Barrister Ken Arinze served as a commissioner in the Dr. Chris Ngige administration in Anambra State and is a passionate supporter of Dr. Tony Nwoye in the forthcoming election. In this interview, he speaks on why Nwoye should be elected the next governor of the state. Excerpts:
What is your opinion of the forthcoming contest in Anambra State?
To us in Anambra, the contest is between black and white. Governor Obiano represents the black and Dr. Tony Nwoye is the white. I am bold to say that I support him though I know that there are others who are also angling to stop the rot that we are now seeing under Willie Obiano.
The other major candidates have their good sides I must confess, but their advantages compared to what Dr. Nwoye is bringing becomes insignificant.
What are those advantages that you see in Nwoye?
Number one is that Nwoye has the vision of a better Anambra more than all the other candidates all of who are far better than the incumbent. He has lived with us here and the only times he has been out is going to Abuja to represent his constitutency in the House of Representatives. So he knows the pains and the pressures on our people. You see the way he connects with the populace, he speaks the common language of the people, he understands their pains.
Secondly, Tony as some of us call him, has the energy of the youth to drive his vision. One or two of the other candidates may have good vision, but they are getting too old, into their sixties and though life and health belongs to God, these men may not have the dynamism to pursue whatever vision they are espousing in the same way that Nwoye has been going about.
But some paint him in the negative, saying that as a former president of NANS that he must have been a cultist and all that?
Well, I will answer your question by putting it to you that you are a 419ner or all the negative things that they say about Nigerians. Is that correct? No! The fact that Tony became president of NANS does not mean that he was a cultist. I think it is an insult to the sensibility of Nigerian students who aspire to leadership to say that they are all cultists. It is even more revolting given the fact that it is on record that Tony played a major role in fighting cultism as a student activist. Have you not heard the record of how Prof. Mbanefoh (Prof. Ginigeme Mbanefoh, former vice-chancellor of the University of Nigeria) commended Tony’s role in the fight against cultism in UNN? It is rare in this country for a vice-chancellor or a former vice-chancellor to commend a students union leader, but in the case of Tony, the commendation was glaring and he earned that commendation without sacrificing the demands of the students.
He has since progressed to qualify as a medical doctor and now a sitting member of the House of Representatives where he has demonstrated ability and capacity.
Some say that he didn’t do very well during the television debate.
Ah my brother, that is another thing. But he was not the last. You sure knew that Obiano took last in the debate. For me and I have asked, Tony may be a medical doctor, but he is not dumb and I know that he had about two hours to prepare for that debate. Tony in the past one month hardly sleeps more than three hours in a day and you could see the physical stress on him during the debate but even at that, I am proud that he was able to project his passion for the development of infrastructure. You heard how he kept on harping on power, power, power as the thing needed to liberate the entrepreneurial spirit of Anambarians.
How confident are you of your man’s chances in this election?
If you don’t know, Tony represents Governor Obiano in the House of Representatives. He is perhaps the only member of the House of Representatives who won election despite the opposition of the sitting governor. That is because the people of his constituency saw something in him and voted for him despite the opposition of the governor who is also from the same place with him. It is this good thing that the people of Anambra East/West Federal Constituency saw in Tony Nwoye that I and every other Anambarian want to enjoy. As a member of the House of Representatives with less than three years in the chamber he has facilitated more than 11 constituency projects, facilitated the employment of several of his constituents and with the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, why exactly should anyone oppose Tony as governor? Please tell me, why?