Something unusual happened in Imo State last week and it was both interesting and strange. It is strange for non initiates, that is. However, if you are discerning enough, you would not consider it odd that President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, during his campaign rally, told Imo people to “vote for whosoever you want; do not allow intra or inter-party affairs stop you from voting for the candidate of your choice.”
Therefore, apart from his quest for vote and electoral promises, that is the most relevant talk Mr. President has ever given at any soapbox since he started his reelection campaign. That he chose Imo State of all states to make that bold declaration is instructive.
Ordinarily, the president was expected to give a blanket endorsement for his party men in the All Progressives Congress, APC, but he is well aware that there are some candidates close to his heart that were frustrated out of the party but are now running on the platform of other parties. Yes, the president knows how political gangsterism of certain cliques bastardised Imo APC and caused great men and women with real electoral value to pick tickets of other political parties to realise their dreams. The much he could do to get those people that would add value to his government if he is eventually reelected is to give them tacit support because he would not want them to lose out in the election in the name of party politics.
Of course, there are some spin doctors touting the president’s name to deceive the electorate. That notwithstanding, the president, as a matter of fact, could be said to have subtly campaigned for the likes of Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, contender for Okigwe South Federal Constituency slot in the House of Representatives.
Nwajiuba, who sits on front row with Mr. President is running on the platform of Accord Party even though he remains the president’s man Friday. As it is, he is APC in spirit but Accord Party in body. That is why he is also campaigning hard for Mr. President and a grateful Buhari seems to have reciprocated.
The implication of Buhari’s unusual declaration is that those who gloated when Nwajiuba ‘left’ APC and ran away with the party’s ticket may have been too hasty in rejoicing. In fact, the washy victory has turned gravelly in their mouth and so, they are trouncing about in confusion like salted flagella.
Even before now, Imo people had decided that the elections in the state this time out would be personality based. Days are gone in Imo when party affiliations determined outcome of votes. Gone too are the days when inebriated godfathers decree who gets what or manipulated electoral polls. Thankfully, the president has endorsed the people’s new stance in Imo, thus making decision easier for the prevaricating few sitting on the fence.
And so, come February 16, Okigwe South would be trooping out en masse to cast their votes for Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, HCN. He deserves it and has really worked hard. His Victory Movement, as his campaign train is tagged, has traversed the nooks and crannies of the constituency, selling his candidature while his co-contestants are holed up in the past, clutching unto flaccid godfathers.
Here is an unpretentious man in whom his people are well pleased because he has done so much for them. He has empowered many youths, women and men across the entire constituency. Here is a doctorate degree holder in law and chairman of Federal Government’s intervention agency, Tertiary Education Trustfund, Tetfund, a position many of those rubbing shoulders with him would never contemplate toying with. Yet no sacrifice is beyond this patriotic son of the soil to salvage his people from vapid representation that has left the entire constituency prostrate, like careworn orphan.
Indeed, HCN places much premium on his appointment to head Tetfund and is grateful to Mr. President for that gracious appointment. That is why he plunged deep into the job as his evident accomplishments show. However, his desire to return the House where he gave unparalleled and creditable representation during his first outing in 1999 is born out of altruistic reasons to see that his constituency gets a worthy, respectable voice.
Moreover, HCN is also on a rescue mission to retrieve the right of Ehime Mbano from sticky fingers. Surely, it is the turn of his own side of the area to produce the representative in this dispensation but for the selfishness of a few.
The Victory Movement’s operose campaign also became eyewitness documentation of the constituency’s needs. It snaked through some of the most frightful, inaccessible roads and terrains, which further steeled HCN’s resolve to get back to the house and use his network of contacts and friends across the six geopolitical zones and at the highest level in the land to transform the area. Of course, the people believe him and so trooped out to accord him carnival like reception, even in the ancestral homestead of his opponents.
Some areas in Okigwe South are yet to be connected to public electricity supply or have access to potable water. Unfortunately, previous governments had awarded contracts for provision of these facilities but were fraudulently executed or abandoned after payments had been made. No doubt there are questions to answer by those purporting to have represented or representing the people, hence the urgency for change. A robust representation by Nwajiuba will get these contractors to vomit what they had swallowed. The same goes for Nsu Tiles, which the Okorocha government carted away without trace till date. That is why they are intent on checkmating Nwajiuba at all cost but the machinations and manipulations must fail.
We are at the threshold of history in Okigwe South. We must heed Buhari’s voice on the shape of things to come and vote massively for our son and brother, HCN, who is contesting on the platform of Accord Party, the number one party on the ballot paper.
Interestingly, by casting our vote for the number one, you would invariably be pushing HCN to the number one position in the House. Achieving that milestone will not only put Okigwe South in the limelight but will also open up the neglected area to development. There is none among the contestants across Igbo land that has the groundswell connection of HCN to achieve that feat.
It begins with us on February 16 and we cannot be flippant about it. It is not everything we can subject to sentiments. Posterity will not forget those who contribute to bring prosperity to Okigwe South and I urge everyone to be on the side of history by keying into the project. However, I recognise there are lovers of darkness, and lovers of light. Where would you love to be numbered? I wish you would choose light like most other constituents have.