Interviews

ANAMBRA 2014: WHY I WANT TO BE GOVERNOR- The Sun Newspaper



In 2014, the tour of duty of Mr. Peter Obi would end and the people of Anambra would file out to elect a new governor. However, of all the three senatorial districts in the state, Anambra North is the only one yet to occupy the Government House. Alex Obiogbolu, medical doctor and founding member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is one of the contenders for the plum office believed the cause of justice and fair­ness can only be served if the zone is given a chance to occupy the plum office.

Many politicians are already warming up for the number one seat. But no known con­tender from Anambra North has indicated interest. Does it mean the zone has no quali­fied people?

Who determines "known contenders?" Every part of the state is filled with men and women who are capable of taking our state and the coun­try to greater heights. In Anambra North senato­rial zone, there are many intelligent, experi­enced, learned and capable leaders who have contributed and continue to contribute to the nation's growth and who can take our state to economic and social prosperity.

 

What alliances is your zone forming to ensure the rest of the zones support you?

That question is better channeled to the politi­cal and social leaders in our zone as I have been campaigning to all the 177 communities, 21 local government areas and three senatorial zones. My constituency is the 4.177 million peo­ple resident in Anambra State.

You may believe you have people but the rest of the state doesn't believe you. What do you think makes them think so?

Who are the rest of the state that believe that Anambra North lack capable persons to be gov­ernor of our state? Anambra State has a popula­tion of 4.18 million of which 1.2 million reside in the North zone. For a zone that has produced a former President of Nigeria, icons and national­ists, the Reverend Priest declared Saint, former senate president, former ambassadors, common­wealth athletes, sports icons, business moguls, it will be incorrect and deceitful for anyone or group to say there are no persons capable of run­ning the affairs of Anambra State.

 

I am yet to be told by anyone that our zone lacks capable hands. What parameters were used? Is it educa­tional background, cognate experience in public service and administration, physical stature or beauty, oratory skills, or financial capability to run an election? It is only when I understand the yardsticks people making these claims have employed that I can respond appropriately.

 

On the second part of the ques­tion, I am not unaware that some politicians and persons in their quest to score cheap political points, allege that the aspirants from Anambra North don't have the kind of money that others from other zones have, and therefore can't ever become Governor of Anambra State. You will note that I termed it allega­tion and cheap political points because this is the kind of vice and ill-thoughts we are trying to stamp out in this country. Some people seem to brag and intimidate others that the governorship of Anambra State is solely available to those that own billions of naira. This line of thought has riled our state and has continued to cast Anambra in bad light. It is unfortunate that some people would rather brag about the depth of their pocket than telling us about the range of their vision for the state. This is what has contin­ued to fuel corruption in Nigeria, that even the younger ones come into politics with the mind­set of being served than to serve, and to alleviate their own poverty than the poverty in the land.

Who are the prominent personalities in your zone you think can be thrown up?

There are many heroes and heroines on whose back the burden of this state have been placed. Many of them who, despite the insecurity, reside and do business in this state and pay their taxes. Therefore, in my mind, there are so many per­sonalities, many of whom carry the passion to lead the state as governor. However, there can be only one governor at any time, and persons like me have been offering our manifestos and cam­paigning to be given the opportunity to lead the state. We need to have a governor who will take his vision from "me" to "we" and beyond a one-man show. We need someone, who can mobilize and dele­gate responsibilities to others. It does not mat­ter how intelligent or experienced a leader is: if he is unable to achieve results through people, then he is not a leader.

 

The last time you contested, your zone did not back per­sons like Prof llochi Okafor or you. Don't you think this is one of your major challenges?

Again, this is one of the misrepresentations some people bandy around. Remember that we all have to first emerge from political parties before one can contest the governorship as stipulated by the Constitution. So, the issue of not getting support from our zone does not arise.

We are all witnesses to the fact that the party primary in 2010 in the PDP, which I belong was terminated midway by some persons who successfully frustrated the process.

