By Christian Agadibe
Anambra State Governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Obiora Agbasimalo, has promised to give critical roles to women in the state. In this interview, he said his desire is to include at least one-third of Anambra women in his cabinet while the youth will occupy a major part when he emerges as the governor of the state.
How has the journey been so far with regards to electioneering?
The journey has been stressful, eventful, a bit strenuous. However, I believe it’s going to be rewarding in the end.
Do you think that the youth of Anambra are giving you enough support in this race?
Yes, I think so. We have reached out to them as much as possible. My foundation has given scholarships to a lot of youth; we have tried to help a lot of them with employment and kept them busy with one role or the other in our foundation. And in all our nine vanguards, the solidarity movement, the purity movement, and the warrior movement, it’s filled with the youth. And they are doing useful things in society.
My prayer is that the youth will see me as someone who has their interest at heart and somebody who would give them his undivided attention.
My plan is to serve the people so that they too can serve me. So, I really believe in the youth. Definitely, in my cabinet too, the youth will form a major part of it. Young mobile individuals in their 30s, 40s and even credible in their 20s too. They would be able to have the opportunities to serve the state in one capacity or the other.
You seem to have admirable plans for the youth. What are those plans you have up your sleeves for the women of Anambra State?
Women are very important. Everyone keeps speaking about women empowerment. By now we should go beyond that; women are very critical and they are able to hold their own in the scheme of things. Anambra State has very wonderful women who have risen to high, lofty positions in this world and not just in Anambra and even others; someone like Chimamanda Adichie with her wonderful awards and accolades all over the world; someone from my local government like Obiye; she is a very excellent role model too, and even of blessed memory (Dora Akunyili) – all three of them are from Anambra State.
Women are very great and good people; they are the necks that hold the heads in the family. That is why my cabinet will have women in it and as much as up to one-third minimum. That is my plan based on their qualifications and criteria. I know their qualifications; we believe in human capital development too.
If you say give a man fish, he will come back tomorrow, but if you teach a man to fish, he will thank you forever; he will be self-sustained. So we would do as much as possible to train men and women, the youth in general, the young and old in ICT, in vocational skills – anyone they choose to. I’ve seen female mechanics, female vulcanisers. What a man can do, a woman can do. I’m not sure if it’s better, but I know they can equally do it. That is why any skill they choose to venture into, there will be training facilities for them too. And of course we are looking at making it easier for them to acquire soft loans, looking at a place like Nnewi where almost everybody(even if you’re a teacher you have a business you’re doing) has a business he is doing. You’ll see young boys and girls coupling motorcycle parts and engines. These people need some soft loans to boost their business and increase it. So, the youths, I mean men and women, everybody in general, will be inclusive.
What is the solution to the perceived problems with the existing institutions?
We are talking about perceived problems with the existing institutions of government. This means that the current democracy in the state is failing and we are bringing issues and processes that will address these failures in order to revitalise the state’s democratic institutions and clear the way for issue-based progressive governance for all. The young and old, men and women, religious organisations, professionals and non-professionals, persons living with disabilities, public and private sectors, formal and informal institutions join them in this journey to awaken Anambra.
When we speak of a revitalised Anambra State, they intend to make history by making for themselves and their children a better future.
We are going to reduce corruption to its barest minimum. To achieve this, we intend to conduct a corruption risk assessment of all the institutions of government to lay bare all the vulnerabilities, corruption risks and threats that facilitate corrupt practices.”
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