Photo camera does not discriminate in any way, shape, or form.
Hon. Maria Ude Nwachi, popularly known as, Afikpo Chic, is the honourable member representing Afikpo North East Constituency in Ebonyi state house of Assembly. Her state assembly suspended her about two weeks ago, for turning herself into an “ordinary photographer” and on Tuesday, they extended her suspension to 6 months. Michael Ugwu, here, with the honourable, to hear directly from her.
Q: Let me go straight to the point, the general assertion is that the Governor of your state is going after you because of your National Assembly ambition, and is willing to go any length to stop you. Governor Umahi has said many times that he will not support any state assembly member who intends to go higher, that you should all escort him back to his second term, and that he will crush anyone who opposes him. His words “.. anyone who tries us would be injured because if the person falls on us, he will be grinded into granite and if we fall on him, he will be grinded into ashes…” Don’t you think that he feels insulted by your ambition to go to Abuja, which you have never made hidden.
A: Before I won my state of assembly election, I had made a path with myself, and had said, that I would only do one term in the state assembly. And there is nothing on earth that will make me change my mind. NOTHING. It has nothing to do with my Governor, this is my own path and I have every right on this earth to decide my own path. I would rather be out of Politics than go back to state house of assembly. This is not arrogance, this is a resolve I made even before winning the election. I had never even met my governor when I made this path to myself. Because I knew nothing about politics prior to winning my election, I had not met or seen many of the politicians I know today in my state, including my governor. I do not mean to disobey his order, this is something I cannot compromise, for anything, on this earth.
Q: It appears that their plan was to bring you into PDP and then immediately start going after you. Do you regret joining PDP?
A: No, I do not regret joining PDP. I don’t like the feeling of regrets, because no matter how bad a situation turns out, there are great lessons to take away from it. You can’t eat your cake and have it, you can’t benefit a lot from the lessons situations taught you for free, and at the same time regret the situations. Joining PDP to please my Governor was the right thing to do at that time. I was in the fore-front of promoting his development strides, which were real, and so it was an easy decision to make; when he insisted I join PDP.
Q: Many were against you joining PDP saying that it was a ruse to bring you in, trap you, and then run you down, have they been proven right?
A: It’s never over until it’s over. Let them know I was once in PDP before moving to PPA to win my election. I am the architect of my decisions and will take personal responsibility for the outcomes of every decision I make. I am not a child. I don’t feed through my nose. Therefore, I welcome every consequence of my decisions in life. I am 47 years old, a middle aged woman. Old enough, in all ramifications. I take responsibility for all my actions.
Q: You have done a lot of photography for many, including your own governor, but it seems that the one that they are not happy with the most is that of Governor Rochas, and in their report they made a mention of it. Is this going to affect your photography activities?
A: Photo camera does not discriminate in any way, shape, or form.
Q: The state assembly also included the Igboist IMC on their report, saying that; that though it was not meant to defraud, it was illegal to operate the scheme. What is your take on that?
A: IMC is just an internal program that was done to empower ourselves in a group I founded in 2012. This is an internal program. The participants are members of Igboist. The program actually achieved what it was set out to do. 7 millionaires emerged and have all been paid in full. 100s of other winners have been paid. I would not destroy what took me years to meticulously build in love and unity. But before we embark on something like this again, we would make sure that we tighten all loopholes; and do it differently, as my traducers, and those not happy with the succeeds of Igboist, can easily use something like this to attempt to inflict as much damage as possible; by sowing doubts in people’s mind and making all manners of false statements on it.
Igboist has been uniting Igbos in love for years. Igboist will never go down, we will continue to grow stronger and stronger, I have been empowering many of the members, in my own small way, since the inception, and it will not stop. Rather I will even up the ante; with all pleasure. These are trying times in Igboist, it will pass and make us stronger, and more united. I know this because when your intentions are good and true, lies and smears will only disrupt temporarily.
Q: The general assrtion is that there is a need to damage you and that your state goverment is embarking on using every means available to achieve that. How do you intend to protect yourself?
A: That is a loaded question. I will do my best.
Q: You have worked very hard in promoting the image of the governor to the world, through your photography and articles. You are also one of the leaders of an organization that promotes your governor for second term. You were all over the place pomoting his bid for re-election last year. Are you still going to be doing the promotions online and physically?
A: I have no regrets on that. Life goes on.
Q: Being suspended for 6 months, means that your constituency, Afikpo North East will not have any say and represantion for 6 months, and from all indications, they can even keep you out for more. Do you have any plans in fighting to get back to where you were duly elected to be in?
A: I will do the best I can.
Q: You won election in a manner that has never actually taken place in this country. You came from outside the system, no godfather, no stake holder, in an unknown party. Now real Nigerian politics is playing out, where you need to conform to the way they do things. How are you going to go about that?
A: I came into Nigerian politics because I wanna do things differently from the norm. I wanted to prove to the world that a Nigerian politician can put her needs last before the need of others. And I am living it. I have spent millions of my own money working in my constituency. I have not built a single thing for myself. I started work as soon as I was elected with 10s of million naira of my own money, this is even before I received a penny as a pay as a legislator. A state of the art facility I built for my people, which has sent me to broke house, with pleasure, will be unveiled in less than 2 weeks. I am in politics to affect lives, to affect positive changes, and to tone down the bigmanism associated with it. I am not in politics to look sexy, I am not in politics to build personal houses, I am not in politics to acquire wealth for myself. I am not politics to answer endless titles. I came in with good intentions for others.
Be that as it may, if I am not in politics today, that will still be fine. I HAVE KILLED AND BURIED MY EGO-SELF. I have no ego to feed. I am not ashamed to work, to do any work, I got to do. I am a natural servant and can serve anyone, with pleasure and dedication. I am not lazy. If I not in Nigerian politics today, I will be just fine. I am very content with whatever I have.
Q: Since the ordeal have you reached out to your governor?
A: Yes, but he has yet to give me audience.
Q: There are so many people that are worried and unhappy about your ordeal, do you have a word for them?
A: I am grateful for your concerns. I assure you all that I will continue to work hard towards my goals and vision. It is gonna be a bumpy ride, but nothing good comes on a platter of gold. I will be roughed up, I will be humiliated, I will be mocked, I will be debased, but in the end, my good intentions will trump all, and see me through.
Q: What is your message to everyone, including your “traducers”?
A: Whether you pushed me or pulled me, drained me or fueled me, stayed by my side or left me, loved me or hated me, hurt me or helped me, you’re part of my growth, and I THANK YOU.
Thank you for your time, Honourable Nwachi.
My pleasure. Thank you, sir.
Exclusive Interview by Michael Ugwu.
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