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Why I’m gunning for Anambra West Constituency seat – Enemali



Bonaventure Enemali, spent 16 months as the youngest Anambra state commissioner. He was in the ministry for youth empowerment and creative economy and over two years as commissioner for lands, physical planning, and rural development. He has launched his bid to represent Anambra West at the State House of Assembly. Enemali, in this exclusive interview with OLISEMEKA SUNDAY OBECHE, sheds more light on his aspiration and quest to champion the drive for sustainable development in Anambra West local government area, among others. EXCERPTS:

Can you confirm the information out there that you have purchased the nomination form to contest a seat in the Anambra State House of Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA?

Yeah. I have picked a nomination form for the expression of interest to contest for the Anambra state house of assembly. The reason was very simple. Having worked as a commissioner for Youths Empowerment and Creative Economy of Anambra state for 16 months and a commissioner for lands, physical planning, and rural development for two years plus, I have gathered some experience.

I have gained such popularity also in the state that, left for me alone, I can go home and continue my private business. But, I have looked around and asked myself whether, as I’m satisfied with what I have achieved some far, able to feed myself and everything ok for me and my immediate family, can I say that everybody in Anambra West is satisfied? Can some poor people in Anambra West who cannot speak for themselves get what they have been yearning for from the government when I walk away? I looked into these scenarios and now feel that this is the right time for me to come out and represent the people of my constituency at the state legislature to speak in their favour instead of leaving without quality representation. I consider it a sacred duty to use my experience and exposure to represent the Anambra West constituency.

Many will be asking why Enemali is going to the state house of assembly? Why not go to the house of representatives or the senate?

Well, I believe that the Anambra state legislature is the place I can be that my representation will have a direct impact on the lives of the people of my constituency. If I win the election, which I strongly believe I will, I will spend the next four years participating in most of the legislative roles in the state. You know that I was the person that championed the Anambra West 12-year development plan. So, being the lawmaker representing Anambra West at the state legislature will give me the ample opportunity to drive that process of actualising that plan. Having been in the executive cabinet in the state, I am in a better position to work closely with the state executive to see through the development plan of the local government.

So, I am going to the state house of assembly for quality representation and the opportunity to drive the Anambra West development initiative. It’s not a personal quest for power and wealth, otherwise, I am contented with what I have achieved so far and ready to walk away and pursue other non-political objectives. But, I’m stepping out into the race for the rescue of the ordinary people of Anambra West.

Many will consider you a fresh face in the murky politics of Anambra West, with only commissionership experience going into this race. Will this count for or against you?

Well, I don’t consider myself a fresh face when it comes to the politics of Anambra West and even Anambra state. For someone to have been a commissioner for Lands, Physical Planning, and Rural Development; the most complex and controversial ministry in the state, you must have come in contact with different calibre of people across the state. For me to have successfully managed and reduced the rigorous and unplanned activities that have been happening in the ministry and put things in better perspective, I cannot be regarded as a fresh face in politics.

I say this because as commissioner in the ministry, I interfaced with virtually every person in the state because of too much importance we attach to land.
I served for four years as commissioner, but I don’t think there is any other Anambra West person that had occupied a similar sensitive executive position in the state executive cabinet. Yes, His Excellency Dr. Chinedu Emeka was once a deputy governor but I am talking of at a commissioner level. Dr. Emeka was also a commissioner for science and technology as well as commissioner for utility. Another person from Anambra West that had attained that height was Ngozi Okoye from Umuoba Anam. But those ministries were not as sensitive as the ministry of Lands. So, having been in that ministry and worked with virtually everybody from across the state, I am not a new face.

Do you consider the commissionership experience an added advantage to your race?

Yes. It’s an added advantage because it’s a very big opportunity for Anambra West people for me to represent them at the state assembly. After all, I have been in the executive and had been involved in so many discussions of greater concern as regards the state. I’m no longer new to issues of development around the state and I am in a better position now than before to articulate the development challenges of Anambra West people and get results in the state. So, it will not just be my advantage that I have useful commissionership experience going into this race but a big opportunity for Anambra West people who will benefit more from my quality representation.

What will Bonaventure Enemali’s representation at the state legislature bring to Ndi Anambra West?

Quality representation. A representative of Anambra West who can stand boldly in the plenary and speak for his constituents without fear. That’s why in my slogan, I said ‘Let’s deal with the real issue’. We have known the real issue. The 12-year development plan makes it clear for us. What we need is infrastructural development in the areas of education, health, road, security and culture, and tourism. We have a lot of cultural activities in Anambra West that have been moribund and which, if revived, can engender development. Then, we look at political positioning. The political positioning of people from Anambra West is very important. We are not doing anything about these seven critical elements of development right now.

So, I believe that by the time I am elected to the state house of assembly, one of the first things I will do is to move from ministry to ministry to lobby for Anambra West citizens to be placed in sensitive positions in any agency at the state and federal level. That is what I mean by political positioning. Political positioning does not mean only placing people in political offices, but in public service offices because if they gather experiences it will help them. I believe that if we position our people properly, we will go far beyond where we are now.

The question we need to ask right now is: How many Anambra West indigenes are a director in the civil service? They are not up to two. That means that the local government has zero chances of producing a permanent secretary in the next 20 years. The reason is not far-fetched. There is no political positioning. So, we need to take proactive measures to place our people into sensitive positions in the state by first ensuring that they get educated and gain employment in the state civil service. By the time they come in at Level 10 or 12, in the next 20 years, they stand a better chance of holding top positions in the government. That is the game plan the northerners are using against us, especially in the armed forces. They engage in massive recruitment of their people into the army such that, over time, they fill the top rank positions. Civil service is about being the most senior ranked person to take over from whoever retires. We don’t do such strategic planning in the South East region and Anambra West is also the worst affected in the state.

How many Anambra West citizens are in the police force, DSS, military or paramilitary forces at the moment? How many are in the state legislature and judiciary? The number is very small compared to other local governments. The unfortunate thing is that there are no conscious efforts or plans right now to change these statistics and if care is not taken in the next 50 years, we will never make any real progress. So, these are the critical areas that I want to focus on when I get into the state house of assembly.
What we should be talking about now is a strategy, not going around sharing money with people. It’s not that what is referred to as ‘stomach infrastructure’ is not important. It’s very important but strategic development planning and empowerment are more important for us. When people say that Governor Willie Obiano did not empower Ndi Anambra West, I tell them that he empowered Anambra West youths because he positioned some of them. I see him as a good governance business school. If he did not appoint me as commissioner of lands, physical planning, and rural development, I will not be where I am today. I have gathered experience and can stand anywhere now to talk about how the ministry of land and land administration works anywhere in the world. I can also speak about how creative innovation and youth empowerment work.
I can speak extensively on that because of the experience I have gathered. And, today, I know what it takes to proffer solutions in these areas.

That is political positioning for empowerment for you. If tomorrow, I am elected to represent the local government at the state legislature and through me, things begin to change, you will see that the seed of empowerment he sowed in me had produced multiple fruits. That is the kind of empowerment that changes society, not just doling out money to people to gain their praises. Stomach infrastructure is good but, at this point, we don’t need to do it more. Strategic planning and positioning should be given 80 percent attention and resources while stomach infrastructure can take 20 percent because of where we are as a local government.

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