Ebele Leonard Ejiofor needs no introduction in Anaocha 1 Constituency, following the giant strides recorded in the area during his representation at the Anambra State House of Assembly from 2011 to 2015. To the young and vibrant Ejiofor, his aspiration to become a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly on the Platform of People's Democratic Party, PDP, is not just to offer qualitative representation but to ensure people-oriented representation that will project massive human capital development. In this interview with Fides Reporter, Chioma Ndife, Ejiofor lays out his plans for the people of Anaocha 1 Constituency.
Hon. Ebele Ejiofor is a house hold name here in Anaocha LGA, can you tell why it is so and Who Ebele Ejiofor is?
My name is Hon. Ebele Leonard Ejiofor, a former house member of Anambra State House of Assembly from 2011 to 2015. During this period, we were able to achieve a lot of things in terms of Human Capital Development among others to ensure that the people we represent felt the impact of government. So, that's why the household name in the constituency, especially in Agulu, Adazi-Nnukwu, Adazi-Ani and Adazi-Enu where I represented. Though what we did was beyond the constituency, because I came from Anaocha, I made sure that I represented the people of Anaocha and Anambra in general because we made laws that were favourable to the state and people of Anambra as a whole.
Now, was representing your people for just a term enough to complete your developmental plans in the area and what made you to step down in 2015?
Well, four years weren't enough to complete the plan I had for my people. And I wouldn't say I stepped down. I went to the house through APGA then, but during the primaries, just like what happened in the last APGA primaries, no election, no primaries were conducted and the best candidate who was the people's voice was suppressed. The group within the party imposed candidates against the will of the people, against society, against the will of party executive who were supposed to elect delegates who would vote for party candidates. So that's what happened. The group imposed somebody on the people for reasons best known to them.
Now you are in another Platform, the PDP and you are going to contest against the person that is presently a house member under APGA platform. And you know that APGA is currently the ruling party here in Anambra State, how do you intend to surmount the power of incumbency?
Well, when you say that APGA is the ruling party in Anambra State, I don't know the parameter you used to measure that. But looking at what happened few days ago in the state, you can't say that APGA is the ruling party in Anambra State. To me what we are just clamouring for is for true democracy to exist in the system. People know the best candidate who will represent them if there is true democracy where the people's wishes are done accordingly, I believe that the party is not the issue but the candidate who will offer effective representation to the people. For me, my campaign is just a very simple slogan, compare and contrast and see the difference. Representation is not about imagination, it is a practical thing. If you say we did this thing here and there, show it for people to see. The village women, men and youths will testify to what I did. That's why anywhere I go, people would be shouting Hon. Ebele Ejiofor.
And the issue of incumbency for me is nothing, what is important is achievement. I know we have an incumbent who is an APGA member, that's not the issue for me. The issue is for INEC to conduct free and fair elections. I know I'm going to floor him because I know that I can represent the people's interest effectively. I have done it before and I know I will do it again.
I have documented evidence of my constituency projects for all interested party to come and see and you will wonder if the achievements were recorded by a house member or a chairman of an LGA.
What motivated you towards coming out again to vie for this position? Are there perceived inequalities which you have seen in some areas?
You know when I was in the house, we started a lot of programmes. We introduced free holiday lessons for all the secondary schools in my constituency and we paid the teachers. And for those in senior classes who were preparing for their JAMB, NECO and WAEC examinations, I paid for them, especially the first three in each school throughout my constituency. I also introduced a scholarship scheme in my constituency. And not only that, we stopped a lot of things; we stopped police intimidation, the injustice. I could remember very vividly on several occasions we went to court against injustice in the system. There was a man who was innocently murdered by police here because of N20. We went to court to challenge it and thank God we won the case. The court sentenced the police man for killing an innocent man just for nothing.
