The SDP gubernatorial candidate in Imo State, Dr. Casmir I. Anyanwu tells news men how he will reposition Imo State when elected as the governor of the state. Excerpts;
Introduce yourself sir.
I am Casmir I. Anyanwu the governorship candidate for SDP in Imo state in the 2019 general elections.
Why do you want to be the governor of Imo State?
I want to be the governor of Imo state because I am eminently qualified, by whatever measure of qualification, by education, by experience. I will bring to the table a lot of experience that can help me guide Imo state. I will destabilize Imo state that is in trouble at this time. So I am qualified.
Identify the problems.
Is it Imo State that this present government under government Rochas Okorocha cannot fix? First of all I will not want to discuss anything about past government, what I have come to do is fix Imo.
What are those things you want to fix in Imo state?
It is said that Imo people are very poor now. Imo people are hungry because there are many, many months of salary that is owned, not only to the current civil servant but also to pensioners. Pensioners from what I read last night are being owed 34 months of pension. There are many, many months of salary owed to the current civil servants. The civil service in Imo has been destroyed literally by the practice of the current administration. I want to re-establish a good civil service.
Based on that, they are advisers of any government that comes in power. They are steady all the time. The government that comes into power may not know where the bodies are
buried; it is the civil service that will point out to that government where things are, how to move on before you can now establish your policies.
So, one of the first thing I will like to do is to be able to re-establish a credible civil service in Imo state, I shall pay salaries and pensions as and when due. What else is more important for a government than to pay salary? What other project is more important than that – none. To begin with, with respect to project I will like to continue to fine tune and revamp every of the projects that are ongoing by the current or even the past governments. For example, the current governor or government has started to build 27 new hospitals in Imo state, one per local government. There are twenty seven local governments in Imo
State. Each of the local governments has an ongoing hospital in progress, none of them is completed. I will like to review that policy and see whether it is possible to finish all those hospital projects and equip them. May be it may be better to even say I will select some strategic ones – may be three in each senatorial zone and finish them within the confines
of the available budget within the first term. I don’t think it will be possible to finish in the current economic situation in Nigeria. It may not be possible to finish the 27 may be it might be instructive to look at the viable ones strategically located in the three senatorial zones and complete them.
So my policy will be to review all on-going projects, even from Dee Sam’s time. That’s Sam Mbakwe through Udenwa, through Enwerem and the rest of them and see, “are there any project that they started that is not completed that has viability”. If there are any such projects I will like to be able to do them so that we can create jobs for our people.
What about women and youths empowerment?
Before I answer that, let me go back, I will put salaries, wages and pensions on the first line charge of the state resources. That is how important this is to me, because you know why? All those civil servants that are scattered all over the nooks and crannies of Imo State, if you pay those salary; those people are not rich people they will spend all of that money. And all of that money in different neighbourhood will begin to energize the economy. What they call trickle down – Economics 101.
Back to what will I do for youth and women? Suddenly, our youths are danger. You don’t know the number of students that graduate from colleges and universities that are unemployed, it is said that the mind is a terrible thing to waste if you graduates
Imo state is known for education and therefore I must create an environment or programme that will engage the youth, so that they don’t turn intellectual power into something that will become problem to the state and for the nation at large. In other words, it is important that we engage the youths especially those who have skills and
education, to offer the state. I will create programmes for them.
In the case of the women, they have been marginalized for the most part and we will find room for women to be fully and properly engaged in our administration in the state.
In the area of security especially kidnapping, what are you going to do?
First of all security is national issue. When you are talking about security you are talking about national police, army, civil defense and those security apparatus. Those are managed from Abuja. However, as the chief security officer of the state, I must find a way of working in harmony with the federal government such that I will be able to get co-operation of those security operatives. I will like to say what is happening in Anambra.
Anambra is a case in point where that has been done ever well. Whatever Peter Obi and Governor Obianao have done, they have accommodated that properly.
