Our government has human face in land administration ----Okoli-Akirika
Chief Chibunna John Okoli-Akirika is Anambra state Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Town Planning in the past one year. Before his appointment as commissioner, he was the Anambra state secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Okoli-Akirika was a former Executive member of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Aba branch and has been in active legal practice since 1989 he was called to Bar until his appointment in July 2012. He has been a legal Adviser for Aba South local govt, APGA Abia state to mention but a few.
He is an External Solicitor to Mainstreet Bank and Zenith bank.
Before these strides, Okoli-Akirika was an Anglican Church Prefect at the popular Christ the King College, Onitsha and President Government Students Association , Federal School of Arts and Science Aba. He is still the legal Adviser of Amichi Development Union his home town for Aba Branch.
In this interview, with Odogwu Emeka Odogwu in Nnewi, Okoli-Akirirka bared his minds on a wide range of issues including revocation of lands in some estates in the state; plans to give every citizen of the state a sense of belonging in land allocation as well as 2014 Anambra state governorship election. Excerpts:
What have you been able to achieve as a Commissioner for lands , survey and Town planning since you assumed office?
I will say that fundamentally from the 16th day of July, 2012 I assumed office that I have been able to start the erection of some structures on the super structure established or laid down by my predecessor in office, Barr. P.A Afuba.
He laid a wonderful foundation for me, we have the admin section, that is the computerized section of the ministry of lands. He introduced certain measures which i am building upon, if you don't mind, i can take them serially.
First and foremost the issue of ownership of land. When i came on board i found out that certain estates and layouts are not fully or properly organized.
My predecessor the erudite counsel did his best to sanitize the Agu Awka, the Ikenga and the Iyiagu layouts so what i did was that when i came around, i started from where he stopped, that is to say i visited various layouts, i visited Abuja layout, i visited Iyiagu layout, i went to Akpaka layout in Onitsha, i went to unity layout Nkpor and also went to unity layout Nnewi, what i found out to my surprise was that not with standing the fact that Anambra State was created in 1991, i found out that certain allocations made by the then military regime and the various civilian regimes are still lying undeveloped.
Some of these lands are strategic and some don't even have C of Os, some are just abandoned and Ithink we should be ranking one of the smallest in terms of land marks so i decided to recover the patrimony of our four fathers because if i do not do that the present generation of Ndi Anambra will not find portions of land, were they will either build residential, commercial or serve some other purposes, so i resolved to revoke some of the lands, what i termed non performing plots.
We have two categories of non performing plots, plots can be non performing in the sense that the allottee or the guarantee or the owner has not paid requisite statutory fees, he or she is expected to pay so an allottee now has not developed his or her allocation for one reason or the other or has failed to pay the requisite fees by my own estimation that person is in the fault and that plot of land is liable to be revoked.
On the other hand, an allottee have paid all the requisite fees , ground rate, annual rate etc but that person has also failed to comply with the terms of allocation in either situation, the allottee is in the fault and in so far as that person or allottee is in the fault, the government of Anambra State led by Governor Peter Obi owes a duty, a conscientious duty, a solemn obligation to Ndi Anambra to make sure that our scarce land resources are properly, prudently, proactively and profitably managed in the over all interest of Ndi Anambra and that was what necessitated the state wide revocation so that lands are being given to those who are actually in need of them.
Remember that to whom much is given much is expected' so if some body is given government allocation and that person manifests either incompetence or inability or incapacity to develop, the government has no other obligation than to revoke that land and given to somebody who has the means and ability to develop it so that at the end of the day whollistically every body will benefit.
Allowing a land to lye fallow does not pay for development but there are some apart from this i also observed that there are some other salutary benefits that accrued for my act of revocation, if you go to Agu Awka, you will find out that, the act of revocation has created in people consciousnesses to start developing their land allocations, so people are now engaging in extensive acts of construction, if you also go to Akpaka, go to Abuja layout, this estates, you also find out that allottees are now developing the portion of lands allocated to them so in this particular instance, the state has achieved so much we have made people to go in and develop.
Infrastructure is equally going on as in the Akpapka Estate which has improved. Prior to my coming on board, the allottees for reasons best known to them, were reluctant to pay their own counterparts funding, their own portion of what we are agreeing with government. Government are agreeing with the allotees at Akpaka that those who go there for allocation should pay N500,000 naira, those who bought from those who got direct allocation should pay N700,000.
