By Boniface Enekwechi
Once again Anambra state, the “Light of the Nation” is at the verge of another round of election to choose the leader who will steer their state ship for another four years. It is gratifying that with each cycle of election, the state throws up more and better prepared aspirants for the topmost job. As it stands today, the political firmament is being bestrode by personages who perhaps want to replicate the vision of past Igbo and Nigerian leaders such as Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. M.I. Okpara, Dim Emeka Ojukwu and a host of others who through dint of hard work, knowledge, and altruism crystallized the people’s aspirations in infrastructural development, educational excellence, and business enterprise.
A cursory look at the aspirants and their vision for the state will instantly throw up Mr. Valentine Ozigbo who by stroke of fate hails from Anambra South Senatorial zone where the pendulum will swing in the choice of the next governor. Born in 1970 to a father who was a headmaster and a mother thriving in petty trading, Valentine Ozigbo started early to gain attention as a brilliant student since he usually excelled among his peers throughout his academic pursuits. This laudable trend continued even to his university days at the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka and beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Perhaps, what is of utmost importance in the quest for the governor of a prime state like Anambra is to identify and escalate the vision of those aspiring to lead and Mr. Ozigbo’s vision resonates as one that can truly elevate and set the state apart in all sectors of human capital and infrastructural development. This vision is encapsulated in his advocacy for peace and cohesion amongst the people of the state. This advocacy is apt in the sense that it is at the core of all other factors necessary to spur and motivate the full participation of all citizens of the state, mostly those with investment prowess to explore the available opportunities in the state and commit their resources for the common good.
His advocacy for unity among the people will act as a boost for investors both from within and outside the state to consider Anambra state favorably in their investment decisions. What I find most laudable in Ozigbo’s vision and plans for the state is the will to create synergy between Anambra state and its neighboring states like Delta, Imo, and Enugu states whereby joint development agencies will be set up for their mutual benefits. This is not only laudable and long overdue but it speaks to the innovative acumen of the man who sees beyond his immediate environment.
Again with his private sector background and as the immediate past President and Group Chief Executive of Transcorp Plc, a multinational conglomerate with interests in power, energy, oil and gas, and hospitality, he will bring his years of experience and exposure to bear in galvanizing both local and indigenous business men and women to invest in Anambra state.
Leadership in this era must be based on the ability of the leader to know his way and lead others to the right destination and this is what Valentine Ozigbo represents in his aspiration to be the next governor of Anambra state. He has through his accomplishments and pedigree in the private sector demonstrated that he has the capacity, willingness, and ability to lead Anambra state to the Promised Land after Governor Willie Obiano.
In the face of many daunting challenges, Anambra needs a leader that will motivate the citizens to repose faith in their government and institutions, and not people who seek power for personal aggrandizement and ego. Therefore, the 2021 governorship election will afford the people of the state an opportunity to raise the bar by choosing from among them a youthful, vibrant and visionary leader who can transform the state and bring prosperity to the remotest parts.
As endowed as Anambra state is in terms of human capital, it is astonishing that many years after its creation by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime, there is no befitting state capital and other key infrastructural development that will place it as a state of reckoning in Africa. Now that Ozigbo has got the wisdom to throw his hat in the ring in the interest of his people, there will be new ways of doing things and the quality of life of the citizens is bound to change for the better.
Though this may appear impossible to negative thinkers but I know for sure that with the right leadership the state can actually be the “envy of other states” as Val Ozigbo has envisioned. It only requires the determination, political will, and requisite knowledge which he possesses in abundance to bring this about.
Time has come for us to leave our comfort zones and work for the greater good of the people of Anambra state and this will require that the people see beyond the ephemeral postures of opportunists who may use guile to find their way to the topmost position. If this is allowed to happen, we shall all be losers for our indiscretion. We cannot continue to play to the gallery in terms of choosing the right leaders and hope that manna will fall from heaven.
These expectations can only materialize and come into fruition when the people choose a good leader and refuse to accede to the ambition of politicians who want to use the office to massage their bruised egos or siphon the public treasury.
Enekwechi writes from Abuja