'ACN WILL OFFER ANAMBRA BETTER LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATION'
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for the House of Representatives for the Anaocha/ Dunukofia /Njikoka Federal Constituency seat in Anambra State spoke to Chuks Collins on how the state would get better representation. Excerpts:
HOW prepared is the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the April polls in Anambra State?
The ACN is the number one party in Anambra. I believe that even the ruling party in the state is aware of the enormous challenge the party faces. No party is as organised and has the grassroots and mass appeal of the ACN in the state. The party has assembled a competent team of active and meticulous persons whose words have always been their bond. And at the end of the election, we will be in a better position to assess the impact of the ACN.
During the campaigns, the ACN said that it has plans to create a million jobs in one year. How is this possible?
The creation of jobs is one of the strategic plans of the ACN to turn the state's economy and rein in the straying jobless youths. In Anambra, the business environment has been unfriendly and this has led to the closure of at least 5,000 large-scale and small-scale industries in Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, Nkpor and Ogidi areas of the state. If each of the 5,000 industries can employ 200 persons when revived, it means that the one million jobs have been taken care of. In the meantime, there are many other windows for the creation of jobs to make up for any shortfall in our long-term plan. What we are saying is that it possible to create jobs, by simply altering the economic variables in the environment. The function of the state government is not only to collect money from citizens as tax, it is the civic duty of the state to create jobs and employ the employable.
Why informed your decision to run for office now after years of supporting politicians to run for office?
With 12 years gone and the initial enthusiasm and excitement that greeted the dawn of our democracy turning into despair in most constituencies and sectors of our national life, many citizens including me have become worried. But since some areas still have people who can make remarkable positive changes in various areas, we have put efforts together to come out to make the difference. I believe that having been encouraged by the stakeholders of the constituency to come out, because they said if I had been taking care of their needs as a private person, then I would most certainly do more as a member of the National Assembly.
Privately, I have through the Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo Foundation devised schemes for the poverty alleviation, youth and women empowerment, scholarships, skill acquisition, free medical schemes etc. These programmes have been running for almost two decades in the 26 communities and about 54 electoral wards in the three councils of Njikoka, Dunukofia and Anaocha. My political aspiration was a collective decision of the citizens who acknowledged that the Foundation has positively touched the lives of virtually the entire citizens of the area directly or indirectly. It was the reason the 54 electoral wards in the area yearned for my representation for more and expanded services. Delegates were sent to persuade me to seek their elective mandate them as they are willing to give me collective support.
While appreciating the efforts of other representatives before me, the constituents wanted a personalised approach to their needs. In their solidarity address, they agreed that since President Goodluck Jonathan and all well-meaning Nigerians have vowed and assured that every vote shall count, they would collectively ensure that in the April elections, their votes would count.
The concept of one man, one vote, which drives political democracy, is alive and every representative of the people would become more conscious and accountable to the people. More so, bearing in mind the ugly pictures of our recent past, when everything was forced down the throat of the people, I told them that it would no longer be business as usual and that with our regular grassroots development and people oriented programmes, I share in their pains and concerns.
In 2011 alone, free medical treatment has covered about 28,000 citizens in the state, and more than 90 per cent come from my constituency. I am pleased to play a role in the lives of people because I know exactly what they feel.
The erosion sites in Enugwu-ukwu, Nimo Nawfia, Abagana Neni Agulu Nri and Enugwu Agidi, etc would get the direct attention of the Federal Government and other international agencies like the World Bank. Apart from the few roads constructed by the previous administration in the state, we the lack potable drinking water, good network of roads, functional medical facility within the area, just like other parts of the state. The state of insecurity, which has become the hallmark of the state in recent times, would be fixed. The dilapidated public primary and secondary schools, community health care facilities, etc would all be tackled. We need to live above primordial selfish interests and subsistent political representation in order to reshape the focus of our youth positively. I am a firm believer in the theory that the level of the standard of living of the people measures true wealth.