Hon. Tony Nwoye represents Anambra East and West Constituency in the House of Respresentatives. He is also a former National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). In this interview with reporters in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Nwoye, who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) eight months ago, speaks about his governorship ambition. NWANOSIKE ONU was there.
How has it been at the National Assembly?
We have started working seriously on the budget. We are going to add more money on the N14 billion already budgeted for the Second Niger Bridge. I personally ensured that the Enugu-Onitsha, especially the Umunya axis, was captured on the 2017 budget. I am happy that about N8 billion will be appropriated for Anambra section of the road this year. This is a road that had claimed many lives. This is a road that different administrations in the past had campaigned with and did not do anything. The same applies to Anam-Kogi federal road, which is in my constituency. If completed, it will positively impact on the lives of Anambra W188.8.131.523333333est people. I thank God that through the efforts of the chairman of Works Committee, which I am a member, N1 billion has been earmarked for its construction after it was abandoned for over five years. These things would not have been possible if we are not in the APC. Also, my town, Nsugbe, by this March will have most of the roads captured in the budget and they will all be tarred. That is what we call democracy dividend. We are also optimistic that after President Buhari would have completed his second tenure, an Igbo man would become the president of Nigeria.
Do you support the idea of changing your party’s state executive?
I don’t support changing anybody. Some people are saying that Tony Nwoye was of the PDP and should not contribute much now. Yes, we were with the PDP yesterday, but we have moved to the APC with all our supporters. The PDP was a party where I was the state chairman, the House of Representatives candidate twice and senatorial candidate. So, I won’t criticise unduly. But, the truth of the matter is that we entered the APC and met the structure on ground. My position is that those officers have been there and should not be changed. Let us allow them to finish their tenure. When their tenure elapses, most of them may even return. So, why are we changing them? These officers are from Anambra and have not benefited much from the party. So, we should support them. I will personally resist any move to change them. If I were to be selfish I would clamour for their removal, so that I will put my people who came with me from the PDP. But, these are people who have been labouring to keep the party together.
Don’t you think the influx of PDP members in APC will cause trouble in the party?
No, it would not, because the PDP problem was self induced. The problem was caused by the PDP national leadership. The then PDP Federal Government did not want the PDP to win election in Anambra, because they were supporting APGA to please the then Governor Peter Obi. So, they used few Anambra people to create problem in the PDP. This time around, I believe that the more the merrier. Let more PDP people move into the APC. I believe the APC primary will be free and fair and whoever wins will enjoy the support of others. So, I don’t see what happened in the PDP repeating itself in the APC, which is a disciplined and focused party.
There are indications that you contesting for the governorship against your brother, Obiano…
Yes, I am running, but I have not formally declared yet; I will do that in due course. I have consulted widely, but I need to consult more with stakeholders and youths and religious leaders; you know I was a one-time National President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). As long as there is life, I will contest. The only thing that will stop me from contesting is death. I won’t contest based on zoning. I will contest, because I want to bring a change. I want to put food on the tables of the oppressed people of this state, whose local government funds are being deducted with impunity by the APGA-led government. It did not start today. It started in 2005 with impunity, without caring for the welfare of the people. That is why there is so much hunger in all nooks and crannies of the state. I remember the era of zero allocation at the local government level, yet they were doing things that people could see. Councilors were doing minor developments in their wards, but they cannot do it today because the state government is siphoning their funds.
In fairness, it did not start with Obiano. In fact, that is going to form the crux of our campaign, because we want to change that bad system. The money for the local government should be used to the benefit of the down-trodden. Our campaign will be a mass movement. The APGA people have been dishing out propaganda that the APC is not for Igbo people. When we get to the field, we will tell our people that it is about the individual. Let them stop using APGA. They have used APGA enough to rob Igbos. If APGA is truly an Igbo party, why is it that up till now, it is only in Anambra State? Why is it that in the National Assembly, only two members represented APGA and out of the 109 senators, none was an APGA member? Why is it that since the time of Ojukwu who is the symbol of APGA, they could not win one single state outside Anambra? They have been using it to hold our people down; to siphon our money and we must stop it.
But with Obiano on the saddle how do you rate your chances?
Power belongs to God. When I ran for 2011 election, I won massively here. They did not allow me to enter. The same forces said Tony Nwoye should not be sworn in at the House of Representatives and I said no problem. In 2013, I ran for governor and won the PDP ticket, the same forces used Jonathan, the former president, to support APGA. Jonathan did not know Obiano, but he was trying to please Peter Obi. A lot of things happened. They kept me in court and used the then INEC chairman to ensure that I did not campaign because they said I did not pay my tax on time. Less than 11 days to the election, they said I should campaign and it was so late. The aim was to make my supporters to support the APGA candidate, knowing that I am from the same local government with Obiano who later became governor. God gave him power because He is the only one that gives power. Obiano is my brother and ordinarily I am not supported to challenge him because we come from the save clan, but he has failed our people. This is a man who has not put a project of N10000 in my town, apart from the so-called N20 million he gave to every town. And in my town, we are supposed to have benefited from projects worth N350 million because we have calculated what should be our share from the local government allocation since he was sworn in as governor. We are not even talking of allocation from the Federation Account. So how can we not challenge him?
For this House of Reps where I am, they nearly killed meat the collation center. They stopped results from my town from being added. He brought a candidate from Anambra West and out of 10 electoral wards, I won him in eight. They did everything to stop me and I went to court and the court gave me victory and that is why I am still here. Despite the fact that they added all the results they wrote in Aguleri, today I am in the House of Reps to the glory of God. If God says he will continue to be governor, he will be. But if he is doing well, why should Chinedu Idigo from the same Aguleri, his town, who was chairman of his inauguration committee, be running for governor under PDP? Where is Chinedu in government even? Anambra will decide whether he has done well or not during the next election.
We have waited for him to come and execute projects in my town, but he has failed to do so. The only tarred road here is the one done by former governor Peter Obi because he signed an undertaking with us that we would support him if he did the road. But my own brother is the governor and he has not done a single project in my town.