Cool, calm and unassuming, Hon Tim Ifedioramma, State Assembly member representing Njikoka 1 Constituency, has not allowed politics to taint his religious background. A cleric, Tim has rather brought his religious background to bear on his representation of his people. In this interview with Fides editor-in-chief, Jude Atupulazi, Ifedioramma, who is contesting on the platform of APGA, talks on his first tenure and makes projections into his second.
Can You Tell Us About Yourself?
I am Hon. Dr. Timothy Ifedioranma, a member representing Njikoka Constituency in the House of Assembly, from Nawfia in Njikoka LGA. I'm a blessed man when it comes to marriage, married to princess Mercy Ndidiamaka, who God has used to give me two beautiful children. The first son is David Chidera Clinton and the second is Esther Chimamanda. I am a clergy by profession, the founding pastor of Mercy Chapel International Churches with 43, branches both in Nigeria and outside the country. I was an accomplished businessman in the US and here in Nigeria before I delved into politics. I also sell cars. God has been faithful. I am a student of Law in Anambra State University; 500 level.
How Have You Been Able To Play Politics Without Compromising Your Religious Principles?
Yes, I expected that. Of course when I delved into politics it was clear to me that God told me not to forget my calling which is my clergy profession. That is an assignment, you know there is a difference between a calling and an assignment. One, calling is divine and assignment is politics and then after politics you still go back to your calling. And more so is that I have a Bible School where I raise pastors. It made it very easy for me to have people who are working even outside my involvement in ministry. You know, all the various branches are being run by the pastors, deacons and deaconesses. And as a matter of policy, I made it clear to myself that I must not compromise the standard. More so, I have served God for over 40 years now, so I don't see delving into politics for three years or four years taking away a legacy I have built over the years, or the moral God has instituted inside of me. I don't see myself compromising that for anything. When a man is conscious of heaven, you must know that after all said and done, the money, fame, material belongings, position, all of them will be over. And then you have to live to face God one day. So, that has been one of my driving forces; that I am a candidate for heaven. I have labored so much for it and I would not want politics, fame, and money to sway that because it will be disastrous.
Elections are around the corner, everybody is up with preparations. So how has it been so far?
Well, it's been very good and things are really working out well. I will tell you at this point, that APGA as a party is very positive. And the candidates within my constituency, like Hon. Dozie Nwankwo, and Senator Victor Umeh; we have done extensively well in our campaigns and the rallies were well attended. Right now what we are doing is what we call the mosquito campaign which is door to door. In other words, it's been going well. And we are very
Before the primaries, there were pockets of resistance to your nomination by some people; may be those who have similar ambitions. How far have you been able to carry them along?
Yes! At this point, we are all together. Now it might interest you to know that almost all of them are within the campaign train and have even contributed to the support of my candidature; somebody like Hon. Chidi Ibemeka has donated some campaign materials to me and he is on the campaign train with me. Somebody like Ebuka Onuorah is also supportive.
Hon. Chidi Okoye who is also called Ogazi, is also on the campaign train. If not for some little injuries he had a couple of days ago, he would have been there, they have all been part of what we have been doing and to be honest with you, I am overwhelmed and humbled by their understanding and their disposition, both to our party and to myself.
You have been there for almost four years. Looking back what are the legacies you will say you have left behind to convince people to sway their support to you?
Well, I will say, if you go by my legislative duties, I have more than twenty-five motions. I have sponsored three bills and they are all very important bills. I was the one that moved the popular motion of non-ceding of any of our lands in Anambra to grazing which actually earned me a very high mark in legislative circles. And then of course, when you come to constituency projects, I have done extensively well. All my constituents will attest to the fact that I have really left some great legacies, signature projects as it were, within the limited resources available to us and in every town. Not just town, I have extended them to wards now. Practically, there is no ward in my constituency that has no project on ground there. To that, I will beat my chest and say yes! I have done my best by His grace.
But one of the most contentious issues in the primaries was that of zoning. What was actually the conclusion of that argument?
Well, we don't really have zoning as it were. Never had Umunri come together at any point to zone any particular office. The attempt that was made in 2013 was to zone the local government but apparently it got foiled. But having said that, there is none in our legislative positions. Now what happened was that before the primaries, there was an attempt - a good attempt anyway - by the monarchs and the Presidents-General at the communities to agree to rotating the offices and it was agreed actually to have it rotate but along the line some of my brethren in Enugwu-Agidi disagreed with it. So, as for that arrangement, let me be honest, I don't know where it stands.
However we are committed to being our brothers' keepers in our party. And we still believe in that agreement, in spite of the fact that they contested the primaries with me. The agreement still stands. But of course like they have been told, it all depends on the outcome, and the way they vote in this general elections will ascertain that, yes, they are in agreement with that particular arrangement. So that way, they can be beneficiaries of that same arrangement next time.
When you get into the house again for the second tenure, what will be your focus this time?
Yeah, my focus basically, to be honest with you, will be what is popularly called the human infrastructure. Although, I did extensively on that by supporting people, helping them through skill acquisition, raising capital, setting people up business wise, scholarships and so many things. You know, one thing about our democracy that has not grown quite well here, is the fact that at the end of the day, you will hear people ask, 'gini k'oruru', meaning, what did he achieve?. You know, as if you were in an executive office. So that drove many of us into building different projects, boreholes renovation of schools and all that. But part of the things I want to concentrate on much more in this second term is actually to support people, set them up, giving them the financial bargains that they may need in terms of setting up business for them; at least add it to what they are doing and then, of course, education.
What I started doing even in this second term was to get our people in Health Insurance Scheme. As I speak with you now, I have more than seventy people whom I have paid for a year's insurance scheme. Anambra Insurance Scheme is such that it doesn't matter whether it's public or private hospital you go, it will be taken care of. So that is what I have already started, even before getting into second tenure.
But I will say much more on that because they say health is wealth. And so I have a target of about a thousand within this second term, I will ensure that all our people have health insurance. And also, it will become part of our culture. In the US where some of us come from, you don't have to pay for drugs in pharmaceutical/drugstores, your insurance takes care of it. So, by so doing, in the four years I will be in office, my people would have been acclimatized to health insurance and begin to go in that very line.
The house of assembly was recently enmeshed in serious leadership crisis. Has it been resolved?
Yes, it has been resolved. Of course it's part of the legislative process; we disagree to agree. Having thirty People from different fathers and mothers, there is always bound to be frictions sometimes. But that is really not something absurd; it's normal. But we have the resolve that the house is intact, we are doing well.
Finally, what will be your plea to your constituents as they are about to go to the polls to elect those that will be in the House of Assembly?
Yes, I will encourage them to look at people personally, look at the credentials and the programmes a candidate is bringing to the table and that should be their guide in going to the polls. So that they will elect credible people and those who will go there and serve the people and not lord it over the people. So that would be my advice as we go to the polls.
Our Governor is doing very well. So he needs people who will support and understand him, people of the same political party to support what he is doing. When we have different political lineages, it will create so many kinds of conflicts and then confusion in governance.
So, I will appeal to Anambrarians to vote APGA.
Thank you very much and I wish you all the best.