The burial and mourning of the best senator from Okigwe so far, Distinguished Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, is gone. As some politicians are covertly and overtly scheming to succeed him, what is really bothering and agitating the minds of Okigwe people is the need for an able successor that would continue with the legislative exploits, sustain and take to higher levels the enviable records of the departed Ihitte Uboma-born political icon, who left indelible footprints in the sands of time, especially the setting up new Imo State College of Education.
Okigwe people are really worried because, since Nigeria’s independence, the zone has been ridiculed with the inglorious song: “Obodo nile emepela ofodu Okigwe na Orlu. Ndi na achi Okigwe amaghi akwokwo (other zones have developed except Okigwe and Orlu).” What really baffles my imagination is, while Okigwe has remained stagnant, Orlu leaders have ingeniously liberated their zone from the fixation of this inglorious song with mega projects.
As everything rises and falls with able leadership, what Okigwe people really need in this thorny and dark era of its history is a senator that will not only salvage them from this derisive tag but equally take them out of the woods and years of neglect and backwardness.
This makes Dr. Chidimma Uwajumogu’s candidacy highly imperative. This family continuity is inevitable because, only a candidate who is well abreast of the late Ben Uwajumogu’s political philosophy can sustain his people-oriented agenda. The cap fits Dr. Chidimma Uwajumogu because she has proved her mettle as a committed, passionate, confident, honest, gregarious, and qualitative leader with integrity. Her well-grounded background as a communicator will make her the Senate Cicero that will diligently move important bills and motions to fast-track the socio-political development of Okigwe zone.
Moreover, the goodwill built by her brother will endear her to the fellow senators, APC party apparatchik and provide the leeway for her to lobby the Presidency, ministries, parastatals and international NGOs to site landmark mega projects that will genuinely rewrite our history for posterity.
Some apologists of male chauvinism might be wondering why Okigwe masses are clamouring for gender change in representation at the National Assembly through Chidimma Uwajumogu. They are hell-bent on this campaign because, with the current wind of change, an outspoken, pragmatic and visionary female politician will stand a better chance to confront the zone’s marginalisation, lack of infrastructure, infrastructural decay, unemployment, and positively restore the zone’s total architecture and socio-political needs of the people.
Those who believe in male representation should ask themselves what the men who previously represented us before the victory of the late senator did for the zone. What did they do with the billions of constituency funds and security votes? While male senators from other zones brought landmark projects, Okigwe only saw peanuts democracy dividends of Keke (tricycle), Okada (motorcycle), wheelbarrows, pure water and empowerment for our youths. Moreover, their cutthroat politics with bitterness, centred on petty jealousies, backbiting, blackmail, antagonism helped to reduce the zone to the most marginalised in Imo State.
We will not allow this ugly scenario of brother against brother, night of long knives, which made the zone to lose Imo governorship to Orlu in 2015, to repeat itself. Because of our campaign for youthful representation, we will not support any form of power hegemony by those who allegedly fought Obasanjo’s third term only to desire fourth and fifth term in Okigwe, or will our people support a leader who got to be governor on a platter of gold with Okigwe’s total support and lost it like Esau on a platter of gold after alienating Okigwe leaders, who enthroned him?
While their political dogfight helped to cement Okigwe’s marginalisation and backwater status, Orlu has advanced higher with international market, 33 Brewery, Oguta Motel, massive road network, basic infrastructure and health facilities from years of political power monopolization, which gave them about 16 out of 20 years of our nascent democracy.
Owerri zone is not crying wolf due to massive developments in the Imo State capital in their zone. With the aforementioned arguments in mind, Okigwe people must queue behind Dr. Chidimma Uwajumogu to fundamentally address the zone’s multifarious developmental challenges and other nagging issues. Women have what it takes to redress the misfortunes of a polity and rescue people from Egyptian bondage to Canaan of prosperity.
As compassionate mothers, who know where the shoe pinches most, they are more pliable to the plight of the people, and the best way to redress thorny issues. This could be gleaned from the lofty legacies of female senators like Daisy Danjuma, Grace Bent, Princess Stella Oduah, Joy Emordi, Olujimi, Esuene, Tinubu, who used their clout and contacts to attract mega projects to their senatorial zones. Moreover, if President Goodluck Jonathan had not been defeated, the billion-naira mega ring road attracted by Senator Chris Anyanwu would have connected several Mbaise communities.
If women from other zones are performing excellently, let us give this transformational amazon of the Uwajumogu family a chance to rewrite the story of Ndi Okigwe through replication of what female senators from other zones are doing.
• Sam Nwosu Odokara is a Port Harcourt-based public affairs analyst and businessman