George Moghalu is the current Managing Director of Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), and also an All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant in the forthcoming governorship election slated for November 6 in Anambra, in this interview with journalists, he boasts of manifesto to revolutionise governance in the State more than PDP and APGA can offer. Correspondent, Ikechukwu Okaforadi, was there. Excerpts:
Why are you stepping out of NIWA to contest Anambra governorship election?
My aspiration to serve as Governor of Anambra state is not a new thing. I am sure you know that I ran for the governorship seat in 2003. If I had stepped in then and still stepping in 2021, then that is almost 18 years back. It is only that there is a desire to change the narrative. I believe very strongly that I have the capacity, ability, and determination to change the story of my State. I want to play an active role in getting the state back to where it should be. I think quite a lot of things have not been done right. I believe there are better alternatives. Better ways to do a lot of things and change the story. But, as we get along, when I will be able to unfold my manifesto, people will be able to understand the driving force. So principally, there is a desire and determination to serve our people at the level of a Governor. That is without prejudice to the fact that I have a responsibility now which I am doing my best to justify the confidence of the President who appointed me. My ministers who nominated me and my family that has confidence in me. And, my friends who expect much from me. Because I believed very strongly that to whom much is given much is expected. At this level, I believe much has been given to me. Then I have the responsibility to deliver much to society. For me, it is about the service at another level. Because even before I became the MD of NIWA, by the grace of the President, I was chairman of a board of federal parastatal; National Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT).
APC is not popular in Anambra, how do you intend to make a headway?
APC as you know is a national party and there is a new reawakening across the country, particularly in the South East about the party. The fundamental point is not necessarily about the old narratives. It is about the new consciousness. I keep telling people that we are going into the election with our report cards. We are going to present what APC has been able to do in the South East and in Anambra. We will put it side by side with what others have done. Again, we will also have to put side by side the credibility, character, capacity and ability of whoever is going to fly the flag of the party. That is why it is important that the party takes into cognizance the experience, exposure, capacity and ability to contest and win an election without baggage. We have very great personnel. Our people are not satisfied with the governance of the state with what it is today. It is like having married these men for some time, let us try this husband. PDP has ruled our state. APGA has ruled our state. Why don’t we try APC now and see whether the narrative will change and see the differences, so that we can do comparative analysis. As to whether we have the chance. I can tell you, without sounding immodest that, it is our best chance.
Given an unwritten understanding in the State, are you for zoning to South?
Truth be told, there is no place an agreement was reached in terms of everybody sitting down to sign an agreement that it must be zoned to the South. Truth also be told that for justice and fairness, Anambra South should benefit. And, more so if you look at the narrative of key players like the traditional rulers, critical stakeholders, they will tell you that for things to work properly, the right thing to do is to zone the position of the governorship seat to Anambra south. This is without prejudice to the fact that every street in Anambra state has the capacity to generate a complete cabinet. I can tell you that we are well-schooled. You can have the kind of person you want in all the three senatorial zones of the state. But, for equity and fairness, the tide favors the South and that is why everybody appears to be singing the song that this time around, the ticket should be in the South.
Anambra is acclaimed to have highest number of billionaire politicians, are you one of them?
I don’t know whether in the criteria for election now, if being a billionaire is part of it. I also know that when you collect your nomination and expression of interest forms, there is no column there that says you should attach your bank account. That I know. But, what I will tell you is that I am comfortable by the Grace of God. It is not about money now. I am a contented person because I know contentment is great riches and it gives a lot of peace of mind. As to whether I will run against billionaires, it depends on what Anambra people are looking for. If we are looking for billionaires, we know where to find them. If we are looking for someone who can deliver in terms of service, we know where to find them. One thing I can tell you about our people is that we know what we want. The Anambra man and woman knows what he or she wants. So, when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. But, what I can tell you without fear of contradiction, is that finance won’t be an issue.
Must you be Governor of Anambra and what can you do differently if you win?
What I don’t know is whether because I have tried it two times, I shouldn’t go for the third time. I will give you examples of those who have tried three or four times and they weren’t doing well before God answered their prayers. So, the truth about it is that I am not desperate. I have said that because I believe very strongly that all powers belong to God. And he gives it to whoever he pleases at his own time. But, you must make yourself available for God to use you. If it is the will of God that I will be governor, nothing can stop it. If it is His will that I will not be governor, nothing can also make it possible. So, that fact is very clear. I will like to say that at this stage that for every opportunity that you have, serve, that posterity will remember you. And, that is my guiding principle. In any position, I give it my best shot, so that when I leave office, I will be remembered. In offices I have held in the past and in NIWA presently, I have done everything I can to serve the people. For example, you may be aware that for about 42 years, Onitsha Port was designed and built under my administration as the first commercial badge. And we are doing everything we can to make sure that our river port and those that are under construction are completed and that they are functional, because I believed very strongly that the only way you can address port congestion and infrastructural decay is by making the waterways functional. All over the world, bulk cargos are either moved by water or by rail. Our roads are not designed to carry the pressure they are carrying. And, if the waterways are functional over 60 to 70 containers that arrived in Lagos today have their final destination in Onitsha or Aba. So if we can take those going to Onitsha and move them by water, like an example, we take 50 containers out of the roads, what we have done is that we have taken 100000 trailers out of the roads. 50 going and 50 coming with emptiness. And, if we can do this and achieve it, I can assure you that we are good to go. So, I want to be governor because I want to serve. You cannot give what you don’t have, they have given you what they have. I am confident and convinced that I will do better.
We learnt that APC leaders held a meeting to impose a candidate at the primary?
This question should not have come to me but to the party. Because I was not part of a meeting to impose a candidate. But, I agree with those who are saying that for any democratic process to be credible, for it to be peaceful and to achieve success at the end of the day, the primary process must be credible and acceptable. One thing for a credible primary is that it encourages unity among members after the primary. It is easier to lose and the person reconciles with the party and the establishment and moves on. But when you feel shortchanged and deceived, that the process was schemed abinitio with the intention to get you out of the way, if eventually you are gotten out of the way, there is a likelihood and a tendency for you to fight back. And, that is not usually in the interest of the party. Just like you on the outside. My appeal is let the process be free, fair, and credible.
Over 11 contestants are contesting, what if you are asked to step down in the primary?
The issue of stepping down does not even arise. I wonder who will look at me and ask me to step down. My decision to run for office was taken in my closet. And, you come out and say I should step down. Such will not even arise. I can assure you that such won’t arise.
Will Anambra people trust APC?
Why will they not trust APC when the facts are on the ground. I just use one example. In 16 years they were flagging off the Niger bridge. Every four years they flag it off. And, after flagging it off they dismantle the canopies. And the story ended there. Until Buhari came into office and we are talking of the completion date. Is that not enough story to tell? Let me also draw your attention to the fact that there was a time in this country that an Igbo son as Deputy Senate President and a son was Deputy Speaker. An Igbo was chairman Senate committee on works. An Igbo son was committee chairman on works. He was secretary to the government of the federation. Igbo daughter was Minister for Finance. And Coordinating Minster of the economy. And, no one kilometer of the road was tarred in Anambra or southeast states. Enugu to Onitsha collapsed completely. But, today work is ongoing. That is why I said we are going to go to the election with our report cards. If we have refused to sing our songs, we are going to sing them during the election.