A former member of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, who represented Afikpo North/East State Constituency, Mrs Maria Ude Nwachi (popularly known as Afikpo Chick), in this interview with select journalists, talks about politics in Nigeria and her belief that Dr. Ifeanyichukwuma Odii, a governoship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State is fully prepared and would be the best thing to happen to the state, come to 2023. Excerpts:
There has been this general insinuation that Dr. Ifeanyichukwuma Odii, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, does not have the ‘grounded’ experience in politics. What do you think?
Assuming by well grounded, you mean being exprienced in all the reasons Nigeria is regressing, rather then progressing, then not being well grounded in Nigerian politics is actually in the positive and not in the negative. Over 99% of Nigerian politicians are products of the system. It is rare to see someone that has emerged from outside the system. I knew nothing about politics when I was elected, I went in and served and served and even forgot to serve myself. I practice Service Politics, and we are highly likely to be blessed with a Governor with the same mindset in the person of ICO (Ifeanyichukwuma Odii). I honestly see Odii as Maria on speed, Maria at the highest level possible. So you can imagine what will happen. It seems too good to be true that we are going to get such a governor; but it is very very possible and then Ebonyi will rejoice.
People say or allege Dr. Odii is being used by the incumbent governor to destabilise and weaken PDP in the state ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial election. As a key supporter of the Anyi Chuks 2023 project, what do you think?
When you have capacity, especially in a young state like Ebonyi, where men of Odii’s height is rare, it attracts awe and all manner of speculations. ICO is a legitimate member of PDP. As Igbo say, nwata kpaa nnukwu nku, asi na okpara ya na ohia ojoo (translated in Igbo to mean, “When a child fetches good firewood, people would he/she fetched it in an evil forest).
At the last count, governorship aspirants on the platform of the PDP in the state, have risen above 11. Why are you so hell-bent on supporting Dr. Odii out of this number? What informed your decision and poise to support him?
The best thing that will happen to Ebonyi and Nigeria at large is to have this young man as a governor of a state. He is highly compassionate, respectful, regardful, magnanimous, considerate, and very thoughtful. He does not look down on nobody and does not discriminate. He wants A, B & C to be on the same table. ICO will create wealth!!! Hence, human development will be numerous for him. He has proven his capacity in that regard. ICO has everything it takes to make a great leader. I have not seen a Nigerian politician as honest and as reliable as this young man. He will make Ebonyi the envy of Africa and beyond, as he is also a conceptual sage and construction genius.There is one area you cannot deny that our current governor, David Nweze Umahi, did very very well, and that is in construction. No matter how you feel about him. This is one area I love so much about DNU. Now looking about all these aspirants, Odii is the only one that has the capacity and knowledge to continue where Umahi left off. Odii is in construction, not just in any construction, he operates at an international level. If we do not have a capable hand to continue with Umahi’s construction widzadry, the result will be most unpleasant. I do not say what I am not sure of about any human. In my capacity as New Media specialist, having worked for top Nigerian politicians and high profile personalities in this country since I returned to Nigeria, I have never seen someone like ICO. A lot of our powerful politicians see people as tools, not as human beings. They trample upon the down-trodden and those they feel lack the wherewithal to fight back. ICO is the opposite of that. He is a highly appreciative person and his empathy level is very very high. What I love most about his personality is his lack of negative ego. He does not feel too big for anyone. He is very approachable and relatable. Nothing wounds his soul like seeing someone being intimidated in any way. He finds joy in seeing people happy and will go any length to make life easier for others. He does not do status, he does not do class. He came from a humble background and knows what it feels like to lack, hence he is always eager to solve as many issues for others, as he can. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii has all it takes to become the governor of Ebonyi state. He has excess goodwill and all the ingreidients needed to clinch the number 1 seat in the state.
Many political watchers and pundits in the state are of the view that Dr. Ifeanyichukwuma Odii hails from the same Ebonyi South Senatorial zone with the incumbent Governor David Umahi, and that his (Dr. Odii’s) governorship ambition at this time,. negates the ‘natural’ zoning arrangement in Ebonyi, which has three zones. Do you have a different view?.
I’m personally and completely against zoning. I have always been against zoning as I equate it with mediocrity. I will support anyone I believe that has the capacity to win the election and to lead us effectively. I would not care where they come from. I am reminded that every zone has taken its turn, and so the governoship can start from anywhere in 2023. But even if it were not so, I will still want the best to clinch the position no matter where they come from, and as it is now, Odii is levels above the others, in all raminfications.
Considering the complexities of elections and the electorates in the current Nigeria, which (Ebonyi State and residents) are part of, what makes you think (Dr. Odii) can win governorship election in this state?
Election is no joke! Election is like a self-gifted sickness, this sickness will go on until election result is announced. If you win, you will be cured; if you lose, you might need to be admitted to the hospital for a better care. It might even lead to an early demise. Having exprienced election, not once, but twice, I pretty much have an idea how Nigerian elections work now and what you need to win or to be declared winner. If you come out to run any election in Nigeria, especially gubernatorial, without being fully prepared, then you have simply chosen to punish yourself, unless there is an ulterior motive that will favour you after your loss. I would not be supporting Odii if he was not fully prepared. He is fully able. He has all the ingredients and more of a man running for the number 1 seat the state.
How do you mean, Maa?
Elections in Nigeria is not about who is good or who is bad, it is not about a political party, it is not personal, it is not a village meeting to elect a head, it is not about fruitless lamentations, and wails. And it is certainly not about sentiments. It is self-interest and capacity only. If the one that is horrible and no good has the capacity and wherewithal to be decalred winner even when he loses, that’s it. There is very little the masses who actually voted for the other one they consider good can do about it. And in the person of Odii, we have someone who is very very good, very very kind and thoughful, who have the capacity and whewithal to win and also be declared winner! So what are waiting for? So what are we not talking? Let’s do this. “Come chop no be come die”.
Do you mean this happens in Nigeria?
I am one of the handful of Nigerians who won election outside the establishment, (We no evennreach three self..lol). And in my own case, it was my first time-from an unknown party, powered by massive votes from the people. But even with all the overwhelming votes, I might have even made number eight and they will declare the real number eight winner and the masses will wail from here till Jerico and nothing will happen. Life will go on. Having the capacity and wherewithal to win and be declared winner is everything. Odii has the capacity to make sure the masses won’t wail, that their votes to him will count. That Ebonyians will rejoice in the end. In our clime, no be to know how garner votes from masses like me be issue oo, na to also to be able to protect your votes from the well experienced and seasoned riggers and compromisers. If you are not capable of protecting the votes, the masses gave you, you will be breaking your heart and the hearts of the people, as they are helpless in fighting these hardened riggers. In this regard, Odii bu igwe! Onwegi ihe g’eme his votes (nothing will happen to his votes)! He has the capacity. Do not depend on external forces to win your election. I did that in 2019, I had acceptability of the masses but did not have the capacity to protect that. I depended on APC giving PDP a fight for me in my tiny party to sail through. Well it turned out APC Ebonyi in 2019 was all mouth and nothing else. In the end, only one party was totally in charge and dictated the tune. Now, Odii is not depending on external forces but his own capacity and the goodwill of the masses towards him. And that is how it should be. Fellow Ebonyians, Odii is a rare gift being handed to us on a platter of gold. In 2023 when it happens, our young state will become the most beautiful bride, a beauty to behold, a place no one will feel intimidated by any powers, a place of massive wealth creation, where others will migrate to, where the quality of life will skyrocket. We will see Service Politics practised at the highest level. We can’t wait