Hon. Stanley Chukwu is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State. In this interview with EMMANUEL IFEANYI, he speaks on the need for youths to participate in politics, the 2019 governorship race in the state and the forthcoming local government election How would you rate […]
Hon. Stanley Chukwu is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State. In this interview with EMMANUEL IFEANYI, he speaks on the need for youths to participate in politics, the 2019 governorship race in the state and the forthcoming local government election
How would you rate the performance of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government?
To be fair to the APC at the national level, I think the party has done well amidst all the problems inherent before we took over. I’m sure all Nigerians are proud of the zero tolerance to corruption and exposure of many treasury looters. We have a President who keeps his words; our economy is becoming home driven and bouncing back. The agricultural sector is booming and we are diversifying the sector. Areas that weren’t functional so many years ago have been rejuvenated. Take a look at rice production and some local manufacturing that are going on all over the country. I think Nigeria is moving in the right direction.
There are calls for youths to take over governance of the country. Looking at that, would you support President Muhammadu Buhari as he seeks re-election?
I’m one of those who want the youth to get involved in politics, but that call does not connote that when we see an older person that we know has something to offer, we should ignore such a person because he’s not a youth. That is not what the call is all about. Why we talk about youths is because of our ability to think fast and be innovative, but no reasonable nation will cast out a performing leader on the flimsy excuse that he’s not a youth.
Age becomes an issue if the person is not performing well, but that is not an issue here. If you are from the South-East, I am sure that what is happening on the Enugu/Port Harcourt Highway, Onitsha/Owerri Highway and so many other Federal Roads in the zone will please you. Do I say no to continuity in giving us good roads that we have been yearning for all decades simply because the President is not within my age bracket? The answer is no.
Let us get the call for youths to get involved in governance right. The essence is to do away with underperforming persons who have been in governance for many decades and not to cast away good leaders simply because we are too familiar with their names and faces. And for us in the South East, we believe that APC and Buhari is the surest and shortest route to the long journey towards achieving Igbo Presidency come 2023. Again,the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under President Buhari has interconnected most rural roads in EhimeMbano Local Government Area, where I come from and asphalted most of our rural roads.
With these road connections, farmers in Ehime Mbano can easily move their goods to the city centre. The dream of recovering Imo River waterways in Ehime Mbano can be achieved under this agricultural oriented government to enable us turn them into huge farm settlement which my Italian business partners are eager to partner with us. So, definitely, I support his re-election.
There is the notion that the current APC government in Imo State is only visible in Owerri , the state capital. What’s your take on that?
I’ll never buy such wrong notion. What’s happening in Owerri is urban renewal. You don’t abandon an important city like Owerri simply because you believe it’s developed. You continue to add more things to make it meet up with what’s obtainable elsewhere. That’s why you see massive expansion of the intra-city roads. If you go elsewhere, you will see the strategy of building good markets in all council headquarters. It’s actually linking our councils to each other through what we are known for which is trading.
Does APC has what it takes to return to the Douglas House come 2019?
Without doubt I’ll say a big yes to that. APC can retain the government house of Imo for next two decades. Governor Rochas Okorocha has demonstrated to us that politics is not all about the big godfathers. Under our watch he has transformed some persons from nothing to something. He has given opportunity to those who have something to offer and that have helped the party’s structure even at the ward level. Members are very loyal to the need of the party and the structure is intact. We are too proud of where we are as a party in Imo state. In my local government, I am sure that we don’t lack men who will deliver for APC. They will deliver for APC because they have done well for the people of our council.
People like Hon. Lawman Duruji, the lawmaker representing Ehime Mbano Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly and Sir Emma Iwuanyanwu, who is the Imo state commissioner for Science, Technology and Vocational Education. He is also the chairman of our great party, APC in Ehime Mbano LGA. Duruji has remained a loud voice in the Hallowed Chambers and in terms of Legislation which is his primary assignment.
He has contributed greatly with sensitive motions, bills and opinions which have helped in driving his constituency and the state to the next level. Since elected to represent us, he has attracted numerous developmental and projects such as roads, schools, building bridges to connect communities cut off from the rest of the council and the ICT centre are some remarkable visible achievements we can hold on. In the case of Sir Iwuanyawu, his name rings like bell in the political and economic circle of Imo state because of his remarkable contributions towards the victory recorded in the last election.
We can proudly and boldly state here without fear of any contradiction that under his watch in Ehime Mbano, we won the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections which is a feat that will go down in the history of our political life. The APC in Ehime Mbano and ward leaders have really done marvelously well by transforming Ehime which was once dominated by PDP to an absolute APC power zone. With them, we shall win again.
What’s your take on the endorsement of the Chief of Staff to the governor to run for the 2019 governorship election?
I cannot recall where it’s written in our constitution that whoever is the son in-law of a governor is disqualified from being a governor. Is marrying the governor’s daughter now a criminal offence? The problem in the South-East is that we play sentimental politics. Many persons including the people of Ehime Mbano have endorsed Uche Nwosu, but they’ve never forced him on the people. Imo people are there to decide. I believe in leadership of ideology. I believe in continuity and I that case, I think Uche Nwosu, putting all sentiments aside, is the right choice.
Nobody is forced to accept him, but as a true Imolite and lover of good governance, I support his choice. He’s young, vibrant, sincere and experienced in the system. In Uche Nwosu, you now see the youth we want to take over government from old leaders. I don’t support him just because of his age. I support him because he’s young and has something to offer.
To be frank to you, we think Uche Nwosu has the structure, the experience and zeal to drive the Rescue Mission Government further and better. If anyone says we should not support him simply because he’s the governor’s son in-law, I see it as a pathetic excuse and an unfair judgment to a true Imo man. Again, endorsement is not the same as forcing like many seem to be making it sound.
Besides being the governor’s son inlaw, don’t you think the endorsement is against the rotation of governorship among the three senatorial zones?
Has that always been the case in Imo? Has there been rotation in that sit? I’ve always said it that clannish and sentimental politics is the clog in the wheel of development of the Igbo nation. I’m from Okigwe zone and when you talk about equity I think we have had our fair share. Our brother Ikedi Ohakim with due respect, was there as a governor what did he actually do for Okigwe Zone? Wouldn’t it surprise you that Okorocha who hails from Orlu Zone gave the free education up to the tertiary level that actually benefited many of our people? In Ehime Mbano, there’s a functional college of education now. We have seen a different under this government and the man in charge is from Orlu Zone and not Okigwe Zone.
After seven years under Okorocha, council election will hold in Imo State, what is your take on that?
We are so proud of it. The local government election is something we all have anticipated. We are glad that it is finally going to hold.
You’ve been calling for youths to get involved, are you in the race?
I am interested in the chairmanship position of Ehime Mbano Local Government Area on the platform of APC. I have a wealth of experience in the area of leadership. I have an established contact with notable investors in Nigeria and abroad, who I intend to bring as partners for the socio-economic development of Ehime Mbano. I have invested hugely in the agriculture in and we will take advantage of the agricultural potentials of the area to build a vibrant economy.
It is my vision to turn Nzerem, our food basket here in Ehime Mbano to Malaysia of the South-East in terms of agricultural produce. I cannot just sit and talk when I know there is an area I can come in to assist in governance. It is high time my people experienced a servant in the office and regalia of a leader.