Chief Azuka Okwuosa is sad that eleven years after his last shot at the senatorial aspiration, all the challenges propelling him have remained unattended to.In this no holds barred interview with select journalists, he reveled that the zone lacks people with zeal and affinity with the constituents to know their challenges, expectations and heartbeat. Little wonder he’s so disturbed.Our Correspondent, CHUKS MOSES was there. Excerpts-Q: What are those things firing your aspiration to do for your people in record time.A: My motivation is propelled by the same issues that drove me to aspire for this same Anambra South Senatorail seat eleven (11)years ago. Though the dimension have escalated. I took a shot in this senatorial aspiration in 2007 because of the high level of underdevelopment within, not just the senatorial zone but the entire Anambra state. The issue of rampaging erosion menace which transcended what the communities, councils and state governments could tackle. It requires policy which could be done through the “ecological fund” that needed proper political engineering to be able to get the federal government to do it.Again the federal infrastructure especially roads within the senatorial zone, the state and geopolitical zone are in a state of disrepair. The infrastructure can rightly be said to have collapsed that one would wonder whether we have representatives at the National Assembly from this zone.Look at the burgeoning level of youth unemployment which has generated negative pressure on social harmony and security in the entire geopolitical zone. These are able bodied energetic youth, graduates, skilled, semi-skilled and the unskilled who had remained idle and jobless for upto ten years. Yet more are joining them annually. This has become an epidemic of unemployment. There are a whole lot of other nagging issues; from the time I took a shot at the senatorial election contest to the time I spent at the elections petitions tribunal for two years to the time of re-run poll, more social challenges have continued to mount unattended to within the senatorial zone.From that time to now, I had vowed not to contest ever again because of the high insincerity of the operators of the system, especially the electoral umpire- the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) as epitomized during the era of Prof Maurice Iwu which was the lowest ebb of the commission’s activities in Nigerian history. That era was worse than that of late Justice Ovie Whiskey that ushered in the second republic. I said I will never contest election again. But within the dispensation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration I feel we now have an unbiased umpire to a reasonable extent. All their conducts so far have been commended by not just the ruling party and the opposition parties, but by the international community too.Sad that those issues that motivated me to come out then have remained unattended to. In fact, issues like the erosion menace have assumed a frightening dimension, because it’s not something to be left unchecked for long. Today it has spread to nearly all communities within the senatorial zone-Nanka, Oko, Ekwulobia, Ezinifite, Nnewi, Oraifite, Ozubulu, Ihiala, Ukpor, Azia, Okija, Ihiala, in fact all the communities within the seven councils under the zone.It’s very disturbing and shocking that nothing has happened since then. Look at the state of the roads-like Oba-Nnewi- Okigwe federal highway, constructed in 1979 during the era of President Shehu Shagari, till now, no one has given that road any form of facelift. It’s been begging for attention. It’s a life wire to the South East to South South linking the areas to the South West and all other parts of the North. Through Okigwe you link up to Enugu, Ebonyi and all other states of the Southern Nigeria.The inability of that road to be fixed has literally strangulated the economic life of people’s of these areas it connects. It has also created a monumental problem that bothers on industries not working and would have been source of employment channel for our teeming unemployed youth.So, these amongst other issues are things that propelled me to come out again. They have remained a big burden to me. One would then wonder what those who had been representing us have been doing. Perhaps absolutely nothing!Q: Eighteen years these things had remained unattended to. Eighteen years your representatives have looked away. So, would you support proposing we device a way where the electorates present charter of demand to their representatives as a guiding principle?A: I think the solution is not presenting charter of demand, it is basically a leadership failure. Anyone who aspires to be a senator or in the federal House of Representatives or anyone who comes forward to represent his people must know what he/she is going there to do. Your inability to do it automatically means that you are a failure.This is given rise by the flawed electoral process through which people are ‘elected’. People indulge in a lot of electoral fraud and since the person was not elected through populist vote, he would not be answerable to the electorate. It was manipulation all the way.And even if you have a charter of demand and at the end of the day it’s not adhered to, it would amounts to nothing because you feel you are not answerable to the electorate. As I step forward now I have a 21-point agenda but will now unveil them now. But as I said earlier, one of them is the restructuring of INEC so that