Two-time senator representing Anambra Central District in the National Assembly, Iyom Uche Ekwunife in this interview with OKEY MADUFORO speaks on her ambition to contest the governorship seat of Anambra State and her empowerment programmes
You have today for the 10th time carried out empowerment programmes for your Senatorial District. What informed that?
It has become instructive that I continue to interface with the people of my constituency including the women. I have been running in election since 2017 and at every time I am still fresh in the system.
This is because of the support I get from my constituency despite all odds. I have been winning my elections in a free, fair and credible manner and that shows that the confidence is there and for you to represent people well you also have to support them well. You have to also support them in their businesses. Women are untapped resources and it is my belief that the empowerment of women is the empowerment of the society.
When you empower our women you have empowered the family. You can see that today we distributed cooking gas that they will use to establish their own businesses for some of them that are into catering and other related business and that would also assist them in their homes. We want to see a situation where by women would support their husbands financially for the good of their homes and families.
The only way they can do that is to teach them how to fish and not giving them fish all the time. I am very glad and very excited that the women turned out in their numbers to attend this programme. I am also happy doing this and that has always been my hallmark empowering people. It is not only when have money.
Some people have but they don’t want to give while some have little and still give out and I like sharing what I have with others so that people around them can benefit from them. It is not that I have so much but the little I have I give. I am an average woman an average person but I am always happy giving it to people around me.
What is the template for choosing the beneficiaries?
We have people across the 362 electoral wards in Anambra State and we have drawn the women from the markets, from churches, from different political parties and women that are also our supporters. So you have them from different locations and there are some women that were recommended.
You once said that you are the only senator that is doing well in Anambra State. What do you mean?
When I said so I know what I mean. Sometimes, I don’t like to draw comparison but sometimes I have to do that. I remember that my predecessor said that he has attracted to Anambra Central to the tune of N570 million, N15 million for this and N20 million for that but I have done projects and attracted some over N10 billion in Anambra Central District.
People say Anambra is not ripe yet for a woman to become governor. What is your position?
Governance has nothing to do with gender. Governance is about capability. It is about capacity. It is about someone who understands the system and to make the system work for his or her people. I understand governance this country. I have been a member of the Federal House of Representatives for eight years and a senator for the second time.
When it comes to contacts, I have the contacts. When it comes to knowledge, I have it. When it comes to experience I have it. When it comes to understanding the workings of the National Assembly I have it. Most importantly when I put my experience and put my knowledge and all of that together you can see that I am the most qualified to be the governor of Anambra State.
So I am standing to run for the governorship election of Anambra State not based on gender, not based on zone but based on capacity and capability based on the fact that I am more qualified than any other person that is in the race.
From what you are saying, are you saying that you are not intimidated by other aspirants across all political parties?
can never be intimidated by anybody or anything. Looking at my antecedents you can see that I am not intimidated and cannot be intimidated. What am I intimidated for or by.
Anambra has come to a level where somebody who understands this state. It has come to a level where the person that will run Anambra State must be somebody that understands the terrain, understands the people. We need someone who understands the three Senatorial Districts of Anambra State and the needs of Anambrarians. So I am more qualified than any other person when it comes to the components that can make any one a good governor.
When I hear people say that Anambra State is not ready for a women governor, I laugh. It’s not also about woman it is not also about man; it is about good governance. You men that are good administrator, you see women that are good administrators and also you see men that are not good administrators and women that are not good administrators.
This time around men have done well and have done so much but it is time for the women to do theirs. I am in this race to win and I Know that by the special grace of God I will win the election.
There have been several litigations in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and don’t you think that it would affect the fortunes of the party in the coming election?
I am not aware of any litigation in the PDP and besides I am not the Legal Adviser of the party. So this question should be directed to the Legal Adviser of the party not me.
What can you tell your fellow women who are scared to come into the race?
What I can tell my fellow women is first of all believe in yourself, have the confidence in yourself and in your ability. Have this confidence that gender has nothing to do with governance.
Once you know you are qualified go and try. I thank the men because the men have been supportive; they supported the women always. Without the men I would not have been where I am today. God used both men and women to make me who I am. So work hard as if your entire life depends on working hard. Pray as if your entire life depends on prayers. Prayers and hard work will lead you through.