HON. MRS. CORDILIA ANYANGWU is a renowned politician and grassroots mobilizer from Abavo in Ika South Local Government Area. An evangelist and philanthropist immensely contributing to the development of her native Abavo and Ika South generally, Hon. Cordilia has indeed endeared herself in the hearts of her supporters and admirers.
In this personality of the week interview, she takes us through her experiences in the political terrain of Ika South and Delta State and outlines her plans of impacting positively on the lives of Ika South people if given the mandate to serve.
IT’S A PLEASURE MADAM, CAN WE MEET YOU?
I am Hon. (Mrs) Evangelist Cordilia Anyangwu. I was born into the family of Chief and Mrs. Stephen Onyehunorelu Mekwuye of Obianyima community Abavo. I was born into a polygamous home; my mother was the second wife. I am the eldest child of my parents, they are both late now. I grew up with my maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Nwagbogu Ilor in Abavo. I joined my grandparents after my parents separated when I was a child. My grandparents treated me like a queen, they loved me so much. They gave me all the attention that I needed. I actually started primary school bearing my grandfather’s name; it was when I was to enter secondary school that I started bearing my own father’s name. I had my primary education at Ekuoma Primary School, Abavo and later my secondary education at Marymount College, 1979-1983. My school mates then were the present wife of Sir Tony Obuh, Mrs. Esther Ogor Obuh, and Elizabeth Irabor, among others I cannot not remember all their names at the moment. I was a gentle and intelligent student. Upon my graduation, I gained admission into Delta State University where I bagged a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics in 1990.
What next did you?
After graduating from the University in 1990, I got married to Chief Emmanuel Anyangwu, now late. He was a senior staff of Julius Berger Construction Company. He used his position to assist many Ika people to get employment in Julius Berger. He was from Oyoko, Abavo. Our marriage was blessed with children. He died in 2004. He was a good man who rendered selfless service to humanity. He wanted me to be a teacher when I graduated from the university but, I never liked the idea. I wanted him to help me get employment in Julius Berger, but he insisted that I must teach. He later saw reasons with me not to be a teacher and sent me to University of Benin to study Law. I was in my second year as a law student when he (my late husband) came to my school one day and told me that our people wanted me to represent them as councilor. I accepted the offer after thinking about it. I contested and won my election under the platform of Grassroot Democratic Movement. I was elected in 1998. The Ika South Local Government Chairman during the time I served as councilor was Hon. Ben Obuh of blessed memory. My entrance into partisan politics was by the divine plan of God. I have no regret however, except that sometimes, I blame myself for not completing my Law programme in Uniben. I represented Ward 10. During the elections, I gave my party the highest number of votes; hence, I was made the Supervisory Councilor for Works. We did our best, before we could do much, the government of General Abudusalam Abubakar was inaugurated and we were dissolved. During that time, I influenced a borehole project at Abavo, also Ekuku-Agbor electrification was during our time.
WHAT OTHER POLITICAL OFFICE HAVE YOU OCCUPIED SINCE YOU LEFT THE COUNCIL?
Since I left the council, I have done my best to remain relevant in politics. I contested for the Ika South Local Government chairmanship election in 1999 but lost to Chief Frad Aghedo. Thereafter, I was made a member of the Board of Institute of Continuing Education, where I assisted twelve Ika graduates to get jobs. I also attracted one I.C.E centre each to Agbor and Abavo. I equally assisted non-graduates from Ika nation to be employed. I never collected a dime from anybody. I was happy that I had the opportunity to assist our people. I did very well in the office and was later appointed first member, State Universal Basic Education Board by the administration of former governor, James Ibori. Before then, I contested in the 2003 State Assembly Election which was won by Hon. Martins Okonta, not long after, I was made a project director when contract for the dualization of the Old Lagos/Asaba road was awarded by the State Government in 2011, I was appointed, member Delta State House of Assembly Commission. I am still a member of the Commission till date.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO SERVE UNDER THREE GOVERNMENTS?
(Smiles), it’s just God. I will say it is by the grace of the Almighty God.
HAVE YOU NOT FACED CHALLENGES ALL THESE PERIODS?
There will always be challenges, but you will always overcome when the grace and oil of God is upon you. I have been undergoing political training from our political masters and God has been on my side.
HOW DO YOU SEE POLITICS?
Politics, actually is supposed to be a platform for individuals to serve their people except for selfish persons who want to amass wealth to the detriment of the masses. On this note I thank God for the life of the present Governor of Delta State, Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for always impacting positively on the lives of his people.
COULD YOU EXPLAIN YOUR ROLE DURING THE PERIOD YOU SERVED AS PROJECT DIRECTOR FOR THE DUALIZATION OF OLD LAGOS/ASABA ROAD?
As far as the issue of the Old Lagos/Asaba road is concerned, I will say that I was just a Project Director. My role was to report to the appropriate and higher authorities. I had no access to funds and was not the one who hired the contractor, Hi-Tech.
AS A LADY, HOW ARE YOU HANDLING MALE POLITICIANS?
It has been the grace of God as I said earlier. God brought me to complement the effort of men in the development of Ika south. I will do better if I am given the opportunity to administer Ika South.
HOW IS YOUR ORINI ONYENMA GROUP DOING AT THE MOMENT?
