When Democratic governance returned to Anambra State in 1999, the people celebrated. After years spent under repressive military juntas, democracy was a welcome relief. But the succour many thought will be ushered into the state remains: politicians plunder the State’s resources, institute retrogressive policies and borrow copiously from military strongmen’s playbook.
Given decades of neglect of infrastructure and bad governance, the shift in human migration has posed problems for the state. Infrastructure improvements, both physical and social, have lagged behind the growth in population. There are problems in environmental sanitation, erosion control, and provision of social services. Major cities have become characterized by inadequate and deteriorated road networks and walkways, unregulated building patterns, poor sanitation, uncontrolled street trading, mountains of garbage, and chaotic transport systems, creating congestion, noise pollution, and overcrowding.
As the shadow political campaigns continue before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blows the whistle for the next gubernatorial elections in Anambra, the legion of aspirants are already spending mouth-watering amounts of money to pull voters to their side. But, recent experience has shown that election spending does not determine capacity or reflect the character of the candidate, which are the two crucial legs upon which the race is contested.
It is expected that the governorship poll would be keenly contested between the incumbent All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the major opposition parties in state, including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Young Progressives Party (YPP). Out of the top gubernatorial aspirants that would emerge from the four political parties the one that could succeed Governor Obiano appears to be a dark horse.
It is evident that true Leadership is more about competence and capacity regardless of how old you are. In a sane society, leadership is inter-relations between the wisdom of the old and the energy of the youth. Although it is applaudable that the #NotTooYoungToRun has enabled that new faces and the youths contest for office, with the projections of the PACT event, one can also question if a person who resides within a corruption enabling society such as Nigeria will efficiently lead a State.
The voters in Anambra must, therefore, understand that advocating for a new face is part of the transition and solution the State needs. To get to that Eldorado we continually yearn for, we must first seek a reorientation of those who become our leaders because the mentality of the bulk of those who lead the current political space has not helped.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and desperate measure begets special men and women who convert themselves into vessels to rescue humanity. Every generation has a choice to make, they can choose to either be wasteful with opportunities that come with every electoral cycle or they can stand up for what is right. It is not up to the next generation to fix the issues that are fundamentally wrong in Anambra; the youths and people of all ages can make a positive difference by voting for an ideal candidate. The only option we have is to be a great generation, and I like the way Nelson Mandela said it, he said “sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you be that great generation, but now the responsibility is upon you to let your greatness blossom…”
Encourage those who you know, who have been doing great things with little or no resources, making a difference, encourage them to run for office, and don’t be the one that tweets ‘let us see what experience he has’, don’t be the one that discourages people, because those who want to steal from you don’t need any encouragement, the money they want to take from the Anambra people serves as their inspiration.
I implore everyone to join hands and press for a new experience as we align with pragmatic and exemplary leaders to lift Anambra out of the doldrums and position it as one of the leading States in Nigeria.
Emeh Udo writes from Awka