The National Assembly Election In Enugu West: A Choice Between Progress And Propaganda


 BY  ANAYO AGU

Reading one of Dr. Price Pritchett’s books, I came across the idea that “Choice is the most powerful force in the world.”  It is also presented as a tool of change because the choices we make determine how we live and significantly shape our future and those of generations yet unborn.  In representative democracy as in Igbo culture and tradition, trust is the gold-standard of measurement of the personality of a potential representative or emissary.  It should therefore be the measure of contents of character of who merits representing us as distinguished senator and honorable member at the national assembly.   

Trust is the soul of representative democracy. Without it nothing works and everyone is a suspect. Trust is what determines whether our distinguished senator and honorable members, after election, will remain faithful.  It also determines whether they will remain diligent in pursuit of our common objectives and in accordance with our unwritten covenant – to put the welfare and wellbeing of our people above their personal interests as they have declared during campaigns. The value of trust must be taken seriously because when it goes down in politics, everything else is affected – relationships, quality of representation, team work and collaboration, loyalty to party, obligations to constituencies, our zone and state.  That is why in Enugu West Senatorial Zone, we must seize the opportunity of the national assembly election on Saturday, February 25, 2023 to exercise our freedom of choice to elect the trifecta of Engineer Osita Ngwu (RG), Dr. Festus Uzor (Chief of Staff) and Chief Anayo Onwuegbu (Omeiheukwu), as our Distinguished Senator and Honorable Members respectively.  

The reason for this recommendation is simple – the three candidates embody the foundational virtues, skills and experience we seek in our legislators. Among the set of teams presented to us from the four leading political parties in the zone – PDP, APC, LP and APGA, they appear to me and many other stakeholders as the most trusted, the most competent, the most consistent in character and performance, and the most courageous of their political convictions.   Above all, they are not piggybacking on anyone’s reputation and goodwill. Regrettably, the other teams have a mixture of political hustlers, opportunists, and those who feel political positions are their entitlements, and therefore will do just about anything to get it. Such people, in my humble estimation, have high trust deficits.                   

Let’s Go Out En Masse To Vote: 

It is in our best interest to discountenance the political propaganda overwhelming our airwaves to do the right thing – to go out en masse to exercise our franchise.  While discussing the 3C’s of life – choice, chance and change, Zig Ziglar said, “You must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.”  What an elegant way to state an obvious truth.  As we contemplate our choices and preferred candidates, let me urge you to pause for a moment to really think through the issues at stake especially questions of injustice, unfairness and inequity which characterize our national government and leadership.  Surely, the reign of impunity and the spiraling insecurity are worthy of serious reflections. So we must find the conscience and the moral rectitude to get past the barrage of political propaganda aimed at influencing public opinion and misleading the electorate to make wrong choices.  

Battling a Deluge Of Propaganda:

Regrettably, the power of choice is often obscured or completely obliterated by those who conceive politics as the way of deceit.  This election season has experienced so much of it since campaigns began in 2022.  Many analysts blame this escalating malaise on poverty and unprecedented hardship in the country which is fueling “politics of stomach infrastructure, restiveness and hysteria. There are other reasons for this heavy rain of deceit.  For instance, many political issues are complex demanding higher order thinking, effective communication and a working knowledge of the economy as well as current affairs. It turns out that many candidates lack appreciable comprehension of local and national issues.   As a result, they resort to propaganda and other forms of deception in order to save face.   To such individuals, winning an election automatically becomes a matter of “the end justifies the means.” According to Graham Richardson, an ex-Australian Senator; “Whether one tells the truth is not what really matters, but whether one gets the job done – and in that respect, one simply has to do “whatever it takes,” and if that involves an element of deception or misdirection, then so be it.”  Some examples of this deluge of deceitful messages misleading the electorate in Enugu West include:

