“We want to renegotiate Nigeria. We want a sustainable Nigeria where people can move and develop at their own pace. We want a loosening on the stranglehold of the centre on the polity.”
Media entrepreneur, Chris Anyanwu, wants to return to the senate where she had spent two terms. She spoke on her bid to represent Owerri West again.
You have been to the senate twice, why do you want to go back?
The times have changed; times are tough. There are a few things to settle in Nigeria; everybody knows that. It’s going to be a more challenging period. That is the way a lot of people see it. We want to restructure Nigeria. We want to renegotiate Nigeria. We want a sustainable Nigeria where people can move and develop at their own pace. We want a loosening on the stranglehold of the centre on the polity. We want the states and the regions or zones to be allowed more responsibility. So, these are issues that would come up and I think that we need people who understand them well, people who understand what our people want in Nigeria or for Nigeria, and can articulate them. So, we need strong people, we need to be represented by our best.
I anticipate that it is going to be a more challenging period and this is not a time to experiment with people who are not very strong in governance and legislation in Nigeria. We want people who are recognisable, people who are well known, people who are respected, and people who have deep understanding of the polity. That is the major reason.
How would you describe politics in Imo State?
It’s like any other state. It’s generally peaceful except that during the delegate exercise, we began to see some violence. We were surprised by the violence unleashed by followers of one aspirant but we were caught unprepared because we thought that everything was going well. Imo people are not murderous people, but once in a while you see some surprising deviances from the norm. Politics of Imo is coloured by the rising anger from disappointment on the state of the state. Most people are determined that things must be better.
We learnt the Imo PDP has been hijacked by certain persons and that the culture of imposition is still there. How true is that?
I think you need to go and talk to party people. Imposition will not work because it is imposition that made us to lose the last time. PDP is rebranded and in the spirit of that rebranding, we have to dump those ways of doing things and bring pure democracy in what we do. We need level playing ground for everybody to aspire and campaign. In the primary, I want to plead with PDP at the national level, that everything must be done to allow a free and fair primary. The criminality that dented previous primaries must stop; they must not be applied. Nothing must be done to lift someone and install that person in Imo; it just won’t work. It is a recipe for disaster and I think that maybe 99.9 percent of the PDP members in Imo State have made up their mind that once that happens, there will be a reprisal and it will be terrible. And if that happens, PDP will have very little chance here. I think it is across the board because there is spitting anger on some of the indications we got in the last exercise. You needed to see the national headquarters flooded by Imo people; it’s disgraceful.
What are your chances of winning considering that PDP has been out of power in Imo for about eight years?
PDP is experiencing great resurgence in Imo State. People still see PDP as their last hope in the state. Of course, the other parties are also growing but PDP has the foundation and the support base generally to push through. So, our chances are very good if we do the right thing at the primary. All depends on how we conduct the primary.
The church plays a great role in Imo politics, how is it going to affect the aspirants?
The church is not a party; it is not aligned to any party. There may be elements in the church that have preferences. But those are emotional preferences. At the end of the day, the church would support any good candidate from whatever party. That is what I believe. It would be against what they preach in church to be against good candidates simply because they belong to a party they don’t want. Right now, Imo people are so exasperated and that applies also to the church. They are so exasperated that they are looking at people, not party. And you would see in the election that people would vote for the people they think are the right candidates irrespective of what part they come from. That is why for us in Imo State, we want sellable candidates, candidates that have something to offer the people. We want candidates that would resonate with the common people. And that is the only way to win.
Do you still have godfathers in Imo PDP?
I don’t know; I really can’t answer that because I have not been favoured by godfathers. I did not come by godfather. My godfather is God the Almighty and He is still the one leading me in all I had done both in politics and in my private life. There are those who are lucky to have godfathers and it helped. Are they still there? Sure, there are a few of them. But I don’t think it is the godfathers that will decide everything. It is the people that will decide.
The political landscape of Imo is charged right now. So, what would you tell the people?
We have come to that period where politicians will come and talk to them. Sometimes, they confuse them and give them some money. What has been tragic in the past is that our people sold their future; they have virtually eaten their future and suffered for four years after that. I think many of us have recognised that this time. The people are really suffering out here. I hope they have learnt their lesson. My message to them is: You have the option. The power is in your hand to decide how life would be for you for the next four years and beyond because mistakes made now would roll over for up to a decade. You will decide whether you will have an easier life or whether you will have a hard life. Decide whether you will take the money now and throw away your vote.