I did a lot of things and I don't see my successor doing much. He is not close to the grassroots, except during celebration periods when you see him going to the beer parlour buying drinks for the youths. You can't say that employment is buying beer for the people. I introduced free class lessons when I was a member of the house. Not only that, we built classroom blocks. If you go to Umuowele Village, at St. John's Catholic Church, I renovated a classroom block. If you go to Adazi-Enu, I built a classroom block from foundation to level. If you go to Ukunu Village in Agulu, I dug a borehole there and is still working today, if you go to Ifiteani Village in Agulu also, you will see where I also dug a borehole there.
Go to Umuowele Village, the same thing. I attracted a lot of things for the constituency. Go to Agulu Village Town Hall, I also donated 30kva generator which they are using today to power the hall there. In my community, Adazi-Nukwu, I also donated 30kva brand new generator, which they are using today. So we did a lot of things to make sure that we changed the living conditions of our people and society in general.
How strong is PDP here in Anaocha LGA?
PDP is strong not just in Anaocha, but in Anambra State. In the just concluded elections in the state, PDP won majority of the votes in the Federal House. At least I'm sure that we have won up to 8 seats in the Federal House, 2 seats in the senate while YPP won in Anambra South. What happened in Anambra South is what we are clamouring for, Ifeanyi Ubah was denied contesting the primaries for the party. They disqualified him at the party primaries, he went to another party, an unknown party, and won with a large margin of votes. That will show that the issue is not about party, the issue is about us, the individuals.
People know those who have their best interest at heart. I have the confidence that if elected again, more achievements would be made. We are going to do far better than we did before.
So can you state the problems you are going to tackle here in Anaocha if you are elected?
If I happen to be elected, which I have strong faith in God that I will be elected, I have a very important thing which has been disturbing my mind. For instance, when we were in the government during 2011-2015, the then Governor of Anambra State Mr. Peter Obi, a very good man for that matter, was at the helm of affairs in Anambra State. He gave grants to the whole schools in Anambra, like 10, 5 or 3 million naira to schools quarterly, depending on the size of the school. That's why when you go round the whole schools in Anambra, you will not see any school that is dilapidated.
When he was doing all these in schools, it was not a bill, he was doing it out of his own good will and power as the executive governor of Anambra State. But now these things are no more there. If I'm elected, I will make sure that I work with other house members to make sure it becomes a law, to be a constitutional thing; that anyone in power will know that yearly he will be giving certain amounts to schools, especially, now that the schools had been handed back to the churches. This will enable schools to carry out some projects and equip some facilities without always waiting for the government to come to their aid.
You won the PDP primaries here in Anaocha 1, how have you been able to carry along those people you contested with?
Our PDP primaries not only here in Anaocha 1 Constituency, but in all places which people can attest to, were free and fair. People voted according to their conscience and those who contested with us are giving us the necessary support which we need. Just like those who contested with Atiku are supporting him because there is no rancour. That is how people here witnessed my own primary election and those I contested with are supporting me. One of them is Nnadili Nwadi, the former TC Chairman of Anaocha from Adazi-Ani and also Mgbemena from Adazi-Ani. So all those that contested the party primaries with me are fully behind me. So we are going for this election as a family.
It is mostly believed that PDP candidates are going to the house to fight the Governor, what is your take on this?
This is obviously a political statement, a political propaganda. If you can remember vividly, Peter Obi worked with almost 30 members of the House of Assembly who were from different parties and nothing happened to him. He worked with them and developed Anambra State. Okay, few months ago, there was a squabble in the house where some members of the house impeached the speaker and all of them are from the same party. APGA formed majority of members in the house. I'm sure they are up to 28, we have just 2 PDP members. On several occasions, they have had issues with the speaker and attempted to impeach her many times. The issue is that people are using that to campaign, is just a mere political propaganda. I don't have the intention of fighting the governor if I get to the house. For me, the important thing is to win the election and develop my constituency.
Can you tell me more about your background and things you have done?
Okay, I studied Public Administration in Federal Polytechnic, Oko from 2005-2008. I later went to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka were I studied Political Science; that was when I went into politics. As a student, I contested for Anambra State House of Assembly, then I was in year 3 and I won the election before I finished my education. Currently I'm doing my MSC at Anambra State University, Igbariam. I have attended several international trainings in many countries.
I wish you luck in your quest