‘Youths Will Dom­i­nate Pol­i­tics in 2019’

An as­pi­rant for the Anam­bra State House of As­sem­bly, (Ide­mili North Con­stituency) on the plat­form of All Pro­gres­sive Grand Al­liance (APGA), Mike Chuk­wuma has said that the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion will prove a de­cid­ing fac­tor on the readi­ness of Nige­rian you

THISDAY - - POLITICS -

What is your in­ter­est in run­ning for the Nde­mili North con­stituency seat in the State House of As­sem­bly? My in­spi­ra­tion is be­yond hu­man un­der­stand­ing. It is a con­stituency where I was born and had all my ed­u­ca­tion. I have par­tic­u­lar knowl­edge of the area. At seven years, I found my­self in places of lead­er­ship. There are some pe­cu­liar­i­ties about Nde­mili North. It is one of the largest lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas. I dis­cov­ered a town like Obosi that is up to a lo­cal gov­ern­ment is still hav­ing one ward. The con­stituency projects in my area are not very en­cour­ag­ing with what I have seen on the ground. I am aware that there are works in the con­stituency projects be­ing han­dled by hon­or­able mem­bers at var­i­ous lev­els; fed­eral and state, but I am con­cen­trat­ing on the state level. Sim­ple things that could take devel­op­ment far are be­ing ne­glected, ig­nored or not even re­mem­bered at all. This is one thing that has in­spired me. For in­stance I am think­ing of a law or a bill that will in­cul­cate pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ship with the gov­ern­ment in terms of in­ter­nally gen­er­ated rev­enue. An in­di­vid­ual can build a mar­ket or some­thing like that then a shar­ing for­mula with gov­ern­ment will be de­ter­mined. With that, a lot of our peo­ple will come into that con­stituency. The largest mar­ket in Africa is in Onit­sha, Anam­bra State. The build­ing ma­te­ri­als seg­ment of that mar­ket is in my con­stituency, but the stan­dard is still poor. These are the things that in­spire me.

What are your other ar­eas of in­ter­est if you make it to the House of As­sem­bly? We have a prob­lem with main­te­nance in Nige­ria. I re­mem­ber the first man who rep­re­sented my zone in the state House of As­sem­bly, Eze Chin­wenye. He fa­cil­i­tated the sink­ing of bore holes in al­most all the 12 wards in of the con­stituency, to­day none of those bore holes are func­tion­ing. I would try to push for a law that will en­sure main­te­nance of these con­stituency projects. It is only a law that will en­force this.

All con­sti­tu­tional hin­drances against par­tic­i­pa­tion of young peo­ple in the pol­i­tics have been re­moved through a re­cent law signed by the pres­i­dent. How will this im­pact on the coun­try? This is an area of in­ter­est es­pe­cially to me as a young man in my 30s. Be­fore now, who would have thought that a youth can make a won­der­ful im­pact. We thank God for the gov­ern­ment at the cen­tre. It is com­ing rather late. But we are glad that it fi­nally came. The Pres­i­dent of France is in his early 40s, but when you come to Nige­ria right from when I was young I have al­ways heard that the youths are the lead­ers of to­mor­row. With this re­cent law, you will see a lot of changes in Nige­ria. Come to my party, APGA in Anam­bra, (where) I am con­test­ing for the House of As­sem­bly, I haven’t seen any­body that is above 40 years in this race.

It is not just enough to make a law, are the youths pre­pared for lead­er­ship? Why not! The law wasn’t in place be­fore I started run­ning. Peo­ple didn’t just make up their mind be­cause of the law. It is just that they never had the op­por­tu­nity. You will see a to­tal rev­o­lu­tion in terms of devel­op­ment be­cause we are the youths, we know the so­cial me­dia, we know the key­words, we know how to pull down a leader that isn’t do­ing very well but when you talk about a very aged man who doesn’t know about the in­ter­net what­ever you are writing about him is nonsense. The youths are ready to take over the devel­op­ment of this coun­try.

