APC Merger: Wherever my boss is, that is where I am – Imo Deputy Governor

Madumere: Imo Deputy Governor

Madumere: Imo Deputy Governor


The merger deal between the main opposition parties in the country and certain chieftains of All Progressives Grand Alliance, [APGA] led by Imo state governor, Owelle Rochas Okoroha is the cause of disaffection in the party. The Imo governor has been described in unsavoury terms.

But in this interview with journalists, the Imo state deputy governor, Honourable Eze Madumere, justifies his boss passion for All Progressives Congress,[APC] as against the disdain for it by the two factional chairmen of APGA. He also reveals the circumstances surrounding his emergence as deputy governor.

Excerpts:

You were recently elevated from the position of Chief of Staff to Governor Rochas Okorocha to the exalted office of deputy governor. How did it happen? Did you lobby for it?

Of course not. Everybody in Imo State knew I loved my job as the Chief of Staff and how passionate I was with the job. And I say with all sincerity that I was very comfortable as the Chief of Staff as it had kept me in close contact with my boss. So I never thought of being the deputy governor. As a matter of fact I was packaging somebody else for the position and it came to me as a shock as I never dreamt of it.

But I take it to be God’s handiwork and I give Him the glory.

Why do you think you were favored amongst the lots that were tipped for the job?

Those who know me will always tell you that I have always remained consistent. The truth is that I believe in and I am an apostle of Rescue Mission, an apostle and defender of Rochanomics. I am a believer of the man Rochas whether dead or alive.

That is me! No shaking as you can’t move me anywhere come rain come sunshine as I believe in that principle. I think that has been the guiding principle for the close to two decades that we have been together. I also believe that for you to have some kind of stability in government you need somebody that you are comfortable with and I think I represent that. Humility is my trade mark.

The events that led to your eventual ascension as deputy governor are still fresh in our minds. A lot of stories were bandied in the media. As a matter of fact it was said that your nomination by Owelle Rochas has to do with 2015 politics in Imo State.

Well, just to say this. Today is 2013, 2015 is too way far. Now months ago, I was the Chief of Staff, today I am the deputy governor. 2015 is not in the equation. The equation as at today is governance. How do we make Imo better, how to change and uplift the infrastructure in the State?

How do we continue to provide free education and sustain it, how to provide good roads, especially the 15km road in every local government, how to make sure we complete the 27 hospitals we have started and of course the 345 primary schools in the state and provide basic infrastructure across the state? That is what is in our mind at the moment, not 2015 politics in the state. But you predecessor, who was impeached, Jude Agbaso said his removal was all about 2015 politics.

As a matter of fact he alluded that he was being used as a scapegoat in the fight between governor Okorocha and APGA chieftain, Chief Martins Agbaso , his elder brother.

Is that the true picture as presented by the former deputy governor? These were all allegations and insinuations. You have not heard from Owelle himself. So whatever it is they are saying or claiming is just a one-sided allegation and it does not mean that it remains a fact. Besides, I am not to speak for Owelle, you understand.

And you have to bear in mind the sophisticated nature of Imo State. No two persons can trade off Imo State and to tell Imo people that come 2015, Imo has already been conceded to a particular family is not only fallible but insulting.

You know it cannot happen as we have the most advanced and educated set of humans in Imo State. So it cannot be sold and cannot be traded off. So that idea of 2015 is out of place. But for emphasis, let me just use this analogy. If you watch a monkey falling down from a tree, the monkey would do everything possible in this world to grab some form of support. As it is falling down, it would do everything possible in this world to grab things including leaves. It would never want to go down empty and it won’t. So when someone is falling down, the tendency to always hold onto something will always be there.

This is what I personally feel. Are you saying there is no truth in his claim? Not as it relates to me. I am less concerned about that. Governance is the priority at the moment as we have been called for service. Okay.

Could you let us into what a Prince Eze Madumere deputy governorship portends for Imo State?

Those who know me very well as Chief of Staff, know that I am a total operations person. I am a vibrant and steadfast person. Like I said in my inaugural address, I await for His Excellency’s directives and assignment and be rest assured of excellence in the discharge of these duties. Let me take you into some criticisms of the Owelle – led government especially by some opposition members. There are issues of not following due process in award of contracts and biting more than it can chew.

