Kingsley Oriaku is a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and an aspirant to the House of Representatives to represent Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency of Abia State in 2019. In this interview with ONYEANUNA ONYEDIKACHI, he speaks on what prompted his ambition to represent his people.
As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, what are your political ambitions?
Having stayed in Abuja for quite some time, and having participated very well in Abuja politics from 2007 till date, a time came and I felt that I have to return home and start repairing my own house, because it is said that charity begins at home. We have done it in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and there is a cry for help from my constituency. I want to return to base, to see how I could contribute my own quota in building Abia State, to what it should be, politically. I can tell you that Abia State has got it wrong for quite a long time.
Now, we are asking for a new stage of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). If you remember, a lot of politicians are asking the youths to take over power and we need to go back to the grassroots, where the real politics is. So instead of FCT, let me return back to Abia State, not only Abia, but to my constituency. And that is why I am vying for the House of Representatives in Ikwuano/Umuahia federal
constituency, come 2019.
What actually are the main reasons for your decision and what can you offer your people?
As at today, Abia State has not been properly represented at the state and at the federal levels. For instance, Abia State is housing a War Museum, which is supposed to be a very historical and a tourist centre, not only to Nigerians, but internationally. But unfortunately, nobody knows that such a place exists in the state. There are some policies that we need to put in place to attract people to these places.
Also, look at the commercial nature of Aba town, which can sustain any state in the country, but you will see that we need a representative that can promote the town. Again, Abia State has a lot of educated people, but the question is whether there are provisions to accommodate them in the labour market or empower them to find their feet. Those are the things which we want to look at when given the opportunity. We want to bring out the qualities in Abia State that have been hidden all these years. That is why I said that we have never gotten it right in representation, in all these years.
To you, what is responsible for this lack of proper representation of Abia people all these years?
You see, when the foundation is faulty, anything you are doing about a building, is also faulty. Abia State has not got it right since 1999.
So, the only thing we are going to do is to dismantle the entire structure and start all over. This is because if we don’t dismantle and start building, whether we like it or not, we will surely come
back to the foundation.
We got it wrong in 1999, because we have never been opportune in the state. For instance, look at Anambra State, at a time the state got it right. Look at what they are doing today. That is why I believe that in 2019, Abia State is going to take a new look.
Recently, there was an exhibition of certain products from Aba town in Abuja. What is your reaction to that exhibition?
To me, exhibition is not what matters at the moment, rather let’s develop Aba town. Infrastructure and security are what Aba needs, because for someone to come and do business in any place, he has to be sure of the security of his investments and that of his life. We should get the security of Aba town right. The infrastructure is so poor that you don’t feel free to drive around the town. Naturally, you don’t need to come and tell people what you have, because they will see it, because good things smell good. People will naturally come to Aba on their own if the issues of infrastructure and security are addressed. You will find out that tourism will naturally come in. Commercial activities will increase naturally and not exhibition, which I believe is political.
If elected as a federal legislator, how are you going to address these challenges?
As a federal legislator, you can do a lot of economic promotion. You can equally raise a lot of awareness, both in the house and channel it to the federal government and the state governor.
On the issue of security, it is what you as a legislator can raise as an alarm about, because if you don’t announce it, nobody will announce it for you. Moreover it is a team work that you are expected to do.
Umuahia urban is overcrowded and dirty. What will you do to change this if elected?
We have to widen the town. Did you get what I am saying? That was why I mentioned poor infrastructure. In development, developers are not asking you to give them money. What they are asking is for you to provide infrastructure and they will come and develop the area.
Umuahia needs to be opened and the investors will come. But everybody is choking inside Umuahia town. That is where the problems lie. How many federal allocations are we having and how have we put these things in the budget. And not only putting them in the budget but also following it up from the house and the department that is responsible. What we are telling people is to forget politics and provide the needs of the people. Let us be real, because you cannot deceive yourself.
What do you think that an APGA-led government can do to convince the people that it is ready for a change?
I want to tell you the caliber of people we are fielding under APGA come 2019. I don’t know if you know about Alex Oti, from Diamond Bank, he is coming up as our candidate. You will discover that Alex Oti cannot be called a hungry man. He has made a mark in the banking industry. These are the type of people who are coming to Abia to lay legacies for the state. APGA is a mass movement. The people of Abia State should give APGA an opportunity, because it will never disappoint them, because APGA is like a party for all.
Having practiced politics in Abuja for a very long time, how close are you to the grassroots in your constituency?
Yes, for the past two to three months, we have tried to identify one-on-one with those at the ward level in my constituency. We have three local governments under my constituency and in each of the local governments there are 10 wards. I can assure you that we have gone to identify with them.
We have gone to and met people in a number of wards in the three local governments, including their chairmen. We started from primary one, primary two and now we are in primary three. I can tell you that we have met with the ward chairmen, their secretaries as well as the youth leaders. We have equally met with the three local government chairmen, including their exco. What we are doing at the moment is to see how we can build it together.
What is your advice to your supporters?
They should know that the 2019 election is a task that must be done. And God being on our side, we will start repairing Abia State from 2019, because power must surely change hands. In 2019, we are going to repair the damages that have been done all these years. And I pray that Abia State will start getting it right starting from 2019.
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