The essence of this is to assist government to provide basic infrastructure in the Akpaka layout, if you go to Akpaka layout you will find out that it is Akiota construction company that is engaging in a very beautiful construction work in Akpaka so i would say that what my predecessors started i have taken to the next level. So, whoever comes after me will move it to the next level, cumulatively, Anambra State will continue to move from one stage of development to another so i will say that give and take, ours is a ministry that is consciously, engaging in salutary acts that will benefit not just government but the entire Ndi Anambra.
People are accusing the ministry of not showing equity and fairness in the dealing with the public that there are some people that are treated differently. Equity in terms of charges?
Its not true, official fees and statutory fees, what the govt wants people to pay, what the government demands from people for owing this land , how can you say that people are charged different fees and i want to be confronted with just one instance. His excellency Mr. Peter Obi is a man who preaches and who practices due process, there is no way his ministry in government can change in act of double treatment, in act of treating peter differently from Paul, its not possible.
These are fees fixed without prior to anybody, they don't even pay cash, that is the surprising aspect, once you come in , you will look at the door, you will see applications from green wood estate, residential, commercial with their amounts, they are fees pasted there for everybody, if you are now coming there from other applications for lands, you say commercial, this amount, residential this amount and they all stated in the banks so how can people say we are collecting different fees from them, that is not true, its a very mischievous insinuation and we are not doing that.
And the ministry was accused of racketeering in the sense that files move about, if you walk in the road you will see where files are been exchanged and money exchange hands? And too many speculators around?
File from my ministry? It is not true, am surprised that its been said. These are files am treating. It is simply not true and there is no how you can speculate without having records with this table. I am the commissioner for lands and the chief agent of his excellency Mr. Peter Obi in this ministry. A true Anglican. I am the coordinating link between this ministry and the government as a matter of fact i am the vehicle that links lands transactions with the excellency.
So, there is no way that is possible because am not saying that ours is a perfect system or perfect arrangements, in anything done by human being, we still have elements of imperfection because perfection does not inhabit in humanity, perfection is added to us, we only strife, struggle and work towards achieving what is substantially good there is no way i can come here and say that the activities of the staffers of ministry of lands are 100% .
They are free from fraud, free from other things you must know but what am telling you is that there is no way consciously or intentionally engage in the act of sending our files out there though Nigerians being what they are will always look for means to circumvent lay down rules but i can assure you that ever since i came here, i have not known neither has it been brought to my notice that a particular file was sited outside, if land speculators go out and say they have this land to sell or buy it is not to my knowledgeable as a commissioner. And the ministry is not a party and do not intend to be a party to such anomalous, unlawful transaction.
What ever we do here is done in accordance with the rules and regulations, in accordance with the lay down procedures if you are interested in acquiring land, we have a register, we have the ones i have just treated and i stopped at a hundred and sixty something applications for lands ever since i came and you take them serially. If you talk of the blue wood, that is what we call our new Jerusalem we introduced and invented systems and procedures that will make transactions to be virtually proof.
Our forms are serialized, if you buy any form here the form has a serial number, that serial number will be registered in our book against your name so there is no way you can fake that file outside the ministry of lands so its truly surprising for people to say that forms and files are being paraded outside the ministry. Let me use this opportunity to warn members of the public, we do not have staff of this ministry operating outside the ministry, we have an open door policy, we have all comers approach to what we are doing and if you are a Nigerian, Nee an Anambrarian and you are interested in acquiring land, simply walk up here bring your application, collect the particulars of the approved bank, you do not take cash, you go there and pay come back with your teller.
This will be registered here and kept in a file opened for you with your name written against the file, in the fullness of time, we will start shortlisting those who are qualified and if you are qualified we give you an allocation on the basis of the merits. Simply put we are going to recommend people for allocation of lands by His Excellency on the basis of merits but there is a rider, the only rider is that you knew that prior to the emergence of his excellency Mr. Peter Obi , Anambra State was not in the best of shape, Ngige tried his best, Ngige was a labourer in Anambra political vineyard while Peter Obi is a brick layer and a builder so between the time the military was here, through the time Mbadinuju and Ngige were here and now there was virtually no structure for real governance, real governance in real and practical sense so what we are doing is we had instances where previous governments wanted to have certain layouts like we had certain layouts that could not be realized.
