Anambra as ‘trade centre of the South East’ will be revived – Maduka
Godwin Maduka, a United States-trained pharmacist and medical doctor, is the governorship candidate of the Accord Party for the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State. In this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO, he shares his thoughts for a new Anambra, if he wins. Excerpts:
How did your sojourn into politics start?
I used to be an APGA sympathiser. I was never a member but I watched them over the years. I saw the trend of APGA when they used to take Certificate of Return from people that won an election and give it to somebody else. Some of the people I helped during their campaign that were supposed to make it, did not. That is one of the things that made me start looking into this politics.
At that point, I decided that PDP is the next thing. I entered PDP, and when it was time, I started running for the position of governor of Anambra State under the PDP. I had to overcome the stereotype about being from the US, but what happened is that they forgot the fact that I grew up here in the village. They also forgot the fact that I have been a philanthropist for more than 20 years. I had to come home more often than ever. I think I come home more often than people that live in Abuja or Lagos because sometimes I come home two or three times a year and sometimes, I stay for one month. I started coming home in 1997 and there has always been construction or something important going on. That is what made it possible for me to coordinate this level of development in my town.
What are some of those things you intend to do as governor?
From building pharmaceutical industries without sugar pills to building roads and bridges, modernising and upgrading the airport, bringing the seaport to Onitsha, from the Atlantic Ocean straight into Onitsha so we can clear our containers easily; no more Tincan or Apapa. I’m also going to build 21 emergency rooms in 21 Local Government areas. So that whenever there is an emergency like, heart attack or stroke there would be no need to run helter-skelter. These places would be equipped to recognise signs and symptoms that would save lives.
If you have a cut in America, they would get the wound and patch the ruptured vessels. In America, if you have a stroke, there is an emergency centre that would take care of it and you would be free. All you need to do is manage and get to the nearest local government emergency centre where there are 24 hours running staff. That is what I plan to do in terms of medicine with all other kinds of stuff that I have been doing. In terms of education, I also promised to build 21 university campuses in 21 local governments in the state, by looking at what the council area is known for.
For instance, in Onitsha, I would build the department of Legal Studies; they have more lawyers than any other town in Anambra State. So, since that’s what they are known for we would build it for them. We can build a marine biology campus for people in Ogbaru Area such that ‘keke’ drivers can go for their formal routine in the morning and in the evening they go to a class. I promise to increase the percentage of literates in Anambra to a level that surpasses any other state in this country, after all, that is what I’m known for.
I also promised to bring technology. Anambra would probably be the first state to build a phone. We all know that if you need a phone it is possible to go to Aba and get a phone coupled for you. But, why is it that our people would not do that? It is all greed-driven. I also promised that we would have religious tolerance. The white people came here and taught us that instead of going to the Umo, the shrine, instead of circumcising women, and other similar kinds of stuff, like ‘juju’, there are better ways of doing things. Our people went through all that and I feel that we need to change this country for the better. You don’t have to be Catholic, Anglican, Deeper Life or traditional worshipper. As long as you are praying to God, it is all fine and one shouldn’t touch that part.
Concerning ICT, we are going to build a phone factory. In Anambra we are fearless and we always make a difference in anything we do. We would build our phones. I have not seen any politician, whether Governor, Senator or President that has done what I have done before going into politics. I am not here to do politics. I am here to develop Nigeria not just Anambra State.
There should be women and youth empowerment but how many other women and youth get that? Sometimes, you feel bad for our graduates and something has to be done. The next mass protest would be worse than ‘EndSars’. If we don’t intervene now, this nation is going to explode. What is bothering me more is the women, they go to school, do the NYSC and there is no job. What do you expect her to do? It bothers me a lot. The wastage in this country is beyond imagination. That is why I’m here to change things.
What are the strategies you have in stock to increase the publicity for yourself and Accord Party?
I’m a household name in Anambra State. One thing PDP did for me was that I fought like a lion to win and I won. That gave me the experience that I needed. When they swindled the whole process, I had to find another party so that I can fulfil my mandates. I joined Accord because they accepted me. You may ask, why Accord? First, that’s the number one party on the ballot paper. The winning party, anyway. Two, I went to check the personalities in Accord. I checked their chairman, their national working committee, and they are reputable persons. There is nobody in Anambra State that can say they have done up to what I have done for humanity in Anambra State which is my Motto ‘Humanity First’. You can carry out a survey, on who is the most popular candidate; I am. Right now for Accord, it is the man that makes a party, not the party that makes a man. The people of Anambra State are in favour of the Accord Party. Today, we had persons from APGA, PDP, APC coming to pay allegiance; saying to me, Dr, we would follow you wherever you go.
Many of your project for Anambra State appear very elitist; you talked about building 21 University campuses for every local government, what is your policy on developing the business aspect of the Anambra people.
These days, business has to move side by side with transport by land, air and sea. So, we have to make sure we have motorable roads. We also talked about airports. I’m not elitist only. I don’t blame anybody who thinks I’m elitist in my approach. I am a grassroots person. So, our business focus is centred around airports, which Governor Obiano has built, which we would grade and expand.
Also, business is centred around roads. We would no longer have cases of roads built getting spoilt in few days. Also, for sea, we are going to pave Atlantic Ocean to Onitsha and we would clear our goods with ease. In agriculture, we would give people grants or loans to start mechanised agriculture. I don’t know if that is elitist but it is practical. If elitist means trying to go to the next level then I’m one. Talking about what would survive this country to the next level, mechanised agriculture has to be there.
