Senator Andy Uba is currently a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as a frontline governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State. In this interview with ANYAORA THELMA CHIOMA, he speaks on several matters ranging from his style of politics to his relationship with Ngige as well as his ambition to serve the people of Anambra again as governor.
Say that you are not a grassroots politician, that you only remember people when you need their votes, what do you say to that?
That is absolutely not true, I can say this with all frankness, which is that no other person is familiar with the people of Anambra than myself. I have contested four elections in Anambra and won three of them, how then can they describe me as a non-grassroots politician? I am somebody who ran for an election in 2007, 2010, 2011 as well as 2015 as a candidate. How is it possible for that person to be a non-grassroots person? I have a political structure with a network that pervades the nooks and crannies of the state, would I do so if I wasn’t a grassroots person?
Now assuming you clinch the ticket, what chances do you have to defeat the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano who is likely to be APGA’s candidate?
My party, the All Progressives Congress, APC is largely the biggest party in Anambra, also the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano has failed to lift the state from where it was when he assumed office. Forget about incumbency, particularly when such an incumbent hasn’t performed well enough. I can tell you that I shall win that election if given the ticket. I believe that with the manifesto I have, I will be able to convince the people of Anambra to vote for me, so whether Obiano is an incumbent or not , it will not stop the people of Anambra from voting me in.
Before now, it was assumed that you were a sworn enemy of Dr. Chris Ngige, today you are with him in the same party, have you both put the past behind you?
I don’t know those who are saying so; I don’t know what they mean by enemies, Ngige has always been a friend, even when he had issues with my brother, I played neutral and most times facilitated his meetings with Obasanjo then. Yes, I ran against him in 2007, but it was all politics. Even at that I never at any point time saw him as an enemy. In the senate, despite the fact that we were of different political parties, we jointly worked on bills and motions that were in the interest of ndi Anambra, so I wonder where the talk of enmity comes from. Senator Ngige is a friend and that is how we both see it.
A lot of people believe that you are hoping to be imposed on the delegates as the APC candidate, how would you react to insinuation?
Well let me state this, I have never participated in any election where I was imposed on the delegates, for every primary election, I have always sought out the delegates. Presently, I am about embarking on a local government tour. If I wanted to be imposed I would not do so, I am reaching out to the delegates, I have assessed their numerous challenges and imputed them into my manifesto. I have attended all the meetings called either by the party at the state, zonal and national committees. Democracy to me is about the people and that’s that for me.
You were once with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, but you are now with the APC, do you not think that people will see you as a fair weather politician?
Well, truth be told, I was indeed a member of the PDP but the PDP at some point in time lost focus, now as a senator representing my people, as a leader responsible to my people I had to look for a more focused party, with ideology and thus the decision to pitch tent with the APC. Now, people may look at this as opportunistic but I had to put into consideration, the fate of my people, the Anambra people and Nigeria as a whole, and can credibly say that posterity would never forgive me if I had lived in self-denial. Now, my politics has never been about me.
Are you not afraid that the party might still go with an “original” APC member?
I do not understand what you mean by “like original APC member,” which one then is the fake APC member? Please listen, the party does not have original or fake members, we are all one within the party, we all have guaranteed status as aspirants of the party, there is indeed no divide in the APC. Lets look at the near past, in 2014, the present Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Tambuwal decamped from the PDP to the APC and ran for the ticket, the people in Sokoto did not say, he is new in the party or he is fake APC. Same also goes for the present governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom who moved from the PDP to the APC under 48 hours.
In these states what mattered the most to the members of the party was the acceptability of the candidate, the prospects, the electoral value such a candidate will bring into the election.
What then happens if another aspirant other than you wins the primary?
Whoever wins the primary will have my support, I can assure you that whoever wins will have my support. As a member of the party and a loyal party person, I will support whoever the party presents, I am also sure that if the party delegates vote for me the other aspirants will support me. I have made this pledge at the Jim Nwobodo committee, and I will abide by it due to my sense of fairness.
It is believed that there is already the possibility of the APC in Anambra experiencing an internal crisis thus making it difficult for anyone who wins the primary to get the support of others. How
Would you deal with the problem and reconcile your opponents should you be successful?
Please, I am an optimist, why should I envisage a crisis, please this is not the era of the PDP, you can see that the APC is more organized and committed to playing by the rules, something I was always championing in the PDP. Yes, there may be some dust but as long as the process is fair and just , such dust will settle. I am not envisaging a crisis; I am looking beyond to winning the elections.
Some people say that you have not performed well as Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial district, what’s your take on that?
I think to say anything on this matter will be akin to me blowing my own trumpet. I do not want to do that, but I will urge you to do a proper investigation into my works as a Senator, that is via bills and motions as well as constituency projects, you will indeed be marveled with what you will see. So, I will not be a judge on my own case, I will let my constituency members and media do that.
Some people have said that you are not independently minded and can be pushed around by certain people. What do you say to that?
These persons saying these things should not be taken seriously, but look at it this way, all my life I have never been a push over, if I were would I have worked with someone like President Obasanjo, a man we all know is firm in his dealings? Would I have been governor and senator twice? Yes, I am a democrat and like to listen to as many shades of opinion as possible, this is to ensure that everyone has a say, that I allow for proper scrutiny of a subject but once I believe I am right then I go all the way.