Elder statesman and chairman of Anambra Elders Forum, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, has articulated the qualities expected of the next governor of Anambra State, insisting that those who are distributing money, whom he said were financially reckless, would not be allowed to govern the state.
Among the qualities he outlined that Anambra people should look out for are age, upbringing, background and how the person got to the position of nurturing the ambition.
On Anambra/Kogi boundary dispute, he tasked the Federal Government to take urgent steps to address the matter. He also talked about other issues.
Legion of aspirants
Well, it may be that many people are coming out to vie for governorship of Anambra State. That is the beauty of democracy. Anybody can come out and avail himself or herself of the opportunity. But the electoral habit of our people is still evolving and we know money is already flowing and it is likely to influence the decision of some people about whom to vote for, or whom not to vote for.
But that’s only a temporary thing. With the passage of time, people will become more conscious, more educated, more informed, and begin to evaluate the proposal by these candidates rather than financial inducements.
And you know very well that not many people can afford to be distributing that kind of money. And, infact, if you go on distributing money the way some people are doing, it only shows what I call financial recklessness. It will not portend well for the management of resources of the state.
But the electorate, unfortunately, can be influenced by whom gives them money, whom gives more on the voting day or before then. It is unfortunate that it is still so. I do hope with the passage of time, money distributed on the last day at polling stations or areas near the polling stations will be reduced to minimum to enable us throw up the person, who has the best qualifications for running the affairs of the state as a governor.
What qualifies one to be governor?
Each person who is aspiring must have reached the age of 35 or 40. He will tell us one, his background and his upbringing, what he is doing, how he got to the position of nurturing the ambition of becoming the governor of the state. Then, he will tell us what he wants to do and what he thinks he can do if he becomes the governor of the state. Then we should look at those things critically.
A lot of promises are made. When somebody says I’m going to do this tomorrow and eventually he doesn’t do that, it becomes obvious that it is a false promise that can never be fulfilled.
I’m happy that, at least, in Anambra State, the electorate is more proactive, more informed, more critical and with time it will begin to distinguish the sheep from the goats, then the actual and most acceptable winner will emerge, who will govern with even mindedness, distributing amenities, appointments and facilities without minding whether you are his in-law or whether you had quarrel with him before, so that once he is elect, he becomes the governor of every Anambrarian. He will not because of one person refuse to do a particular road or deny some segments of the state amenities like roads because they didn’t vote for him.
Somebody who is passionate, who is somebody of vision, somebody with understanding, somebody who has the good of the people at heart, somebody who is sensitive to corruption, who will ensure that everybody gets some benefit from his governorship no matter what corner of the state the person comes from, that is the kind of person the people of Anambra State are looking for.
The person should not be a greedy one, not too wealthy, because a wealthy person may have what I call insatiable propensity for wealth acquisition. There is a propensity for such a person to loot and take everything. We need somebody who will realize that he is there to serve honestly and not to loot public treasury. He has to be somebody who will identify with problems of the people, on and on as they arise. That is the type of person, I think Anambra State needs, who will be able to continue where Governor Peter Obi will leave us.
Anambra elders to summon candidates
When the time comes, I think we shall look into that. I think we are going to give them the opportunity to unveil the ideas and programmes they want to implement to us. But decision has not been taken on that. And I believe some other organisations will equally like to do so, to hear from them. It is desirable that such opportunities will come. They will be given the opportunity to sell their ideas.
Issue of zoning still controversial
Governor Obi has every right to shop for a successor as you have put it. You have the right as an individual to shop for somebody who will be your governor. There is nothing wrong in that. I have the right to shop for somebody who will be my governor. The governor has not done anything contrary by shopping for his successor.
But from the nature of people who have indicated interest in the governorship seat, you find out it spreads across the three senatorial zones in the state and you can’t ask any of the aspirants to go away, to go and sit down. So, that is it. And you cannot impose anybody on the populace except through successful electioneering campaigns by the candidate, whereby he can sell his ideas to the people.
Anambra/Kogi boundary dispute
It is a pity that Kogi people are pushing into the territory they had no interest in long ago. One suspects, it is because of oil. And people from Anambra have not gone to push people from say, Edo State or Imo State or any other state to claim part of their land because oil is found there.
The exercise of burning houses and attacking people, I think it is another recklessness, it is very reckless. This is a matter that can be settled by a boundary commission, Surveyor General of the country and that will be the end of the matter.
Then there may be a plebiscite conducted on the people living on the border, whether they want to belong to Kogi or Anambra State. The people there can decide where they want to belong. I don’t think it is right to go on burning houses, homesteads that have been there for decades. It is not right at all, just because oil refinery was cited within that locality. I think it is not right. Federal Government should step into it with speed before it escalates leading to loss of more lives and property.
The Federal Government should step in and keep peace-keeping soldiers within the two warring sides of the two states and then allow the National Boundary Commission with the Surveyor – General to identify and demarcate the boundary.
Anambra State is not quite big geographically and we should not allow people to start taking segments of our land. And Anambra State, I can assure you, will not have the ambition of extending and acquiring some other people’s territory.
North opposition to Jonathan’s second tenure
I’m sure whoever that is saying that possibly has only one vote. He may be able to influence many more. He is entitled to his opinion.
Jonathan has not, to the best of my knowledge declared that he is running in 2015 or that he is not running. Why are people so pre-occupied on fighting a shadow, speculative situation? The constitution allows him to run gain. It is for him to decide whether to run or not. It is for his party to decide whether to give him the chance or not. All these side talks as far as I’m concerned amount to nothing. When the time comes, Jonathan will do his own calculation, consult whoever he wants to consult and take a decision. There are those who say if he runs heavens will fall, if he doesn’t run heavens will fall. I regard those remarks as reckless remarks.