electoral fraud would be eradicated. There are countries where electoral fraud offences carry capital punishment. We need such in this country. Because if you don’t solve electoral fraud, you cannot solve economic fraud. It’s that election that produces leaders who would occupy positions and take decisions to fight economic fraud. But sadly no one gives what he don’t have. It’s like garbage in garbage out. It’s a very serious problem. We need to propagate bills that would make sure that right things are done. So it’s not a matter of charter of demand, it’s a matter of having the right leadership with commitment to go and effect a positive change.Q: It’s discovered that most of those occupying leadership positions were either imported from overseas or cities where they lived all their lives. They know nothing about their constituencies.A: No genuinely elected representative of the people would be imported, or not know the needs and challenges of his constituents. It’s the same electoral fraud that throw up such hollow candidates who buy over the seats without actual impact on the lives of the citizens.We must be represented by people who we generated and sent to Abuja, and not the other way round. Because such leaders represent their people well, knowing full well that they have people to report back to. But if you are hoisted or foisted on the people, then you won’t be answerable to them and it will surely manifest in the ways and manner you treat them; with ignominy.I want the a restructured INEC to be so independent which would stand on its own, irrespective of whether the president is good or bad. If we solidify the system such there would be no room for imposition of candidates, then that would be the beginning of our recovery as a nation.Q: What propels your political interest- is it national, constituents or personal?A: I will ask you, what is national interest; what is group interest or personal interest. Let me tell you, if you are going to represent any people and your primary interest which is the interest of your constituents that aggregates to national interest. Because before you be a good Nigerian from the South East, you must first of all be a very good Igbo man. Before you become a good Nigerian from the South West you must first be a good Yoruba man. Before you become a good Nigerian from the North, you must be a good Hausa/Fulani man. If you don’t satisfy that rudiment, then there is no how you can suddenly emerge as a good Nigerian. You cannot emerge fro the blues, because from the societal values you have checks and balances. You must be part of the people to be able to know their feelings, their needs and aspirations. That’s why when you go there you ensure those needs and aspirations are fulfilled. That’s the essence of constituency projects, which are all provided for, but had been having problem with implementation.Most representations we have had in the past didn’t deploy the constituency projects to the right places because they know they were not answerable to the people at the end of the day. There policies in place, but the problem is the operators of those policies. If you look at all the enabling laws and the constitution, you will see a very perfect work? But if you don’t have the right operators you will not get the right results.It’s like buying a state-of-the-art vehicle and handing it over to a nonentity to drive, he will just crash it. This doesn’t mean the vehicle wasn’t good. The problem is the operator. Put the right person for the right job and you get the desired result. Let’s have round pegs in round holes. People should occupy positions they are fitted for. After all, in virtually every sphere of life all over the world where you have our people, you see them excel. Why? They keep to the rules and regulations because the are checks and balances, because there are checks and balances.But in Nigeria here we believe you can do anything and get away with it. So when we start respecting and abiding strictly to our rules and regulations, the better for us. It’s not about churning out laws and bills, it’s about the workability and implementation of such laws.Q: Sir, your party, the APC promised Nigerians “change”. They are still asking, when would this change come?A: Well, I believe that those who have eyes to see are seeing them. The changes are already there. We inherited a monumental disaster. President Muhammadu Buhari has been stoically tackling the huge decay. Before now no one would be able to travel to any part of the nation, for example in the South East safely because all the roads are virtually gullies. But today the changes are there for all to see. Consider the Enugu-Onitsha Federal dual Carriageway which one lane has been almost completed within APC first three years. But for fifteen years the PDP was in power and not one shovel of sand was poured on any such road, yet they were the one that awarded the reconstruction contract years ago. Go and see the Enugu- Port harcourt highway, a massive reconstruction work is also going on there right now. Same at the Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Highway and other sectors of the economy.Consider the feed-the-poor and school children programmes and the N-Power programme; a lot of money have been pumped into them with their positive economic and social effect nationwide. It’s marvelous that the administration has been able to effect these far reaching impact in just three years. The Buhari administration need to be given more time to