ANAMBRA Central senatorial campaign got to a head, yesterday, when the former governor of the state and Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, candidate, Dr. Chris Ngige, and incumbent senator for the zone, Senator Annie Okonkwo, coincidentally met at Saint Kevin Catholic Church, Nimo, and campaigned against each other inside the church.
Earlier in the sermon, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Jonas Unegbu, had said the church was celebrating 100 years of the coming of the Catholic Church to Nimo community and described both Ngige and Okonkwo as men who had done well in their different areas of positions.
The priest also stated that leaders must be God fearing and made reference to the crises in the Arab world as fall out of leadership impasse.
But when Ngige and Okonkwo were called up for speeches, both senatorial candidates used the forum to undermine each other and win the support of the congregation by elaborating on their selling points. Senator Okonkwo fired the first shot at Ngige when he said that he (Okonkwo) would have love to vote for Ngige if he was campaigning for governorship, adding that Ngige should rather leave the Senate for him as somebody who had already been tested in the Senate.
But Ngige, in his usual witty way of being blunt, reminded Okonkwo that he also contested for governorship alongside himself, though in different political platform, last year. Ngige went further to describe Okonkwo as his brother from the same Idemilli South local government but added that his own community, Alor, was elder community to Okonkwo’s Ojoto “and if there are two meats in Idemili’s pot of soup, Alor will take first before Ojoto.”
Ngige reminded the congregation that at his first instance of contesting election in 2003, he actually wanted to go to the Senate but that God had a different plan of making him governor. “And when I became governor, some people said that I should bring the wealth of the state to share among few but I said no that I will give the masses their own share.”
Ngige faulted some legislators’ claim that only Executive Governors can provide roads, electricity or water, arguing that it is the legislators who approve fund for the governors to work.
“Therefore if as a lawmaker I approved money for provision of water or electricity in my constituency, I must make sure that that money is utilized for my people but what we have now is a situation where our lawmakers after approving money go to sleep. So I want to go to Abuja and tell the Anambra people that they can get their share through the national Assembly.”
Ngige stated that if there is stable power supply over 500 industries will be resuscitated in some states of the South east, which will in turn generated employment and eliminate crime in the zone.
Both Ngige and Okonkwo latter donated the sum of half a million each to the church for the completion of church’s building project.