I’ll break jinxes as a legislator – Nwachi

Posted by admin | 10 years ago | 5,555 times



Her name is Maria Ude Nwachi, she is popularly known as Afikpo Chic and is gunning for Ebonyi State House of Assembly seat as representative of Afikpo North-east Constituency. In this interview with Factnewsonline, she promises to set records in legislative business in Nigeria and to be a trail-blazer.

 

 

What is your motivation for plunging yourself into what many people have come to describe as the murky waters of Nigerian politics?

I want to do something different. I want to lead by example. I want to do and achieve what that political post is meant to achieve, because it was made for a reason. Indeed, I want to do more than is expected of me to do.

Let me use my area to explain myself better. Here once politicians get into political office, or are made something in government, the first thing they do is to start a building project. And the building project will consume so much of their resources that they could no longer possibly do what they were elected to do for the people.

They start buying land, they start building houses, and they start buying cars. That is what most of them do. About 99 per cent of them basically do that. So I want to break that jinx. I want to be the first person to break this particular jinx.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that a man or woman should not build a house for himself and his family. But instead of building four and five, just build one reasonable one because you are meant to serve the people and not necessarily yourself. It is not your personal money.

When I built my house, I built it as beautiful as possible because it is my house with my personal money. But when you are serving the public, you build something reasonable and then use the rest to serve the people. You should not spend the people’s money as if it were your own.

So, I want to do something different in Nigeria, I want to enter the State Assembly to look after my constituency and then to look after all the other constituencies in my state. That’s what I am about to do, which means that I will not have enough money for myself, and I am going to do it.

 

This means you are a courageous woman, especially to join politics in Nigeria. What is the source of your strength?

The strength is honestly speaking, my people; Afikpo people.  Whenever I go home and see the suffering of my people, I am always pained and ready to give them all I have to see if it could assuage their pains a little. Do you know that I can get home with, may be two million Naira, and that once I step out into the street to greet them, I will begin to share that money – five hundred to this person, two hundred to the other; one thousand to another – until that money finishes. Then I will have nothing left in my hand. Sometimes I will end up looking for people to get money from to go back to where I was coming from. It is a daily thing.

If I leave my house with any amount of money, I am not coming back with a naira. This is because the suffering is too much among my people; the hardship is too much, and when I am going out and seeing the suffering their faces, I cannot help but act. If you see the kind of hardship among Nigerians, and you are like me, you will want to do something about it. That is my motivation.

Unfortunately, in this country, what many people you see serving in public offices do is to take that money alone. That will not be the case with me. So, I want to do something different; I want to show Nigerians how serving your people should be done. That is how it is done in responsible societies, where ordinary people are not left to walk around in agony. I want to do that here; I want it done down here in Nigeria.

We can’t be copying what is good stuff just for personal aggrandizement. We need to copy good stuffs from there for the benefit of all because when you are rich and doing well, and everybody around you is not doing well, you are a poor man as far as I am concerned. That is my motivation.

 

 

 

You have often said many great things about your Afikpo people, do you think they share the same feelings with you, do you think they would reciprocate such sentiments at the poll?

They will reciprocate, I know they will. All that I expect from my people is to have faith; to be steadfast; and to believe in me. I will not fail them. They already know and they are talking about it already in Afikpo that if Maria is going in that this will happen and that will happen. They already know that I am going to exceed their expectation; that I will bring goodness to the name Afikpo and Ebonyi State.

I have to take care of the entire Ebonyi State. By the time I am there, nobody is going to be saying that this woman; Afikpo Chic is doing this or that. They will be saying that Ndi-Afikpo are doing this and that. So, they should just be patient with me, and people should not get jealous when I start taking care of my people because if I have that in me to take care of people when I was not in government, they should be patient and know that I will exceed all their expectations about me when I get into governance.

 

You know one of the problems in Nigeria is not that there are no well-meaning people wanting to make the difference in government. The problem many people will tell you is that once they get into government, they join the bandwagon of bad rulers. How can you convince them that you will be different?

What I will tell you is this, if I get 10 naira, about two to three naira will go to me, he rest will go to the people. I will never use the money meant to take care of my people and take care of my community to enrich myself and to enjoy life. Whatever I bring, I am bringing it to the people in a way they have never, ever experienced before.

This might really be the first time somebody will tell his/her people this is how much we have made, this is how much I am taking and this is how much I am using to provide for you. I am going to be the first person to break that jinx. That is all I can say on this issue.

