Meet Roy, the young Nsukka LG AAP Chairmanship candidate seeking to change Nigeria’s political narrative

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Ekwueme Roy is among the few Nigerian youths taking the bull by the horn to challenge for political offices in the country.

Come February 29th, he would be contesting for the Chairmanship position of Nsukka Local Government in Enugu State, under the platform of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP).

In this chat with CRISPNG, Roy talks about his expectations ahead of the Enugu Local Government election and how he plans to change the country’s political narrative, if elected.

Briefly tell us about yourself

My name is Ekwueme Roy Ifeanyichukwu Oformaonyejiya Chukwumaluijem, I’m from Enugu state and I’m a prospective masters student in University of Nigeria Nsukka.

Tell us about your journey into politics.

My journey into politics is inborn, I was known from childhood as the kid who listens more than he talks, this led my family to believe I was destined to be a revenred father which didn’t materialize but it prepared me to always look for ways to solve problems rather than create ones, this have remained my watchword in students unionism, youth leadership and is the bedrock of my going into secular politics in this critical time in Nsukka local government area.

Tell us about your leadership acumen generally.

My leadership code is SS. Service and Sacrifice, a good leader should at all times look beyond personal interest and aggrandizement and pursue the collective good irrespective of how discomforting it is to his personal comfort. I’m ready to step on the toes of the powerful to champion the course of the masses and will be ready for the consequences. I’m a diplomat but never a coward and everyone should brace up to receive what’s due for them and nothing more. Governance is of the people irrespective of economic background and political affiliation and my torchlight will shine more on youths to prepare them for a dynamic tomorrow and the poor for a massively improved standard of leaving.

Having studied the country and its political cum leadership structure, what do you think is missing?

What is really missing in the country’s political cum leadership structure is actually knowledge on how the economy works or better still, the lack of implementation of policies that would really make standard of living affordable and comfortable.

In the words of Walter Rodney, a country that wants to develop its economy to the standard level where the citizens would enjoy good standard of living outright, it is not enough to produce more goods and services. This is why we stress so much on industry alongside Agriculture. Our leaders seem not to have understood this for now otherwise Nigeria wouldn’t have been in the moribund state it is currently is.

For a sustainable economy, the country has to, not just to produce more goods and services but, concentrate on the production of those goods and services which in turn will give rise spontaneously to future growth in the economy. For instance, the food manufacturing sector must be flourishing so that workers would be healthy, and agriculture on the whole must be efficient so that the profits (or savings) from agriculture would stimulate industry.

Heavy industry, such as the steel industry and the production of electrical power, must be present so that one is capable of making machinery for other types of industry and for agriculture. Lack of heavy industry, inadequate production of food, unscientific agriculture – those are the characteristics of the underdeveloped economies of which Nigeria is one out of many African states wallowing in the moribund.

Because the government pays little or no attention to the value these industries contribute to our economy, or that they don’t even care so much as what will benefit the masses inasmuch as their selfish quest for materialism is met, they have paid little or no attention to the establishment of these industries. The implication being that our wealth keep flying to other countries in seconds. For instance, when one closes one’s eyes and views the number of cars on every street in Nigeria, that shows the amount of Nigeria’s money that have flown to other countries in purchase of those cars.

If one does same for motorcycles, mobile phones and gadgets of all kinds, one would discover that a great deal have left us, and the money keeps flying away to those foreign countries in purchase of those commodities we couldn’t produce. However, if the government shows interests in the promotion of science and technology, then the teeming scientists we have will delve into the manufacturing of these foreign imported works of technology including mobile phones, cars, televisions, motorcycles, tricycles etc. With the establishment of manufacturing industries for this sole purpose, Nigeria will boast of a standard economy. Those industries, inevitably would need many workers and in such way, unemployment would be reduced drastically.

It is this knowledge of how the economy works or rather the lack of implementation of it that is quite seriously missing in our current leadership.

What are going to do differently, if elected the Chairman of Nsukka Local Area?

A lot of things would be done differently. In the first place, there is need fore more Agricultural inputs to reduce the level of food scarcity in Nsukka Local Government. This will be done through the purchase of many tractors and repairment of the already existing ones that will move in into many farms to boost the agricultural inputs as the farmers alone cannot meet up. Currently in Nsukka Local Government, this is not done when we have works department and staffs who receives salaries and other emoluments year in year out while doing nothing. This will also help in providing employment to so many youths who will be employed to work in the Local Government’s farms. When there are much foods in the market, the cost of living will be low.

Secondly, the government will embark on the empowerment of SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) investors. Funds will be leased out to so many youths that wish to start up Agricultural enterprises like poultry, piggery, large scale farming and other productive and constructive ventures. This will help to offer both employment and also boost the economy of the local government.

