* Anambra needs someone desirous of leaving legacy, bringing our LG system back to life to check restiveness, insecurity and idleness
Chief Sam Ikefuna is an international businessman whose frontiers cover oil services, Agriculture, and Estate Development with corporate offices at Portharcourt, Abuja, Warri and the United States of America. He’s a community leader and into youth/women empowerment, etc. A former Governorship aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State who strongly believes that it’s time a time-tested performer mounts the saddle in the state.
According to him, “Anambra cannot afford to be railroaded into a strange corner by two or three persons. The citizens of the state must decide who becomes the next governor on Nov 6. Never again shall a happy-go-lucky uncaring man without track record be foisted on us…”
The Anambra State Governorship election is the main issue now. How do you see it?
It’s going to be interesting because Anambra state has been wallowing in difficult times, ranging from high insecurity, assassinations, lack of jobs for our youths, lack of maintenance of inherited structures, especially roads, unchecked erosion menace, failure to build upon the existing infrastructure, etc. The government of the day has so destroyed the state that the economy can no longer produce jobs for our Youths. The state is spiraling downward in a dangerously speed.
So we really need a change of direction. We want a Government that has purpose, vision and oriented towards youth/community development. That is exactly what we are looking for right now. Because that is what our state need now. We no longer want to continue in this lethargic and directionless path. We have been doing one thing the same way and there’s no how we will get any change of result from that. Therefore we need a drastic change of approach and strategy.
Q: So what kind of person are you proposing from the candidates’ line-up.
We want somebody with a strategic purpose to approach and deal with the myriads of problems currently weighing our dear Anambra state down. We want someone with vast knowledge background in different spheres of life- both in executive position, corporate administration/management, etc. And I see that in Chief Valentine Ozigbo. He’s somebody I have known for quite sometime. He’s somebody I can vouch for. I know how focussed and capable he is. I know his capacity to deliver, strategize and galvanize the indigenes of the state towards the achievement and attainment of set goals for the state. It’s gladdening to see him among the choices before the citizens on Nov 6,2021 poll.
He is the PDP Governorship flagbearer for the election. He’s humble, smart and articulate. These are clearly deducible from his track record. The evidences abound in the offices he has held, high profile offices he had managed. He’s always focussed on where he’s going. We no longer want someone that is bereft of versatility in corporate administration and management. Anambra no longer need to be railroaded into a strange corner. Chief Ozigbo has been in the private sector, banking industry, entertainment/tourism industry and has been involved in the successful management of large corporations. That is the type of person we want. Someone with deep, wide and versatile knowledge and practical experience both here in Nigeria and overseas. In fact he has seen it all.
Q: But the incumbent and his party want the people to see things as nke a bu nke’ anyi.
The citizens are looking for a government that will give them the dividends of democracy. A government that would enhance and uplift their standard of living, take development to the grassroots and develop the rural communities. There is no economy that can grow without developing her local governments areas. But today, look at our local government areas, they are docile, doing nothing. They just go to offices daily doing nothing and at the end of the month they pay salaries. That’s all. They don’t have any project, program or work-plans. It’s the local government that is the stimulus of economic development and economic growth. Just like what you have in the United States of America and other nations of the world.
So when your LG system has been rendered impotent, destroyed and disabled there is no way you can grow. What is still keeping the state is just because the people of the state are in control of Commerce. Outside that the individuals are no longer progressing. Because the LGs that supposed to touch the masses are no more performing their functions. Consequently the issue right now is not about party but the task of finding the right person to rescue and deliver the state and her citizens. Someone with the necessary ideas and will bring added value to the table on how to steer the Anambra state economy back to the right track of progress.
Go to any part of the state the youths are not getting jobs. No one can really attest to when last anyone was offered employment in the state; not even in government establishment. One who would restore these social and economic growth services is what the state is looking for right now. That person is Chief Valentine Ozigbo. He has the quality, capacity and ability to deliver. That’s why you see all of us that are well-meaning stakeholders of Anambra state supporting him massively.
I have known and watched him right from leaving school manage small corporations into big ones, manage big corporations into mega ones. I have known him to be a rallying point in problem solving. He’s not onethat would come and just relax in the office, enjoy going to parties or having fun.
Delivering services is not about enjoyment, having fun, drinking champagne, eating suya or making merry. We want someone with hunger to identify and solve problems confronting the citizens. Someone who is desirous of leaving legacy of solutions in every aspect of our people’s life, especially as it concerns the youths.
If your youths don’t have future, vision or focus, that generation has failed because you have no capable persons to hand over the torch. Or are we saying we don’t want those who will handle what we are going to bequeath to them? It’s going to be like a father who has made so much money but was unable to train any of his children to take over from him when he’s no more. So can anyone say that such a man has succeeded in what he’s on this earth to do? No, he has failed.
