Magnus Eze, Enugu
It might sound strange, but it did happen. A House of Assembly candidate for the Orumba North State Constituency of Anambra state in the March 9, 2019 election has taken time to visit all the wards in the constituency even after losing the poll.
Politicians in Nigeria traverse everywhere when they need votes, but only a few of them would go back to thank the electorate once they emerge victorious until the next electioneering season. However, that was not the case for Dr. Duke Igwilo, a US-based technocrat who returned to the country to fly the banner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Orumba North in the election as he went back to the field to show appreciation. A onetime Council Chairman of Orumba North and candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Chief Emeka Aforka won the election.
As if in continuation of the electioneering, Igwilo with his team stormed the 16 towns and 19 wards in the state constituency, and everywhere the train stopped over, he expressed his profound gratitude to them for their support during the electioneering process.
During a stopover at Nanka, one of the largest towns in the constituency, Igwilo said: “I made a promise to the electorate during my campaign that whatever happened as the outcome of the elections; they deserved a thank you for coming out to vote. I campaigned on principle and points of what I was going to do assuming that I won; today would have been a town hall meeting to generate the collective agenda for their representation. I believe that today’s thank you tour despite that I did not win is the will of God”.
He reiterated that his motivation for the visit was predicated on his strong belief in the people and his campaign slogan which was ‘When Jesus Says Yes’. Igwilo expressed satisfaction with the performance and commitment of his campaign council, and thanked all who contributed during the process; and remained unwaveringly exceptional and magnanimous in defeat.
He clearly stated that he has as no regrets with the outcome of the election, while he prayed God to ensure that the verdict after four years would be palatable for the people in terms of representation by the winner of the poll. “The next four years of leadership of Orumba North State House of Assembly is going to be a verdict. I pray God that the verdict will be a good one for Orumba North. I will continue to engage the people in government to see if I can get anything at all for Orumba North, the people are very important to me; whatever is good for them is also good for me,” he said.
Reactions have continued to trail the novel and commendable approach to politics displayed by the US returnee. An indigene of Oko, the hometown of Igwilo said that his kinsman has brought something new into Anambra state politics; if not Nigeria as a whole since according to him, “ after elections, some winners have taken bold steps to thank those who voted them in, while others have shut their doors, switched their SIM cards as they ignore their people. Here in Orumba North, a new standard has been set by a candidate who lost his bid to represent his people in the Anambra state House of Assembly in the March 9 election.”
Also, from Awgbu town, Emmanuel Onyeakasi applauded the initiative describing it as a rare gesture and unprecedented in the annals of political participation in the area. Obumneme Okonkwo from Oko, Ikechukwu Nwokoye from Ufuma and Chijioke Obijofor; a native of Nanka, in their separate reactions, were united that Igwilo’s disposition has indicated that he is a leader for the future.
According to Okonkwo who happened to be a staunch member of the Igwilo campaign organisation, going back to the people even without winning the election has revealed the true genuine and humane character of the man.