Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka is the Ogirisi Igbo and the Proprietor/ CEO of Rojenny Tourist and Games Village Oba in Anambra state. Ezeonwuka who is also a member of Board of Trustee of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in this Interview with Toby Chuks he rejects the Judgments of Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka which upheld election of three Amanbra Senators on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and that of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state whose election under PDP was also upheld by the Tribunal sitting in Umuahia. He also spoke on the current political situation in Anambra, agitation for Biafra, state of Ndigbo and expectations from President Buhari’s Administration.
Let us start with what is happening in Anambra. How is Governor Willie Obiano fairing in your our own assessment?
Thank you very much. His Excellency Governor Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano (Akpokuodike) is doing wonderfully well and that is why the good people of the state are solidly behind him. Obiano came into office with zeal and determination to take Anambra to the next level and consequently he introduced a strong 4 point Agenda which among other things includes: adequate security, Agriculture development, development of oil and gas and improving on commerce and industrial development in the state. Following the 4 point agenda, he brought the message of hope that it is time to flush out kidnappers and armed robbers that have been terrorizing the residents and visitors in the state, that it is time to go back to farming, time to develop our oil and gas and time to take traders and businessmen to the next level. People bought into the message and security improved. People embraced farming like never before and Anambra began to take a new a shape. He set up Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) headed by renewed diplomat HRH Igwe Dr Cyril Enweze the traditional ruler of Umuoji to promote oil and gas as well as commerce and industry.
I’m sure that it will interest you to know that rural communities like Anaku and Omasi in Ayamelum Local government area and Ozubulu in Ekwusigo local government have received gigantic developmental projects as Coscharis and other companies came down to invest in rice, tomato and cassava farming as well Auto Mobile. Coscharis invested massively in rice farming at Anaku. One other company, known as Ekcel Farm invested huge sum of money in tomato and cassava farming at Omasi while Richbon an Auto firm invested in Auto Mobile to manufacture Auto spare parts at Ozubulu. These companies came because of adequate security in the state. Do not forget that the governor uses the church to deliver services in education and health sector. His greatest achievement however is flushing out dare devil criminals that gave us sleepless night for years. And let me use this opportunity to tell Ndi Anambra state resident outside the state to fill free to come home during Christmas and New Year holiday because there is adequate security in the state.
There is criticism in some quarters that the roads in Anambra are terribly bad and nothing concrete is happening in education, sports and other sectors in the state. For instance according to the critics Anambra under Obiano has dropped backwards in WAEC and NECO results. On the other hand, the people are complaining of multiple taxation and massive increase in revenue issues. What is your take on these critics?
Thank very much, you came up with many questions at one point. Let me take them one after the other. On roads, Obiano responded to the problem of road immediately he assumed office by introducing zero pothole drive. He flagged off road projects in various communities across the state but the rainy season coupled with the present economic set back due to drop in oil price the projects suffer delay. I hope that work will commence on the roads as soon as the rainy season drops.
On Education, Sports and other sectors, I think the Commissioners in charge of those sectors are to be blamed for the dull moments being witnessed in those sectors. Personality, I see some Commissioners as incompetent hands. For instance the Commissioner for Sports has failed to promote the annual state sports festival and school sports. The man in charge of sports appears to lack ideas on how to develop sports in the state. The Commissioner for Information and Culture is not doing anything to promote what the Governor and his wife are doing for the people. Publishing what the government is doing is as good as responding to criticisms.
Her Excellency, the First Lady, Mrs Ebere Obiano is championing the cause of poverty eradication and she is reaching out to the poor and the disabled in rural areas across the state with materials to better their lives but nobody talks about it. Have you heard about a project called Caring Family and Enhancement (CAFE) Initiative which is being championed by the wife of the governor? You cannot hear about CAFE because they are not talking about it even in the local Radio stations. I think it is the duty of the Ministry of Information to propagate what Government is doing. The Commissioner is also not doing anything to promote our culture. We have what we call Mmanwu (Masqurade) festival and Mmechi aro which means end of the year ceremony,Diaspora tourism packages, but the Commissioner does not seem to be interested in organizing such festival and activities.
Blame the Commissioners not the governor on the issue of Anambra dropping backward in WAEC and NECO results, the dull moment in sports, in information and culture and other sectors. I am disappointed with Commissioners because some of them were brought from the foreign countries to come and serve their father land using the experience and knowledge they acquired over there but they have failed to make meaningful impact.
