Wants party stakeholders to unite…
On zoning: The party will make its decision known…
Says with President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements in the state, APC will become more accepted…
Chief Basil Ejidike is a household name in Anambra Politics. With his emergence as the Acting Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, he has sought to redirect the party and has at all opportunities to be heard, announced that the APC in Anambra will sweep its way to Government House, Awka.
Ejidike, in this interview talks tough and is much a reader’s delight.
TTP.ng- You have been boasting on several mediums that the All Progressives Congress, Anambra State Chapter will take over Anambra State Government House come 2021 even though that the realities on ground do not look favourably to such a call owing to the number of National Assembly and State House of Assembly seats, what then is fuelling your confidence?
B.E: Of course if you are in Anambra, you will realise that a lot has happened since 2017, in the last guber election you ought to know that the APC came second. Now after the general elections we realised that we did not perform that well in the election and thus we set up a committee to fully reassess our capabilities as a party. You see, we have a saying that ” One does not realise from where the rain started beating him, obviously he will not know where it stopped beating him. So immediately after the election what we did was to set up a Committee for self evaluation and the Committee spent almost three months where we sought to understand the party’s area of strength as well as it’s weakness. Now the committee has long submitted their report and we are now studying and implementing the report. You see, it is not that the Anambra APC does not have the required followership in Anambra, or that we cannot win elections, no , our first and biggest challenge is the issue of unity amongst the stakeholders while the second is the issue of an appropriate reward system for the party’s teeming members. Now, so far, so good we have been able to straighten some aspects out and that is why we were able to invite and host the Vice President of the Federation, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo in an event that served much as a morale booster for our party members. So far we have been doing a lot and the situation is not the same as it was before as a numerous number of people have decided to identify with us, now , if we were not a platform to beat a number of these big wigs would not want to associate with us. There is also the irrepressible performance of President Muhammadu Buhari in the SouthEast, particularly in the area of critical infrastructure , we have the Second Niger Bridge, roads undertaken and other aspects that have sought to reduce the infrastructural deficit in the region, these achievements have also helped us. Recently, I was with a major businessman in Anambra and he said if not for anything that the delivery of the Second Niger Bridge to us was a reason why he would for now associate with the APC, so when you put all these together, you will agree that our party is the party to beat in Anambra State.
TTP.ng- You played host to the Vice President last year July, where you made your appeals to him as regards the party in Anambra, as at today have these appeals been addressed?
BE: Yes and no. Yes in the sense that it is still an ongoing process, I mean the appeals have a time frame and no that the major pillars that ought to have helped push towards such goals have not helped at all but we are still planning another one as we do not intend to relent until such goals are met, but if you ask me I do not think we have fully realized the benefits of the coming of the Vice President.
TTP.ng- The Anambra APC seems to have an array of gubernatorial aspirants and there is this clamour that power should be zoned to Anambra South come 2021, do you share such sentiments?
BE: Well, I have been confronted with this issue severally and my attitude towards such is that it is not an issue for me to decide but for the party to decide and that when the time comes the party will come out with a position.
TTP.ng- Since your coming on board in January, 2019, the APC has received a boost as a party because people make reference to your sterling leadership, can you please give us insight into what programs you have as a chairman that you intend to deploy to reposition the party for the forthcoming 2021 guber elections?
BE: Following my emergence, I realized that all was not too well with the party, thus we set up a committee to help us chart a roadmap and last year we did come up with an agenda and this year we are also doing the same thing and so far, so good, we have been keeping faith with the road map, we have been meeting with key stakeholders in the party, party members at all levels. We have opted to be transparent in all our dealings, for example look at what we did when we sought for a replacement to Chief George Moghalu, the former National Auditor of the party, we engaged a process that was open that at the end of it both the winner and all other contestants openly embraced each other, this would not have been possible if we as a State Executive Committee had not allowed for a free and fair process.
