Anambra State is of course not lacking in successful young men and women. All over the world, enterprising young men and women of Anambra State origin can be found in diverse professions making our country and state proud.
But why such success has not transcended into our government is another thing. As a youth, I am pressed to wonder whether this is because of the age of the men who have governed the state in recent times.
An observation would show that with the possible exception of Mr. Peter Obi and Senator Chris Ngige who became governors of the state at age 45 and 51 respectively, our other governors have come from retirement to govern the state.
It is also remarkable that the two men are among the most outstanding governors who have governed the state in recent times. So, I am just musing whether age now has to make a bearing in the governance of the state. The incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, now 60, was in retirement in America when he was brought to become governor. Never mind his claim that no one made him governor which is a warning to those who still support him that should he mistakenly win, he could say that they also did not support him!
The pathetic performance of Obiano in the three and a half years he has been in office could be inferred by some to be a function of age. However tempting that suggestion looks like, this writer would not believe so. It is my opinion that those who are bound to fail will fail. Those who want to succeed will succeed. After all, we have several successful men from out state making a success of their endeavours in their old ages. As the saying goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance. Obiano was plucked from retirement without much preparation and handed the governorship of the state, a development that has led Ndi Anambra to the sorry state that they are in now.
So, the failure of Obiano I would say is a factor that can only be narrowed down to his limited capacity.
Regardless of Obiano’s failures, the youths in Anambra have seen the emergence of Dr. Tony Nwoye as an opportunity to prove the capacity of the youth to deliver.
There are many reasons why youths from across the state are rushing in the direction of Nwoye.
The first we have seen is his sense of leadership. As a students union leader we saw him both at the University of Nigeria and as national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, lead with responsibility for which he was praised by all. Given that some students who have such opportunities use it to acquire money for themselves or sell out for financial gain, Nwoye was an exception. He stood up for students’ rights and fought the authorities to ensure that students got their dues.
Nwoye was no less forthright in fighting cultism among fellow students, a situation that saw him forming an unusual relationship with the same university authorities that he criticised on other issues. So is the leadership strength of Nwoye that he would go to whatever length to ensure the best interest of those he is leading.
Nwoye as a student was a man who showed good judgments given what a fellow medical student said of him.
Dr. Peter Ekwueme, an Enugu based medical doctor, who is presently the Secretary of the Enugu State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, in a testimony to the character of Nwoye, published in some newspapers after he won the All Progressives Congress, APC governorship ticket ,said: “I am referring to Dr. Tony Nwoye, a person I know so well right from our medical school days. I was a year his senior but served in the SUG House of Representatives of which Tony was the Speaker. He has always been hardworking and industrious while he invested his time, energy and resources in social crusading, civil and human rights activism and in fighting injustice. This ultimately endeared him to all who ever had any encounter with him.”
As a medical doctor and businessman, member of the House of Representatives and now as a governorship candidate, Nwoye is a man who does not show any hairs about his successes in life.
At 43, students and youths in Anambra are canvassing for Nwoye, not just because of what he did as a students union leader, but also on account of how he has used his office as a federal legislator to impact many lives within and outside his Anambra East/West Federal Constituency.
Today, many communities in Anambra East/West have access to pipe borne water not because of the efforts of the Obiano government, but through the facilitation of Nwoye.
It was the potential the youths and elders in Anambra East/West saw in Nwoye that they defied the entreaties of Obiano not to vote for Nwoye in the 2015 election and voted for him. By that, the people of Anambra East/West slapped Obiano with the bad reputation of perhaps being the only governor in Nigeria not to be able to have a member of his own party represent him in the House of Representatives.
The youths are not despising Obiano’s age. At 60, the governor should have shown more responsibility as an elder, but he has not, and that is why the youths in his Federal Constituency voted for Nwoye. The youths in other parts of the state are now set to follow the people of Anambra East/West by ensuring that a worthy person takes over their affairs as governor.
- Comrade Golden Iloh lives in Ihiala, Anambra State