Mr. Godwin Ezeemo is a major contender for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with PRAISE NECHEREM, the industrialist explains why he insists on decent politics amidst inherent frustrations and discusses his chances in clinching the party ticket.
How will you contend with those bigwigs with intimidating profiles within your party. What’s your view on zoning?
I think I have the capacity to contain the aspirants. All of them are good, but none of them is experienced. Most of them are not familiar with the political terrain in the state. Just very few of them are. Even those few have some issues holding them. As for the others, we’ll match them any which way they do. But there’s something going for me, and that is, I’ve been in this state since 2012. I live here and traverse the nooks and crannies of the state. I started with ACN which metamorphosed into APC. You can recall I contested with Ngige and, because things were not done the way they were supposed to be done, I lost out.
As a team player, I don’t have anyone to fear. No doubt, they all have their individual strengths, but going by the evidence of what people have done, none of them can match me. However, our situation here is different, unfortunately. People are voted for based on how much they are able to throw about. It’s really very sad for our society.
On your second question, like I earlier said, I’ve traversed the entire state, 2013, 2016 till date. If you go to the far northern parts of Anambra state, for example, Nzam area or Innoma and mention Godwin Ezeemo, they’ll tell you that I’m a grassroots person.
I met them not just because of politics, but purely because of my social entrepreneurial and philanthropic work. So, who should I be afraid of? Nobody! So, whether or not the position is zoned, I’ll still run and run well. So, it’s not zoning that brought me into the picture. For us to be fair to ourselves, each political party has got their constitution and what they want to do. Some say they’re not part of zoning while others say they are part of it.
When you addressed your supporters, you sounded so optimistic about clinching the ticket and winning the election eventually. What gives you this assurance and what are you going to do differently?
Yes, I sounded optimistic going to Agu Awka and I’m still sounding optimistic until we get there. The reason is simply because of the structure we have in place. The structure I have now is stronger than the one I had in the past. The structure I had in PPA in 2013 was the one that came out of ACN and they weren’t much.
You can’t compare it with that of PDP which is a known party. Anambra is a three-party, if not two-party state. If I’m running under PDP and everything is done very well, there’s no reason I won’t clinch the ticket to Agu Awka. Nothing at all, unless God doesn’t want it. Yes, I had, in the past, confessed that my not making it was God’s decision. Of course, everything we do is in God’s hands. If he doesn’t want you to be here, you cannot be here. So, you must factor God in everything you do in life.
I’ve followed your political journey since last year, I discovered that your setback lies in the system, not that you’re not popular. The system has not favoured your type of politics. You’ve always relied on playing the game according to the rules. Do you think the system has improved to the extent that the forthcoming elections will be played according to the rules?
Thank you so much. My type of politics is the politics I’ll always play; decent politics. If you emerge as governor from an indecent politics, you owe nobody anything. It’s like a soldier that got it from the barrel of the gun. If, however, it was done the way it’s supposed to be done, with people reposing confidence in you and giving you power, you will know that you owe them and you must do the job and do it correctly. I’m not coming to do a shoddy job.
I’m not coming to do a job that someone will frown at. I’m coming to do a job that will ensure a strong foundation from where the state will grow. We want Anambra to be a first-world state. The obvious truth is that if you’re thrown up by a bad system, you’re not going to do anything different from the bad system that brought you in. Fortunately, this time around, our party, PDP, has confirmed that there won’t be impunity, which had been the bane of the party in the state. At the moment, it is trying. I see an improvement and I pray it continues that way such that nobody will quarrel.
With the number of aspirants in PDP, do you foresee a situation where the party leadership may request some of the aspirants to step down for others as it manages the primary properly?
I don’t see anything wrong in many people coming out to vie for election. It’s an indication that Anambra state has got a lot of people that have what it takes to manage the state. Everyone has got his vision and ambition on how to go about his own. Now, if the leadership of the party decides to do that, then you won’t call it democracy anymore. Aspirants need to start meeting with each other. We network. That’s where the understanding and maturity come. We’re meeting. But there must be that mutual understanding among the aspirants. If the party says someone should step down, then there’ll be problem.
While I was away, I was talking with other aspirants. Others are also doing the same thing because nobody will want to spend his money when he’s not sure of making it. For the people to accept you, you must have been apprenticed to somebody. The professional politicians want to see that in every aspirant. Except one who’s a green horn is being sponsored by an incumbent, the way Willie Obiano came on board. That’s exactly the way I look at it.
Do you think your contributions to the growth and development of the state have been commensurately appreciated?
My coming back to Anambra state is purely a desire of my heart. I didn’t do anything to please anybody. I thought within me for many years that I’m not going to spend the whole life time. At a certain age I must go home. I must be part of those who contributed to the growth and development of the state. That was the major reason for my return; it was not even for politics. Anambra state doesn’t need to appreciate me. I do my roads and other things myself. The Anambra state government doesn’t support their stakeholders and who have their businesses domiciled in the state. The only thing they’re interested in is your taxes. How you cope is none of their business. So, I’m not expecting any appreciation from anybody. What I’m interested in is what I can give to better the state. I want Anambra that works.
Where is your strength?
Sincerely, my strength is in God. I will do whatever any other aspirant is doing. But God is where my strength lies. For my strategies, I can’t disclose them to the public.
Have you, for once, calculated how much you’ve spent over the past nine years, pushing for this ambition and, if you have, would you say it has been worth the results you’ve been getting?
If you have a passion and burden and you want to achieve it, it will cost you something, including money. A classic example is Mandela. He had passion for the liberation of his people who were being maltreated in their own land. The apartheid regime even presented him with privileges that were intended to compromise his stand but he rejected them. He insisted on freedom for his people. For 27 years, he persisted until he got it. When he was dying, he died a happy man because he succeeded.
For me, I’m like someone living in a country flowing with milk and honey. But I decided to leave it, on my own volition, to invest in my state. It was when I came here that I saw the mess in the state, which propelled me to join politics. Unfortunately, most politicians are not sincere. And that’s one of my problems. When I discuss something serious, people dismiss it as one of those political talks. And I said I’m not a politician. If politics stops now, I go back to my business. For, now I won’t quit because I’ve not gotten what I want, unless God says otherwise.
Will this be your last attempt at making it to Agu Awka, in the event that you lose in the current race?
We wouldn’t know. We’ll decide when we get to the bridge.