By Clifford Ndujihe, Deputy Political Editor
‘I FEEL very bad whenever I see my people suffering. So, I am ready to stake all that I can boast of to enable the people of Anambra Central Senatorial District feel the impact of good governance in the state. Legislature remains the most critical branch of government by virtue of its relationship and close affinity with the people because they are elected directly by the people. So, it remains the soul of our democracy and because of its central importance, representative democracy or participatory representation cannot be separated from the core of our political processes.’’
With these words, Senator Annie Clement Okonkwo, outlined why he wants to return to the Senate to represent Anambra Central in June. He was in the Upper Chamber on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 2007 to 2011.
Now, after a prolonged battle following the confusion that trailed the outcome of the PDP National Assembly primary elections in Anambra State, he emerged as the party’s candidate.
He is going to face the likes of incumbent Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which is the ruling party in Anambra.
Okonkwo is mindful of the high electoral hurdle ahead. He confessed that Anambra is the toughest state to do politics in Nigeria, adding that the Anambra Central election will not be an easy contest for any of the major candidates, who he admitted are heavy weight politicians.
Extends olive branch to aggrieved PDP aspirants
To ensure that the PDP emerged victorious in the various state and federal elections next month, Okonkwo urged the aggrieved aspirants that participated in the PDP primary elections to sheathe their swords and support the candidates that made the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) final list.
“Our focus should shift on how to ensure PDP’s success in the coming general election because crisis in the party would affect the fortune of the party in the election,’’ he pleaded.
He also canvassed support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s reelection bid, saying: “President Jonathan has done marvellously well in all sectors as president and he deserves to be re-elected. The present administration had established about 12 new universities, increased power generation to over 4,400MW. In agriculture, infrastructure, the Jonathan-led administration has also performed excellently well.”
Okonkwo had his early education at School Road Primary School and Ngwa High School, all in Aba, Abia State. He also attended Government Secondary School, Owerri for his A levels and later University of Lagos where he obtained Diploma in Marketing and an Advanced Diploma in Commercial Law and Practice. He also did a specialist course at Harvard Business School and graduated in 1997.
While in the Senate between 2007 and 2011, Okonkwo said he pursued effective representation by considering and consulting his constituents first in all that he did. He created several forum through which the electorates could access him.
A successful businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Okonkwo ventured into business at a very tender age and ever since has not looked back. His business empire cuts across telecommunication, oil and gas, manufacturing, banking, export, import and real estate among others, providing jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
His philanthropic gestures and activities as a senator included tarring the major road leading to his Iruebenebe village in, Ojoto Obofia; established Agunechemba Foundation to empower youths with education and skills.
Others include getting the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology undertake a two-day oversight visit to Anambra State during which the committee asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Anambra erosion sites which led to review of ecological funding by the Ecological Fund Office.