What is your view on APGA in 2019? I must have to say a very big thank you for the peo­ple that started this party. APGA is a young party. By all stan­dards, we are the third big­gest party in Nige­ria. The is­sue of be­ing in one state be­fore now isn’t to­tally cor­rect. As you can re­mem­ber the cur­rent gov­er­nor of Imo state won un­der the plat­form of APGA be­fore he de­fected to APC. APGA also won the elec­tion in Abia state; I can au­thor­i­ta­tively say that. APGA is growing big­ger than we can imag­ine un­der the lead­er­ship of Dr. Vic­tor Ikechukwu Oye. His lead­er­ship is tak­ing the party to an­other level. We also thank Gov­er­nor Wil­lie Obiano of Anam­bra State. He is do­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well. APGA won in Gwag­wal­ada lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cil of the FCT, pro­vid­ing the chair­man and five coun­cilors. In the last elec­tion in Kaduna, APGA won seven seats. APGA re­cently re­ceived an­other big fish into the party Se­na­tor Stella Od­uah who de­fected to the party. What you are about to see in 2019 will amaze you. APGA is go­ing to emerge the sec­ond party in Nige­ria.

What is your as­sess­ment of Gov. Wil­lie Obiano? We call him Akpocha Global. For­mally Anam­bra state was asleep. From the lead­er­ship of Chris Ngige that was when things started chang­ing. When Peter Obi came un­der the plat­form of APGA he did mar­velously well and then handed the ba­ton to Wil­lie Obiano. Obiano has done very well. This man has re­mained the only gov­er­nor in Nige­ria that didn’t bor­row money to pay salaries; al­most all the states have done that. Anam­bra state un­der his regime started to ex­port a lot of things. Agri­cul­ture re­ceived a boost. Ed­u­ca­tion is on the rise un­der Wil­lie Obiano. He just came back on a one month re­treat on eco­nomic study from the United States with his team so you are about to see more. Un­like most gover­nors who be­come slow in their sec­ond term, he is even do­ing more. Peo­ple won­der where he is get­ting money for all these projects from.It is trans­parency, it is Wil­lie Obiano, it is APGA in power and we hope that APGA will go round other parts of Nige­ria.

Though gov­erned by an APGA gov­er­nor, Anam­bra is seen as a PDP state, ow­ing to the num­ber of elected PDP leg­is­la­tors. Do you think APGA stands a chance in Anam­bra in 2019? Un­less you haven’t been fol­low­ing the re­cent events, in the last gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in Novem­ber, 2017 Peter Obi led the PDP in a fu­tile at­tempt to take over Anam­bra state but what hap­pened? You all saw it; to­tal lose! Even APC came sec­ond and PDP came third. To­day their house is in more dis­ar­ray com­pared to 2017 elec­tion so I won­der how they will per­form the magic. APGA is in con­trol in Anam­bra state. APGA has a strong foothold in the south-east of Nige­ria.

Con­test­ing an elec­tion in Nige­ria is usu­ally for peo­ple with deep pock­ets. Do you want to trade this lane, some peo­ple use to have god­fa­thers, do you have any god­father? It is a jour­ney of re­la­tion­ship. I was born in that con­stituency, schooled in that con­stituency and still live in that con­stituency till date. My one-on-one re­la­tion­ship with the peo­ple is of great value. I don’t care about money bags be­cause one thing I dis­cov­ered re­cently es­pe­cially in my party is that things are chang­ing for good. It is no more the days you give peo­ple money and they will vote for you. These days there is hunger; they will col­lect the money and vote the can­di­date of their choice. It played out in this elec­tion dur­ing Wil­lie Obiano’s sec­ond term.

The other par­ties were shar­ing as much as N5,000 but APGA peo­ple didn’t col­lect it. Those that wanted to col­lect did, but they were not swayed. Our peo­ple are be­gin­ning to come out of the eu­pho­ria, things are re­ally chang­ing. I have no god­father and I don’t in­tend to have one. I am run­ning my elec­tion on my own with the lit­tle I have and good in­di­vid­u­als who look at my an­tecedent and feel that this young man can do some­thing won­der­ful. God is good to me. I am not seek­ing any spon­sor. In Anam­bra, god­fa­therism is dead.

Mike Chuk­wuma

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