCT and Nigeria. This will make it international. With my links with the PGs of all other Igbo speaking states, they will become key players in our events, which brings about the Igbo spirit. I will also bring back the international community, bring our host community and other states that wish to participate. These will be through direct contacts. Ndi Anambra will also be encouraged to invite more people to come and witness the event.
Plans are already underway to acquire a garden for the association for revenue generation. I visited the concerned authorities of the FCT administration, and the discussion was cordial. With its acquisition, I expect contributions by towns to reduce drastically.
How will you attract funds to the association if elected?
I will ensure that we do not depend only on contributions from towns to survive; or look up to the government for anything. I will use my network of friends and organizations to attract funds for ASTPA.
Any plan for the organization to acquire property if elected?
I will ensure that ASTPA acquires at least one property from which to be getting income. I have already made moves in this direction to be sure it is something that is within our reach. This I did because I do not make empty promises. When I was made chairman of Ukpor, I promised to buy them a land within one year in office. They did not believe it because I learnt it has been a subject for over 15 years. Moreover no much money was handed over to me. But I raised money and not only bought the land within one year, but fenced it, started building the security house and moved our meeting from my garden to that land. We met there for a whole year and did our end of year there. That land is in Zauda.
Do you plan to empower youths of your state in the FCT?
I am the chairman of ASTPA skills acquisition, and we were meeting regularly in preparation for the event in August or September 2020 before the lockdown. I will have this completed as PG. I will not only work towards youth empowerment but will fashion out ways of empowering ourselves. I will liaise with SMEDAN and other relevant agencies.
I have been doing members’ empowerment for over six years for my regional meeting (Umunuko) in Abuja. This alone made them refuse to allow any election for over 13 years now. As chairman of Ukpor Cooperative Society, we also started it but stopped because of difficulties in opening a separate account for it. I will develop on what we have done so far, and what our liaison officer has done on skills acquisition to give us something better. For the youths, we shall train and empower them. For ourselves, we shall fashion ways to empower or save funds for investments.
Aside empowerment, we shall also key into insurance policies. I will re-assess the insurance scheme started by ASTPA and encourage members to fully key into it. Towns with many members will also be encouraged to take up group insurance policies. Thank God we have insurance gurus in our midst. Also, I will hold annual or biannual town hall meetings of all Anambra indigenes for direct interactions. I will also make it easy for any Anambra indigene living in Abuja to send me complaints and suggestions any time for urgent attention.
What are plans towards settling myriads of disputes among communities of Anambra living in Abuja?
I will vigorously pursue the mending of fences for all towns in dispute, some of whom have two factions. This is very necessary for ASTPA to stay strong and united.
Any plan for retired Anambra civil servants residing in the FCT?
We will complement the work of our liaison office by attracting good things. Some Anambra people that are retired are assets to our state. We shall document them and see how government shall engage them positively in Awka or be recommended for federal appointments here. Likewise, we shall engage them and other serving ones to connect to agencies here that will be of benefit to us. We already started this few days ago. This will not be restricted to those coming to ASTPA or former ASTPA members. Towns should document such people and send to us for screening and action. In all, we plan to work with our state government. We shall be independent, but will strive to compliment government activities, both in Abuja and in Awka. We shall also call government to order when the interest of the masses is not protected in any of their actions or inactions.
Any plan to complete the Anambra house in Abuja?
As PG, I shall mediate and see to the completion of our building in the Central Area of Abuja. As acting PG three years ago, I took it up as a star project and made some progress. I am going to deploy my diplomacy and civil activism to ensure that work resumes on that house and that it is completed in record time. I brought up the matter the last time ASTPA executive visited our liaison officer after the lockdown. She said something was being done and promised to inform the state government that we asked again about the state of the house.