Mr. Bonaventure Enemali, 37 and the immediate past Anambra State Commissioner for Lands, Physical Planning and Rural Development has declared interest to represent Anambra West Constituency at the State Assembly.
Enemali who from 2018 to 2019, served as the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy under Chief Willie Obiano said his desire is not a selfish pursuit but genuine interest to provide vibrant representation that will bring dividends of democracy to his constituents. He spoke on several issues.
The present member representing Anambra West Constituency belongs to your party, APGA. Don’t you think he deserves a second term?
It is not a constitutional right to go for a second term. What the constitution provides is that an elected member of the House of Assembly has the right to serve for four years and may vie for a second term. But it is not automatic that such a person must go for a second term.
Moreover, I think the present representative has done his best based on his ability and capacity. The honest truth is that Anambra West deserves a more robust, knowledgeable, educated and exposed representative. I fit into that description. Being a representative at the State Assembly involves articulation, presentation, arguments and defence of ideas captured in motions; that we have not enjoyed so far.
Besides, leadership at any level is a collective effort, not a one man show. No one man, knows it all, that is why leaders form teams. What is required is a leader who will assemble technocrats and experts in different fields of endeavour and provide leadership that is required to achieve results. Anambra West needs such a person. We need somebody who can understand economic terms and ideologies that can create the enabling environment for developments, especially as regards the peculiarities of Anambra West.
It takes education and exposure to be open to new ideas and also understand them. Not too long ago, I assembled such people, where we came up with a master plan to provide a roadmap and guide, towards the development of our local government. I have more experience; exposure, education and wider outreach to attract developments; that is why I am offering myself.
You were a Commissioner under Obiano, how did you fare?
At barely 33 years of age, I brought in innovations as Commissioner for Youths Empowerment and Creative Economy. For instance, under my leadership, 200 youths from each local government in the state were regularly trained on different skills and equipped to start business under a program we called “One youth, one skill”.
We did not just give them money because they would have wasted it without skills and training. Today those youths are not just only self-employed but employers of labour too. Under our “Talent Hunt Programme” many youths with talents in music, arts, Technovation were discovered. Emeka Nelson who created an electricity generator that is powered by water and also invented what he calls the “MGBANWE C12”, a machine that turns non-biodegradable wastes like plastics, waterproof nylon, etc into petrol, kerosene, diesel and some other heavy oils and interlocking stones, were discovered through this project and so many other young people.
As a result of having Anambra youths at heart, planning a secured future for them and wanting to rid Anambra of drug users and other suicidal ventures, the government through the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Creative Economy engaged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and relevant agencies to sensitize and advise young persons’ on the dangers of drug use and abuse.
As Commissioner for Lands, Physical Planning and Rural Development, aside from other achievements, I made the Real Estate business in Anambra more robust and attractive. It now thrives in the state, thereby generating income for individuals, communities and the Government. We ensured there is transparency and credibility in the system. Now, communities trust developers because they are sure of being adequately paid for their lands. The price and what it takes to get Certificate of Ownership/Occupancy are boldly displayed on a wide notice board in front of the Ministry for every applicant to see. Land Administration Management Information System was introduced in the Ministry of Land, which the implementation is still ongoing. This is to mention just two.
As a Commissioner in Chief Willie Obiano’s administration, what is your reaction to the allegations of huge debt and meager reserves in the state purse?
I don’t consider money invested in projects as debts. Debt as a result of investment is not wrong because there will be Return On Investment (ROI). It’s much better to invest money in projects that benefit the citizens in area of job creation and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) than to keep money in the bank. It does not make economic sense to keep cash in the bank instead of investing them in projects that will yield more dividends and I think that is what Chief Willie Obiano did. I am not against having fund reserve anyway. He invested heavily and the results will soon start coming in. Have you considered the multiple effects of the Umueri Airport, Awka Stadium, the International Conference Centre and many others? I think time will justify his efforts. I beg our people not to create controversy where none exists. Let us encourage and support our new governor, Prof. Charles Soludo so he can deliver results. Chief Obiano said he would bring in someone who can do better than him and that is why he brought in Prof. Soludo.
What is your opinion on the Monday sit-at-home in the southeast?
I think it is highly unproductive and it is harming the Anambra people, more. There are better ways and more result-oriented patterns of articulating our grievances than killing our economy. The people we are protesting against don’t really care. So we should devise more effective means. Let’s create an opportunity for roundtable dialogue. In every situation, no matter how grave, there will still be dialogue. So why don’t we start with dialogue.
As a youth, what is your advice to Nigerian youths regarding politics?
Nigerian youths should strive to be disciplined, build competence, diligence and patriotism to be fit for governance. Excellence and responsibility would help the youth to dominate the country’s political space and contribute their best to national development. It is high time our youths learn to participate actively in the democratic process instead of staying by the sides and complaining. They should ensure that they bring out hidden talents in them; those things that they know how to do best. What the governments should do is to create a platform and the enabling environment that can make the youths excel. When the youth is engaged positively, the rate of crime will reduce drastically and they will desire to do their best for the country.
You lay a lot of emphasis on education and exposure. Can you give us a brief rundown of your educational qualifications?
I started my primary education in 1990 at Ogbe Primary School Nzam. In 1996, I moved to St. Charles College, Onitsha, finishing in 2002. In 2003, I proceeded to Anambra State University (now, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University), where I graduated with a degree in Business Administration. In 2014, I received an abridged Masters in Business Administration from Metropolitan School of Business Management, before proceeding to Redeemer’s University Nigeria where I received a Master’s degree in Management Psychology. In 2019, I received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Commonwealth University, London and a Master Class Certificate in Business Management and Leadership from the London Graduate School in October 2019.