‘I will not fail my people’
Veteran Nollywood actor, Kenneth Arinzechukwu Okonkwo has joined the league of celebrities venturing into politics. The actor cum lawyer, who clocks 46 on November 6, 2014, declared his intention to represent the people of Nsukka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Kenneth, who became an household name in the 90s after featuring in blockbuster movie, Living in Bondage, confirmed the development exclusively to ENCOMIUM Weekly on Friday, September 26, 2014 shortly after the declaration.
He said; “Having consulted extensively my people from the ward to the local government level, because I am a grassroots man and having secured their approval to launch my campaign, I started thinking of the best channel to tell the world. I was invited as a guest of honour for the Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Lecture by Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. While there, the learned SAN, Chief Wole Olanipekun, who is like an uncle to me, made a moving speech about Gani, who fought and died for democracy for us to benefit. I was moved and declared that I am now one of the beneficiaries of his sacrifice as I intend to contest election for the House of Reps under the PDP”….
What is the motivation? Is it because your colleagues in the entertainment industry have shown interest?
If you have been following me, you would have observed that I have been in politics one way or the other. I have been a card carrying member of the PDP for a long time, supporting my ward privately in all their political activities. The latest one was when INEC was having problems with the issuance of permanent voters card. When I get to my ward, the INEC officials on sighting me agreed to work day and night and was able to reach a lot of people. It’s just that now the pressure from my people to represent them is huge. So, I agreed and by the grace of God I will not fail them.
What are your chances of getting the party ticket, not to talk of winning, realising the fact that someone is already occupying the post?
My chances are very bright. First, I believe that I am a child of grace. So by the grace of God, I will win. Second, I love my people and my people love me. This is one of my greatest assets. Third, our governor, Sullivan Chime has performed creditably so the people are solidly behind him. He made a conscientious decision that every member of the National Assembly that has served two terms should allow his brother to go. I’m from Nsukka/Igboeze South constituency which has produced a gentle man, Dr Patrick Asadu from Igboeze South, as its representative for two terms. It is now the turn of people from Nsukka Local Government, where I belong, to produce a candidate. Dr Patrick Asadu, being a gentleman, will not likely fight his popular governor and when it comes to Nsukka, because of the love of my people, I stand a chance.
I also have the love of a lot of prominent members of my party because of my modest achievements in Nollywood and some live television appearances where we discuss national issues. So, I am confident.
How do you intend to finance it or do you have a godfather who is ready to help you?
I have a God that will supply all my needs according to His riches by Christ Jesus. I have my people that are sending me, who are supporting me both morally and financially. I have great friends and fans supporting me. Nollywood is also behind me. Some senior members of the bar are supporting me because of their belief that I will contribute to the development of law if I become a lawmaker. I have some party big wigs who are supporting me because they believe that my membership of PDP will add value to the party. So, by the grace of God, I have a large war chest.
If elected, how do you want to combine it with your acting and law profession?
I intend to combine them. You I’ve always believed that acting is my hobby. I will take out time when the Assembly is on recess to act.
Tell us more about your family and in what ways they are supporting your political ambition?
My family is very supportive.
Until now, we have not heard much about you. Is law profession consuming most of time?
My movies are out there making waves. My law profession is hectic because of a lot to read. So, both of them are doing well.
What do you think is wrong with Nigeria at the moment, how do you intend to address it if elected?
Nigeria needs to be restructured politically and economically to enable us enjoy the full potentials of a federal state. My aim is to contribute in making Nigeria a super power nation in my generation, and good laws are fundamental to the achievement of this dream. I’m going to support the building of a strong, united and highly motivated military to take care of our security needs in this age of global terrorism. I will support measures that will create employment because my people are in need of jobs. Increasing power supply will also be my priority and I will contribute my quota in the fight against corruption.