Chief Jude Emecheta is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA). He spoke to POLYCARP ONWUBIKO on the prestigious award by the Advertising Agency of Nigeria as the best chief executive of advertising agencies in Nigeria. He went further to dwell extensively on Anambra state upcoming governorship election come November 6; in addition to topical and critical national issues. Excerpts:
ADVERTISING Agency of Nigeria came to Anambra State to bestow an award on you for being the best chief executive of advert agencies in Nigeria, how did the state achieve such great feat?
I think it is not something extraordinary; all I tried to do is to keep my professional ethics. I have been in advertising in the last 30 years, so I know all the gamut of advertising; that is one.
Two, these agencies are guided by law. I have followed the law strictly to guide me; no issue of cutting corners because when you cut corners with big companies, they will know you as a crook.
So I have tried to follow the law strictly. So to me, it was not extraordinary what we have done; I have tried to find out from other agencies what the problem is with them.
Some really want to go all out to their chief executives by going round the law to practice this out-door but there is a law that is guiding all of us which should be followed strictly and what I have done is to follow it strictly and the advertising agency of Nigeria saw that I have been following the law strictly as against most of my colleagues in other states and that is why they gave this award.
‘Nigerian factor’ appears to be guiding such bestowals, did you key into that to emerge the best in the country?
One, if ethics is money, Anambra State would not have bought it because there are other states that have bigger money than we have in Anambra State as to go and buy it.
As individuals, I don’t think it is necessary to go and buy that kind of award because generally too, I am not an ‘award’ person. I am not always keen on getting awards. If you bestow me with an award and expect money from me, you are wasting your time.
I have never gone to any occasion to go and collect an award. I just have two awards.
In fact, this particular award was brought from Lagos to Awka to be given to me. They said that I should come to Abeokuta to collect the award and I said well, if they think that I am the best chief executive of advertising agencies of Nigeria, they should bring it here and they did.
So, three of them who flew in from Lagos to here, I didn’t give them mineral. They came and were in a hurry to go back to the airport back to Lagos and it was the Hon. Commissioner for Information that hosted them and the CEO of Anambra Newspapers And Printing Corporation, Chief Chuka Nnabuife was there. They were served with soft drinks; even they were not given launch. That would tell you that it was not a matter of a ‘Nigerian factor’.
What advantage does the award confer on Anambra State
It confers trust on Anambra State; it makes the Out-Door Advertising Agency to know that Anambra State is the place it can convince their clients to bring their money to; that is one good thing about it because most of the time, the outdoor agencies tell the media buyers that this place is a good place to go.
We try to find their work for them here because you know that such things as area boys, youths and touts disturb them so much and we intervene on their behalf so that some of them who want to pay so much money to the youths and to the area boys they are curtailed and they are happy about it.
You are the campaign supporter of the governorship candidate of Professor CC Soludo for the November 6, 2021 governorship election, what challenges are you facing to market him as a public relations guru?
I am a die-in-wool supporter of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo. One is that I am looking at somebody who is a high performer; don’t forget that I have a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management; and when you want to hire a staff or somebody, the first thing you look at is: is he a high performer?
So, Soludo is a high performer with his antecedents. Usually, marketing a human being is quite difficult in the sense that peer jealousy will always be there; if you are handsome, they will say you are a womaniser, if you are ugly, they say you are a devil; they always find something to say about you.
But what we are trying to do is to tell Anambra people that what Soludo intends to do is to put value on what Governor Willie Obiano has done. Some people don’t even understand the value of the International Cargo Airport being put in place by Obiano.
We are trying very hard to market Soludo to Anambra people as somebody that will further the frontier of the good things being put in place and fine-tune them. It a change in the way we think, a change in our educational system, a change in the management of the human resources, a change in the management of our road infrastructure. Soludo has a model in his Manisfesto on what he wants to sell to ndi Anambra as what he would do as somebody who is a doer of his words. He works his talk; and he is not the one that talks, he means his talks.
I hear other campaigners trying to say “we will do this and do that…”but none of them knows what comes to Anambra State on a monthly bases from the federal government and from internally generated revenues but Soludo knows that. He is a high performer, he has to find out how much money do I have in my hands to work for Ndi Anambra?