The administration will also invest in the establishment of manufacturing industries. When the local government have the industries that will manufacture a good number of things we spend money  to import with special reference to transforming agricultural outputs into finished goods eg fruit juice and starch production through public private partnership , it will help in the retention of our resources and also offer employment opportunities to the teeming unemployed youths that will be needed as the industrial workers.

There will be digital empowerment of the Nsukka youths. The world has shifted from the analogue age to that of digital. Money is now in the air. The administration will set up a digital centre. This digital centre will have its own building purposely built for it and well furnished with the necessary paraphernalia for digital skill acquisition. In this digital centre, the Nsukka youths will be taught and empowered on how to make money via the Internet like forex trade, content creation, website design, e-marketing and many other digital undertakings that enables the 21st century child to make money. There is currently no digital centre in Nsukka Local Government.

Tell us more about your 3-point agenda

i. Youths Empowerment

A close look on what graduates encounter in Nigeria currently during their NYSC programme is intensive training on how to construct a very ‘beautiful’ CV that would be able to entice the employers. The implication being that the focus is on the youths to look for jobs and be employees under a certain boss. They are not equipped to use the knowledge they acquired in their schools and create jobs for themselves and subsequently become their own boss. What this actually entails is that there will be special attention given to SMEs. The administration would take a survey of the youths and then they would be told to submit proposals on a business or productive projects they wish to embark on. The local government, after looking into the proposals and controlling other variables for security, would outright support these SMEs with loans or grants as the case may be. This programme is to help the youths with capitals in their startups.

Secondly, as has earlier been said, the administration will establish a digital centre where the youths would be trained on digital skills needed in making money in this 21st century. With the support of the government, many youths would be making millions based on the digital skills so acquired. Those who have successfully acquired the training would also be assisted financially for further online investment. Currently in Nsukka Local Government, the government has no digital centre.

The administration will focus on the establishment of industries to help boost the economy. These industries will mostly be manned by the youths which, invariably, empowers them with jobs. With the youths having jobs and businesses to engage on, crime rate would be drastically reduced.

ii AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Development constitutes the second agenda. The administration will go a long way in boosting the agricultural output by increasing the government input in the process. As earlier pointed out, the administration will procure tractors and also lands where the local government would have large scale farms. The products will help to supplement those of our local farmers. When this is done, there will be surplus food in the market thereby improving the standard of living of the Nsukka people. When there’s a surplus of agricultural output, everyone would have food on the table; this informs the logo of our party.

Good road networks is a facilitating factor towards agriculture. The farmers need good road networks for easy transportation of their products to the destined markets. The administration will construct roads that will link our local markets. This would be coal tarred roads unlike the current laterites sands the current administration uses that ends up spoiling the entire roads. Such markets as Ashua Owerre in Obukpa would be linked to Oree market in Okpaligbo; the road that links Ashua Owerre in Obukpa to the university campus will also be tarred making it easier for students to patronise the local markets. There are markets in Eha-Alumona, Opi, Lejja, Obimo, Edem Ani,v Okpuje, Ibagwa-Ani etc will have a community link roads thereby linking their markets. The administration would not hesitate in constructing roads that will help to make the transportation of our locally produced goods easier. When our market is boosted, other neighbouring local government would be attracted and this invariably boosts the economy.

It should be pointed out that our administration will ensure that agriculture work hand in hand with industry. In other words, agriculture would be industrialized. This is rarely done in the entire country. In the words of Walter Rodney, the developed countries, because their agriculture is already industrialised, tend to produce more than the underdeveloped countries irrespective of the smallness of their agricultural sector. The countries of Africa are called agricultural countries because they rely on agriculture and have little or no industry: but their agriculture is unscientific and the yields are far less than those of the developed countries. When we industrialised our agriculture, there would be high output of labour per man because of the advanced technology and skills in use. With other manufacturing industries, we would not just export our raw produce, we would also, with the aid of these industries, transform these raw produce into consumer goods and export same. It saves us the money for the importation of some of all these processed foods.

iii. INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructures, simply put, are the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. Our administration will focus on building infrastructures that will help in sustainable development of the economy of Nsukka people. Mentions have been made on building standard good road networks, industrial structures and digital centres. Attempt will also be made towards building Nsukka Local Government hospital. If some churches can do this, the local government, through its allocation and grants, can also do it. What more investment is better than health investment? But the current administration has nothing of this nature to show for it. With these infrastructures, the problems of unemployment, frustration in agriculture, security, basic amenities etc would have been tackled. Some communities in Nsukka local government have no pipe borne water supply. It is the function of the local government to look into this issues and address them. Most of the water supplies we have are projects attracted from the Federal Government and even poorly executed. Some are not even working because of the corruption in the system. We wish to govern with sincerity and commitments, and those who are sincere enough know that rendering these services would not be much load on the local government.

