Why I want to replace Soludo as Anambra Governor — Ifeanyi Ubah
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South senatorial zone recently stirred the political landscape of Anambra State when he dumped the Young Progressive Party, YPP, the political party he singlehandedly funded and used it to get to the Nigerian Senate for two tenures, and defected to the ruling APC.
Shortly after that defection, it was rumoured that Ubah joined the APC at the prompting of the leadership of that party, who have promised him total support to enable him become the governor of Anambra State in 2026. In other words, Ubah is apparently being positioned to challenge the incumbent governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo in next year’s governorship election.
In this interview with Vanguard Newspaper, Senator Ubah explained why he wants to take over the governance of Anambra State. He also spoke on the controversy that trailed the chieftaincy titles he received from some traditional rulers in the state. Excerpts.
The Anambra state governorship election is coming up next year, and it has been rumoured that you want to contest. Why do you want to challenge the incumbent governor, especially when you are from the same senatorial zone with him, which has only four more years?
Well, I must admit the fact that I have a burning desire to contest the forthcoming governorship election. Why do I have this desire? It is because of the fact that the current government has not been able to put Anambra State on the trajectory that we desire. Security is very very critical to all of us; commercial support and empowerment are very important and health challenges are still there. Also there is need to accelerate community development through elected local government chairmen. This has been a problem in the last 18 years in Anambra State and this is why our rural areas are so backward. And for me, these are very cardinal reasons for me to contest the next election. People always emerge through certain tricks, including making promises that they cannot keep. Sometimes our people look at individuals based on their over bloated status, and all these have not yielded fruit. Rather, we have remained in the same circle. So, it is high time we did the real thing, real electioneering and also create a bond with our people. That is one of the key desires of my person coming into the contest.
I am not coming into the contest because I do not already have a good political portfolio or because I am not contented. I am going into the race because I strongly believe that if we continue to allow the status quo to remain, the development that we all desire for in Anambra will never materialize. That is why I am going into the contest, and I am more prepared than anybody that will be in the contest. I have all it takes, and I have also invested enormously towards this and also made sacrifices. I am spiritually prepared for the contest, just to be sure we change the narrative, both for ourselves and our future generation.
How sure are you that you can realize this dream through APC?
I strongly believe that we are all human beings. Political party is just a platform, and I believe that my coming into APC, after contesting and winning election on my platform, which is YPP (Young Progressives Party) which was a minority party, is a bigger advantage. For me, being the highest ranking APC elected officer in the state and also somebody from the zone that is favoured for the contest, I believe that I have all it takes to get into that contest and then contest for a singular tenure of four
I repeat, I will do a single tenure of four years if I win. It is a commitment. If I have the guarantee of the APC to run on the platform of the party, I am going to give quality, robust and direction-driven leadership that will change the fortunes of Anambra State. I repeat, I am going to shrink both the present and past governments that have been in Anambra to 20 percent of the entire development that has happened here. 80 percent of the content I intend to bring into Anambra State has never been discussed till today, so, I am championing a new course, something totally new, a structure that will change the narrative of development in Anambra, not the Okpoko type or the promise of six months to conduct local government election, which became a fallacy. I want something that will bring about development speedily. I will give Anambra people local government election within four months of being elected, and they will be there for four years, They are key drivers of development that I am bringing.
Talking about a single tenure, how sure are you that you will be believed? Again, local government election was also given as a promise by the incumbent governor, but when he came on board we are yet to see it. So what assurances do you have that you will conduct local government election when you get there?
First of all, I am going to have a resounding engagement with all stakeholders. Some of them will be verbal, but binding too. Why I am different from others who have made these promises is that I have substantial assets, investments, ‘key man risk’ to deposit in line with my commitment. What Anambra has seen were people who have no ‘key man risk’, physical assets. I am not saying that everybody that wants to become governor of Anambra State must be a rich person, but if you are someone who is committed, there must be enormous key man assets you have, not just floating assets, but key man risk, that is the commercial norm. So, conducting local government election in four months, you need to be prepared. I tell people the value of that election is going to be much. For one to have election in four months, it means that you are ready and prepared to let local governments have access to their funds, and take decisions that will trigger development in the local government. A governor needs to shed the weight of engagement out of his office and have a supervisory role, while the local government authorities do the leg work. If the governor sheds the weight off him, the local government will be running on autopilot and development will come, and there will be 21 local governments competing with each other. With that, the acceleration of development will be high, especially when you intend to give them local economy to the value that direct allocation is giving them. For me, I strongly believe that a governor should rather have his eyes on the diaspora, where you go to meet critical stakeholders to bring home value, and it can be done within the confines of a transparent government.
I strongly believe that having gotten to where I am today, I can do these things. If I were a man of no value, I would not come back, back to back in election victory. If I were a man of no value, I won’t take political risk as I have been taking and standing by it and succeeding. I want to be the first to say this is what I will do, and also do it. By 20 February to 28 February, we will have a local government tour that we are going to champion in just seven local governments, and we intend to empower close to 20,000 people of my constituency, and we will be the first to write the names of the people who will be empowered, and we will publish them. We will publish their names and numbers, so that people can directly reach those who have benefited. I am not in the business of quoting figures that are not verifiable. I don’t want to say what others are saying that “I have given employment to 5,000 teachers or empowered so so number of youths”, yet you cant fine those people. We will do something that is verifiable, not the frivolity and showmanship you see. That will show you how prepared we are.
Do you think you can achieve the kind of goals you are setting for yourself in just one tenure of four years?
For me, four years is even more than enough. Every leader who wants to set things in motion for development can do that in four years. First is that I need just four months to hold local government election in Anambra State. I need one year to assess what they have done and it will still be running. I won’t even stress myself much on this because the people who voted them are capable of keeping them on their toes. I don’t need more than one year to bring the world to Anambra, through trade exhibitions that will be running 30 days in every three months. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to put 21,000 youths to take over road rehabilitation in every local government. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to move 10,000 of our women to work from their homes and champion a revolutionary trade exhibition that will happen in Anambra State. I don’t need one year to put 8,000 Anambra flags in 8,000 cities of the world. I don’t need one year to run a transformation that will bring health tourism to Anambra State and commercial tourism. I don’t need four years to be able to do many things. I don’t need more than one year to establish industrial parks and build dormitories where our youths will work, with proper orientation on how to manage digital telephones and data and differentiate work ethics, strategies and structure and bring in ndi Anambra. Anambra will be a mega work hub where things will be happening if I become governor.
Recently you received chieftaincy titles from some traditional rulers that led to the suspension of one traditional ruler and subsequently the dissolution of the state council of traditional rulers. How do you feel about that?
I felt bad about it because it was an unfair treatment on our royal fathers and the traditional institution. I believe it was a dent to the traditional institution, and I have made a public statement condemning it, and I strongly believe that those who perpetuated that did not know what they were doing to themselves. You can’t see a traditional ruler that has been on the stool of his forefathers for 20 years and more, and you begin to threaten to dethrone him because he gave someone a title. We are not running an autocratic government. This is a democratic government. The state government has done it, they have their way today, and the masses will have their way tomorrow. Thank God that the suspension on a traditional ruler has been reversed, even without apologies to me, and even with consequences on the chairman of traditional rulers in Anambra State, but it’s well. This issue has been on the front burner, and as we move forward, we will continue to see what the result of such action is.