PAMELA EBOH, Awka
As the nation gets ready to witness yet another round of general elections in Nigeria in 2015, the “Light of the Nation” state of Anambra State has kicked open the doors of battle royale for the soul of the four senatorial zones in the state.
One zone with a peculiar twist and turn is the Anambra North Senatorial seat which has virtually become an all female-affair in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as three high-flying female politicians have creased up to pick the ticket.
The political amazons joggling for power in this zone are a newbie in the arena of political contest, Mrs. Stella Oduah, who was the former Minister of Aviation, Senator Joy Emordi, a well baked politician who also served as the Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, and Senator Margery Okadigbo, wife of the late former senate president, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo who incidentally is the incumbent senator.
In every race, competition or battle, there must emerge a winner and loser but winning the ticket of PDP is the one gigantic step to winning the elections as any candidate that comes out tops of the three will have a bigger huddle to cross with the government in power being an opposition party.
Apart from the party in power, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, there is also the All Progressives Congress, APC, which can authoritatively boast of a certain degree of followership because of the presence of the diminutive politician and former governor of Anambra state, Dr. Chris Ngige.
No doubt, the three amazons have the knack, vigour and thrust to steer the ship to a safe destination without leaning on any muscle, but the ultimate gateway to their success will be counted on their legacies and followership in the zone.
More so, their input in the politics of Anambra State as well as their political history will also play a huge role as politics in Nigeria has grown to the level of who has the potential to not only represent but to speak and work for the community or zone.
She no doubt stands out as one who has the needs of her people utmost in her scheme. Emordi has climbed the political ladder so high to the top and knows the onus well enough to know how to permeate and get things done for her zone.
A Lawyer of 27years experience, Emordi after serving at the Senate chambers for 8 years also served as the Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters.
While in the National Assembly as the Chairman, Committee on Education, Emordi exhibited her leadership prowess which was clearly showcased with the efforts she made to tackle the many problems that sucked the education sector dry through effective legislation and oversight functions.
She sponsored some bills and helped to push through a number of policy reviews for the sector such that it was during the period of her chairmanship of the committee that the nation’s tertiary institutions received the highest grants from infrastructural development on various campuses. This is an achievement which still stands out.
Aside from the national feats she achieved, she also went into charitable works to reach the less privileged and the deprived in the society and attracted several other outstanding success from the federal government. The rehabilitation and strengthening of Niger Bridge, revitalization of the Onitsha Port project and re-positioning of agricultural areas to align them with Anambra /Imo River Basin Development Authority for better yields cannot be talked about without her name being mentioned.
Other feats to her name are poverty alleviation programmes through which she gave micro credit grants to widows and youths, scholarship award to youths for secondary and tertiary education, as well as for ICT and other skill acquisition, provision of potable water and rehabilitation of rural roads.
She also pioneered the Federal Government Girls College Onitsha received state –of –the –art ICT center, 5000 people received free eye screening and treatment including provision of glasses for 5000 constituents; Annual charity programme for orphans, disabled persons, widows and less privileged,Water Borehole projects in many communities in her constituency; Primary Healthcare Centre at Umuerum in Ayamelum Local Government Area and so on.
Senator Emordi who rose from the four walls of a classroom as a teacher to a Lawyer and then moved to politics from the defunct CNC has intimidating curriculum vitae in various aspects of life.
She strode on the wheels of political fame during the regime of the late General Sani Abacha when she dared to swim in the ocean where women dared not. With that courage, she wrote her name on the sands of time as a woman of courage and grace. She went, saw and conquered and may still conquer if fate chooses.
Recently, the seven local government areas that constitute Anambra North senatorial zone met in the commercial city of Onitsha for the purpose of urging her to join the race to represent Anambra North in the Senate in next year’s election.
The meeting was attended by her former coordinators, supporters from other political parties and leaders of many Non Governmental Organizations, NGO, operating in the zone.
At the meeting, the stakeholders passed a resolution urging her to join the race immediately because, according to them, the zone was missing her quality representation in the senate.
Coordinator of Senator Joy Emordi Campaign Organization, Mr. Chuks Onyeizugbe said they had to urge Emordi to vie for senate because Anambra North has been feeling her absence for the past four years.
In his words, “The amenities we received in the zone were the ones attracted by Emodi. When she was in the senate, many schools in all the constituencies were renovated and since she left, no new schools had been rehabilitated.
“She empowered over 1000 widows and ensured that the less privileged in the zone enjoyed Christmas and other festivities. She also attracted a number of electricity projects and water projects and since then, no new ones are coming to our zone.
“Many of our graduates who were getting employment no longer enjoy it because those who are supposed to continue from where she stopped have not been up and doing.”
The former Minister of Aviation is a new face in the political contest in Anambra State but her achievements in the Aviation ministry may prop her chances to succeed.
Oduah set the ball rolling immediately after being dropped as the Aviation boss by mobilizing stakeholders from Anambra to embrace her ambition to contest the Anambra North Senatorial seat. Perhaps her ambition propelled her to associate more with the people of her zone by attending public gatherings and churches where she donates large sums of money.
Though rich and known, she lacks not just the pre-requisite political experience that will make way for an easy ride for her, she may not also have the grassroots presence as a political greenhorn, hence political marauders may see her as a fresh cow to milk with vain promises to work and deliver success to her at the polls.
She did state recently that the zone would be restored to its pride of place where the people’s creativity and entrepreneurial skills would top her priority, issues surrounding her exit from the Aviation ministry and her marriage outside the “Light of The Nation” state may stand as a nag on her way to the political lather of the state.
She is the wife of the former Senate President, the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and the incumbent representative of the zone that got the ticket by mere twist in the political drama of the PDP.
She spent two years after the election on litigation and was only sworn in as a senator in July, 2012.
She is not a loud politician with a lot of buzz in terms of achievement neither does she command great followership in the zone and in Anambra politics. Since her entrant into the National Assembly, she has only held one unique empowerment programme which was held at the Oyi local government headquarters at Nteje.
At the programme, the Senator said she was using the occasion to mark her two years as a senator and commended all those who stood by her during the protracted legal battle in her journey to the Senate. Apart from the items distributed to the people, the senator has also facilitated employment of many people from the zone in various federal establishments and offered scholarship to deserving people in the area.
However, she seems to have completely lost grip of the grassroots as before the celebrated empowerment programme, people of the senatorial zone were already becoming crestfallen and vowing to wait for her at the 2015 polls if she gets the PDP ticket for the zone but, the one good gesture may have swayed in her favour as people started singing another song immediately after the empowerment programme.
However, some political analysts are of the view that she was able to get through the first time because of her husband’s name and may not be lucky this second time.
However, politics is a game of number and grassroots followership; hence it is for the voters to decide who amongst the disciples will go.