I have always believed that thousands of our party members understand who carries their vision and passion for the development of the state and the peaceful growth of PDP; and I have never been angry with them or spiteful of my fellow members because I know that if they were given the opportunity to freely elect their candidate, that person who will get majority of their endorsement shall be me. This does not impugn on the ability of my fellow aspirants to be good governorship candidates. So, I would tell you that the major challenge for all of us is our party offering us more transparency as was done in Edo and Bayelsa states recently. Some may argue that these primaries where delegates went and cast their votes may not have met acceptable standards but were it to be done in Anambra State in 2013, it will be a miracle that will rejuvenate the party.

Some people say it doesn't really matter where the next governor comes from as long as he is good. What's your take on that?

 Agreed, but I go further to state two facts. The Constitution that binds us together states explic­itly in section 14 that Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice, wherein the composition of the govern­ment of the federation or any of it's agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character, thereby eschewing the predominance of persons from a particular section, tribe or ethnic area. Secondly, Article 7 sect 2c of the PDP Constitution makes it mandatory, not optional, that all without exception, elective and party offices shall be rotated and zoned also with the goal to achieve unity and peace in a multi-ethnic growing nation.

Therefore, as someone who believes in the rule of law, I subscribe to zoning and would apply it appropriately, otherwise you may be a govemor and appoint three commissioners from your local government in a ten-man cabinet under the guise of competence.

You came out before; will you come again now?

The vision and manifesto I have continued to propagate are yet to be delivered in my state. The present governor has tried his best and his beat is about to expire.There is a need to elect someone who can continue where others have stopped and fast-track development and growth. I dare state that any governor who can stimulate wider citizens participation in the affairs of governance and instill a sense of patriotism in our people would have laid the foundation to greatness for our state and people. Naturally, our state should be an investors delight and home to industries whose aim are always to stay close to distribu­tion hubs, but the reverse is the case because of insecurity and growing youths' restiveness. So, my belief is that our primary responsibility in government remains to provide security for lives and property and eradicate lack of basic needs. Security, Agriculture and Education hold the key to achieving rapid transformation of our state into a boisterous economy. I would continue to profess these and implement them when elected.

ANAMBRA 2010: WHY I WANT TO BE GOVERNOR- The Champion newspaper

 

Dr. Alex Obiogbolu is an aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next year's gubernatorial election in Anambra State. In this interaction with Senior Editors as guest on our pro­gramme 2010 ANAMBRA GUBER POLL, Dr. Obiog­bolu demonstrated a deep knowledge of events and indeed politics of the state

I am a medical doctor by profession. I attended Fountain Primary School in Lagos, and from there, I proceeded to King's College, Lagos. I did form one to upper six and my A level at King's College. I had the privilege of being appointed the school captain in King's College, a position which I think is today called Senior Prefect. From there, I went on to College of Medicine, University of Lagos, where I got my MBBS. Apart from the leadership training we had while in King's College, in medical school, I got involved in students unionism a lot. And I did that to international level. I was the National PRO of Nigerian Medical Students Association in my first year in medical school. By the following year (sub-clinical), I was elected president of the association. By my first clinical year, I was elected vice-president representing Africa in the international Association of Medical Students. I was there for two years and was sent for training preparatory to being elected President of the International Association of medical students; that was in 1986 in Austria. But rather I choseto give European nations my support and bargained that we hold the general Assembly in Nigeria, because my belief was that if I became the International president, I would have little to do for Nigeria, but if I succeeded in bringing the entire world medical students to Nigeria, not only will I portray Nigeria in good light, but will also leave a legacy that would stand to my credit forever. So, that bargain succeeded and in 1988 we hosted the General Assembly, and I was given a letter of recommendation by Babangida's government. And after that, I went to serve in Sokoto State and set up a cottage clinic at Ileila, a border town at Sokoto. I was -being called the missionary doctor by the custom, immigration and police officers who could not believe that somebody of my type will like to come to a place like that. So, I was there until December 1991 when I joined politics. I felt I needed to go back home and participate in politics. I had never lived in the East before then. I don't think then I was very fluent in Igbo, having spent all my life in Lagos. But today, I have remained there. My mother is a retired teacher. She taught in several schools in Lagos State. My father is a retired banker. They were part of those who started ACB(African Continental Bank). I have six siblings. None of them is a politician. They are all engaged in the normal quiet life of ordinary Nigerian, trying to contribute to the society. I come from Onitsha. That is my native home.

