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The Woman in the arena – Dr. Mrs Chidi Omeogu-Ogbuta

The existence of female Guber candidacy in Nigeria is sparse. Some reasons can be adduced for this, first, because the money politics played in the Nigeria climate is usually high that most females can’t match their male counterparts in election campaign expenditure.

Secondly, because the violent nature of Nigeria politics scares women from participating, and thirdly, is the perception problem which is the terrible notion of many people who see politics as only the affairs of men. But irrespective of these three daunting challenges, there are few women who jump into the fray and slug it out with men.

Which brings me to AAC Governorship Candidate Imo State—Dr. Mrs Chidi Omeogu Ogbuta, the first and sole female governorship candidate in IMO State out of 71 candidates, which arguably represent the highest number of candidates for a Guber post in Africa and even in the world. She’s a fighter per excellence and has stirred the political climate of IMO State such that those who think is “abnormal” for a woman to be a governor is rethinking such perception.

Suffice it to say that she suffered a lot from all directions. The Zone 9 Division Umuahia denied her security because she refused to offer a bribe and thusly used that as a means to stop her campaign while the male candidates have bevy of SPU policemen who cause traffic with their retinue of aides.

When the male politicians are busy hiring crowds and setting up cash for vote buying, she’s busy crisscrossing the communities in IMO in caravan like kind of campaign she dubbed “campaign of lovely development”.

Chidi started her campaign in an untraditional manner at Relief Market in Owerri, she clearly noted that her candidacy and God willing her victory will be the right movement in the progressive journey towards redeeming Imolites and beating back the Agenda of the cabals who’ve continually looted our collective resources.

This reveals the basic difference between Chidi and the cabals. The cabals go on to build power to fulfill their desires, to hold and wield the power for personal purposes. They want power as an end in itself. On the contrary Her excellency finds her goal in creation of power for others to use and taking back power from the cabals to attack Imolites problems because for her, Imolites lives matter.

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When quizzed while she stops at Market or junctions, shops, and working places campaigning when she could easily have a rally and save herself the stress, she revealed that, “My caravan like kind of campaign is the best way to get my message down to the good people of Imo State who the cabals have constantly shortchanged. When I started people were like “What’s she doing who’s going to listen to her but I tell you earnestly, many cabals unsuccessfully tried to copy my tactics. The good people of Imo State showed me great love on the Campaign trail I but the cabals and their buying of votes stopped them from replicating it on the polls.”

Early on, she would lament about the toxic way Nigeria politics is being played and why people would openly demand money from her to vote. This resulted in her speech titled a word to voters where she said that “I don’t want to be governor if what it entails is buying votes so as to go there to recuperate the money at the expense of those I’m supposed to serve.

Some people have told me that I need at least N300 million (equivalent of $840,000) to be able to win Governorship election in Nigeria. I ask them for what and they said for settling of thugs, buying over voters, etc. I said, that’s not gonna happen. I’m going to serve and the citizens will be the ones to want me to serve them and not me buying them over to serve them.”

In the days and weeks following after her campaign flag off, she has toured round more than 250 communities in IMO State issuing out her policies to Imolites and denouncing the cabals and the disastrous impact of the darkest valleys of salary denials and deserts of joblessness and business demolitions of Imolites.

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Earlier this month, she visited IMO State University Teaching Hospital Orlu and saw how patients even one year old kids are being held hostage due to non payment of their hospital bills after discharge and how medical students stay longer than necessary in school between 9-10years for a 6 years course because of loss of accreditation and incessant strikes.

She found a striking similarity in this with her “Campaign for Healthy Nigeria” which took her to the poorest neighborhood in Imo State and how Imolites are crying for equity. This birthed her policy suggestion letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan—an eloquent call for empathy filled solutions to Nigeria medical problems but she’s largely ignored by the administration.

Chidi’s candidacy in the just concluded election is much more than representation of women in Politics. She demonstrated an unyielding resolve to surgically fix IMO State and move her to the majestic heights of excellence in all directions. Though she’s not a traditional politician, what worries her most is how various policies enacted by politicians affects literally all sectors of the society.

In conversations with people on the campaign trail she’s insisted that the problem with Nigeria election is not about manifesto presentation but what can the electorates do to elect the right candidate? She noted consistently that her problem is not reading out beautiful manifesto for clap and cheers but how can we eliminate provision of basics from campaign pledges every election cycle.

When people in Nigeria uses words like, structure, organizing, mobilizing, meeting and facilitating in politics; they are all synonyms for money. But when Chidi came, she asked “why do we do things this way?” and she receives answers like “That how things are done here”. She said heck no! She changed the question to be: Is money really the best way to mobilize” Is money the best way to facilitate? Is money the best way to organize? There’s nothing set on stone and we’ve to stop mindlessly operating out of this useless habit.

Chidi’s campaign has proven capable of redeeming Imolites from their problems and going through her timeline on Facebook: Chidi Omeogu-Ogbuta.

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I’m inspired that she has done as Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech, which lionizes “the one whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly” compared with the critic who sits on the sidelines.

Truly As Robert Kennedy many years ago said, ‘Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.’

Thank you Dr. Mrs Chidi Omeogu-Ogbuta for running the best campaign in 2019 election.

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