What are the other question, tax and revenue, it is ok. Government has to pay workers and carry out projects and where do we expect the governor to raise the money when the federal treasury is suffering? The governor has to harness the resources of the state to raise money to run the state. And he is doing it effectively because Anambra workers are earning their salary unlike what is happening in other states where workers are owed backlog of arrears of salary. Some of those that are complaining about taxation and revenue are land lords who increase their house rents every year. That is human being for you.
What is your reaction to the judgments of Election Petition Tribunal upholding the election of three Anambra senators under PDP and that of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia state?
The judgments of these Tribunals upholding the election of PDP flag bearers is by my own understanding a clear indication that the PDP is making frantic effort to destroy APGA in the southeast using the instrumentality of some corrupt judges in the judiciary but it will not work for them, We cannot accept those judgments and I am happy that those affected by the Tribunal abracadabra have all gone to the higher court to appeal against the verdicts of the Tribunal. Let us keep our legs crossed and see what happen at the Appeal court,
Let me use this opportunity to warn PDP politicians to forget about taking over Anambra state in 2018 because it won’t work. PDP should be talking about election in Bayelsa and Kogi and not Anambra state. PDP should be serious talking about how to dethrone APC in Edo state next year and not Anambra state. PDP should be concerned about playing effective role as the leading opposition party and not to take over Anambra state because the party did nothing for Anambra when it was in power. Anambra people have rejected the party as the results of 2010 and 2014 governorship elections clearly proved. I have cursed the PDP with Ogirisi deity and the party can never smell government house in Awka again and so shall it be. They stole our mandate for senate during election last year and that will be their last chance because during the state assembly election last year we dared them and they were soundly trounced at the polls. So Anambra is a no go area for PDP and APC too.
The agitation for Biafra is gathering momentum with arrest of Nnamdi Kanu the Director of Radio Biafra. How would lend your voice to it as Ogirisi Igbo?
The agitation for Biafra is a sign that all is not well with Ndigbo as a people. But unfortunately those involved in the struggle are not ready to listen to advice. And like former president Obasanjo observed recently, some of those involved in the agitation are miscreants seeking for opportunity to make money. There are issues ahead of Ndigbo before Biafra. One is unity. How do we come together and speak with one voice as a people? Look at the political environment, PDP wants to destroy APGA upon the fact that PDP has completely failed and disappointment Ndigbo. Why can’t we build our political force in APGA? This is one. Two, what is the position of our sons and daughters who have huge investments in the cities and villages around Nigeria? Are they ready to come home and invest in their own villages? Number three, in the real sense are we ready to part ways with Nigeria considering our huge investment in the country? These are the challenges we have to deal with before we start taking about Biafra. Unfortunately people are not giving attention to these challenges and that is why the struggle for Biafra has continued to hang in the balance.
Governor Willie Obiano has done Ndigbo a good favor by given Biafra fallen heroes a befitting burial rite, so the solution to the challenges facing us lies on unity of purpose and finding better ways to galvanize our weight into one direction. I have nothing against Biafra because every Igbo man is a Biafran but my position as Ogirisi Igbo is that Biafra should not be an issue of miscreants. I send my sympathy to Nnamdi Kanu and those who have lost their lives for Biafra. Buhari should release Kanu because he has committed no offense by voicing his opinion on solution to the challenges facing his people.
One question recently came up in the Social Media on Nidgbo. The question is: if you want to talk to Ndigbo who would you call or meet?
If you want to talk Ndigbo, you can call Ogirisi that is I or Ohaneze or the Governors. We have southeast governors forum and we also have the Igbo Leaders of Thought headed by Professor Ben Nwabueze or you address press conference.
How would you asses Buhari administration?
Not yet convincing. Nigerians are expecting a fire brand wind of change and the fire is not yet there. Buhari is talking more and doing less. Following the Tribunal verdicts on election petitions, the national leadership of APGA has appealed to him to orchestrate the review of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended with a view to pluck loopholes that give room for election malpractices. Our party leaders also made case for reforms in the judiciary with a view to check mate corruption in the sector regarded as the last hope of common man. These are the things we expect him to do. Fight corruption. Arrest and jail corrupt men and women in the system. Then fix our roads, provide electrify, give youths job and improve on the lives of the people. QED.