ANXIETY OVER INEC LIST NOT MISPLACED -MOGHALU, ANPP SENATORIAL CANDIDATE
Chief George Moghalu, former National Secretary of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and current National Vice-Chairman, South-East, has set his eyes on the Senate. He is the ANPP candidate for the Anambra South in the April general elections. In this interview, with Daily Sun in Abuja, he spoke about the state of the party and how he hoped to actualize his ambition with the party in Anambra State.
Moghalu believes he has the experience which no other candidate has in the senatorial district and said he could deploy the experience to better the lots of his people. Excepts:
What do you make of the controversies trailing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) list of candidates of the political parties for the coming April elections?
It is really expected at this particular point in time; once INEC comes up with lists of candidate for elections, naturally you expect reactions. Some people who contested election would naturally have anxiety and would contest the outcome of such if they feel they have been short changed.
What is happening now has happened in the past and will still happen in the future. Until INEC publishes your name and there is no problem from other quarters, your mind would not be at rest as a candidate that would participate in the elections.
So the anxiety is justified and not unexpected.
How is your Party preparing for the electioneering campaign given the short time frame before election?
The party is quite prepared especially in the states, we are quite prepared. We did our primaries across the 36 states and Abuja, they were successfully concluded, names were presented to INEC and have been published; everyone has return to their states for campaign proper. All candidates have emerged; everybody is working as all our candidates from president to others have emerged. We are back to drawing board to achieve a great success.
It is a common knowledge that the fortune of the party has declined over the years, do you see the party re-enacting the feat that made it the leading opposition party then?
We have leadership challenges and this is being sufficiently addressed by the present leadership led by Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. One thing in our favour then and now is strong grassroot support, but unfortunately because of poor leadership there was this kind of lull in electioneering and campaign program and our base kind of whittled down.
It is not that we have lost them; they only became latent or dormant. Now that we have functional, viable and competent leadership, we have re-awakened the consciousness of our people and we now have a vibrant followership. We have a new ANPP; our members are becoming more committed in the activities of the party due to the leadership that is translating our known strength into electoral advantage.
With the growing popularity of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), especially in the Northern part of the country, do you think ANPP will make appreciable impact in the coming April elections in that region?
I have always said that the more the merrier, we welcome other political parties, the landscape is wide enough for all, go out and sell yourself and your party to Nigerians and they will surely pitch their tent with the party of their choice. No doubt that ANPP has the wide spread unlike other upcoming one. We shall see at the end of the election. ANPP you knew yesterday is not the same with the new ANPP. You just wait and see. We have mapped out our strategies and the outcome of the election across the country will; show how acceptable we are.
With the CPC moving up North and the ACN consolidating its stronghold in the South-West, what strategy is ANPP adopting to have an edge above these parties?
We at the ANPP have support base that cut across the country, I know why the question kept coming up, the reason is that some of the positions we have in the past is now not the in our possession. I agree with that, which was the result of failed leadership; but we have a new leadership and old members were returning while new members are joining the party. As we are not a sectional party it is incumbent on us to maintain our national appeal; if it has been a sectional party, people like us and other would not have served in the highest positions of the party.
Another factor is that the dividing line between government and opposition in a presidential system of government is so thin. But we are in a third world economy where government business is the only business. It is the private sector that funded opposition but they have virtually collapse and which has affected the fortune of opposition; government is a big business.
Even the few ones left in private sector are afraid to identify with opposition because their business links would be cut off. But we are planning. Remember, ANPP was not formed to be an opposition party, we formed it to be in government, so we are doing everything possible to take over the government from the buccaneers who have turned our economy upside down and I think the bad leadership they have exhibited in the last 12 years is enough to make people push them out and try another party. And of course, ANPP is the next party to beat.
When you left the ANPP, would you have returned if the PDP had given you the Anambra governorship ticket to run then?
The issue of contesting was not there. It was the new leadership that deems it fit to ask us to join in rebuilding the party. I had to leave because I was frustrated and forced to do my worse. I was a founding member of ANPP, not a joiner and was a former national secretary when the party had nine governors, over 30 senators, about 100 representatives and 193 local government chairmen spread across the country. So it wasn't as if I am being driven by my ambition which made me to leave the party.
Why are you going for the Senate now?
I want to serve my people through quality and life changing legislation. As the senatorial candidate of the party for Anambra South senatorial zone, I believe this position is to serve the people. I have been on the side line for some time it is high time I put myself in a position to serve my people and since they say it is now and that it has to be Senate, I have no choice than listen to them and join the Senatorial race.
Does it mean you cannot serve your people if you are not in the senate?
No, I can serve my people in any capacity and I have been serving them that is why for me it is not do or die affair.
Your chances considering the presence of the PDP and the rising profile of the APGA?
My chances are very bright. I am coming to the field with credibility and track record. Names of the Party is immaterial, its me and those I am contesting with that are the issues, the people know us and they can tell who best suits them at the Senate. I am not a new comer, my people know me and I know them well.
What is your reaction to Chief Harry Akande's sudden resignation from the party to join bthe PDP?
I appreciate Chief Akande's challenges, he is a fine gentle man, I also appreciate his frustration. He is one of the people who pressurized me to return to the party and I hold him in high esteem. I was taken aback when he left the party because he did not consult me. It is not easy to contest the way he did in the national chairmanship and the party's presidential ticket contest.