By Romanus Okoye
United States-based public affairs analyst, and House of Representatives aspirant, Jideofor Okekenweje, has called on the people of Anambra State to consider the character and integrity of an individual candidate rather than their party in making a choice of who occupies the Agu Awka Government House.
He said the call became imperative because there are no differences among the contending political parties apart from their names.
He noted that the ease with which politicians defect from one party to the other without any cogent reason lends credence to their level of selfishness, hence the need for the people to vote only candidates with proven integrity, instead of political party.
“My point is that we should talk less about a political party and focus more on individual capabilities. In Nigeria, political parties do not have clearly defined ideologies. If they do, they are not different from one another. This is why one person can be in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the morning, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the afternoon and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the evening. In the US where I live, such a thing can’t happen. If you are a republican or a democrat, you remain so in word and spirit.
Okekenweje who aspires for the House of Representatives seat in 2023 said the underdevelopment of Anambra West Local Government is one of his motivations.
“For a very long time, my people had wanted me to represent them. It is not about personal ambition, but a call to service. However, we are still talking and consulting. Anambra West must be one of the most neglected local governments in Nigeria. The only serious government project since the creation of the local government is the road that Mr. Peter Obi constructed as governor from Umueze Anam to Mmiata. The road was planned to reach Nzam but the post-Obi government, for more than six years, left the project in utter neglect. The Federal Government started constructing another road from Umueze Anam to Oroma, Nzam, and Abaji in Kogi State, but it was abandoned after about a kilometer of asphalted road was done. The local government headquarters at Nzam also remains uncompleted, abandoned and overgrown by grass.
There is hardly any resident doctor in the whole of Anambra West. Obi donated a hospital at Mmiata to Immaculate Heart Sisters, but their work hardly speaks of government presence. There are health centres in some of the towns but they are all very rudimentary, poorly equipped and poorly staffed if not abandoned, and were mostly built long before the current government.
“There is no standard public school in Anambra West. Most of the elementary schools have no more than five teachers for all the levels. The few public secondary schools at Oroma, UmuezeAnam, and Igbedor are in sorry states and almost completely dependent on the National Youth Service Corps teachers who provide little teaching services in those schools. There is no reliable electricity in any of the towns in Anambra West. The ramshackle power connection in a few communities is due wholly to community efforts. In fact, there is hardly any single significant government project anywhere in the LGA. As we move to the 2021 election Ndi Anambra West must take our destiny in our hands. We need to unite and paddle our own boat.”
He said that even people from the area occupy several appointive positions, like assistants or special assistants to the governor, nothing much has been achieved.