Also, concerning ICT, we are going to build a phone factory. In Anambra we are fearless and we always make a difference in anything we do. We would build our phones. I don’t think I’m elitist because of that.
Concerning empowering traders, even before now, I have assisted people who have finished learning a trade but had no money to set up. I would give them money to set up. So, we have to look at every aspect. Under my watch, Anambra State will soar. This is something I have been doing for the past 30 years.
How do you intend to achieve these ideas and also how do you hope to increase the internally generated revenue to fund the projects, so that it does not become a mere wishful thinking?
I want you to check the history of this country from its inception till its current state. I have not seen any politician, whether a Governor, Senator or President that has done what I have done before going into politics. I am not here to do politics. I am here to develop Nigeria not just Anambra State. I am not intending to run for president but as a Governor I can do more than most people do. Concerning, Internally Generated Revenue, the truth is that most of the resources are being wasted. If we make use of them wisely we might not need to depend on Abuja because we are in Anambra State, the trade centre of the South East.
Talking about wastage of Internally Generated Revenue, what are the practical ways of blocking the leakages?
With me at the helm of affairs, it is going to be zero tolerance. This is not going to be cash-for-cash kind of government. So, our people would get what they need. Let me say something here, you know that these security votes can do a lot? If you come to work as a Governor, you can do a lot. Most of the wastages and embezzlements are what cripple the government.
The act of bringing in family members, friends to run government cripples the government. If you know me, I am not going to do that. I have a mission to build this state to a standard that other states in the federation would imitate. I am a successful businessman and medical doctor. When a successful businessman runs a state, you would see how good things would turn out, because my profit would be what I could ordinarily do in a state. Also, I plan on reaching out to the foreign community for assistance.
There are many people in Anambra who have enormous resources like you and they also influence what happens in the state. And there are other powerful groups you need to court. Are they on your side or any plan to reach out to them?
Becoming the governor of Anambra State would change a whole lot in Nigeria. As I said, if I can do all I have done, without being a governor, if I get into government, I would do more because I’m not too big for serving. If you talk about governors, the type of success that I have had in business, medical business, is what most of them would achieve by the time they finish governing. So, the standard they would reach I have already surpassed them.
Secondly, Anambra being a state populated by billionaires will enjoy the benefits of these people. I am not telling them not to invest in Port Harcourt, Owerri, Ilorin, Abuja or Lagos but sensitising them of the need to put something in their hometown. I love the Anambra billionaires. I am going to call on them to come and help. Some of them we would partner with to build institutions. For some of them, we would ask them to help us do this or that, we would pay later. So, my strategy is in different forms. I would try to maintain that friendship with them. One of them admonished and said, ‘stop, and don’t belittle yourself because you are running for Governor’. They respect me and I respect them.
Back on IGR, presently Lagos is the leading state when it comes to IGR. How do you intend to compete with or even surpass Lagos without putting pressure on the people of Anambra?
I can tell you that 30-40 percent of that IGR in Lagos is from the Igbos. The point is that our people that are the Igbos are taking over the trade in Lagos. That is why I am trying to encourage our people to come home here and start building the factories here. Let us start building Anambra. I am sick and tired of all of us not realising the fact that the more you put the factory elsewhere, yet our children, siblings, parents, and grandparents, everybody suffers. Give me the microphone and you would see our people coming back.
I don’t mind going from doorstep to doorstep, kneeling and saying ‘please we need you, come back home’. I also plan on building medical tourism. No more cases of people going to India and dying over there or going to the UK and dying on the plane or in America. The problem is that most of the people that leave Nigeria to America to seek specialist care, I am one of those that attend to them. I have many Nigerians that come to my hospitals. That is why I intend to increase this. From improving trade to making healthcare accessible, and improving medical tourism to Nigeria. In addition, I, Dr Godwin Maduka, have vowed that as long as I continue to live in the country, I’m going to have 24-hour light.
In your state?
Yes. We have done it here in Umuchuckwu. The hospitals I built have twenty-four-hour light. Guess what they did? They got a small panel, connected it to inverters and batteries, that lab that is equipped is doing well, and we have light. The problem with governance is not having people that think like this. If I become the Governor of Anambra State our people would not regret it. My governance would benefit both the opponents, friends and foes.
Talking about coming home, you might want to talk about adequate security and infrastructure. How do you hope to curb the spate of insecurity in the state or at least, change the narrative?
Let everybody know that insecurity is birthed from a lack of job and money. Just as women can go into prostitution when they are jobless, men could carry guns when there is nothing else to do. By the time I encourage development in the state, create infrastructures that nobody has ever seen, the kind of IGR we would get from Nnewi, Onitsha is quite enough plus that of Abuja.
I already told you that I would get some foreign investors into this country. So, when they come and all these things are combined insecurity would go down because people would have jobs to do. These boys joining all these cults do so out of hopelessness. Have you seen people who are gainfully employed enter cult? The answer to the insecurity issue is to increase the literacy level, give people jobs when they are done with school, create decency in politics so that people would not have to idolise thuggery. A grown man and a woman trying to convince us that apple is orange. With my emergence, we are going to change the narrative.
What are your plans for women and youth in terms of having them in leadership positions?
If you go to the U.S and check the percentage of my employees, it is about 92 percent populated by women and youths. That is why I’m very successful in the U.S. When I am allowed to start building this city, women and youth would have a fair proportion. Secondly, as a professor, I teach more about women and youths. I know the youth and I get along with them; I know their ways and speak their language. I am on a mission to make a statement in governance in Nigeria.