We have certain layouts that could not be actualized on ground, we have Ikwudiakor layouts , we have presidential layout, this are the layouts i calculated by previous governments other than his excellency's government. Why i said there is another caveat , certain people applied for allocation of land then but they were not give them, they were not given because the policy of the government of that day was not done in such a manner that those who applied for land could get land so what we are trying to do now is we may present these new applications with old applications, we call them those who are now applying for alternative lands, alternative in the sense that they applied before, they were given allocations before and those allocations could not be realized for certain governmental purposes so in order to balance the state of rascality of yesterday, with the equity of today, we decided to give those people who were given allocation in the past but couldn't get and those who are applying today to make some little adjustments then we will accommodate those who applied before with those who are now applying so if i have 1000 applications in the past as am talking to you now, we have 950,we may take 2,3,4 or 5 applications in the past and 6,7,8 applications so we bring out a portion of land, you take about 15 persons, we select 5 go to those who applied before that is the kind of person Mr. Peter Obi is because he thinks not just of Ndi Anambra who were there before he came and who will be there when he leaves so here is a man who is equipped with history, here is a man who is prepared for the present, here is a man who thinks about the future so that is why we are still being influenced to consider those previous allocations that could not materialize or that could not be realized with the present applications.
How many allocations have you revoked?
In Agu Awka we have 180 revocations in Abuja estate face 1 about 29 revocations, in Ikenga extension, we have 101 revocations, In Akpaka we have 256 revocations, in Iyiagu we have 123 lands revoked but in all said and done we have revoked non performing plots in Agu Awka, Abuja Face 1, Iyiagu, Ikenga but the specific numbers are there in order to show transparency this things were not only gazetted they were advertised in the newspapers so that Ndi Anambra will see for themselves the number revoked.
Officially that is what we have on records but as time goes on people has been applying after revocations, for us to consider the plot revoked, so what we normally do as if you look at those who have genuine reason or those who have manifested utmost good faith, willingness and capacity to develop, we may make a connection to your excellency to re consider the revocations and often timed his being a man inbuilt with decency, equity and fairness would grant such applications.
we have instance both in the past and recently were such request was granted. We still have pending applications so that those who felt that their plots were not just revoked applied and we are considering their applications. On the basis of the merit of those applications and there after those that we wouldn't at the end of the day would be allocated to those who have the means to develop.
What happens to the money they paid initially before the land was revoked?
Fundamentally, the land was not theirs, government gave them the allocations subject to certain terms and conditions and the letter of allocation constitutes what i may call in law a banding agreement between the government grantor and the allotter grantee, if in contact you breach your own part of agreement would you at all round hold that person to ransom?
We wont hold that person to ransom, if they knew and of cause they knew that the portion of land allocated to them were not theirs, they may apply and government may say ok take, develop within 3 years, pay this amount of money, they paid the initial money, they could not develop what do you expect government to do? In the discharge of its responsible or responsive obligations to his citizens government decided to have those allocations revoked and that is exactly what we are doing.
How much have you realized from this exercise?
Quite some money. For every allocation they pay 20 thousand naira and buy structure plan for N2000 and all is N22, 000 and you see revocation was not conceived to be a punitive measure, ours is a government with a human face. Revocation was conceived and practiced solely to make allottees of land to develop their lands. Secondly, to avail the lands that have not developed to those who are willing and ready to develop. It was not intended to use it to punish Ndi Anambra or to use it as a means of raising money. It is more or less a social responsibility.
we the government is carrying out on behalf of citizens of Anambra State, its not ,mainly a money making venture but a measure put in place to have the ability to own land is not allowed to keep the benefits of Ndi Anambra.
Are there areas you would like to highlight we didn't ask you?
What I will say is that we have so many things we are now doing, we are trying to prior to my being sworn in as a commissioner people were not that familiar as structure plans as some people call Mr. Peter Obi, Mr. Plan Obi but i call him Mr. Prudent Obi.
