Anambra State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Chuks Chinwuba,
in this interview speaks on why the opposition party will take part in Saturday’s local council election. Excerpts:
What is your to speculations that the APC is not taking part in the Anambra council election holding on Saturday?
Our party will participate in the election. I don’t know who said that but I am the chairman of the party. My Exco has not taken such decision; the National leadership of the party has not also taken decision. It is not true. And by the way, why will the party not want to be part of the election?
This is a neighbourhood election for goodness sake. This is an election that will bring us close to the people.
Anambra people have been yearning for local government election because this is the lowest level of democracy and someone from the party will come and tell you that APC is not participating in the council election, that person does not mean well for our dear party.
Anybody who means well for this party must allow the party to grow. Our people have to participate in this election and I can tell you that APC is in this election.
Our list of chairmanship and councillorship candidates has been submitted to ANSIEC long before now and they have been campaigning. The same thing that affected the party in the governorship election is what they are bringing back.
People are interested in joining this party; they should not be frustrated by selfish interest. We should think of the greater interest of the greater members of our party. If you allow the local government to thrive, you engage a lot of young people and bring development to the people. Of the 25 political parties that are participating, why is it only our party that is claiming we are not participating? What is the reason for our party not to participate? We don’t have to do things that will continue to give people the impression that we don’t want the local government system to thrive or we don’t want to empower young people. Our party will participate in the council election
His take on the November 2013 Anambra governorship election
The election has been contested; it wasn’t the best conducted election. In fact, I was one of those who subscribed that the election was backward. The process and what we saw during the election was not right. There was indeed substantial noncompliance with the Electoral Act. In Anambra, the winner has emerged but I believe the legal process should go on to enable us have the best for the future of Anambra.
When people participate actively, it is better for us to make a better choice. May be who won could have still won, but then it would have been better that everybody participated.
On claims that he had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP
It is not true. I did not defect to PDP. I am still a strong member and the interim chairman of the APC. How can I run from the house I built? I was in the National Steering Committee that led the foundation for this party. Where will I leave the party and go to?
So I did not defect to any party. I was in the party but I was not carried along during the Anambra governorship election. That was part of what I was saying about the internal things that happened in the party. We were not carried along. We were left like orphans. So I didn’t leave the party. I am in the party and still in the party.
On reports that he is not the authentic chairman of the party in Anambra with someone presenting himself as the chairman
If he is, he is only an impostor. Anambra State is the only state that has conducted its congress on the instruction of the national leadership of the party because we had to do it to prepare for the governorship primary election, that was the directive from the party and we followed it. It was in that process that the chairmanship and the councillorship candidates were elected and the end effect to that was the September 2, governorship primary election that produced our governorship candidate.
The party dully instructed that; and it was published in the national dailies, where the national secretary of the party gave a rundown of programmes and activities of the party. The party organised that and we had to do our own registration.
The national secretary was in charge of the committee that came to conduct the registration exercise and after that we went ahead and did our congresses to elect officers at the state level. And again, because our party recognizes both committees and we have it. So Anambra is the only state that has a functional state executive because Anambra is the only state has done the registration which other states are doing. In other states, you find interim chairman but I am not an interim chairman and I will serve under the constitution of the party and that is the way it will be.
On what he is doing to restore peace in APC ahead of the 2015 general elections to avoid what happened in Anambra governorship election
If you talk of restoring peace in the party, it will be as if there is war in the party. There is no such war in the APC. The party is intact. There could be personality issues but the party is intact and we are on cause. We have had several meetings. What we are doing as a party is we have looked at what happened in the election, we did a postmortem and have seen what happened.
Like I said, the party did not fail because we did not have followership but because there were certain faces that were not expected to see. So as a party we are together and intact and we are moving forward.
His reaction to the recent defection of some PDP governors and lawmakers to the APC
It is a welcome development and it is something that we knew that will certainly happen. The signs were there. It was obvious that the PDP house was in shambles. It was obvious that so many things were happening in PDP which were not proper. We were originally in PDP that was where I took off from.
We were in PDP and saw that things were increasingly derailing. The governors are like kings of the party in various states, he who plays the piper dictates the tune. These governors have the machineries and they formed it, and all of a sudden they began to see themselves as no longer welcomed. And of course, the option they had was to move their things to the next place.
And because in APC, we are progressive-minded democrats, we have a bigger door and a wider room to accommodate them all. More governors will join. More legislators will join. It is a mass movement and that is why we are worried in Anambra.
So that when this movement is been made at the national level let it also permeate to Anambra. But if you have a situation where one person is seeing this party as his personal party there will be problem because that is not the attitude at the national level.
At the time we all worked to bring this party, the idea was to bring in all progressive minded persons because this is a party for the progressives and not party that will be excluding some people.
BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE