By EMMANUEL UZOR
Certainly, the euphoria of the last election is gradually evaporating and the reality that lies ahead is slowly coming to light. These realities for many people are anguish and pains, but to those that believed in the essence of hard work, it is a reality of joy and celebration. Now, the process of giving the people quality representation at the Senate is now the focus of Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, the senator-elect for Anambra central senatorial zone.
True to type as expected in a new dispensation the rumour mills are in full swing, with those who failed to plan and certainly planed to fail, coming up with all manners of accusations and sentiments concerning the outcome of the 28thMarch Presidential and National Assembly elections in Anambra state especially in Anambra central senatorial zone.
Anybody who is conversant with the politics of Anambra state since the return of democracy in 1999 will agree that Anambra central zone has been and still is the hottest zone in the state with the larger chunk of political gladiators coming from the zone. The zone which has seven local government areas has remained one of the interesting zones in the country.
The last National Assembly election however was no exception. The zone paraded three political heavyweights in the likes of Senator Chris Ngige, who is the current senator representing the zone and Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, the current member representing Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka federal constituency at the House of Representatives as well as the outgoing National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh.
Among all the major political parties that participated in the 28th March election, only the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP held a hotly contested primary election which threw Mrs. Ekwunife up as the best candidate to hold the ace for the election. The choice of Mrs. Ekwunife however became very apt in the face of obvious threats by other political parties to hold on to power as against the interest and aspirations of the people of the zone.
Other candidates including Senator Chris Ngige of APC emerged unopposed and in the case of the outgoing National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, there was a physical and systematic muscling out of aspirants from the zone not to dare aspire to contest for the senatorial election. Hence, he emerged unopposed and nobody even bought nomination or expression of interest forms.
Chief Victor Umeh however became an umpire in his own game, going into the election with bruises and curses from party faithful whose political fortune and future he traded for personal gains. These people he shortchanged however went home to gather their pieces together and vowed never to see the red cap man at the red chambers of the National Assembly.
In fact, one of the closest allies to Chief Umeh was quoted as vowing that over his dead body will he be alive to see Chief Victor Umeh become the senator representing Anambra central zone.
Apart from the internal wrangling and bruises Chief Umeh went into election with, the Ekwunife factor became very inevitable. It became a very big task for him to match Mrs. Ekwuife whose political sagacity spreads across the state. Having contested for Governorship elections in the whole state, it is very correct to say that she has the widest acceptability and her political philosophy equal to none.
Mrs. Ekwunife apart from her popularity never took anybody for granted. This was evident in her visits to the seven local government areas of Anaocha, Awka North, Awka South, Njikoka, Dunukofia, Idemili North an Idemili South council areas twice during the campaigns. She remained the only person seen everywhere in the streets, on the roads campaigning, convincing the people what she has done and what she will do if elected.
The people of the zone kept faith her and on the day of the election, it was a payback time for all the candidates as even before the election was over, it was even obvious that Mrs. Ekwunife had won. Among the market women, children and men at various beer palours, the popular verdicts of the people were that nobody can stop the hurricane Ekwunife in the election.
With apparent move and muscling out by the state government might against Ekwunife which included banning all market chairmen and leaders to stop Ekwunife from entering into their market for campaigns and even threats to the President Generals of Town Unions and their Igwes, Ekwunife still matched on through the bumpy traps and cruised to victory laving behind, crushed victim who now goes about crying like a baby.
After the declaration of Mrs. Ekwunife as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mrs. Ekwunife took time out of her busy schedule a she was already visiting the communities and wards on a thank you visit to address the inquisitive journalists who were not surprised with the outcome of the election.
One of the questions that were thrown to the Senator elicited a very definite answer when she said ‘I beat Umeh silly and he is crying like a baby” indeed, borrowing Mrs. Ekwunife’s word, it is very important to know that you cannot build something on nothing. Therefore, suffice to add that Chief Umeh and his ailing APGA never planned to win the election and they never won.
To come out now to begin to blackmail the whole people, accusing Mrs. Ekwunife who won the election clinically on free, fair and credible terms and INEC is nothing but an expression of frustration especially now that it is obvious that he has lost it all. Now, there will be no more APGA National Chairmanship and there will be no more BoT chairman of the party as well, there will be no more Governor Willie Obiano to run to, certainly, the bird has come home to roost.
Still, there are reasons to celebrate. The people of Anambra central senatorial zone are celebrating. Not just celebration for celebration sake but celebrating an uncommon audacity that turned out to be an audacity of hope, history and posterity in the building project of the zone. The author of new face of representative democracy Anambra Central zone is Mrs. Uche Ekwunife (Iyom).
Only few people were bequeathed with the opportunity of being part of progress in their societies. Certainly, Mrs. Ekwunife warmed her way into the hearts of the people of the zone, becoming the first and only female senator to be part of the history of the great Anambra Central senatorial zone hence her massive acceptance by the electorate demonstrated by their ballots on the 28thMarch Presidential and National Assembly elections.
One important records broken by the emergence of Mrs. Uche Ekwunife today is that Ndi Anambra central zone have now come to realize that in her they have a good foundation to build on and build we must, and continuously too.
While we have earned the right to enjoy the glory of the rare moment presented by the emergence of Ekwunife, the 2015 elections and the solemn celebration of her inauguration we need to realize that there is hope coming to the people from the quality representation by Mrs. Ekwunife.
It is also imperative to note that the job of further democratizing, consolidating democracy and making democracy work for the people through quality representation is not yet fully done by the successive persons that have represented the zone in the past. The great achievement that we sing and dance is the emergence of Mrs. Ekwunife.
Sensing anxiety and expectations in the faces of Ndi Anambra central zone as they stand in awe, watching their new hope, Mrs. Ekwunife stand to address the National Assembly and speak on behalf of her people for the first time as their Senator, there is serious joy in the political landscape of the state. The ancestors and indeed fathers of this great state are also not left out in the solemnity or the political rituals of the day.
There is still an almost equal chance of further progress. Mrs. Ekwunife, is the major beneficiary of an expanded democratic space and expression of people’s will and as such, she has a moral and historic responsibility to further deepen democracy in the zone and Nigeria at large by building a new zone where development will not be seen as an achievement of the person in power but as a right of the citizenry. Ends
EMMANUEL UZOR is the Special Assistant on Media to Mrs. Uche Ekwunife