He believes so much in planning so upon assumption of office he got UN habitat to assist AnambraState in having structure plan and he had 3 pivot Local Governments, the Awka structure plan, the Nnewi Structure and the Onitsha structure plan so before i came people were not that so much informed about the structure plan and i made it a policy that so much informed about the structure plan and i made it a policy that if you are coming to do any business with the ministry of lands in the state, people are having option of either choosing Awka, Nnewi or Onitsha so i would say that was something we introduced and will be insisting that all dealers or people having dealing with ministry of lands must purchase a copy.
Then secondly in order to get people to pay for petitions; that practice gives government money, the practice makes for orderliness, the system drives away frivolous practitioners because for you now to formally lay a complaint to this ministry, you pay us the sum of 5000 naira, when you pay and write your petitions, you come here, we give you your bank particulars, you go to the bank and pay, you have your teller, you will now come here have that petition formally registered in our book so i will say that in the first instance, it gives us money, in the second Instance, it makes for orderliness not tomorrow somebody will come up nowhere and start flagging I have submitted this petition if you come here you won't see a copy by paying in the bank there is now some document and evidence outside the ministry that something was brought in to the ministry because the bank teller will be there then those who petition will know that those days of unwanted petition are over.
So now for you to sit down and think of what to do to bring out money. you are talking and anticipating, you are going to the ministry to do a very serious thing not just to come here and constitute unwarranted charge in our environment that will not be tolerated. Again we are trying to change a system where unperfected document I mean a document that is either stamped nor registered with lands registry, you know that in law C of O customary or statutory remains the highest title in land and it is not fair, it is unpopular to common sense for one now to use a document that was not stamped, a document that was not verified, documented that was not registered, Documents that applied to secure the highest title in lands so we now introduce and we are insisting that as from April 1st 2013 all applications for C of O are predicted on a perfected title document and I have noticed that this system/procedure is a wonderful statutory and radical impact, beneficial impact on what is happening in the ministry of land because are no longer claiming to that I bought this plot of land unintentionally, please help now to regularize because for you now to plead the remedy of regularization you have to perfect your route of title so because people now know that there is obligation to perfect the route of title before coming for a C of O or before asking for authorization the tendency to jump into government land is now reduced so that is something we are working on.
And I say in all, am not blowing my own trumpet but I know as a commissioner in the ministry of lands, survey and town planning with an unofficial and self imposed portfolio apart from official designation I have the unofficial but self imposed obligation to minister to the common man, that is why I keep telling people the commissioner for lands, survey and town planning with extra unofficial designation to minster to the common man. People call me commissioner to the common man so if you call me that I will accept but what am trying to do is work for the government sanitize the ministry so that the common man out there comes in here does his normal transaction without hindrances so that at the end of the day shoddy deals and what they call fast transaction will be drastically reduced if not effectively check mated in this ministry.
What was the magic that converted the Ikenga hotel back to government that was under court case for long?
I don't want to go into something like Ikenga and all those things. Let that be a topic for another day. That involves some other ministries, ministry of commerce, ministry of justice and finance and even of the governor, so I wouldn't like to discuss anything on Ikenga but in simple language and understanding the simple thing is that his Excellency Mr. Peter Obi has taken proactive steps to recover the patrimony of Ndi Anambra no matter the way you look at it that hotel would have been written off. His Excellency struggled to retrieve that hotel and continue to make it the property of Ndi Anambra not just for himself but for the benefit of the generation of Ndi Anambra and generations yet unborn.
A lot of people are complaining of the high cost and delay in obtaining C of O. what do you have to say about that?
It is not true, applications for C of O are the regulations required to be accompanied with the evidence of payment of tax, people want government to give them a certificate to show ownership of particular part of the land and don't want to discharge there basic civic responsibility so when somebody comes up with application for C of O and you tell that person to get C of O tax some may grudgingly go away and then they will take 2,3,4,5 months to tidy their tax papers before coming back and its between the time they spent trying to get the C of O again the time wasted that is unfair.
I have been telling lawyers and they have been coming, if you have any issue, if you have any prove that the application for C of O is been impeded please feel free to have unfettered access to me and they have not been coming. I call them on phone I remain one of the few commissioners who call applicants to come here and attend to their documents begging them, yet they don't come because their papers are not in order another angle is this, for one reason or the other some lawyers may not draft the supporting document what we may call route of title very well and when they come here and those defects are noticed and are called upon to effect corrections, it may take them weeks and months to do those things and by the end of the day, the time wasted by this applicants in putting their titles in order or in getting their tax clearance certificates this various days, weeks and months will be calculated against the ministry.
