We have seen great countries. We have seen their leaders. Great country is not built on the greed of its leaders but on their sacrifices for their people and their thoughtfulness for the future. Every man, they said, is guilty of the good he didn’t do. In his book entitled “All Hands Must Be on Deck” Ned Nwoko draws a parallel between governance and commitment to govern well. The book teaches national leadership responsibility in a democracy. The book strives to show Nigeria how it can develop her people through sincere cooperation within and without. His recommendations in the book remain apt; but perhaps Ned didn’t properly appraise how mentally disorganized our leaders are.
Edward Everett Hale, an American author and historian teased; “do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?” someone asked the chaplain. “No, I look at the senators and I pray for the country”. With the crop of senators we have in Nigeria, even some are now representing from prison yard, don’t you think we should pray for Nigeria ahead of 2023.
And Et Imperatrix Noctem, the matriarch of the underworld, once said “as soon as the positions of the senate became patrimonial they no longer served their purpose of serving the public interest. The existence of the patricians is an insult to the plebeians”. This assertion is a tacit indictment of the Nigerian Senators. It means our senators constitute a heavy problem to the ailing system which then gives oxygen to the looming national anxiety.
Human beings have to constantly look back as a means of ensuring the journey to the future is purposeful. The Anioma nation is busy repeating the poor side of history rather than clarifying it or even sieving out of it some value for political improvement. In a conference organized by Good Governance Network in June 2021, I brought to the fore the dangerous democratic hopelessness of Ndi Anioma. I did explain that since 2003 the Anioma people have not been represented in the National Assembly. I said so because representation is the overriding duty of a lawmaker. One thing makes representation possible: competitive democracy. Not endorsement. Not benefaction. Not an arrangement by which the Governor would use state apparatus to impose his choice.
We are always quick to condemn the brigandage that characterized the Anioma politics. We often condemn the poverty that has infested over 95% of our people, but we have failed to put on our thinking cap to trace the root cause of our political problem and then strive to tackle it headlong. That Anioma land is blessed is not contestable and whether Anioma people are blessed with huge human capacity that can address our development problem is a fact. Our failure to interrogate the past; our failure to ask democratic questions about what people we voted to represent us have done continues to put a wedge between us and the development we so crave.
Lack of effective parliamentary representation of the people of Anioma is the crucial variable making our quest for minimum development under democracy not reachable. We may survive irresponsible Governor if we have effective parliamentary representation as a buffer, but we can’t survive having good executive and zero legislative attendance. Catastrophe.
The Anioma nation has 3 House of Representatives seats and 1 Senatorial seat at Abuja. This means there are 4 seats in the Nigerian National Legislature for the people of Anioma to be heard and from which to articulate their interest. With the exception of Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko (1999-2003) and Hon. Ossai N.Ossai (2019-2023) who moved people-oriented motions and bills in the floor of the parliament and bring to Anioma visible landmark legislative touchstones, the remaining years in the National Assembly could be likened to an exercise in self-representation.
I think 2023 presents us with a turning point. Democracy is now set to demo, thanks to Buhari-led BIVAS and iRev. The long awaited opportunity to purge ourselves of patrician democracy has come—the counted votes shall count. We are seeing a mountain of campaign bill boards of the various National Assembly candidates across Anioma landscape. In them, you will see inscriptions like “Follow who know Road”, “Continuity for Progress”, “A Man of Destiny” etc. These are same people who rendered our legislative seats vacant for two decades in a self-luxuriating fashion. We know that democracy is best form of government only if the characters are not a primitive band of competitors in a looting spree. Anioma may not survive if these legislative landlords continue.
The same political characters that put us in beggar’s mode are here again telling us how they will use one more term to transform Anioma with their despotic criminal parliamentary mentality. We must vote wisely in 2023 and safe our future. Those who are absolutely detached from the people they claim to represent are not fit for the purpose of legislative duty. Intellectual bareness is not a feature of Anioma people and neither is straddling attitude our culture, but we have since1999 failed to understand that the road to ‘Damascus Conversion’ was paved with genuine soul searching. Anioma voters, search your soul.
Whoever closes his eyes to the past becomes blind to the present. Whoever doesn’t wish to remember how Anioma was grossly underrepresented in the two chambers of the National Assembly becomes susceptible to the danger of a new political disease: Polichondritis. Let’s use the 2023 ballot to deliver ourselves from those men of destiny, those continuity merchants and those who know only the road from parliament to prison.
Prince Ned Nwoko, the senatorial candidate of the PDP in the 2023 general election is no political rookie. Ned was among the members of the House of Representatives who ushered in this fourth republic. He was adjudged as second highest sponsor of bills in the House of representative from 1999 to 2003. His one-tenure legislative assignment was significant to the establishment of critical national agencies and infrastructure upgrade.
Prince Ned Nwoko championed the national economic recovery master-plan of Obasanjo administration by leading a team to salvage the country from debt burden arising from Nigeria’s poor handling of the London and Paris Clubs of creditors. His oversight duties at the time saw to the dualization of the Lagos-Benin-Onitsha expressway and the design of Dam in Ogwashi Uku. He used legislative tool to direct resources that addressed basic poverty issues in Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency.
The immediate successor to Ned simply settled himself; after all he would not be allowed a second term. The current representative of Aniocha/Oshimili is going again and again, simply because he is a man of destiny, not of parliament. And that the man is a candidate in 2023 is another PDP magic that signalled the very end of long division and pointing to the difficulty in the naming of the capital of Bulgaria—Sofia.
Prince Ned comes from a background of discipline. His intellectual muscle is thick enough to take up John Langdon in parliamentary debate. Anioma is lucky to have such an illustrious man on the ballot. He radiates the Anioma vision in its entirety and exudes clear cultural carriage that defines the identity of a true son of a great people.
Prince Ned has invested and still investing his resources in Anioma land. From the Sports University, Mount Delta, Malaria Eradication project to numerous other importable investments from the Antarctica—all at Idumuje Ugboko. I am aware our destiny-bound and road-knowing legislatures have their investment outside Anioma; they are investing in Dubai and London and still love Anioma.
What you should find in a lawyer who has global exposure is a warehouse of developmental legislative ideas. Ned has demonstrated this as a Reps member; he flies far above other contenders in terms of the 3 ingredients required of a national legislator: measurable competence, hatred for avoidable poverty and accessibility. And these ingredients are inherent in Ned’s personality chemistry.
A vote for Ned in February 25 2023 is a vote for the restoration of the Anioma vision. A vote for Ned in 2023 is a vote for competency that will radiate the Anioma pride. He will work for the good people of Anioma.