The Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), George Moghalu, is a leading contender in the forthcoming November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, in this interview with journàlists, he explains how the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) can win the governorship of the State, our correspondent, Ikechukwu Okaforadi, was there. Excerpts:
How possible is it that you will win this election, considering that APC hasn’t a strong presence in Anambra?
I have said consistently, power belongs to God and He gives to whomever he pleases at his own time. What I am doing actually is to make myself available for God to use me, so that his will would be done in our state. Winning Anambra State Governorship election will require consensus of the political elites across party lines, so for the party to win the election, we have to generate this consensus and we have to do that only with a candidate that is generally acceptable. The election of November 6 will not be a tea party, it is going to be a strong contest. Every party will come to the election with their best, with the desire to win, so I have offered myself to my people of Anambra state. I am coming to the business with experience, with knowledge, with capacity, with integrity, with courage and determination to win the election.
There were efforts by Anambra Patriots to raise a consensus candidate, what happened to the idea?
If I must be honest with you, I will wish there is consensus and that consensus will be me, but the truth about it is that I know a good number have collected forms and I know a good number have returned their forms, but that is not to say that there is still no room for discussion. In politics, 24 hours is a long time. I am sure that consultations will still take place. People will look at the possibility of working together, but the important thing here is that, as I always say, every person is qualified to be Governor, so I respect that belief as we go along. Since it is either direct primary, indirect primary or consensus, since it is part of the option available to us, I don’t see why we cannot exploit it because the important thing is that we remain united as a political party, we remain together because if we are together, the likelihood of being stronger is there. So that door is not shut. I am sure that we could still exploit that option. The day is quite far, today is the 4th of June, the primary is coming up on the 26th, as we were told, which at least allows us the extra 22 days. So, I am sure of the possibility of ourselves coming together to exploit the option of consensus.
What impact will the security situation in the South East have on performance of APC in the election?
I am worried, I feel concerned, like any critical stakeholder in the Nigeria project. I feel worried especially as it concerns my zone, the South East, because these people that are killed are people’s children, some of them are people’s husbands. They are people’s brothers. As for me, nothing is worth shedding any blood, it cannot be explained, it cannot be justified. One thing again I don’t know if people realise is that most of the infrastructure that has been destroyed today, to rebuild them, we must put our hands in tax payers money because if a police station is burnt down and correctional center is burnt down, it must certainly be rebuilt and in some instances, it may interest you to know from the South East where I come from, some of those structures were built by Community efforts. Some of these police stations and community Halls were built by community efforts because I remember when the SARS protest took place in my community for example, the Divisional Police Station was burnt down. It is we the people that are raising money to rebuild it. It is a case of cutting our nose to spite our face, so that is the challenge we face. It is a very sad situation. If you look at history, every disagreement, every quarrel, every war, has never ended on a battlefield, it usually ends on the negotiation table and the question I keep asking is why do we have to war first before jaw jaw? Why can’t we jump that aspect of war, that aspect of fighting, that aspect of disagreements and go straight to the negotiation table and then negotiate our issues.
Why has peace eluded Nigeria for too long, and what do you think is the way to peace?
We are talking about human beings, we are talking about people’s beliefs. There is no way you can aggregate everybody’s feelings and ambition and put it into a corner, it is not possible. So there must be room for disagreement. We must make that room and also for us to deal with it, there must be a provision For us to sit down and negotiate. So for me, I believe there is a need for us to keep talking to whatever issue that may arise. There are many platforms that we can take advantage of: the National Assembly, where people are elected to represent all the zones. Can’t we use that platform? There are inter state unions, local government unions and there are town unions everywhere. These are the kinds of platforms that were used in the past and we can still use them again. The traditional institutions are all available, so there are platforms we can use to talk, there are a lot of issues that create great concern. People say we are having this insecurity because of unemployment; yes I agree, but is killing ourselves the solution for unemployment? The answer is no. Like I always say, the government cannot employ everybody. This fact must be established, rather what the government should do is to create an enabling environment for the private sector to grow, because it is the private sector that employs, but when the private sector collapses, we have the unemployment challenge. I believe very strongly that everything has a price. We must talk, we must preach to whoever is aggrieved, and we discuss and they send their own cases to the table and we present ours. And we as political leaders at all levels should be honest enough to see black and call it black, see white and call it white. What is wrong is wrong, what is right is right, what is bad is bad. There is no semantics.
To what extent has President Buhari achieved his promises of security, anti corruption, economy to Nigerians?
In making an assessment of the administration, take it first from where it started. As at 2014 – 2015, President Buhari was elected President of this country, yes, I agree with you. We campaigned on those three issues. The issue of insecurity, economy and corruption. As at the time we were campaigning, 14 local governments had already been annexed, with the Caliphate’s flag flying there. But it appears we are quick to forget, there is no part of Nigeria being controlled by anybody else other than Nigerian government today. I agree with you that we have not gotten to our desired destination, but it is a work in progress. Even America today has security challenges. The countries we are copying today have security challenges. A few days back, Israel was battling it with Palestinians. So, these are things that come up daily, but as they come you address them. The important thing here is that the government is committed to the fight. So I am convinced and confident that the President has done well. But that doesn’t mean we have reached the desired destination. The President himself acknowledged that it is a work in progress. But in preparing for any work, the important thing is, are your eyes on the ball? Where are you focused? Where are you determined to be by this time tomorrow? Once you streamline and mark that out, you may get to your destination. It may be slow, but the important thing is that you will get there. On the issue of corruption, I don’t need anybody to tell you the man’s scorecard. Nigerians have today a President whose antecedents for anti corruption is available for anybody to see.
What has APC done for Anambra to encourage them to support APC candidate to emerge Governor?
Why won’t they support us? And when people keep saying APC is not popular in Anambra, in the 2017 election, we came second. We beat PDP in that election. So, what happened? Is it demons that voted for us? The same Anambra people are there. When you marry two husbands, ask women they will tell you, you will be in a position to compare which one is better. Like I keep saying it. Anambra people have married two husbands, and the third one is waiting, which is APC. And we are asking them to marry us this time so that they will be in a position to compare the first, second and this husband that is coming. Because we are coming with a commitment, determination to change the narrative.