Fine, but don’t narrow my leadership capacity to Orini Onyema alone. Whether people like it or not I am one of the PDP leaders in Ika South Local Government. I have played my parts in the development. I want the mandate of our people for me to serve them. I want to serve them better; hence, they should send me as the right person to be their next Council Chairman.
OWING TO THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CRUNCH IN THE COUNTRY, IT SEEMS COUNCILS ARE NO MORE LUCRATIVE. IF YOU ARE AWARE OF THE DEVELOPMENT, WHY ARE YOU STILL VYING FOR THE COUNCIL CHAIRMANSHIP OFFICE?
I want to thank God for one thing that even in the land of famine, God made his people to prosper. I am not going to the council to make money but to make myself available for God to use me. I carry the Grace that the day I will step into the council as Chairman, the story of the council will change. If there is no money before, the God that made a way where there seemed to be no way will provide the money to run the local government. Every day God gives me ideas on how to effectively run the council.
CAN YOU MENTION THE IDEAS?
Not now but, at the appropriate time I will make these ideas public
CURRENTLY, WE HAVE MORE THAN TEN PERSONS JOSTLING TO TAKE OVER FROM THE INCUMBENT CHAIRMAN, HON. FRED OFUNME, SO HOW SURE ARE YOU OF GETTING THE PDP TICKET?
I believe in God, I have so much trust in Him, I am very confident that He will give me victory at the end of the day. He that power belongs to will do it for me.
WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE GOVERNOR IFEANYI OKOWA’S SMART AGENDA FOR DELTANS?
First of all I want to use an Ika adage (nkpodu oma nma ojor njor olu elu okowa). It is very good that we are having our fair share by having a Delta northerner as the Executive Governor of Delta state. The Okowa that I know is a tested and trusted political leader. He is a seasoned administrator, prudent and a good manager of resources. I am very confident of his leadership abilities and he will make Delta proud. He will complete his eight years in office to the glory of God.
WHAT LED TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF YOUR PRAYER GROUP, VICTORIOUS PRAYER WOMEN NETWORK?
Victorious Prayer Women Network is a vision given by God to a group of women who have passion for the Orpans and the widows. We started in 2006 and today by the special grace of God, we have our Children at the University, Secondary and primary schools. We have more than 200 orphans at the primary schools. We also have graduates. We provide them with notebooks, school bags and sandals. We change the orphans under our care every year except last year because of the economic challenges in the country, we intend building a hostel for them in Agbor.
WHAT IS YOUR PERCEPTION OF POLITICS?
Politics is an avenue to serve. My being in politics is a calling for me to serve God and our people. The year I gave my life to Jesus Christ, 1998 was the year; I was invited home to contest for the councillorship seat in my ward (Ward 10)
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR COMMUNITY?
I have contributed a lot by God’s grace. Apart from helping many of my people to get government employment, I have also attracted laudable projects to the primary schools in my community. I am still committed to helping my people.
DO YOU HAVE AWARDS?
I have awards even though I don’t attach too much importance to it.
WHAT IS YOUR DRIVING FORCE?
Passion, I am called to serve, not only does serving humanity give me joy, it also brings glory to God.
DESPITE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN POLITICS, YOU APPEAR HUMBLE, WHY?
I am humble because we are destiny partners. I believe so much in God. I am not an accident in Ika South. I was planned and programmed by God for an assignment which I am convinced He will give me the grace to accomplish.
DO YOU WORK ALL THE TIME?
No, in my leisure times, I praise and worship God. Second Chronicles 13:5 is my favourite. I discuss with my children.
YOU APPEAR LIKE A VERY YOUNG LADY DESPITE YOUR AGE, WHAT IS THE SECRET?
Laughter…, how old is God? He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I am a resemblance of my Father in heaven. I don’t hold grudges or keep malice with anybody. I don’t want my past to tie me down.
DO YOU HAVE ROLE MODELS?
I want to remain under God’s standard. I want to grow along the line of God.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ABOUT LIFE?
Live and let’s live. God is watching us in whatever we do here on earth.
YOUR LIKES AND DISLIKES?
I hate lies. Don’t lie to me, be straight forward. I love truth and honesty.
IF YOU ARE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE ALL OVER AGAIN, WHAT WRONGS WOULD YOU LOVE TO CORRECT?
I would love to correct the areas where I went wrong. I thank God for all his mercies and care for me and my family.
ANY REGRET IN LIFE?
No regret at all
WOULD YOU LOVE ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN TO BE A POLITICIAN?
Laughter, I have only male children, three boys, if any of them ventures into partisan politics fine, I will not object to it.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST AND WORST MOMENTS IN LIFE?
The moments I disobeyed God were my worst moments. My best moment was the day I gave my life fully to Jesus Christ.
ARE THERE PEOPLE YOU WOULD LOVE TO APPRECIATE USING THIS OPPORTUNITY?
I want to use this opportunity to thank all those who have been behind me even in my darkest hours in life.
ARE YOU A MEMBER OF ANY IKA GROUP?
I am a member of Onu Ika Nigeria. I thank Diokpa Daniel Usifoh for the great feat in the unveiling of Ika Dictionary.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE IKA FOOD?
Ujuju and Akpu spiced up with bush meat and smoked fish.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO IKA SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT?
My dear people of Ika South should hold on to God for everything. I, Hon.(Mrs) Evangelist Cordilia Anyangwu appeal to them to give their mandate to me in the next council chairmanship election, so that together we will build a better and virile local government.