By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
SENATOR Joy Emodi excites a joyful enthusiasm to nearly all that come her way. Her time in the Senate between 2005 and 2010 was characterized by an unusual activism in the course of those she identified as the poor, widows and the needy. Dr. (Mrs.) Emodi’s testimonial of service was rewarded with several commendations including a doctorate from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
In this online interview, Mrs. Emodi articulates reasons for her Senate bid, enumerates her achievements and asserts why she is the better choice for Anambra North. Excerpts:
What is your motivation for contesting the senate?
I have always had the desire to touch the lives of people in a positive way. To help the poor widows, the vulnerable children, the misdirected and uneducated youths and so on to better their lives and become useful to themselves, their families and the society. That has always been a paramount desire of mine and this is the major factor that motivated and made me to go into politics in the first place.
So this is my major motivation for joining politics and for contesting election into the Senate. I want to use my position as a Senator, if I am elected, to touch the lives of the generality of Nigerians and particularly my constituents in Anambra North Senatorial Zone and bring joy to where there has been sorrow and stress. Service to Anambra North is a joyful thing for me.
Have you identified the needs of your people and how do you hope to meet them?
My Constituency is just a microcosm of our dear country Nigeria so the needs of my good people of Anambra North Senatorial Zone are not really different from the needs of people from the other parts of the State and the Country. They need the basic amenities and infrastructure such as good roads, electricity, clean and safe sources of water, hospitals, good schools and so on that make life better and easier.
The poor farmers in the villages need improved varieties of crops and other farm inputs such as fertilizer to improve crop production. The poor widows and youths need a little financial support to start off a small business or to learn a trade/skill through which she/he could earn a living. They need well equipped hospitals and Primary Health Centers manned by equally well-trained personnel to attend to them when they are sick. The educated youths need employment and so on and so forth.
The basic responsibility of the Legislature is to make laws for the good governance of the country and to give legal backing to policies of the Executive Arm of Government. However, due to the peculiarities of our country, legislators have had to dabble into the provision of basic amenities and infrastructure to their people through the Constituency Project Initiative.
So if I am elected to the Senate, my major responsibility will be to initiate bills and motions that will seek to change and influence government policies to ensure that the needs of my Constituents in particular and Nigerians in general are met.
The foregoing notwithstanding, there are certain needs that are paramount for my constituents. These include: The Construction of the second Bridge over the River Niger. This is a project that is very dear to the hearts of not only my constituents but the entire people of the South-East. I had championed the effort to ensure that the Federal Government awarded the contract for the bridge while I was in the Senate and we made some progress in the direction. If I return to the Senate, I am going to double my effort to ensure that the contract takes off.
The Federal Highway connecting Anambra to Kogi State through Anambra West LGA is one project I pursued vigorously during my stay in the Senate an I am happy to say that this project has taken off and if I am re-elected to the Senate, I would work hard to ensure that this very important road which when completed will reduce the time for travel from Anambra to Abuja by about two and half hours is completed. Another key project which I fought for during my stay in the Senate is the rehabilitation and completion of the Onitsha Sea Port.
This project is ongoing now and if I am re-elected, I would work to see that it is completed, equipped and made operational. This is because this Sea Port will ameliorate the suffering of traders in Onitsha and other parts of Anambra State who suffer heavy losses due to the destruction of their goods in road accidents which occur daily as they are conveying their goods from Lagos on road.
A major occupation of my constituents is farming, so I will work to ensure that the River Basin Development Authorities in my zone is made more effective to ensure all-year-round farming. Effort would also be made to ensure the timely provision of Fertilizer, and improved/disease resistant varieties of seeds and crops in order to boost food production. The agricultural sector is one sector that can also help to tackle the problem of unemployment if it is made attractive.
I will endeavor to attract more Constituency Projects and ensure that they are evenly distributed throughout the length and breadth of the Constituency in accordance with the needs of the people.
Why should your constituents vote for you and not your rivals?
I urge my constituents to vote for me and not my rivals because I am convinced that I am better equipped to give them the adequate representation they need at this point in time. I have the requisite experience, national reach and clout to be their voice in the Senate and to protect their interest and attract the projects that they need. I have been there before and I know how the Senate works.
When I was there, they know how well I represented them and how I spoke up on various issues affecting their lives. They have also had other Senators before and after me and I think that any objective assessment of our performance will show that I fared better than everyone else in giving them good representation in the short while I stayed there.
All the other contestants are people who at one time or the other have held public office at both the State and National level. Others have been in the private sector. I urge the electorates to compare my antecedents and pedigree with that of the other candidates. I am sure that any fair assessment will show that I am the candidate to beat in the election and I know that my people will make the right choice by voting me on Saturday.
What are your last words?
I urge my constituents to disregard the frivolous text messages being circulated by my opponents alleging that I have withdrawn from the contest. I am still contesting for election to the Senate as the Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial Zone on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and I plead with them to come out en masse to cast their votes for me come Saturday 9th April, 2011.