You seemed more concerned about empowerment, but your party logo is being interpreted by some as trying to ‘feed people, not teaching them how to get the food’. Can you expatiate more on the idea behind the party’s logo and the significance of the spoon on it?

THE LOGO

The idea that informs spoon as the logo of the party simply signifies standard of living. A country that is well fed is the country that will have energy for other productive ventures. The implication being that Agriculture constitutes the primary objectives; other objectives also abound.

The country at large keep talking about agriculture but little or nothing seems to have been done to really improve that. As is known in Economics, the main wealth of a people are those tapped directly from nature. It is these resources that undergo into different transformational changes that give rise to various enterprises. The administration, for instance, will embark on the procurement of numerous tractors that will work on acres of land mapped out by the Local Government. The produce of these farms will be sold in the market at cheaper prices. This large scale production, of course, will increase the standard of living and thereby reducing the cost of living.

The above simply deals with the government’s involvement in the direct tapping of nature.The second is the establishment of industries and factories for the transformation of this raw materials tapped directly from nature into finished goods. Thus, with these industries, the local government will officially embark in the production of processed foods like fruit juice, custard, starch and other processed consumer goods. This has two effects: first, it will provide jobs for the teeming youths that do not have jobs as many workers would be needed to man the industries. Secondly, it will help to ‘retain’ the wealth already tapped from our natural resources in terms of mechanised agriculture as the money pushed for the purchase of the processed consumer goods will be circulating within Nsukka and not flying out. This also boosts the standard of living.

The local government through the above method has succeeded in putting food on the table of every Nsukka indigene and subsequently made way for wealth creation. With the above goals vigorously pursued, Nsukka will be exporting the aforementioned products and thereby enriching itself with the wealth of the others.

Tell us about your party, APP and what it aims to do differently from APC, PDP and other parties presently in operation in Nigeria.

Our party AAP is a pro youths and pro agriculture party and that is what makes it different but the focus of this campaign is on our candidacy, my personality and that of my running mate, the hope we inspire.

It’s true that our flawed electoral system focuses on party rather than the credibility of individuals they are projecting but we all know that party influence on good governance is highly overrated, most of our elected political leaders don’t even know their party manifestos, so they lead or rule based on the administrative accumen in them. You the media has a mandate to educate and reorientate our people on the importance to focus on the individual’s credibility rather than the bagwagon effect of the party that projects them

How has the support been so far? What are the challenges too?

The support has been overwhelming and many youths are calling and texting not just to pledge their support for this mandate but also to thank us for bringing hope and I use to reply them that I’m just the one stupid enough to dare to dream, to believe and to try.

The challenges are centred on financial support, we don’t have sponsors neither do we have a sustainable financial source and no thanks to APC and PDP , they have monetized and degenerated our political participation to vote for money transaction.

We have extra load because we are not just campaigning to win election but also campaigning for a change in our political mindset, to change the narrative and effect a paradigm shift from the old order of Esau and move on to new order of Joseph

It appears most Nigerian youths are indifferent to politics generally. What’s your advise to Nigerian youths on political participation?

I make a clarion call to my fellow youths to rise up, Nigerian population is projeced to be in the corridors of 200m and the youths constitute more than 50% and yet we record less than 30m in national elections. The truth is bitter but someone must say it, Nigerian youth’s docility, I don’t care attitude and sometimes cowardice is the reason we have clueless men littered everywhere as our political leaders. Anytime you abscond from voting you give them a window to rig themselves back, it’s not enough to be keypad warriors on social, there has to be intentional and delibrate act to make a change which will entail sacrifice and commitment. We have been hearing that we are the leaders of tomorrow and we should have in mind that today is yesterday’s tomorrow, so our future is now, it’s our time but it is never going to be given to us until we ask and fight for it. We must wise up and rise up.

The challenges are centred on financial support, we don’t have sponsors neither do we have a sustainable financial source and no thanks to APC and PDP , they have monetized and degenerated our political participation to vote for money transaction.

What are your words to the people of Nsukka?

The good people of Nsukka, I have just few words to you. Come February 29th 2020, your choice is between development and detoriation, between box of ideas and emptiness, between success and verified failure, between humility and arrogance, between leadership and rulership.

Tell us about the forthcoming election your expectations.

We believe that our people will see beyond the antics of party loyalty, reject imposition and bad governance and vote for digital good governance by voting AAP.

We believe we will win as a our party will be the first on the ballot

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