consolidate and finish what they are doing.Q: Toeing your line of argument that PDP left the nation in a financial mess, how then do you convince anyone that with nearly 80% members of APC today used to be PDP less than three years ago you are returning the nation to sanity?A: I can say it again and again that the biggest problem of the nation today were inherited from PDP. The party was an assemblage of strange bedfellows, people with no ideological harmony and direction. At the formative stage, APC was a new party that came for a rescue operation from the locust of PDP administration. But naturally in every system you will have both good and bad eggs. It’s possible some of the bad eggs from PDP could find their way into the new party. You can see a recent mass exodus of some of these people who were not meant to be in APC in the first place. They have left the way they came. They came thinking it was going to be business as usual they saw in Buhari’s administration a very high sense of accountability and probity as against what it was under Jonathan’s administration. It’s not what they expected.They tried to coarse and overheat the system but couldn’t, so they left. Come easy, go easy. It’s indeed a good riddance to a very bad rubbish. They are people who do not believe in ideological conviction. As a man of ideological conviction, I prefer one percent of hundred than hundred percent of nothing.Q: But is that why the general insecurity has gone so bad that no one can safely travel from one part of the country now to the other without his linerty being threatened one way or another.A: Yes. The issue of insecurity in Nigeria is a very big problem as it could be traced back to the military administration era. From the era of Gen Ibrahim Babangida to Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, to Yar’Adua and down to Goodluck Jonathan. And upto this time. Remember the Maitasine, Zangon Kataff, Odi, Ogoni and Zakibiam and so on. These challenges have always been there. It came to a head during the Jonathan era with the kidnapping of the Chibok Girls. Then the Boko haram were very daring, hitting targets everywhere they chose. But today you can see they have been contained in pockets of areas in Sambisa forest today. We are today picking them in their small numbers with efforts on to flush them out completely. So it’s a clear indication that the present administration has done wonderfully well. Today the porous borders have made it possible for arms in wrong hands to sneak into our nation, but we tackling that too. Security issue must be discreetly handled because it transcends political, tribal or geopolitical lines. It should be a collective effort.More however requires to be done and therefore all hands must be on deck.Q: Ok. If Boko haram has been decimated, when would the continuous killer armed herdsmen be decimated?A: The issue of herdsmen has become a recurring decimal, dating beyond 1994 when I was the council chairman where we had it as a constant issue on our agenda every week in our Peace and Security Council. The membership comprised of security agencies, religious leaders, Imams, community leaders. It was same problem today, though in a wider and sophisticated dimension. In the past criminals jump into people’s homes and when someone shouts they jump out, but not today. They now storm people’s homes with sophisticated weapons. They are more determined and apparently fearless. The hey days of militancy in the South South saw the stockpiling of weapons and its key source of spread of weapons in the nation. Herdsmen menace cannot be seen in isolation.However like I said earlier the issue of security must be a collective concern. It need a collective fight, tenacity, dedication and sustained fight.Q: APC appears clueless on how best to handle the unfolding drama at the National Assembly.A: The issue of crises in the National Assembly has been therein our political history. It’s part of the system, remember the time of Chief Obasanjo when “impeachable offenses” were being churned out almost daily. He at a time described it as a joke taken too far. But when he saw it wasn’t a joke anymore he had to brace up for a real fight. It happened even during the Jonathan days when there was mass exodus and treachery. So what is going on today is nothing abnormal. And even at that am yet to hear anyone talking about accusing Buhari of any impeachable offense. To me the system is still normal. People are just ventilating their minds. It’s part of democratic ethos. No one should therefore panic, because the water will eventually find its level. I will urge that we should have the national interest at the back of our minds constantly in any action we take.Q: President Buhari, has evidently excluded South East from the distribution of the nation’s commonwealth and appointments, going by his political reality mindset of 5% versus 97% votes argument. Who can tell him that he’s the president of Nigeria, not president of APC because South East is an integral part of Nigeria.A: Yes I will agree with you to some extent in terms of political representation, but not in terms of infrastructural development. I stated earlier that in three years of his administration we in the South East have had the type of infrastructural development that were never seen in the sixteen years of PDP even with a lot of our people in prominent positions. So to that extent I see it as a massive departure from the ignoble past. If it’s sustained we will get to a greater height.