BY UCHE OKOSI
“We have looked at all the people contesting the election for the Senate and discovered that you are the best material that can represent Anambra North well. We know that experience counts in the business of lawmaking and Anambra North cannot afford to send a learner to the Upper chambers as that is where one has to have the right contacts to be able to attract amenities to his or her senatorial zone”
-Mr. Fabian Onyeije, union leader, Okpoko
I CALLED the above quote from the Vanguard politics feature of March 16, 2011 entitled “Anambra North Senate Contest- Emodi’s Joyful Mosquito Bites” filed by Vincent Ujumadu and Anayo Okoli because it sums the general mood in our senatorial zone. And even though the title of this article is usually associated with a brand, it nevertheless succinctly describes the Senator Joy Emodi factor in the milieu of the Anambra North Senatorial contest.
Several factors put Emodi ahead of others. One, even if it sounds strange, was the puzzling ouster of the cerebral lawmaker from the Senate in April 2010 which multiplied her goodwill and won her a lot of sympathy amongst the populace because as far as we are concerned, her ouster was a clear assault on our majority will as expressed through the ballot box. But beyond sympathy, the absence of Senator Emodi from the Senate has strengthened our faith in her because it has proven beyond doubts that effective representation at the Senate is not a child’s play.
Certainly not the sort of dance steps one does carrying snuff in your palms. The Senate is an enclave where the ideals, aspirations and needs of 109 senatorial districts compete for attention. How much the needs and expectations of a constituency is met naturally depends on the commitment, selflessness, team spirit, robustness, intellect, courage, charisma, outspokenness, doggedness, pedigree, and the integrity of their lawmaker. He or she will also have to command not just the respect of other Senators, but those of various executive agencies.
Emodi had these qualities in surplus and it impacted us greatly until her rude ouster. That was exactly what Mr. Onyeije trying to pass across at that campaign.
Therefore, Adadioramma has the advantage of antecedents over other contenders for the seat. While others would be feeding the electorate with the usual garbage of promises, her achievements are doing the talking for her. It is more of a payback time for her. That was what played out during her mosquito campaign or door-to-door campaign in the densely populated Okpoko area as captured by that Vanguard report.
Okpoko is a neglected urban slum which exists adjacent the highbrow Awada district, divided only by the Onitsha-Owerri Road. They are fed up with the promises of politicians. Anyone conversant with the political terrain of Anambra knows Joy could not have ventured into Okpoko area if she had failed them as a Senator. They would have simply mobbed her.
Instead, the Vanguard report said the President-General of the Okpoko community reeled out Emodi’s efforts in the area such as the equipment of Primary Healthcare Centres, renovation of so many primary schools, and her strong case to the Federal Government for the dredging of the Sacamori canal in Okpoko and the construction of the second Niger Bridge.
He also reminded them how her doggedness led to the takeover of the construction of the perennially decrepit Onitsha-Atani-Osomala-Ogwu Ikpele road by the federal government. Let every politician know that there is always a payback time!
However, the Okpoko and indeed Ogbaru LGA testimonies is a fringe of the whole picture in our Senatorial District. Apart from attracting infrastructural developments in the areas of electrification, healthcare, education, agriculture, and creating employments for Anambrarians in the federal service, etc, she has continued to touch our lives in her personal capacity through her Foundation.
The Foundation’s scholarship scheme has made it possible for brilliant indigent students to realise their educational dreams. She has also equipped the youths and vulnerable women with entrepreneurial and vocational skills and supported them with take-off micro-credits.
Her Foundation has further promoted food security by organising farmers into cooperative societies and supporting them with micro credit facilities and farm inputs like fertilizer, herbicide, pesticides, etc. She is also the biblical Dorcas among the widows. Thus, even if she had opted out of active politics after her harsh experiences in the hands of the cabals and political undertakers of Anambra politics, the widows and less privileged would definitely have none of that. To them, she is a God-sent.
Indeed, Emodi has justified her previous mandates. Adadioramma has exalted transparent and regular consultation as the hallmarks of representative democracy.
She has always pitched her tent with the common people, making indelible difference all the way. But while we are all convinced that Emodi is our overwhelming choice, every voter in Anambra North must also brace up to defend our votes from the anti-democratic forces and predators who are hurt by Emodi’s people-centred political orientation. Eternal vigilance is always the price of liberty.
Mr. Okosi , a commentator on national issues, writes from Ogbaru, Anambra State.