In line with my vision to make the party at the state level to be financially buoyant, we constituted a nine man Committee to help draw out strategies that will help us have access to more funding in order to meet a number of our responsibilities as a party.
Asides such, we also hosted all pro Buhari and pro APC groups in Anambra, this was necessary to build the required synergies between the party and those who support either the president as an individual or are special interest groups within the party’s fold.
Lastly, we have also held a series of interactions with the media, thus is to ensure that the party and its programmes get the much required boost in the media.
We are also going to embark on a working tour, where we would cover the 21 local government areas as well as the 326 wards, this is to rejig the party and strengthen the party at the ward levels. We intend to find out what we have on ground, identify with stakeholders in these wards and chart strategies to move the party forward in these areas. When we are done with this we will then look at the process of registering new party members, issuing party cards and other foundation activities. Once these things are put in place then we can begin to build upon them in order to make progress.
Again, even at the secretariat , we have also effected a number of renovations and numerous changes in our headquarters, we now have a party that is functional in and out and ready to meet the yearning needs of its members and the general public.
TTP.ng- Now despite these laudable achievements of yours, there was recently an attempt to remove you as Chairman of the party, what fueled those attempts and are you in the clear now?
BE: Well, this is politics and I have always had the attitude that if you do not want to be bothered by anybody then you leave the position and go into your house. Now, the moment you are occupying a position, you must get ready to accept such moves. For me, it is not surprising and it is politics, my own reaction is to continue to give leadership to the party with a message that we all as APC members should sheathe our swords and think more of what should unite us so that we can take over Anambra State come 2021, which should be our main focus. That is my message.
TTp.ng- A number of people will say that the APC administration under President Muhammadu Buhari has done quite well, particularly in terms of infrastructure, particularly in the SouthEast, however there is still a disconnect between the party and the people of Anambra State. Now, why has Anambra not shown some semblance in the sense that in 2017 and 2019 elections the party failed to make much headway in both elections, this is despite the good works of President Muhammadu Buhari in the State.
BE: One thing that is permanent is change but of course you know that people like to resist any form of change, even though it is inevitable that change must come. So the issue of APC in Anambra State is getting better because when you compare the results of the 2015 elections in Anambra State and in 2019, it is obvious that there is a remarkable difference comparing both events, we must not also forget that the running mate to the PDP candidate, Peter Obi, a former governor was also from the state. So I may agree that the required acceptability of the party has not been much as one would have expected that with all the APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had done that the APC in Anambra would have been the most acceptable platform by the people. However, I believe that such acceptability will come but it will be gradual. Look at our 2017 results,’we came second with almost a hundred thousand votes, that’s quite a big achievement and speaks of the gradual acceptability, now I am hoping that with the continuous achievements of the Buhari administration in the state, such as the reconstruction of the Enugu- Awka- Onitsha Express way, the Nnewi – Oba Federal Highway, the Second Niger Bridge, the completion of Zik’s Mausoleum, the siting of Zone 13 Police Command and a number of other major achievements of his administration will also help further spur such acceptance by the people while we as a party do our own homework here, so that by 2021 we will as the APC do much better than we have ever done.
TTP.ng- The SouthEast has recently been clamoring that come 2023, it is the turn of the zone to produce the President, what are your thoughts on this matter and is the Anambra APC likely to key in to that vision?
BE : For me it is even overdue, but the fact remain is that power is never given, you must work for it, that is why we are appealing to our people that the outcome of the next guber election in 2021 will either strengthen our case for Igbo Presidency or weaken it. I know for sure that our people are wiser now and then there is this general feeling that such an ambition will come to the SouthEast but then it is left for our people as NdiIgbo to play our own part, we must be able to reach out to all other sections of the country as history has always shown us that no section alone can make its own President, so we must reach out. Also, we must work very, very hard to make Anambra an APC State come 2021, the moment we achieve that we are a step closer to achieving that goal.