Senator Samuel Anyanwu is the chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges. A top player in Imo politics, the lawmaker is vying for the governorship of the state on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A two time Chairman of Ikeduru council and erstwhile member of the state assembly, Senator Anyanwu said he is in the race to rescue the state which he said has been in the throes of misrule.
Why do you want to be governor?
It is clear to me that the right leadership can propel our dear state to a higher level that will secure the future of its citizens. I want to focus on security. Security of lives and property, food security via agricultural innovations, job security – both creating and sustaining jobs in the private sector by creating real enabling environment that is conducive for economic advancement, while indigenes are dignified by the jobs they do and have the ability to earn a living. Securing a formidable health and educational framework that would be re-designed to meet the needs of our people, both rural and urban dwellers, and ensuring that civil servants are paid on time and well, not as a matter of luxury, but as a norm. In a nutshell, I want to spearhead the movement to bring succor, security in all its ramifications to our dear state.
What makes you think Imo people will prefer you to others from Owerri zone and Okigwe zone?
I can only humbly pray that the people will prefer me to others from anywhere in Imo vying for the same position because only one person can emerge. The seat is for Imo State not for a zone. The people will prefer a person who they feel would have their best interest at heart, with a feasible plan to improve the state of affairs, and is committed to making sacrifices and building bridges that would uplift the lives of our people. The capacity to do all these without rancour and acrimony, but with harmony and unified vision would make Imo people prefer me by God’s Grace.
You have been a council chairman and also a member of the Imo State House of Assembly. That takes you through the executive and legislative arms. What did these exposures teach you about human resource and fiscal resource management?
In the course of my sojourn in politics, understanding people, the challenges, the issues and expectations, it has become clear to me that leadership is of the essence, if a worthy future must be secured for the citizens. That leadership will encompass assembling the best brains and hands to ensure that all are on deck to move the state forward. In my experiences in business and public office both in the executive and legislative arms, I have learnt that in managing human, fiscal, and natural resources one must have the right experts, efficient systems, process, and framework to ensure sustainability. Prudent and judicious use of resources should occur in the back drop of due process, rule of law, transparency and accountability to ensure that it can withstand the test of time.
The basic issue confronting states today is poor economy which is premised on poor revenue for the states. How will you address this problem and get the money needed to address infrastructure deficit in Imo State?
Frankly, one can simply say that creating jobs across all sectors will solve about 50percent of the economic outlook of the state because if infrastructure deficits are addressed effectively, jobs will be created in the six major sectors of the economy. Infrastructure development, agriculture, health, education, housing, and security are paramount and crucial to galvanizing the economy of the state.
However, the problem of poor revenue and economy is more complex than that. The quality and orientation of our educational system must be reviewed to address issues of employability (quality workforce pool) and preparedness for the 21st century workforce. Local, national, and international investors must be made to feel secure to invest in Imo, this means we have to map out investment potentials from rural areas to the state capital, with assurances of healthy investment incentives, feasible and reliable ROIs, and guarantees of basic security of life, properties, and investments. With investments, proper harnessing of IGRs and taxes, infrastructure deficits will be addressed adequately.
If you get it, what will be your basic focal agenda and why?
Our focal agenda will be to restore the dignity of our state, so that things that are meant to be basic citizens rights, like paying salaries in full and on time, paying pension owed retired workers, basic health care, and qualitative education, are normalised and sustained; while introducing innovations that would secure the lives and properties of our people, ensure jobs, food, and health security.
The average Imo citizen irrespective of class, influence, or pedigree should look forward to an agenda that includes their aspirations, dreams, and needs. Now to the why aspect of your question, Abraham Maslow, a philosopher and psychologist through his theory of self-actualisation, used the hierarchy of needs to prove that all of us need to have food, shelter, and clothing before we can begin to yearn for security and safety and these make for the foundation of basic human needs. Unfortunately, ndi Imo cannot boldly claim to be at that stage in our development.
Imagine that Rochas Okorocha hands over to you. How will you address the alleged issues of corruption made against him and members of his immediate?
We would have to follow the rule of law. If any violation is found, we will not hesitate to hold whoever needs to be held accountable responsible. What I would not be a part of is any witch hunt, as I would also not be a part of any cover up. There are enough laws in the books to checkmate whatever violations that maybe discovered.
As a public figure you may be seen as interacting with all manner of people. Some may be concerned that some shadowy characters are the likely persons that will work with you if you become governor, what do you think?
You see, this is where I differ from a lot of other people running for this same seat. I do not discriminate against my people in my interactions. I believe that as a person whom the people have given their mandate, I represent the good people, the bad, the ugly of my Local government when I was limited to just Ikeduru council of my zone, now that I am limited to Owerri zone and Imo State when God finds me worthy to represent them, I will be respectful to the dignity of every human being; but please do not mistake my open nature in interacting with different people as lack of discernment of what is good and noble. I will ensure that square pegs go into square holes and round pegs, go into round holes. When it comes to the affairs of the state experts who are trusted, reliable, tested, and dignifying would be charged with the onerous task of putting Imo back on track.
There are insinuations that Imo state has never at any time zoned the governorship. Do you support the idea by some persons from Orlu zone that the governorship is open to everyone who is qualified to contest?
Equity is an integral part of democracy, especially in a heterogeneous society such as ours. Hence, in the spirit of fairness, we must ask ourselves, does only one geographical zone have the capacity to govern the state? The answer is NO! In the young life of our democracy of 1999, one zone has governed the state for 16 years, another for four, it is only just and fair that the 3rd zone, Owerri zone, be allowed to showcase that they also have the capacity to spearhead the affairs the state. The fact still remains that whichever zone that is in power or is seeking power to serve, must carry all the zones along, because we need each other and none can lead in isolation.
Some persons who know you very well say that without Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu you wouldn’t have had a political career. What role is he playing in your quest to be governor?
You can liken it to saying ‘if I did not have my mother and father I wouldn’t be alive.’ I am saying that God works through people. Chief Iwuanyanwu is the man God in His own infinite wisdom chose to use to bring me into the journey of politics and he has been a father to me. However, much like the analogy I shared earlier, even if he was my biological parent, it takes a village to raise a child. I have encountered so many people and had so many experiences through my sojourn in politics and I must honestly say that God has shown me abundant grace through the people (mentors, leaders, contemporaries, etc.) and experiences He has afforded me. With this quest, it is no different, Chief Iwuanyanwu is there like a man with numerous children, but he equally knows that one man alone cannot make these things happen, it would literally take the entire village in this case, the entire state to fulfill this most divine mandate movement.
If an arrangement is worked out for you to become a running mate to a one-term Okigwe zone mandate, will you settle for that?
While there’s nothing wrong with deputising anyone, as the focus is having the privilege to serve our people; however, at this time and for this election of 2019 gubernatorial race, my people, my capacity, my vision, and my God has mandated that I run for governor of Imo State not as a running mate. And it will surely end in praise.