It is a herculean task, and it is not easy because those who have so much money in their pockets to throw around believe that Anambra is up for sale but they have been told that at the election day, when they share N5000 or N10,000 that people will vote for them.
Anambra State is not in a gullible state; if they share money on the election day, people will collect the money but go and vote for APGA candidate, Professor Soludo because they are looking for what is their own; and APGA represents the spirit of Igbo man.
What is important to onye Igbo is that Professor Soludo is representing the voice, the chest, the soul, the heart of Igbo man. APGA is the only political platform the Igbo man has to perform, and we know those who will sell out in this election, who will eventually join the APC because they want to be saved. So Soludo is a good product to be marketed.
You described Professor Soludo as a high performer, can you fathom the rationale why Igbo value system has been thrown to the dogs with respect to Chief Chukwuma Umeoji of the same party not respecting his stupendous pedigree and antecedent as he came out as a challenger? In other words, is there no more respect for elders and betters in Anambra State?
The late Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme lamented such gross disrespect when a candidate even from his local government came out to challenge him on senatorial aspiration.
You know when you start a league match or a challenge cup match, you will always find out that some pretenders will come up to play; and on that day, they will not want to be dribbling; they would want to break your leg so that you will fall down and they go and score a goal.
So when you have human beings in any sphere of life, and you know politics is like a sport, somebody will win but the man who knows that he would lose eventually will even want to contest because he feels ‘let my name be written in the book that I contested’.
That is the problem with people that want to contest against Soludo. Ordinarily in Anambra State, I think some of these politicians; small boys who are contesting ought to have been happy that Soludo is contesting.
So they should withdraw from him and say ‘look Oga, go and contest because we know that you will deliver. As a developmental economist, Soludo knows how money works quite unlike his contenders who believe in throwing money about to buy the people.
What makes you believe that Professor Soludo will defeat the formidable array of the “political timber and caliber and bulldozers” [apology to late political icon, Dr. KO Mbadiwe, man of timber and caliber] some with formidable war chests even to challenge the very state government coffer?
If you look at us as human beings, God is the only person who will answer this question whether he will win. But as a human being, why he will win these people with war chests is that even that though they have the money but they don’t have the right platform – that is APGA. Two, Soludo has better package in everything to present to Ndi Anambra people than what they have.
They are coming to tell Ndi Anambra ‘I will do this, do that but Soludo will tell Ndi Anambra ‘I did this and I will now do this. He has something to sell; you know you cannot go to market when you don’t have goods to sell.
It’s like saying ‘give me the shop and when I get the shop, I will begin to buy the good to put there and sell’. This man will tell you ‘I have electronic shop here; I want to open the shop. We have heard about war chests so many times in Anambra State and we ended up not seeing any war chest.
Some of these guys, you think they have much money but when the chips are down, you find out that the money they have will not take them to anywhere.
Do you believe that the election will be free and fair going by the suppressed apprehension of a cross section of Anambra people that the federal government has surreptitiously anointed a candidate for a smooth ride to the Government House?
The federal government has never anointed anybody. The man you think that he has been anointed might eventually not win the election as the case is still going on. He might end up not running the election because there was no primary election in the APC. So all these rumours that the federal government has determined who will rule Anambra State is not true.
Nobody has challenged him in court and ask INEC to come and disqualify him and INEC says ‘oh, there was primary in Anambra state. INEC cannot say that there was primary election in Anambra State; and Buhari, being who he is cannot support injustice and brigandage but he is strict when it comes to corruption. So I don’t think Buhari will support him; we have given him much credit for what he is not.
The issue of the right governorship candidate in APGA has gone to the Supreme Court; what makes you to believe that Professor will win again as he did in the lower courts?
I believe he will win; the Supreme Court has the final say but as a human being; from what you have seen, he will win because he is the one the party wants to run for them. Supreme Court cannot give us a candidate we don’t want. The national chairman of APGA is not in contention.
If he quietly accepted at the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court cannot say he is no more the chairman of APGA because if Dr. Victor Oye signs something for Soludo, he becomes automatically the candidate of APGA.
What is your take on the position of the National Assembly that INEC is unable to employ the conventional electronic transfer of votes even as some local government council elections have been conducted with electronic transfer of votes?
INEC has said that nobody can stop them from using electronic transmission of votes. The electoral umpire has said that it will use electronic voting in Anambra State.
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