You are running for the governorship of Anambra State, What mission and vision do you have for the state?

 

I have been involved in politics of Anambra state for the past 18years and I have served in different civilian administrations right from the time of Chukwu-emeka Ezeife to Chris Ngige. And I would not share the view that Anambra is a failed state as has become the new diction in our lexicon in Anambra State. I would rather say that we are not where we ought to be. Having journeyed from August 27 1991 to date, I think we have only made some marginal movements, but far from being where we ought to be. Yet, I wouldn't agree

that we are a failed state. This is because in my belief, part of the problem has been the innate nature of the average Igboman and in particular, Anambra man. The Anambra man is somebody who is educated and is republican by nature and believes that he should enjoy a great degree of independence in his thoughts and activities. And when you come in the area of politics, it now manifests itself as egoism, such that a governor sees himself as a know-it-all and no longer sees himself as the leader of a team. Most often times, that team that has thrown him up as the leader for that period feels betrayed, and in that situation, it is only natural to have political strife. Another factor is greed in that in a normal setting, the politician, when he is about to run for an election, will ask for donors and financial support from, inevitably, businessmen, who may also have some interests. But most often times, you see that the governor who is thrown up decides that he now has to become his own financier in  subsequent elections and therefore, he chooses to pauperize the political system and be the only one who amasses wealth. So, in terms of contracts and jobs, you see him giving them only to his cronies and personal kith and kin. And this affects the quality of the jobs done and also affects the political peace of the party and the state. But I am sure from all these things I have told you. you will know that this is not peculiar to Anambra State alone because governors and leaders in general in Nigeria have this common tendency. But the question is: why is it that Anambra state stands out as a dark spot in the Nigeria polity? It is because of lack of competence and experience by the man at the helm of affairs. I say this because I understand politics to mean struggle for resources; where should these resources be applied and how? So, to say that political strife will be an inherent characteristic of governance in today's society may not be wrong. But it is not your tendency to fall that s the problem, but your ability to fall and rise quickly and get to the end of the game. So, to me, it is the ability of the governor to overcome this strife that makes him an ideal leader. Thus, you have to overcome this strife, either by compromise or elimination of the opposition, like you get under the military era. And at the end of the day, your performance is determined by what you are able to provide for the citizenry. Those things you are able to provide will be dependent on your ability to be in the middle of those crises and achieve your goal. A governor cannot give the excuse that he has not performed because he has been working in the midst of crisis. These crises ought to be there and the responsibility to manage them is part and parcel of governance. You and I would agree that the first requirement for any society to grow is not the resources you have (human and material), but peace and security. Once you are able to provide them, the rest will come naturally. We've seen the problem manifesting in Anambra State. We've seen MTN moving away, we've seen Cocacola moving away because of insecurity, because of multiple taxation; the local governments tax them, the state officials tax them. And there has been no change in the system. Apart from greed which I mentioned as the problem, I would like to reaffirm what I said earlier that the inexperience on the part of the leadership is also part of the problem. Everything in life has a vocation; journalism, priesthood, so also politics; it is a vocation. And in every vocation, you have a period of tutelage and this is combined with experience. Knowledge should always go with experience.

My focus as governor will be on empowerment. There are just few things we need to do first before we have the rest flowing because government is a continuity; first, we need to make our state safe and secure: second, we need to empower our people.

 

What are your experiences that made you think you are qualified to be one?

Well, I am coming from a background of 13 years of public service. From 1992 to 1994 I was chairman of Anambra State Rural Development Authority. From 1999, when we came in and formed the PDP, I was the managing director of Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency (ANSEPA). From 2000 to 2003, I was chairman, Local Government Service Commission. My track records of performance are clear in those areas. They are things that can be cross-checked. So I will not spend time unnecessarily extolling my achievements, but will allow you the media to independently investigate. With that background and experiences I have gathered. I believe I will perform better than the people we have today

 

But many people say that the political class has made the state ungovernable?