In fact there is no more kidnapping, you hear of very little kidnapping in Anambra. Same case is also in Abia. I think the case of kidnapping has been quite accommodated reasonably in the south east zone right now. Once upon a time-about three or four years ago, so whatever model that Anambra has adopted I will like to borrow that from my brothers out there.
How will you consolidate federal government effort in consolidating rice production?
Let me put it this way, everything you are talking about is local, I don’t think Imo State is a very strong state for rice production. We need to we call comparative advantage. Wherever Imo state has comparative in any of the cash crops we will try to maximize on that advantage. I don’t think we are very great in rice. Imo can boast of things like cassava, palm oil and all these cash crops that are native to our state.
We will also try to industrialize Imo using cash crops from our neighbouring states where we don’t have advantage. We can set of factories I give a case in point. In Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and even Abuja, you will shed tears because during orange, mango and pineapple seasons, for the amount of waste that is going on. It is not enough that we are producing a lot of food but most of that food is wasting because of lack of preservation.
When I become governor I will to be able to set up manufacturing companies that will be run by our people with the help of government; factories for orange and pineapple processing. They will go to Benue, Nasarawa and they will go Plateau and bring in the raw materials and process those things for local consumption and possibly for export. There is no reason why we will be importing fruit juice from south Africa or any other country, which we have the raw material to produce them in Nigeria, so that will create job opportunities to our teaming youths.
What have you done that your people will hold on to in order to vote for you?
First of all, in my career I have been mostly in financial services especially in banking. I used to be a Wall Street banker. Then from there I was the country manager for Bankers Trust Company. Bankers Trust Company is an investment bank; her customers are state and countries, major corporations of the world. I was at some point the country manager for Nigeria and within that vantage point we provided facilities in dollars to state governments and federal government of Nigeria. And from that we provided job opportunities for some of the people.
Then eventually, I became the general manager for the same outfit in UBA as GM but representing the bank in Nigeria. And from that point of view again we created job opportunities in Nigeria for the youths. And from that point of view also I was able to sponsor a lot of people overseas to the United States.
Eventually when I became the MD of progress Bank, I can assure you so many businesses succeeded because I was the MD. I can give you names of people you will ask. The current governor of Imo State by the way is a beneficiary of what God used me to make for people. So I don’t want to begin to say this and that. Even Alaba marketers (electronics and electrical), I was to relocate them to what now – where Shoprite Owerri is located. I was working with them to relocate them there so that they can bring their wares into Imo instead of Lagos where their properties would be destroyed if there is any skirmish. I gave the last fifty million naira to commission Imo airport as a Cargo airport because I had promised those Alaba boys that when they come from Malaysia, Indonesia, wherever they are, they land in Sam Mbakwe Airport, within 15 minutes they are in their shops. It was Progress Bank that gave the last fifty million to enable the commissioning of that airport by General Sani Abacha. Therefore, I am not new in grooming people. God has used me to groom a lot of people in the south east; it is not just in Imo.
Now what type of leader do you suggest for Imo people to choose that can take them from where they are to where they are supposed to be?
Well Imo people need a mature guy who has seen the world not just in Nigeria, but has seen the world but also knows Nigeria. For the past nine years I have represented Imo state at the Federal Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission where monies are shared every month to federal, state and local governments. So I know how to manage fund. I know how much money that is going to every local government, to every state and to the federal government. I know how much is going to Imo. I know how we can prudently manage that. So the person you want to govern Imo now is a mature person who understands and who has connections in the country and overseas. Who also is not coming there to steal money and have no reason to want to make myself rich with Imo money. God has blessed me. My children are grown. What I own them is good education and they have it. Therefore, all I am coming to do in Imo state is to see the best way of reviving Imo in the Sam Mbakwe model. Sam Mbakwe was a great governor of Imo State in the mold of Dr. Michael Okpara of blessed memory. They were the best managers of the Igbo race in terms of governance. I will like to model myself to the Sam Mbakwe model where no person is left behind, no community is left behind. If you look at what Sam Mbakwe did, there is no community in the old Imo state which is now current Imo, Abia and parts of Ebonyi. There is no community that Sam Mbakwe did not touch with one project or the other. Unfortunately those projects, most of them are comatose. My business is to ensure one, in a smaller in smaller Imo State, smaller population, we will revive any ongoing project or try to set up new projects for Imo citizens to own them not the government but the government will facilitate the ownership of that.