That is what we are saying, that we need someone with vision, articulate, drive and capacity to turn those visions into reality. We need someone who will change the present wrong direction that our youth are heading. Today, everywhere you go to in the state you see alarming use of drugs by our youth. This is not what we want for our young generation. My heart bleeds when I see it, even in this my native Awkuzu community I have been going round organizing crusades trying to move youths away from drugs dungeon, to making them respectable citizens that they supposed to be. We want an administration that will bring the youth to the discussion table, to hear from them first hand what their challenges, needs and expectations are. We need to have an inclusive project where the youth will be fully involved in every aspect.
That’s what Val Ozigbo would do -to find solutions to youths’ problems. He won’t want to hand over to a generation of drug addicts. We do not want youths that would be a problem to the society.
You can imagine my shock and disappointment when I discovered that those who came to install solar panel/light in my premises were graduates of Electrical Engineering from the University of Nigeria. They were moving round with those installing the light performing manual jobs digging holes for the pipes, to earn a living. That was not where they were supposed to be. But because there was no jobs. Go to the United States of America, about three months to graduation, the children have already had three to four jobs waiting for them to choose from. But in Anambra state, with all our potentials we cannot provide anything for our youths. Instead the government is busy making merry. That is abnormal. It’s not what we want. That’s why we need a change.
To me, it’s not an issue of party, but who can and has the vision to deliver.
Q: Sir, even with your high hopes and enthusiasm, Senator Ugochukwu Uba has cautioned that Ozigbo should not rejoice yet. It’s like the general belief that PDP has always been its own problem will still be proved right?
As it is, the Court of Appeal has given its verdict. It’s only the Supreme Court that is still being awaited. But I have one very important message for the PDP in the state, for sixteen years now the party has through the same approach remained out of office. It has always been the same issue coming up every time-trying to divide the party. That is the only way the party loses election in the state. I sincerely urge the party and her members to be wise and learn. The stakeholders in the state need to read the handwriting on the wall, look beyond their noses and ask themselves how their followers feel being out of power for 16years. Do we want the unfortunate situation to remain in perpetuity? It’s ideal that when one loses the party primary he should gracefully accept the outcome and team up with the successful candidate to ensure the party triumph. After all it’s only one person that becomes the flagbearer. Or is Uba saying that assuming he had contested the primary alongside Ozigbo that he would have defeated him? Again it’s well known to all that if you fail to participate in the primary conducted by the party’s National Working Committee(NWC) then whatever results that come out becomes final. The NWC is the only body legally authorized to conduct party primaries for national elections as this.
Sen Ugochukwu Uba therefore cannot go outside the party’s arrangement and conduct his own private primary and expect to be taken serious. However, I appeal to him and all others feeling aggrieved especially those that could not make it at the primary, in the interest of peace and good conscience to sheath the sword and join hands with Ozigbo so that PDP triumphs at the poll. The future is ahead for all of us and our children. What is at stake is far bigger than one person. The future is very bright and Anambra State has to move forward.
We should not pull the hand of the clock back. Let’s depart from the ‘if not me, it will be nobody else’ type of politics.
Q: Besides the internal wrangling within PDP, what advice do you give to the electorate as they file out to cast their votes, come November 6,2021?
I urge the people to vote their conscience and not be swayed by the money that would be offered by some unpopular candidates. Am not in support of money politics. Choose correctly. Don’t because of money vote in a thief such that after about six months you start fasting and prayers asking God to come to your rescue. God has given us ample opportunity right now to choose a wise and humble person, someone that has all it takes to fix the mess that Anambra found itself in today.
Let’s avoid looking superficially on things. Let’s examine the candidates and choose the able, capable, articulate and humane candidate who is imbued with the wisdom to move the state forward. Someone who will tackle all his campaign promises. Not someone who will jettison all his electioneering campaign promises and shut out the electorate until next four years when he want to go for another election. There are crooks who stole money elsewhere and are in the crowd, ready to spend heavily for you to vote for them. There are those in the line-up of candidates those who are already being investigated for stealing billions that would have been channeled into projects to improve the lives of our youth. They steal and continue to steal without even putting any fraction to good use. They have no factory or any verifiable business through which our people could earn a living. And because they are already declared wanted, they would jump into APC in order to get soft landing and reprieve.
These are not the kind of people Anambra citizens should follow. I therefore passionately plead for our people to open their eyes so as to make a wise choice. This is our golden opportunity to return the state to path of sanity, progress and development.
Q: As it is, there are about four formidable parties in this election. How confident are you that PDP will win?
As I said before, am not considering just the party. Am looking at the individual candidates. What are their qualities, track records, how many companies have they taken up and turned around. Did they take up a company that was doing well and run it down? Or did they take up the 9ne that wasn’t doing well and gave it a new positive life? What were their history and antecedents based on where they had worked. What achievements did they leave behind, because it’s no longer enough for anyone to drop names telling us he’s this or that. We need empirical proof and verification.
We need to be mindful of these indicators.