THE proverbial tale of the Tortoise who went to his in-law’s house to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage, but got carried away by the food offered, while a more serious person came and took the lady away is quite popular.
This tale applies to the situation in which the people of Anambra North Senatorial district have found themselves since 2011 when they elected Senator Margery Okadigbo to represent them in the Senate.
Since then, four years ago, they have not heard wim! from the Senator. Okadigbo has not initiated any bill that would address any problem of the Anambra people or used her influence as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attract any Federal project to the area rather she has been enjoying the goodies of senators in Abuja while her people gnash their teeth in suffering in the villages. Anambra North is made up of seven local government councils including Oyi and Anyamelum, Ogbaru, Onitsha South and West, Anambra West and East.
Now the people have said, enough is enough’ nbanu They want strong, dedicated and purposeful representation in the Nigerian Senate .The leaders of the people have found a worthy voice in Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, who for a long time, they and their people have been mounting pressure on to stand election to go and represent them in the Senate. Oduah’s catalogue of achievements as Federal minister of Aviation stand her out as a stellar performer. Check out her massive revolutionary remodeling and refurbishment of 22 Federal airports and the ongoing building of four new international airports. Which Aviation minister has done that in the past 40 years? Who gave the Igbos their first international airport at Enugu after over 50 years of Nigerian independence? Princess Oduah.
The antics of Senator Okadigbo are rather funny. She even abandoned the PDP in Anambra North area on whose platform she became senator. The party had no befitting office or functional vehicle. there was no party meeting and she never called one. Is Margery saying that it was the court that voted for her even though she got there by court judgment? Oduah has changed all that.
But now, we must ask the question: what have the good people of Anambra North comprising seven local governments gained from four years of Mrs Okadigbo representing them at the Senate? The answer is: Nothing!
Yet there are a legion of burning issues and knotty problems that have been affecting ‘Anambrarians’ for so long that need urgent attention by the Federal government of Nigeria. These include increased federal development projects in Anambra, effective tackling of gully erosion, more jobs for Anambra youth, more technical schools and colleges, good roads, Federal Medical Centre, among others.
We all know that Princess Stella adaeze Oduah is a stellar performer. While many are waffling over the problem ,she takes her time to study it, analyses it unsentimentally and come up with innovative solutions. And then, she boldly makes things happen.
Since the former Aviation minister bowed to pressure to be their voice in the Nigerian Senate many communities and stakeholder groups have been showing their solidarity and support for Oduah..
Last week, Members of Omambala Progressives Forum, OPF, a socio-political movement from Anambra North Senatorial Zone paid a solidarity visit to Oduah.The OPF members said that the recent decision of Princess Oduah to pick a nomination form and contest the 2015 senatorial election in the Anambra North, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is a step in the right direction.
Leader of the forum, Hon. Osy Chinwuba who led the OPF delegation to Oduah’s country home, at Akili Ozizor in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, commended her for hearkening to the voice of Ndi Anambra North to contest the election, pledging their unflinching support to ensure her victory at both the party primaries and the general election.
According to Chinwuba who is a former chairman of Anambra East LG,and member of the Anambra House of Assembly, the Ogbaru Federal constituency which Oduah hails from is the only one among the four federal constituencies in the area that has not produced a senator.
The situation was the same at Onistha, the famous centre of Igbo culture and commerce, when leaders of the Onitsha community threw their weight fully in support of the decision by Princess Stella Oduah to vie for the Anambra North Senatorial seat on the platform of PDP.
At a stakeholder’s meeting convened at the Knights of St. Mulumba Retreat Center, Onitsha, the Obi in Council, the Agbalanzes, the Odu women society, the Ikporo Onitsha and the President General of Onitsha town union home and abroad were unanimous in arriving at a decision that Oduah is not only eminently qualified to be the voice of the people in the National Assembly but that they will support her all the way to ensure that she clinches the seat during the election.
The representative of Obi in Council, the Akpeh Olodi, Chulo Asika while offering the kolanut prayers asked God to bless all and most importantly to bless and grant the aspiration of Princess Oduah for whom they have gathered.
Chairman of the Princess Stella Oduah Campaign Organization and former two time Member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Okwudili Ojiba Uzoka said at the occasion: If you see Adaeze Oduah doing anything noble, it shouldn’t surprise you because she is only following the footsteps of her parents. Her father, the late Igwe Dennis Oduah in the early 70’s set up an endowment fund in the name of Zik at the University of Nigeria Nsukka for the training of engineering students. Her mother, Josephine Oduah also set up another fund for the training of young girls in school at that time when many young girls were literarily sold into marriage.Princess Stella is following their footsteps.” Continuing Uzoka said:“ We cannot forget in a hurry her foot prints in the aviation sector. For the first time in the history of the nation, Ndigbo now have an international airport in perpetuity
The Campaign Director General,who is a former PDP Chairman in the state, Chief Pandola Okwuosa noted that Princess Oduah is vying for the Senate because it is only the brave ones like her that can struggle for the benefit of the people during the allocation of resources by the Federal Government.
Okwuosa also noted that Oduah was not the first Aviation Minister of Igbo extraction but she was the first to remember the sufferings of the people while at the helm of affairs.
Former PDP Governorship aspirant in the state, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu,who is an Oduah supporter appealed to Onitsha people that this is the time to forget the animosities of the past so that we can get our own share from the federation.”There are Senators and there are Senators and that is why we require the best foot to step forward,” he said.
Obiogbolu restated the fact that all other areas in Anambra North have produced a senator except Ogbaru where Oduah hails from. Said he:” In the four political blocs in the seven local governments in Anambra North, Oyi and Anyamelum have produced Chuba and Margery Okadigbo, Anambra West and East have produced Emma Anosike and Alphonsus Igbeke while Onitsha South and North has produced Joy Emordi leaving Ogbaru with zero.
Adding:” We have seen a capable hand in Ogbaru in the person of Oduah and we need to support her fully” Obiogbolu said.
Therefore, it is crystal clear that Oduah enjoys the support of the leaders of key communities and stakeholder groups in Anambra North.
In response, Princess Oduah thanked the Onitsha people for their support. Then the goodies came. Oduah pledged to build a befitting town hall for the people among other development projects after only just learning that the great Onitsha city does not have a befitting town Hall!.
Said Princess Oduah:“Part of my promise when I get to the Senate is encapsulated in making sure that Anambra becomes a fully gazetted oil producing state. I will also attract Federal government hospitals in conjunction with the state government. The harnessing of our nature endowed potentials will be a priority by making Onitsha a real operational business port where people cannot suffer to clear their goods anymore. Onitsha must be recognized, rebuilt and upgraded to that modern city. The accruing benefits of true representation will translate to infrastructure rebuilding and provisions” Oduah stated.
Those who know the former Aviation minister closely know that she doesn’t make promises lightly and that she has the strength of character and determination to make these promises come to light. Her brilliance and creativity in finding solutions to some of our tough national problems have been well acknowledged in the Aviation sector where in only three years she transformed the entire industry, putting it on a phenomenal growth path.
By Charles Nwachukwu