Lessons from Nnewi political summit

Lessons from Nnewi political summit

The 2017 gubernatorial election has come and gone, the Nnewi political summit has served as a prelude to another governorship election come 2021.

Andrew Udeh

Nnewi was agog on August 2018 when notable leaders, opinion moulders and business men and women of the town met at Anaedo Hall to chart a new course for Nnewi politics. The summit, the first of its kind, attracted bigwigs like Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Governor Central Bank of Nigeria, Dame Virgy Etiaba, former Anambra State Governor, Chief Ajulu Uzochike, founder of Cutix Plc, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah chairman of Capital Oil and Gas, Engr. Emeka Nzewi of Adswitech Plc among others. The event was organized by Dr. Obi Nwosu, former Anambra State Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).

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The political summit was timely and necessary because of the large number of aspirants jostling for political positions in the state. About three senatorial aspirants, three House of Reps, and ten State assembly aspirants had emerged from Nnewi. That is why it has become imperative to call them to order. The summit was purpose-driven to create enabling peace, unity and progress for Nnewi people. Of course, the agenda of the gathering was to select the best contestants that would not only win elections but bring meaningful development to Nnewi town. The organizers are against the imposition of candidates for elective positions by a few people. There is a need to commence a new way the of choosing representatives based on quality, character, ability and integrity because any elected politician becomes the ambassador of Nnewi and a mirror through which other people view the town locally and beyond.

Apart from business exploits, Nnewi has a rich political history, which dated back to the 50s and 60s. The great progenitors of the town like Sir Louis Philip Odumegwu-Ojukwu, founding president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Dr. Akweke Nwafor-Orizu, first indigenous senate president, Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu of defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Eze Ndigbo, Chief Zacchaeus Obi, first republic politician, Mr. Francis Nwokedi, first Nigerian permanent secretary, still serve as reference points in today’s leadership discourse. There are other living legends – Dr. Dozie Ikedife, former president general of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Chu Okongwu, former Minister of Finance, Prof. ABC Nwosu, former Minister of Health, Major General Sam Momah, former Minister of Science and Technology and many others.

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It is, indeed, strange and thought-provoking that a town with such amazing patriots has never produced an elected governor of Anambra State since its creation in August 1991.

All efforts and attempts to clinch the position have been thwarted due to lack of unity of purpose or some other factors. Nnewi people may lay claim to be excelling in commerce and industry but the fact still remains that presently, when examined critically, she is not doing well in politics.

It is evident to note that political development is tied to the development of societies. The home truth is that there is great need for Nnewi people to realize that despite the individual exploits; there is still a missing link and a gaping hole which need to be filled for executive power to be achieved.

The recent political summit was a huge success. The major lesson from the forum is that Nnewi people can conveniently come together and discuss their political future without rancour. The peaceful atmosphere that heralded the event was an evidence of inbuilt native intelligence.

The occasion afforded all the aspirants ample opportunity to explain their manifestoes to Nnewi people. The audience was thrilled by their performance and special kudos to the organizers for their reasoning because it has never been so in the time past.

Nnewi has been a victim of bad representation. Most of them hardly perform when they assumed duties, thereby leaving the town neglected and abandoned. There is urgent need to ask political representatives questions on how they are performing in their various positions. The choice of who represents Nnewi should not be difficult to make because the people are one homogenous group with common language and are largely Christians.

The Summit has given a good platform for politics to be practiced without acrimony, hate speech and baseless propaganda that negatively affect the chance to pick the best contestants. For Nnewi to get it right, she must endeavour to engage her giants in commerce, industry and professions. This will guarantee that they get the best candidates for elective offices. It is now ripe to allow the best men and women to showcase their skills, to demonstrate the kind of quality representation and achievement in the field of politics equal to the world class quality attained by other people. A political mantra of “Nnewi First” will not be out of place as a charge for the leaders.

The Nnewi Summit is a wake-up call to plan, strategize and expand dragnets to all citizens home and abroad. Power is not given. Power is taken. It is feasible and achievable if the quest is based on honesty of purpose, natural justice, equity and good conscience. The people of Nnewi must come together for the overall interest of the town. They must stop individual approach to partisan politics, because it only leads to abysmal failure. They must not think of having a long time to plan.

Beyond the summit, it now behooves on Nnewi people to form a political think-tank towards improving on what Dr. Obi Nwosu-led committee did at Anaedo Town Hall. Let there be a committee of eminent scholars charged with responsibility of electing our sons and daughters in political offices, including the governorship of Anambra State. This is a noble task that should be supported by all and sundry. The 2017 gubernatorial election has come and gone, the Nnewi political summit has served as a prelude to another governorship election come 2021. And as expected, the executive power will automatically shift to the south. Nnewi people should not allow this golden opportunity to slip off their fingers.

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Udeh writes from Enugu

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