Chris Anyanwu, senator representing Owerri Senatorial Zone at the National Assembly, has declared her intention to contest the forthcoming Imo State gubernatorial election. She held a youth summit in the state, where she reeled out her plans for the state if elected as the first woman governor of the state. In this interview with VICTORIA NNAKAIKE, she spoke on job creation, economic emancipation of the state, among other issues: Excerpts:
You have just held a youth summit; how are you going to make sure you get these youths together because they cannot do it alone?
The party is going to do that. That is the essence of the summit; it is for the organization to get them more aware of their responsibilities because we are going to ride on their energy to get this business done. So, this is a sensitization event and that is the way l understand it.
APC has sworn to hold on to the Douglas House come 2015. How do you plan to dislodge the party from government?
It is their duty to swear, and it is our own duty to make sure they do not stay there.
Talking about women in politics, Imo women have drawn support for you. What is your advice for them and your encouragement for the youth?
Be steadfast. They are human beings created of God. They are Nigerian citizens as long as they meet with the conditions stipulated in the Constitution to participate in politics, and to vote and be voted for. They should go for their goals. Nigeria is advanced and Imo State is a state of advanced people. They have shown example. In fact, the rest of the country is drawing from the good example of Imo State in many ways. So, we cannot begin to retreat.
I’m the first female senator to be returned a second time. So, these are standards, these are records that Imo State people have been setting for others. Others are learning from the example of 2011. You know what happened here. So, Imo is a shining star, and nobody should be thinking backwards. We cannot go back to the forest any more. Imo people have left the forest, they have advanced, they are moving forward, and you can’t put us back any more.
If you are elected in 2015 as governor of Imo State, what will you do to alleviate the sufferings of the youth?
Plenty. l have already started. l have seven skills acquisition centres. One of them is going to be started soon, and the thing is to give the young people skills while they struggle to optimise in their potentials: maybe to go university or get jobs in institutions. Once they have these skills to keep them busy, it would put food on their table. Nobody should go hungry in a place like this. With skills, you go places; with skills you can train yourself up to B.Sc. You can set up businesses and all that. We are planning all that. Most of the skills acquisition centres are at the roofing stage. One skills centre is already completed. When we start, then you will see what we are trying to do.
But that is only a fragment of what needs to be done. If you want to hear what l have in stock, we will have another opportunity to give you a full thing; but this just a stop gap, this is just one-eight level of remediation of the promise.
Any government or anybody that takes office and has no idea about what to do about youth unemployment, is not talking about Imo State; that government or leader is not ready for Imo State. That is the single most important issue. It is the unfinished business in this decade, and it must be finished because we can’t afford to have our children; put them through school; spend the whole lot of money and emotion, only to see them at home frustrated and unemployed. I cannot stand it alone as a person, and in fact, that is one of the reasons I’m going into this race.