I want to put it on record and i want to be challenged by any person who would say that his papers are in order and within 2 or 3 months get his c of o. Let that person come to me and complain.
A lot of people have been complaining that the government take over their ownership of lands, how true is it?
Its not true rather his excellency Mr. Peter Obi has been the person who have been creating a point of compensation in the history of Anambra State and because of the kind of person he is, he has even gone out of his way to do what the law does not expect him to do. He has given land acquisition in human face by not only paying compensations in accordance to the law but by introducing another element that is what he calls compensated plot, rather what they are complaining about or against is that government not this government; all those who ruled the state in the past acquired land without discrimination, they didn't pay compensation.
It was in very few isolated limited instances that compensations were paid. It was in time of Obi that they started paying compensations and introduced granting of compensation plots. People are onlytrying to resuscitate their previous or past grievances against his excellency's present regime and that is unfair, the lands he acquired he has been paying and where immediate payment was not effected, he will engage the land owners so his excellency has been trying to correct the rascality and injustice of the past with his magnanimity and equity on the present.
He ought to be commended for that, let any community come and say that a particular land was acquired between 2006 and today without paid compensation, either compensation is paid or we are in the process of paying compensation or that the community is having some issues, the records are there. Go and find out, rather, they are blaming him for not clearing the back log accummulated by his predecessors, but its unfair in as much as we understand that government is a continued excersice, the ability to continue paying all these things is not continous.
This is ministry of land survey and town planning but there are lots of rascality in building and you are not planning anything?
Those things did not start today, we have been confronted with this questions over and over again and I have always told them that all those things were there before this present regime.
There are ones springing up at Igbariam and the rest of them?
If you check well i know we have layout, they are building in accordance with the building regulations and those who are doing that in breach of regulations have her structures marked red and are called upon to correct or regularize those abnormalities. I know and am sure that i have one or two layout which this ministry has approved at that Igbariam axis. We are alive to our statutory responsibility, we are alive to our social obligations to Ndi Anambra and we cannot for anything abuse our solemn and statutory responsibilities too the people of Anmabra State. We don't do that.
Do you think that the peace committee set differently would bring peace to APGA?
No entity can survive without peace, and in the absence of peace nothing can be done so I hope that the committee will work very acidulously to justify the
confidence imposed in the committee and that is by ensuring that peace returns
There is no alternative to peace, APGA shall have peace because we are
known for peace and in the bible they say that blessed are the peace makers for
they shall obtain peace. In my Church Anglican Church where I happened to be an Anglican Prefect at CKC Onithsa we are taught tat and I taught others that.
In Nigerian politics APGA has always been known as a
peaceful party. APGA has always known peace, APGA has always practiced peace, and made peace its watchword.
I can give you so many instances but one is very remarkable, you know during the
guber campaign of 2010, His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi was unnecessarily and without
provocation ambushed by a group of politicians at Igbariam, but being a decent
man and a man of peace, he did not retaliate, he allowed the rascals to insult
themselves and at the end of the day, he left that place quietly, gently and
peacefully because in APGA we do not only profess but we pray peace so we do
not joke with peace. In the overall and general
interest of all concerned, party members, voters, admirers, sympathy and 'Ndi
Igbo' in general because it is in the interest of all that unconditional peace
returns to APGA.
To reach out to everybody, the rich, the poor, the aggrieved, the
aggressor, the perceived innocent and the perceived guilty, the perceived
protagonist and the perceived antagonist, so what am trying to say in essence
is that here is an assignment that is, here is an assignment that imposes and
task of reaching out to everybody any other person is the aggressor or the aggrieved,
any other person is the protagonist or the antagonist to achieve peace
everybody must be consulted, all shares of opinion must be listened to,
entertained, scrutinized and a practice a solution adopted because once you
start, if you are docked one side approach, it means we are not going to have
peace. So you have to listen to all involved whether the person is claiming to
have been injured or to be innocent whether the person is claiming to be the
protagonist or the antagonist no matter the persons stand and opinion,
circumstances, that person, everybody is consulted.
How will you access the in the coming guber election?