Yes, to say that the political class has made the state ungovernable is to state the obvious because in every political society, the fabric is made of is instability and crisis. The very moment President Obama assumed office it was crisis and till his last day, it will be crisis. So, that is why I am saying that it is not for the governor to tell us that politicians are rogues but to tell us that this is what he has been able to achieve.

 

Therefore, I will be stating the obvious when I tell you that I will encounter political crisis. Of course, I expect to encounter political crisis. But my background and experience are what will give me the confidence to know that I will overcome these crises. Let me give you an example, when I was appointed the chairman of Local Government Service Commission on 11" of November, 2000, my function was to oversee the local governments. As at that time, there were four cases in court. Local government chairmen were having a serious battle with Governor Mbadinuju over their rights and privileges. Within four months, the cases in court were withdrawn. And until the last government left, there was peace in the local governments. Upon my assumption, local government workers were being owed six months salaries: the records are there. It used to be adduced that the reason for owing these workers was the zero allocation coming to the local governments. But I told them there is nothing like zero allocation because you get something every month; rather, what happens is that by the time you finish your deductions and meeting all your obligations, nothing remains in the box. So, I told them, 'look you owe an obligation to your staff; a worker deserves his wages: I told them that there has to be a first line charge on salaries the moment the allocation comes. And I enforced it and the whole salaries were cleared in four months. So, there must be crisis. Any governor saying that the reason the state has not got on well is because the state is in crisis is not saying the truth and should leave so that a crisis manager will occupy the seat.

 

Why did you decide to choose a crisis-ridden party like PDP as your platform?

I do not think that one should be derelict of his duties and obligations just because of the fear of obstacles that face him. The way I understand the PDP structure in Anambra State today is that 80 per cent, though not statistically proven, of the political class in the state are PDP members. But the problem is that the party has multiplicity of structures. You have about four line-ups, all claiming to have their chairman from the state level down to the ward executive. I have chosen not to be involved in that struggle because to me, two things are in my mind. First, I am not contesting chairmanship of the party, but the governorship ticket of the party. Secondly, if I want to succeed at the polls, I need to be in good terms with everybody so that I can rally all of them together. So, for me to go and support one line-up is to call for rebellion if I emerge as the candidate eventually.

 

Another issue is this; some of my colleagues who are promoting these separate structures believe that once you have the structure, your ticket for the governorship position becomes automatic. I do not share that view. I may be wrong eventually but I do not share in that view, and for that, I don't participate.

 

But coming to why I chose to run in that crisis-ridden party, I will say there are two things. First and foremost, whether I like it or not, I am an Igboman. I am going to govern lgbos and as a leader, I should be able to have the vision to think for the Igbo. We know that four years down the ladder, we will be talking about 2013 and by then the presidential seat will be up for grabs again. And whether we like it or not it will be the turn of the South to produce a candidate for the presidency. We have two regions that are yet to produce the president; we've got the South East and we've got the South South. If reason were to prevail, these two regions will then be allowed to produce next president of the country in 2015. Why would I then support my people to be in a minority political party? Two, the PDP, being the party at the centre with its vision, still presents the best that our people can remain in. Irrespective of whatever the imperfections of the party might be, it still takes people to change the system. I have always believed in the school of thought that says that it is not the party that makes the person, it is the person that make• the party. So, if you have the right people in the party that keep on fighting for change in the party, the party will eventually become a changed party and good party. And that is why I am in PDP.

 

But Governor Obi has insisted that the current insecurity in Anambra State is politically motivated?

