The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke has spoken up for the first time since defecting to the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying he decided to leave the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, because the state was moving on a fast lane towards decline.
The Anambra second has last month, in what many perceived as the mother of all defections, dumped his principal, Governor Willie Obiano of the APGA and joined the APC.
Governor Obiano had at public events, disclosed that the defections to APC were because the party was doling out huge amounts of money to woo people over ahead of the November 6 Governorship election.
But the Anambra Deputy Governor, Dr Okeke in a chat with newsmen over the weekend in Awka, revealed that he left APGA because, under the watch of his former boss, the state has retrogressed rather than progressed.
He also alleged ill-treatment from the governor, despite his respect for him and all his hard work and commitment to diligently discharging his duties as deputy governor.
“I have been embarrassed and treated like trash.
“Politics is about being able to reach out to the people.
“I don’t have anything against APGA but I moved on because instead of the party moving forward to gain grounds, we have lost so much ground because we have not done much,” he said.
On the allegations that he was offered hundreds of millions to join the APC, Dr Okeke said he had always nursed the desire to join the ruling party when he steps down as deputy governor, to be able to contribute his quota at the centre.
According to him, Anambra has lost so much because it is not connected to the centre.
“We can’t negotiate with the centre the way we are. We need to be at the centre.
“Party politics in Nigeria is not about ideologies, rather political vehicles for winning elections.
“APC is not the best, PDP is not the best, so our people should stop demonizing the APC because they are all the same with the same people constituting them.
“The greatest infrastructure Anambra is receiving as at today is the second Niger bridge, and that is from the APC-led Federal Government.
“Those are the kind of things we need to think about and not about who is marginalizing who.
“There is enough marginalization here in Anambra under the Obiano regime.
“How do you describe a state where religious politics is at its highest ebb, where one cannot get to certain heights because they belong to a certain Christian denomination?
“So, let’s not focus on APC as a Fulani party but as a channel through which we can get what we want,” he noted.
The technocrat blamed the Obiano regime for not doing enough to touch the lives of Anambra people, revealing that he was never given the opportunity to contribute his ideas, rather he was sidelined.
“There were things we could have done here to make our people’s lives better but we didn’t do that.
“Anambra has manufacturing capacity, commerce capacity, Agricultural potential and many others but we didn’t maximize the potentials.
“Leadership is all about understanding and surrounding one’s self with the right people, who will give good counsel and disagree with you when they feel you are taking the wrong verge.
“You don’t appoint commissioners because you want to please some politicians, because they will end up failing your government.
“Leadership is not about building structures that have no impact on the lives of the people.
“If you take care of a few elites without touching the lives of the majority people, then you haven’t done anything,” emphasized.
The deputy governor who noted that the decision to join APC has not been an easy one, due to issues of acceptability of the party in the state, made it clear that if he had the ears of the governor, he wouldn’t have left APGA while in office.
According to Okeke, he is willing to live with the consequences of his defection, maintaining that it is not a selfish move.
He however noted that while his principal had denied him so many things due him, the APC has fulfilled two out of the three demands he made, when he wanted to defect.
“The point is that APGA has failed and people should ask the question – why is everybody leaving APGA?
“Even those in APGA now are not happy, just that they don’t have opportunities to move.
“I made three demands before joining the APC- to meet face to face with President Muhammadu Buhari, to be given a bulletproof vehicle and to be given an appointment after my tenure as deputy governor.
“Two out of those three promises have been met but you should ask- why do I have to ask for these things from the Federal government?
“Why should another APC governor be the one to give me a bulletproof vehicle instead of a governor I have served diligently?
“Can you imagine that since 2014 that I came in, I have not received any dime from the security vote?
“That’s how bad things are,” he said.
The deputy governor made it clear that he was elected for a four-year term and will not resign, contrary to speculations that he plans to resign following his defection.