  • The deceit that candidates who lost out in their competitive party primaries were rigged out, and therefore, are justified to seek a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to fulfill their political ambition. Incidentally, some of these people include those favored in past election cycles, but who now feel entitled to certain political offices.  By their fruits we know them.      
  • The lie that the National Assembly particularly the Senate is meant for elders.  This propaganda presents the red chamber like an old people’s home, or a retirement bay for expired politicians.  The Nigerian constitution is clear and unequivocal that at 25, any citizen can aspire to represent their constituency, and at 35, any citizen can be elected as a senator or a governor. The longest serving senator in Enugu State, distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu was elected at 41.  His age didn’t diminish his brilliance and outstanding performance spanning over two decades.   
  • The notion that age has a direct or linear relationship with political wisdom and legislative abilities. President J F. Kennedy was one of America’s most admired and respected presidents. After a brief stint as a journalist, he was elected a member of U.S. House of Representatives at 30; a Senator at 36 and President at 43.  This deceit gets even sillier when one considers the fact that, Giacomo Simoncini, the President of San Marino is just 27 years old, and that Sonna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland was barely 36 years when she was sworn in.  

Why We Need Political Entrepreneurs In Government and At The National Assembly:

Political entrepreneurs are Change Makers.  They are visionaries, creative agents, innovators, and pragmatists who always go beyond what is to see what is to come.  And quite often they make tomorrow a present fact through extraordinary ingenuity, diligence, perseverance and a never say die attitude that sees every obstacle as a stepping stone. Sometimes entrepreneurs join politics or are conscripted into it by their admirers or stakeholders who desire change and see them as change agents. That was the case of late Chief MKO Abiola. That is the case of Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah and Engr. Osita Ngwu who are not only young, dynamic, highly gifted and successful, but also are well ahead of their time. According to Gabriel Tarde, one of the founding fathers of sociology, such change agents are never more than one percent in any given population.    

It is therefore not surprising that against all the innumerable obstacles that daunt leading players, local and foreign, in Nigeria’s enclave oil/gas industry, Dr. Peter Mbah has built a giant disruptive facility valued at over $1 billion dollars that is the envy of the world at an age when most of his NYSC peers are still struggling with basic physiological needs.  It is on this higher pedestal of understanding, experience and accomplishments that he confidently promises to return Enugu State to the list of one of the best 100 places to live and do business in the 21st century, and to transform its economy from $4 billion to $30 billion in 8 years. And because he has verifiable track records backing his value propositions, everyone except his detractors, trust him. 

Osita Ngwu (RG) is a political entrepreneur.  Legislative functions and entrepreneurship have a lot in common.  This fact is the basis of RG’s desire to serve the people of Enugu West as a senator and to build on the legacies of distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the former deputy Senate President who currently represents the zone. Some of the common denominators entrepreneurship and legislation share include:

  1. Knowledge of economic issues and the dynamics of a thriving private sector: His education, entrepreneurial acumen, exposure and experience as an employer of over 500 people excluding a chain of casual workers in different businesses endeavors enables Osita Ngwu to better comprehend the impact of government policies on the economy, and the livelihood of citizens. 
  2. Problem-solving skills: In reality, the core of legislative functions is problem solving.  That’s what an entrepreneur like RG do every day for a living and in support of hundreds of people who depend on him.  His solid background in business development, resource management, and dealing with factors of production and market forces equip him for efficient and effective representation. 
  3. Networking and effective communication.  Life skills such as emotional intelligence, effective communication, active listening, empathy, cognitive flexibility, and personal leadership are qualities RG possesses that make him an ideal candidate for the senate and also prepare him for contributions on the floor of the red chamber as well as other legislative functions.     

Conclusion:

In the end, the choice before us is much like the proverbial choice between life and death which God placed before the children of Israel. This election is a choice between progress and propaganda.  Let’s choose progress that our zone may prosper and thrive.  In this regard, it is in our best interest to vote for and also encourage our loved ones, friends and neighbors to vote for Engineer Osita Ngwu (RG) for the senate, Dr. Festus Uzor (Chief of State), and Chief Anayo Onwuegbu (Omeiheukwu) for the House of Representatives.  They are easily the best team from Enugu West. They are people we can trust to represent us at the National Assembly, and be rest assured that democratic dividends from Abuja and elsewhere will reach our wards, constituencies and zone. Because of them, let’s vote en masse for PDP.


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