Anambra 2021: Why everyone wants a piece of Valentine Ozigbo

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Anambra 2021: Why everyone wants a piece of Valentine Ozigbo

June 6, 2021

By Temisan Amoye

By John Akinduro

I have been following political developments in Nigeria for decades and I can tell that the latest trend of money politics has made it impossible to elect credible candidates. The 2015 and 2019 general elections are a testament to this ugly development that has produced bad governance and poor leadership.

The Joseph de Maistre’s proposition that the people get the type of leaders they deserve in a democracy, might still be valid in Nigeria of today. In this age of instant gratification, short attention span and working memory, politicians no longer find it profitable to invest their time and funds in public engagement, which has been an age-long tradition in Nigerian politics. Rather, they keep their funds till election day and spend it on vote buying – a phenomenon that is almost consuming us as a nation.

Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) frontrunner in the 2021 Anambra state governorship election, appears to be challenging the status quo with his uncommon approach to politics. The 50yr-old immediate past President and CEO of Transcorp Plc has widely been described as the knight in the shinning armor for Anambrarians. Ozigbo’s intimidating academic and professional profile is available in the public domain and his stellar performances in the many leadership positions he had served, is unrivalled.

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One striking quality of this gentleman is his ability to relate adequately with heavy hitters and the lowly in the society, particularly in his home state of Anambra.

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In the last one week, I have been on the ground in Anambra state where he dedicated his time and resources to engaging his political family, the PDP, through a series of town hall meetings with women, youths and executive members of the 326 wards and 21 Local Government Areas of the state. Entering into the venue of the meeting will remind you of a man with a knack for excellence, the organization was perfect, tens of young and well-cultured volunteers, wearing the VCO branded T-shirts were on ground to attend to the various needs of the participants, who remained orderly all through the events.

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The way he mingled with the participants will show you how truly a man of the masses he is. The sessions were inspiring and electrifying, as he was able to convey his message of progressive politics and project Ka Anambra Chawapu (A brighter and better Anambra) succinctly. Just like he did in his previous public engagements, he was able to expound his development agenda in details, with the aid of digital storytelling. According to him, “the Chawapu project is designed to touch the future by building social and economic systems that last”

Having identified the development gaps in the state, the Chawapu project is anchored on a four-legged strategic approach of providing the enabling and secured environment for businesses to thrive, investor promotion and partnership, social protection and development agenda and of course, internal revenue generation and employment. Participants at these events could connect with Ozigbo from my personal interactions with them and what I picked up sitting in the audience. “He is one of us!“ a few participants chorused where I was sitting.

Former Chairman of PDP in Anambra state, Ejike ogunebego, said “I have known Val for a long time now and I have watched him all this while, his yes is yes, his no is no”. Sincerity of purpose is one major quality that is lacking among Nigerian politicians. From my findings, almost everyone who has come in contact with Ozigbo testifies to his uprightness and faithfulness. No wonder he served in those leadership positions without blemish. I must confess, my first encounter with him appeared like I had known him for ages.

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