APGA as a political party holds the
ace. We have all it takes to win the election, we have the men, we have the
means we have the materials and above all we have one thing going for us that
is the singular and spectacular achievements of His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi,
no matter the way you look at it no matter your political popularity, no matter
your religion, no matter your social standing, no matter your status in life, one thing that is obvious every Anambra person, every resident in Anambra State, we are all in agreement that his excellency Mr. Peter Obi has
taken Anambra State to a particular level, so what we are praying for is a
successor who will take the state to another level if you wouldn't mind i can
go into specifics.
In terms of health, he has not only built health
institution but he has ensured that our health institutions are dully
accredited. In terms of infrastructures basically on roads, he has not only
built roads but he has built roads and is still building roads in such a manner
that all the zones, all the sectors, all the towns and villages benefit. Above
all he has manifested remarkable and . I have always told you people that
prudence is to governance while salt is to food.
You may not easily see salt
but once you taste any kind of food without salt you will know but the importance
of that is underlined or underscored by the very fact that that salt that makes
the food tasty is generally unnoticeable so prudence is a virtue in any person
who is governing and may not be easily noticeable by the governed but the
entire characteristics of a good leader is anchored on prudence. When a leader is prudent, he becomes very cool to anger,
when a leader is prudent, he has regard for the sanctity of human lives and human
feelings. When a leader is prudent he does not act in a harsh manner.
When a leader is prudent he listens to what, his people are saying, he manages the affairs of the state with
so much care, decency and decorum. It is all this attributes that combines in
a manner to make his Excellency Mr. Peter
Obi a governor with outstanding or sublime politics. The attributes of prudence
has exceptionally marked out Mr. Peter Obi as a leader that belongs to his
peculiar class so in a nut shell, the performance advantage to APGA. They
constitutents. What I may call APGA's weapons of war and what the magicians will
call the 'mantra', the achievement of Mr. Peter Obi constitutes our literal
APGA is working towards producing a consensus candidate from the North and with the
submission of the report of the search party contained by the “Olu n adagbe”
people assembly few days ago, there is a headway.
Sir do you think that the more will work out fine
and bring success to APGA at the end of the day?
If you appreciate the way APGA as a political party is created you will know why we are saying that everything being equal APGA is making to choose her flag bearer from the North. In the interest of equity, and fairness.
In the spirit of brotherhood and as a practical demonstration of
clarion call “Onye aghana nwa nne ya” be your brother's keeper, so if we look at
the way Anambra State have been governed in the past, you will agree that
there is a sudden need for some political balance, we have had Mbadinuju and
'Okwadike' of Igbo-ukwu-Eze-Ife from the South, Senatorial zone that's what we
call him in politics. We have had Chris Ngige and they call him 'Onwa' and your
Excellency Peter Obi, we call him 'Okwute' from the central for the North we
have zero. So to balance the political question and in order to give our
brothers from the Northern senatorial zone of the state, we feel that it is legitimate, fair, just that they be given some preferential treatment.
It is not a matter of right that they be given some preferential treatment and they are allowed to produce or be
supported to produce a guber candidate for the party come November, or December
anytime the election will be conducted but there is rider, if summarizes
politics in what it means in Igbo language, it means 'Ndoro Ndoro Ochichi'
which means it is a struggle, it is a war without arms, a battle of intrigues,
and not 'Nyere Nye Ochichi'. Our brothers and sisters from the Northern zone
should not go home and fold their arms just because APGA as a political party
is minded to have a candidate from the North because the reality on ground that
is political pressure from the other groups and some other matters that may
arise. In the future may warrant an occasion or a situation where APGA as a
political party will be compelled to act so as to contain matters arising so
you will now balance the equity, fair and the justness of allowing a candidate
from the North with the political reality on the ground. But above all I have
what I normally call the 'Trio requirement', the requirement of someone having
the ability, somebody having the capacity and somebody having the capability.
With this 'trio requirements' in politics we talk of somebody who have
means, we talk of somebody who have the contact and we now talk of somebody who
is electable. You may have the means and contacts but you do not have the reputation,
you are not marketable and electable so they must produce somebody that has
APGA may resolve to look outside the North but that is in an exceptional circumstance but in a normal
situation, his Excellency Mr. Peter Obi has said and as an apostle and non
repentant apostle of that school of thought that we should always endeavour
very consciously and very intentionally we should always endeavour to consider
the other side otherwise, we start hearing marginalization and the attendant
consequences like what is happening in Nigeria, this Boko Haram of a thing is
not nearly a religious issue, the northerners are feeling that power is
gradually going to the south ending their grip to power for years.
