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Media Tête-à-tête with APGA Gubernatorial candidate Frank Nweke Jnr.

The journey towards enthroning innovative leadership in Enugu State has led to series of conversations and chat between doyen journalists and the very cerebral Frank Nweke jnr. the 2023 Enugu gubernatorial candidate for the All progressives grand alliance (APGA).
Frank Nweke Jr., no doubt has remained a household name following years of excellent track record of service in different capacities under previous administrations in Nigeria.

In an evening tête-à-tête with online bloggers and publishers the ethical leader of nearly 25 years experience in the public, private, and civic sectors, Mr frank Nweke jnr declared his positions on topical issues that was raised by the bloggers concerning the Nation’s affair.

The evening strolled gently with introductions and exchange of pleasantries, then a diving into series of discussions on issues like the regulation of the media/press, insecurity, leadership and the dilapidating situation of infrastructure and standard of living in the state and the country at large.

In all of these, Mr Frank Nweke made his positions clearly known.
On the regulation of the press, Mr Frank Nweke recounted his time as minister of information under the then obasanjo administration, which he termed “Golden moments

In his words;

“In all my time working with president Obasanjo, he never for one day invited me to go and say this or queried why I said what. Never! I also never had a situation where I had to retract a statement I issued in those two and half years when I had to issue statements.”

He continued;

“That is Maybe because of my neutrality. When I don’t know about something, I have no problem accepting that I didn’t know and maybe because of the robust relationship I have built with a lot of journalists and generally the media at the time. It was also based on the fact that we created trust.”

He made it clear that the government was a lot more transparent as nothing was hidden from the media and there was no much issue with reportage at the time unless the reporters didn’t see a need to report or write about certain things.

He said;

“Working with president Obasanjo at the time, I saw a very genuine commitment to reform the affairs of the state”

He recounted that Nigeria was on the upswing as Nigerians in Diaspora began to return home, the country was growing at almost 7% GDP and debts were paid off.
According to him, the press council which was the regulating body of the press didn’t have much to do because its members resisted the regulations.

Also On the issue of security, He introduced a punch line which is “the cohesive powers of the state” He also alluded to some of the strategic methods used by the then president obasanjo to tackle insecurity.
He said that the former president was focused on respecting the military hierarchy and ensuring that positions were rightfully earned irrespective of tribe. According to Mr Nweke, the Obasanjo administration also made sure that agents of security received the necessary supports from the government.

In his words;

“Every state must retain the cohesive powers of the state, the moment you begin to share those cohesive powers, those are classic symptoms of state failure. That is what is happening today. There are multiplicity of groups who now have dominance over the cohesive powers of the state or appears to have dominance over the cohesive powers of the state. Part of the challenges we face today is insecurity. There are strategies one can use to review the security situations in the state and agree on a set of actions that will mitigate these things. No doubt the police is highly under funded and under trained and of course part of the charges made against Tafa Balogun was that monies meant for the police he channeled to his personal accounts. So what we had to do here was to agree on a set of support measures. We created a kind of partnership with the military and the police and we provided support to them overtime. The nature of the support was vehicles were given to them, batteries and tyres were changed, we bought fuel for their vehicles and allowances were even provided to encourage them to really do their best. Once that was done, we found out that a lot of them became more committed. They were willing to really stick their necks out and they felt appreciated.
For me, that strategy cannot change even now, because, these people their service commissions are less than optimal.”

He continued;

There are some people whom we wish could behave better who are members of the security force but on the balance, my position is that we should honor these men and women who are out in the rain while you sit in your car trying to protect you. They’re in the sun, standing there. If there’s danger, they are the first to be called on even while you’re running away to save your life, you expect them to go and confront the danger. That’s their training, that’s what they ought to do but my position remain that we should cut them some slack.”

He also believes that the government has a pivotal role to play by working assiduously to provide the strategic and physical support the security force require to do their job effectively.

According to him;
“I am not excusing them but the government should make sure they provide the right training, the right weapon and the right leadership”

On Leadership, the trail blazing Frank Nweke Jnr. In his words expressed a form of koinonia with Plato the great Greek philosopher of old.
He quoted; “The community suffers nothing terrible if its cobblers are bad and become degenerate and pretentious but if the guardians of its laws and constitution who alone have the opportunity to bring it good government and prosperity become a mere sham then clearly it is completely ruined”
This was seconded by another quote.
He quoted; “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him” Nicclo Machiavelli

He maintained that everything rises and falls on leadership. He said, if leaders choose to subordinate national interest for personal interest especially pecuniary interest then such a nation is gone.

He said;

“The last seven years has been a disaster and all the indicators, indices of development points to that fact. If you have been elected to lead a group of people, you owe yourself, you owe man and God a responsibility to respect that mandate and to help them improve the quality of their lives and living conditions”
He believes that people who wish to lead must ask themselves relevant questions on leadership and must be a par with their visions, reasons they aspire to lead and essence of the mandate before dabbling into leadership positions.

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