Nigeria must diversify or perish-
By: lucky kenedy ose
HON. ATU This week, the focus of Nassnews shifts to a young dynamic politician who caused a political upset in the last February elections in Enugu State. Our Team met with Honourable Chimaobi Sam Atu of the Labour Party who was elected in the February 25, 2023 elections to represent Enugu North and South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly. He defeated a three-term incumbent, Hon. Offor Chukwuegbo, with over sixty thousand votes.
Hon. Chimaobi Sam Atu is a real estate developer, industrialist and consummate politician. He was born in April 1982 to the family of Mr And Mrs Michael Nnamchi Atu of Umumba Ndiaga Ugwuaji in Enugu South Local Council of Enugu State.
He is currently the Chairman House of Representatives Parliamentary Friendship Group to the Republic of Greece. He is also a Member of the House Adhoc Committee on Legislative Agenda.
Hon. Atu speaks with our Team on quite a number of issues.
Nassnews: How was growing up like; were you born a politician?
Hon Atu: No. I was not born a politician. Just like they say, some achieve greatness through hard work while some have it thrown at them. I was never going to be a politician until I became very uncomfortable with some government’s policies and programmes. Many people around me were suffering and poverty was on the rise. So, I felt that changes can only occur from the inside not outside. So the best thing I could do to contribute my own quota to the development of this country was to come into politics and create the needed impact.
Nassnews: Before venturing into active politics what were you doing?
Hon Atu: I came from a humble background. My mother was a teacher, my father was a federal civil servant and we were just fine. By God’s grace, I went to Special Science School Ihe, Awgu local government of Enugu State for my secondary education. It should be mentioned that Special Science School, as it were in Eastern Nigeria, was an exclusive reserve of committed primary school leavers with creative minds. After a successful completion of my Senior Secondary School Examinations, I gained admission to study Industrial Chemistry at the prestigious Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Agbani. Chimaobi graduated with honours (BSc.) in 2006. So after my graduation, I went for National Youth Service at Amoye Grammar School, Ikere Ekiti.
Shortly after my National Youth Service activities, I was employed by United Geophysical Nigeria Limited (UGNL), an oil servicing firm, in Delta State. As a staff of UGNL, I initiated many projects and led the charge in several site activities.
After gaining the requisite experience in the oil sector and given my entrepreneurial drive, I resigned and moved back to Enugu to establish my own company, Chimfloxy Ideals. Since the establishment of Chimfloxy Ideals, the company has radically changed the real estate business in the South East. As the CEO, I built affordable homes in the South East.
Nassnews: Do you think the Federal Government was right on the removal of subsidy?
Hon Atu: Actually, I can say that the removal of subsidy should be a welcome development, but it all depends on how it is managed. There must be verifiable and immediate achievements recorded from the proceeds made from the subsidy. Proceeds made from subsidy should be used to build new refineries which will reduce the cost of PMS importation into Nigeria. It will create more than six thousand direct and indirect jobs for our youth. I may not be comfortable with the way the removal regime was conducted but the money should be channelled to education, health, security and other critical sectors. Look at the way insecurity is affecting businesses everywhere in Nigeria.
Nassnews: Let’s talk about poverty in the land; so many agitations and the economy is terrible.
Hon Atu: Actually the poverty in the land is nothing to write home about. It even affects the rich, the middle class and the poor. Everybody is suffering from this poverty. I believe that some things can be done if Nigerians will start investing in agriculture. Education has something to do with the life of any prosperous society. Youth Empowerment; I believe will go a long way to avoid this poverty because all our focus is on only oil. We must diversify or perish. This rentier state mentality will not help this country. We must move away from oil and invest heavily in other sector. This is what Labour Party stands for and our candidate and leader, H.E. Peter Obi kept saying this. We must engage the youth in the productive sector and perish as a nation.
When we were much younger, it was said that the youth were the leaders of tomorrow. I don’t know anymore but you journalists can answer the question. Is it true? If a nation or a country doesn’t give back to its youths such a nation is doomed. So engaging the youth should be the first priority for any country that wants to improve the economy and reduce insecurity.
Nassnews: 10th Assembly has taken off; are we going in the right direction?
Hon Atu: Yeah. I will say uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. I believe the leadership of this 10th Assembly led by our leader, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas is doing a great job. Some of the steps he has taken have been very impressive. For instance, as soon as he was sworn in, he inaugurated the Committee on Legislative Agenda which has almost concluded work on what will be the direction of the House for the next four years. As a member of that committee, I can tell you that the House will change the narrative under Rt. Hon. Abass. I am sure you saw the Town hall meeting that was done a few days ago. I went there and saw many stakeholders from every background. We invited all sectors including Civil Societies to assess and contribute their quota to the agenda. It shows that the House is moving in the right direction.
More so, the Speaker believes in carrying everybody along. He is a detribalized Nigerian who believes that tribe, religion and other petty things should not divide us. For, what should differentiate us is our work and commitment.
Nassnews: Now, being a politician, do you think you have any regrets about venturing into Politics?
Hon Atu: I said it before now that we came in to make a change. You can’t make a change from the outside; it is inside.
Nassnews: What is your agenda for your people and how should palliatives be distributed?
Hon Atu: I will give my people a voice in the Assembly. I shall speak up any time I am confident it will make this country better. Secondly, I attract investment to my constituency. In agriculture, I will make sure I give them a new direction. Health, education, technology and SMEs will top my agenda.
Palliative is good but we must be thorough on how it will work. There must be a painstaking review of the entire process so that Nigerians will walk through this tough time. Make no mistakes, Nigerians are suffering and we must do something fast and definitively to reduce the hardship caused by subsidy removal. The best palliative for Nigerians is to build our refineries and stop this criminality called fuel import. We must develop our schools and health sector. Make Nigerians see the changes brought by the removal of subsidy.
When it comes to palliatives distributions, the governors should not be used. You and I saw what happened during Covid. This time, other researched based approaches should be used. Use the system closer to the people. Look at the State legislators or local government; they are closer. Look at this office; people come in and out every day. Imagine I am the governor, how many people will be allowed to see me?