They felt that Yar'adua couldn't continue
or complete his term, Jonathan completed it, he is now serving his first tenure
which is 4 yrs plus 2 making it 6 years and if he comes back after 2015 that
makes it 10 yrs. So you will now see the political angle of that Boko Haram
practice. We do not want that kind of militancy, we don't want that kind of
vehement approach to politics in Anambra State and that is why we want to use
the strategy of intentionally and consciously shifting the power to the North
as a veritable platform, as a veritable vehicle to condemn any intended or
anticipated assault to hasting option in pursuit of power. At any point in
time, there should be a conscious effort, we want to by desire give our
brothers from the North a sense of brotherly belonging and a sense of care so
that our motto 'Onye aghana nwanne ya' will not be only a catchy political
programme but a veritable demonstration and practical manifestation of
political sagacity and accommodation.
Olu na adagbe people's assembly has said that they have really gotten
the right candidate, will APGA as a party accept who so ever that this pressure
group will present?
What if the person they choose doesn't have the qualities?
Olu na adagbe ordinarily is a political
pressure group and to that extent entitled to their lawful views and
activities, you can't direct them, they have the right to move, associate
and interact freely within the axis of the law and to that extent they have
free of conscience and expression so they are free on their own to choose any
person who appeals to them as a fit and proper person to carry the flag of APGA
but the issue is that person is not only champing the course of ruling APGA, he
is only holding the flag of 'Olu na adagbe; the person is not going to be the
David of 'Olu na adagbe' the person might at the end of the day, satisfy the
'trio requirement ability, capacity, the person must have the means, the
contact and he must be electable and marketable.
Why were you appointed commissioner for lands?
I will say that the appointment as a commissioner
for lands is divine, it is divine in the sense that I do not know what
influence his Excellency Mr Peter Obi in appointing me as a commissioner in the
first instance and assigning me to the ministry of lands and I owe him gratitude, I didn't bribe for it but I can say i prayed for it.
What influenced his Excellency in choosing me and
assigning the ministry to me is clear to him and I say am grateful for that.
Secondly, I am about the only commissioner who took over from a colleague not
over that i took over a colleague who laid a very good foundation for me and
thirdly i took over from a colleague who is still with the Anambra State
Government. Fourthly and very fundamentally i took over from a colleague who is
ever willing to assist me.
So, you that give and take, I have no reason to fail
because i was appointed unconditionally, i was given a ministry in which my
predecessor is still in government and that my predecessor laid a good
foundation for me and not only that he is always willing, able and ready to
assist me with advise.
I am encountering little or no problem but that is not to say that we do not have challenges. In life once you
are alive there must be one issue or the other otherwise problems would stop to
exist, if all the problems, issues and matters associated with lands in Anambra
State have been solved, they would shut down the Ministry but we will continue
to have issues, problems and challenges and that is why we are still here.
If you did not absorb the force, they will accuse government of
insensitivity but on their own part they will not be sensible and reasonable in
the first instance so you will see that some issues are unnecessarily hindering
government activities and if not for that, I would have taken very proactive
step not only to actualize but to realize that may have then we would have gone
into allocation which would have benefited not just the Nnewi-Nza Ozubulu
communities but the entire Anambrarians and ease the acute housing problem
being witnessed in Nnewi town, so this is one of the challenges we encounter as
Advice to youths of Anambra State?
I have always said it, the days of political desperado is over , the days of political
rascality, the days of politics of 'victimization' are gone. His Excellency Mr.
Peter Obi has not only introduced decency, decorum and prudence in governance,
he has elevated out of governance beyond the mundane , the pedestal and outside the ambit of business as usual. In a nutshell people, Anambrarians are being called upon to discountenance the politics of do or die , if
you don't mind the politics of 'Tigbue zogbue', the politics of bread and
butter what I will call mama put politics and embrace the politics of service
to the people because it is the ultimate though power comes from God but political
power belongs to the people, that was why Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe will always say
the power belongs to the people, so once a leader appreciates the fact that power
belongs to the people and that the essence of politics is call to service, the
better for everybody and that marks the end of politics of violence, politics
of bigotry, politics of selfishness , politics of do or die.