It is election campaign season and there’s a proliferation of sponsored articles by contesting politicians seeking to sway the public on their electability.
The pattern is such that as we approach 2019, you will come across more often, articles extolling politicians for having such attributes as a “solid credential”, “experience”, “contacts”, and my favorite, “political sagacity”, etc.
There’s no doubt that these attributes, and more, are needed to win elections and also to govern. But, what is politics without governance, and of what use is governance if it does not improve the lives of those being governed?
Let me put it this way: a failed politician is someone with a solid credential, experience, the contacts and political sagacity to win an election, but when it comes time to govern, has no impact on those he’s elected to serve.
We are witnesses to the pretense pro-government supporters’ show to politicians and advisers of presidents and governors. In my state Abia, when you have the privilege of proximity to the government, you’re referred to as “Onye Ishi”; a phrase translated to mean “Leader”, or personalized as “My leader”.
In all of this, what I find amusing is how many “leaders” a state, and in extension Nigeria has, yet the entire country remains underdeveloped. There are many “big men” in Nigeria whose ‘bigness’ are of no use to their communities.
Recently, Onyebuchi Ememanka, analyzing the likely contestants for the 2019 Abia South Senatorial seat, in an article he titled “In Abia South, it will be a Titanic Battle for the Senate Seat”, described them in the usual fancy words as having “solid credentials”, “experience”, and the “contacts” to win election.
The headline gives you the impression that with such “connected” politicians, Abia South should be developed. But, this is not the case. The sad reality is that there is a lack of basic amenities in the constituencies of these “heavyweights”; including the current serving Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Can anyone explain to me the sense in a politician being connected to the corridor of power, but cannot influence development to his community? These “political juggernauts”, with all their contacts combined will still drive in the best of cars on impassable roads. Tell me, what manner of “big man” is that?
Ememanka believes that each of the aspirants “will do well in the red chambers if elected”, except that concerning the aspirants contesting under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he does not list any achievement that qualify them for the seat, order than the already flowery words I referenced above.
Even the most popular of them, Abaribe, can only boast of organizing an annual Made in Aba fair in Abuja, and standing surety for the now missing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
For the 11 years he’s been a Senator, with his office overseeing 2.2 billion naira for constituency funds alone, and 1.8 billion naira as running cost for his office, these are all his achievements.
I cannot speak for the remaining PDP politicians, because the truth is there’s nothing worthwhile to say about them; except that they’ve once held offices in the state. I can only speak for Mr. Chinedu Onyeizu; not just because I know him but more importantly because he has a track record of selfless acts that qualify him as a good representative of people, and a knack for solving problems.
There is one instance during his NYSC in Bayelsa, where his empathy for the less privileged led to a humanitarian work that helped restore the sight of over 67 blind Bayelsans. Normally, NYSC members before him would take the easier path to do projects that didn’t require much effort, but, Onyeizu spent his meager allowance to give sight to people with no means of repaying him.
Back to Abaribe! When his touted achievement is juxtaposed to the allocation that has passed through his office for 11 years, anyone will see that he’s done more representing himself than the people of Abia South.
I think it’s time for someone selfless and vibrant to represent the good people of Abia South. People say that Onyeizu is qualified but disadvantaged because of the party he’s chosen to contest on, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Personally I am not a fan of the APC at the federal level, but if you understand that political parties are nothing but vehicles to move a people from an underdeveloped to a developed state, contesting under the APC will not be seen as a disadvantage.
Independent minded, Onyeizu knows that his first responsibility as a Senator is to his constituent. There are politicians in the APC that have taken sides with their constituent against the federal government. An example is Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State. Besides, of what benefit has Abaribe, under the PDP, been to the people of Abia South?
During one of our many conversations, Onyeizu said to me: “there is no greater achievement than to give back to an Aba that made me what I am today. Aba has given me so much and it is only proper that I give back.”
I am hopeful that next year, voters in Abia South will look past political party and elect someone genuinely interested in their progress, Mr. Chinedu Onyeizu.