Does the state’s revenue and allocation support the massive programmes and infrastructural revolution going on in the state?

Thanks for admitting that Imo is on top gear foremost. Some media practitioners would rather prefer to shy away from this fact or keep mute. Let me tell you something. When we came in 2011, because of the supplementary election and the way the election went, there were so much expectations from us.

People expected so much from us. What is killing those we call ‘Abuja politicians’ and this is the truth is that we have exceeded every expectation of Imolites . Today Imo people are proud to have a governor they can call their own. They are proud to have monumental changes across Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe zones.

They have a governor that they cannot call an ‘Orlu Governor’, they have a governor who is even more of Owerri zone than Orlu and Okigwe put together. Today, if you go to Orlu, you would see a brand new city, same for Okigwe.

Eight more additional cities are to be opened. I am from Mbaitoli for example, now we have Orubi city, we have Aka city and Aham city, and these are modern cities and satellite towns that are coming up. I tell you that my leader is a visionary leader and that is why we are all following him because it is clear to everyone that he means well for Imo people. So does the revenue and allocation support these programmes including the free education project of your government? It is quite simple.

People think we are borrowing money but the thing is bearing in mind how much billions used to be collected as security vote, the governor has rejected security votes and ploughed it back to the state’s treasury and that is the bulk of the money that goes into free education from primary to tertiary education. And then we looked at a lot of places where we had leakages and started blocking them up and that is why we have been able to sustain this development in the first one year and moving to the second year.

Let’s talk about investment drive in Imo State. What has been the degree of success in wooing investors over?

The investment department is doing the best that they can. This is an area where the previous administration totally failed and so the governor has empowered the unit here and assembled a crack team which has been travelling within and outside the country to woo investors and the move is paying off as investors are trickling in as the right environment is being created for them.

The response has been impressive. Let’s talk about some national issues. There has been hues and cries in APGA over Owelle Okorocha’s bid to key into the merger move for the All Progressive Congress (APC). How comfortable are you as the number two man in Imo State with this move? I am very comfortable with the move and initiative.

Wherever my boss is, that is where I am. The merger talks is still going on and we are still in APGA. We are negotiating, putting all the structures together and making sure that everything is secured. So we will get there.

But the move has led to divisions in APGA, with APGA-APGA and APGA –PDP emerging. Is this healthy for your party ahead 2015?

There is APGA -PDP, but we are APGA -APGA and by the time APGA -PDP would have realized it, we would have triumphed. The recent Court of Appeal ruling which returned Victor Umeh as the legally recognized national chairman is fresh to all of us and of course shows you the course of events in the party. So we are still in charge.

On the proposed merger, you must have heard some people say that it may be difficult for the average Igbo man to endorse APC. How do you react to that?

I totally disagree with such thoughts. Even if one does not appreciate it now, you will come to appreciate it later.

Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory was not well appreciated but today the legacy that the Rescue Mission, wants to beat is that of Sam Mbakwe. Why is that? You have Nigeria coming together – the CPC, ACN, APGA, ANPP and other small parties are coming together, led by 12 governors. And the only way we can wrestle power away from the destroyed PDP is by coming together and building an alliance.

And the only way is for parties to leave their pride by the side and help build this mega party for the benefit of Nigerians. And it is working very well.

It has also been rumored that the reason why Owelle is dumping APGA for APC is because of an alleged presidential ambition on the platform of the APC. Is this so?

My brother, every human being on earth must have an ambition.

If Owelle desires to contest for the Presidency, what is wrong with that ambition? And don’t forget that Owelle has ran for the presidency twice. So he is no new comer in that. So what is wrong with that? So if he has, it’s a good thing and I will support him all the way.

After 2015, what would you envisage as the legacy of the Rochas Okorocha administration?

By the time we complete all the projects we have initiated and embarked upon and deliver them to Imo State, I will look back with His Excellency and take a High 5 and say to God be the glory. This is because after these projects, Imo State will never be the same again.

I will be happy that His Excellency has left a lasting legacy for Imolites especially for the next generation. This is our dream and hopefully by the special Grace of God, we shall get there.

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