BY VINCENT UJUMADU and Anayo Okoli
OKPOKO, the densely populated area of Ogbaru local government area in Anambra North senatorial zone stood still last week when the campaign train of Senator Joy Emodi touched ground.
It was the beginning of Mrs. Emodi’s “mosquito campaign”, a phrase she used to describe her current ward to ward and door to door campaign in the over twelve wards in Okpoko, a densely populated area of Ogbaru Council Area of the state.
Aspiring to return to the senate on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, she spent about nine hours in the area soliciting for their votes in the April 2011 general elections. The area is reputed to have the highest concentration of voters in any part of Anambra State and any politician who wins in that constituency is sure of making it.
Though it was not the first time the senator was touring the area, her latest outing appeared different because all the stakeholders in the area waited in their wards to receive her and to assure her of their unflinching loyalty in view of what she did for the area, both as a member of the constitutional conference and as senator for Anambra North before her second election to the Senate was nullified by the Court of Appeal.
The President-General of Okpoko community, Chief Titus Ezeonwuka had welcomed her with a commendation for equipping the Primary Healthcare Centres in the area and renovating primary schools as well as pressing on the Federal Government to dredge the Sacamori canal in the community.
On that day the various market groups trooped out beseeching her to come to their sections to address them. Though many of them had heard about her, her presence in the market that day was their first time of seeing her.
Indeed, the inhabitants of the area are remarkably mainly from other parts of the South East. They, however, say they would never forget her efforts during the Constitutional Conference to carve out a federal constituency for Ogbaru local government and a State constituency for Okpoko.
They also recalled during the mosquito campaign at the market her role in the federal government’s takeover of the strategic Onitsha- Atani – Osomala – Ogwu Ikpele road from the Anambra State government.
Equally memorable in the heart of those who came out on that day was Senator Emodi’s role in causing the Federal Government towards the realization of the second Niger Bridge.
While the solid infrastructural achievements of the State Government are appreciated by the population, her solid achievements in the Senate notably in drawing federal projects to the constituency were a solid bonus.
Emodi, who was elated at the encomiums showered on her by Okpoko community promised not to let them down if she goes back to the senate, adding that it was their encouragement that has spurred her to want to return to the National Assembly.
She said: “I would have chosen not to go back to the senate, but I have unfinished business that is very dear to our people. That issue is state creation which, if carried out, will make the South East zone to equal other zones. Because of the shortfall in the number of states in the South East, our revenue allocation and the number of local governments are also low which is why South East has the least number of senators and members of House of Representatives in the national assembly.
She said that although she attracted a number of projects to Anambra North when she was in the senate, there were still many things to be done and urged the people to vote for APGA to enable her work for the zone.
During the rallies, the various groups, including the drivers’ union, the barbers’ union, the commercial motorcycle union, among others, endorsed Emodi, saying they did so because of her excellent performance when she was in the senate.
Their spokesman, Mr. Fabian Onyeije said: “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.
According to him, the zone was still feeling her absence since her election was annulled by the Court of Appeal and assured her that they were mobilizing effectively to return her to the senate.