 

With this kind of passion you are bringing into the legislature, have you ever considered the fact that it would affect your own personal business or businesses?

No, because I have structured my personal businesses to run on their own. I have lots of workers; I will still be overseeing them. You know I am into news, I am into the media and image-making, and my image-making/Public Relations business will not be affected because I have already put structures in place that even if I die today, they will continue to run.

Even now, my workers are there working away. They know the directive; they know the direction; and they are doing everything good. I come in and see what they are doing and I am happy with it. One man cannot run a business anyway. So even if I die today the business can continue, and it will not affected what we are doing. Now, this media thing that I am doing is very important. The big needs it, the small needs it, Nigeria needs it, and everybody needs it. My brand of Public Relation work is very unique in Nigeria, not everybody knows it. Media image management is not practiced by anybody in Nigeria except me.

So that is not going to go away just like that. Most of the things I do there is from my brain so you don’t need to go to Cameroun to get it. It is something that is already there, all I have to do is to put it into writing, and it is done. So it won’t affect my work at all.

 

Have you also considered the fact that in Nigeria politicians receive lots of knocks and when one is a woman it could get worse? Have you started receiving some of these knocks, and if you have how have you been handling it?

It encourages me because it makes me want to succeed. That is why the American maxim says that success is the best revenge. One thing is certain, if you are a woman, you should be smarter than normal. As a woman you should always double your efforts, and it is all for your own good you are not doing anyone a favour because this is a man’s world. So if you are a woman you have to carve a lot of niche that no one else knows that no one else does. Don’t listen to side-talk because it won’t do you any good. There is no human on this earth that is going to be against me.

Against the expectations of many enemies of progress, the PDP cleared you as an aspirant to run for the party’s ticket. How did it feel?

I am very happy. It encourages me to fight on knowing that God is with me. By that clearance, God cracked my palm kernel for me and I am grateful. I will not fail God or man. I will use this opportunity to perform that which no legislator has done in Nigeria, either at the national or state level.

It was a very stressful exercise; very stressful, but I was very happy the way it ended. I was happy that at the end of the day the PDP cleared me to run for the state house of assembly which is a very big honour.

It shows that the PDP is a very fair party. Some of us came with the mind that there could be one form of conspiracy theory or the other.  But during the exercise, everybody came to realise that PDP is indeed one of the fairest parties there is on earth, not only in Nigeria. You were cleared on your merit and nothing more.

God cracked my palm kernel for me, I will not disappoint God, and I will certainly not disappoint man. I will do what have never been done by any legislator in Nigeria. I will do more than ever expected of me; I will be as selfless as they come because I have been greatly honoured. I will do even the impossible to put smiles on the faces of the people in Ebonyi State.

This is not only about Afikpo constituency; the whole of Ebonyi constituency is going to be my constituency. Only about 60 per cent of the funds coming to me will probably go into Afikpo and the rest I will keep some and share others among other constituencies in Ebonyi State. That is what I planned on doing, nobody does this in Nigeria, but I am going to do it.

I believe that enough money comes into the coffers of a legislature that he should be able to help as many people as possible. They (the Legislators) should be able to do that. There is no point in talking too much, but I am going to do that that has never been done in Nigeria, and I am going to start it.

 

You think your people trust you enough to vote for you?

My people already know me. They know me very well that I do not even need to tell you about myself. Go to Afikpo and ask anybody about Maria, and they will tell you themselves; they know me. They know that there is nothing I like in this life than seeing happiness on the faces of other human beings. They know that I so much love them and they so much love me.

There are things I get away with in that Afikpo that nobody with get away with because of the honour they give me. Once they hear that it is Maria, they will let go because they know I love them and how much I sacrifice for them. They know that I will do anything to see happiness on their faces. My people already know that if I am given the opportunity to do something for them with government backing that I will do it well.

Go and ask even those that do not like me personally and they will tell you to “leave it for Maria”.

You know one of the problems in Nigeria is not that there are no well-meaning people wanting to make the difference in government. But Nigerian politics has a way of sucking in good people that once they get there they become corrupted and join the looting. How would you overcome this?

What I will tell you is this, if I make 10 Naira, about two to three Naira will go to me. The rest will go to the people. I will never use the money meant to take care of my people and take care of the community to enrich myself and to enjoy life. Whatever I bring, I am bringing it to the people in a way they have never, ever experienced it before.

This might really be the first time somebody will tell his/her people this is how much we have made, this is how much I am taking and this is how much for you. I am going to be the first person to break that jinx. That is all I can say on this issue.


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