Yes the governor actually said that the insecurity in Anambra State is politically motivated. Look, these issues are empirical. I was reading the Source magazine for this week, and it listed the series of kidnapping that have taken place in the South East states and Anambra State has 80, followed by Abia, I think with sixty something. then the combination of the data for Imo and Ebonyi was less than those of Anambra State and you tell me that my assertion that there is insecurity in Anambra State is false. I think it is unwise of a chief executive to further fuel the insecurity of Anambra State by making such claims that the situation is politically motivated. This is because if such claims were to be false, then you are emboldening the criminals the more. If robbers are operating from Apapa and the commissioner of polite comes out and says they are operating from Ojota, the criminals will be more encouraged to go on because they have found out that there are no traces of their base. This is what Governor Obi is doing. Even if he has some circumstantial evidence to support his claim, they should not be put to public use until the fact is well established.

 

How do you assess your chances at the poll considering the strengths of political figures like Obi, Andy Uba and Ngige?

These three persons mentioned are men I respect, given any opportunity they will do well. While Andy did not have enough time to prove himself when he got to power, the other two persons (Ngige and Obi) have shown some level of incompetence in ensuring security in Anambra State. So, while they may be fine gentlemen, I don't share the view that they are the right people for this season. And that is why the electorate will ultimately decide who among us they will entrust their votes to.

 

Also, these three people you mentioned contested the last election. You know Peter Obi was contesting initially before they brought forward Virgy Etiaba. You know there were debates. There were five debates; one organized by Elders' Forum comprising Ohanaeze and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), another one organized by JDPC (Justice Development and Peace Commission), another one organized by Labour, another one by League of .Anambra Professionals, and there was the fifth one. In all these debates, some of these aspirants you mentioned chose the ones to attend. I attended all and the records are there that in all the five, I established, the dominance that I had and have the knowledge, the vision and can deliver.

 

What Is your view on the phenomenon of godfatherism in Anambra POP?

Godfatherism is being abused in the Nigerian circle, just like the word love. Godfatherism means the person behind you, who is the major hand that propels you into that position of office of the governor. I see nothing wrong with that. But where I see something wrong is when a godfather has a criminal intent to compel a person he has helped into an office obey his whims and caprices. That is wrong.

 

But we keep talking of godfather in Anambra PDP while we know that there are godfathers everywhere. So, we should not be talking about only Chief Andy Uba as a godfather. There are other godfathers in PDP and there are other godfathers elsewhere.

 

If eventually you are elected the governor of Anambra State, where would you be after four years?

If after four years as governor I do not do well, I think it would have been a total disappointment to everybody. I am coming with experience in the game. Peter Obi can be excused because he did not have experience. So if I fail to deliver in the eyes of the people, I don't need anybody to tell me to forget it. To me, governorship is not a position for amassing wealth, I rather see it as a spring board to enable me leave a legacy in my life time.

 

So, I believe honestly that if I am not able to deliver, I would need to take the back seat and allow others to try their hand.

 

What if PDP decide that a consensus candidate be adopted among all the contestants?

I have never believed in consensus, but the choice remains with the party. Remember that the ultimate thing the constitution demands is for the party to nominate. It said nothing about party primaries, it's the party constitution that talks about primaries.

 

So, I believe that when the party tells us to meet among ourselves and decide who will be the candidate, they are being dishonest. They are best positioned to know who is fit and who is not. However, I don't intend to leave the party if not given the ticket. The last time I left the party, we were not just fighting the PDP, we were fighting injustice. We were insisting that certain persons should not be imposed on the state

Alexander Obiogbolu

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1.IT IS OUT!!!  "Oganiru Anambra- OUR DREAM OUR FUTURE.."

The book we have all been waiting for is finally out!! Alexander Obiogbolu has once again poured out his vision for our state and is glad to share with with all.

In the 36 paged book he writes about the role all should play in transforming our state to greatness; the citizens, the leaders and the government. Contact us!!

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OBIOGBOLU DECLARES AND AGULERI STANDS STILL 

 

http://247ureports.com/anambra-2014-obiogbolu-declares-intention-amidst-high-expectations/The sleepy town of Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government of Anambra state was rocked to its political foundations at the weekend when political heavyweights, business Mongols, Captains of Industries, students, traders, men and women from all walks of life gathered together for the flag off campaign of Dr. Alex Obiogbolu’s quest for the governorship bid of the state

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