So under SDP arrangement we can generate good projects for Imo and also good governance as these will create job opportunities for the youths and for women and for everybody. So my dream is to model myself in a smaller Imo state along the lines of Chief Sam Mbakwe and in fact along the lines of Dr. Michael Okpara who made sure that they didn’t discriminate am from Owerri, am from Okikwe. The whole state is your constituency and therefore you need to touch every nook and cranny of that state.
When you become the governor of Imo state will you engage technocrats from other parties?
Let me tell you, I haven’t given you my manifesto and when I do you will notice that I will set up advisory councils for every aspect of governance. I will set up an economic council, youth, women, elders’ council, all kinds of area that will touch upon good governance. Let me give you an example of who will be members of my economic council and from there you can extrapolate and expand it to other areas. Education council, women council, youth council, elders, you name it. If I set up an economic council, these are members that I choose, proven technocrats and successful business men like Dr. Pascal Dozie, people like
Arthur Eze, people like Professor Maurice Iwu, Leostan Eke, Frank Nneji, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. First of I will comb the whole of Igbo land. I am not going to say you are from Imo or from there. I will bring all the best brains. I am not going to be afraid of any of them. You know what I mean. I can bring in a lot of people that will be happy to give their services for free, but they are being ignored because people have some inferiority complex.
They don’t want to engage these people. I am telling you the truth that when I set up that economic council it will cut across Nigeria, but it will concentrate on the south east. More concentration will be successful business men from Imo, like Orange Drug. Why won’t you bring such a person? Emzor, why won’t you bring them to advise you, it doesn’t matter where they come from? I will have a collection such brains, I will say, help me to succeed, help me m to manage Imo, give me advice. They will give you advice freely. I am not going to pay their flights or hotel bills. These are rich men and women. They will come and they will be happy to work with you because you recognized them and are free with them.
You are not afraid of them. The problem we have at the current point where you have destroyed the intellectual class is because somebody has an interiority complex; I don’t, I shouldn’t.
In many states they try to zone positions, do you have such advantage?
Well if truth be told, since 1999 Orlu zone is in its 16th year of governance. We have had two people from Orlu. His Excellency Achike Udenwa is from Orlu, he did eight years, Ohakim did four years from Okigwe zone and now His Excellency Rochas Okoroch is from Orlu zone doing another sixteen years that is, sixteen years of Orlu, one term of four years for Okigwe. Owerri zone is where actually the headquarters is and also a very strong nucleus of Imo state, probably the most populated. Don’t mind about the numbers of
local government areas.
Owerri hasn’t produced a governor in nearly 20 years of the current exercise. Therefore it is justice bacons that Owerri should produce a governor. Luckily I happen to be from Owerri zone therefore I will be the next governor of Imo state.
What is your word of advice to eligible voters?
I will say people are going to come around throwing money at you, hello, take the money, that money belongs to you, it is your money that they have pocketed and want to unleash that money on me and you now to buy your vote; take the money. However vote your conscience use your brain, use your PVC to vote for the candidate who is qualified, not a candidate whom you don’t know his source of income or how he made his wealth or bla bla bla.
I am candidate you believe is going to take interest of Imolites to heart; a man who is not there to grab their money. So the issue here is don’t vote for any desperado, vote for somebody whom you believe has the world reach, has the national reach to be able to interact with Nigerian leaders as well as world leaders as to bring something of value to Imo state