Showing posts with label Nigeria's 2011 election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigeria's 2011 election. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Akunyili: Why I am running for the Senate

Prof. Dora Akunyili

"WHAT does this woman really want?” “What is wrong with her?” “Why didn’t she just remain as Minister of Information and Communications instead of jumping into the murky waters of Nigerian politics?” These are some of the questions which several people have been asking since December 15 when I announced my resignation as a minister and my entry into the senatorial race. To further confound most political observers, I equally resigned from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and pitched my tent with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in my bid to realize my senatorial ambition.

Several theories have been making the rounds since then, as political analysts try to understand what I am really up to. With my campaign machinery now running at full steam following my victory in the APGA primaries and my recognition by INEC as the party’s candidate for Anambra Central Senatorial District in the April 2 elections, I believe the time has come for me to clear the air on why I have embarked on what some people consider to be a risky political adventure.

To be sure, the contest for the Anambra Central senatorial seat is one of the toughest in the land. This is only to be expected in view of the caliber of candidates being fielded by some of the parties. I will, however, disappoint those who expect me to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of my opponents; I would rather concentrate on explaining why I am in the race and why the good people of Anambra Central should give me the mandate to represent them in the Senate in the coming political dispensation.

For the avoidance of doubt, I recognise and respect the right of every qualified person, irrespective of gender or place of origin, to aspire to any position of his or her choice, including the senatorial seat of Anambra Central. I will, therefore, be the last person to engage in the politics of name-calling. I believe that we must base politics on issues. For this reason, I have directed all those working with me and for me that there should be no abuses, no bitterness and no unnecessary quarrel, even if it is in my favour. All the people contesting the position with me have the constitutional right to do so and must not be either discouraged or scared out of the race. The contest is between brothers and sisters and our actions should reflect that.

Trusting in God for victory in the elections, I have since entered into a covenant with Him and with the good people of Anambra Central. Under that covenant, I have promised to do more for my constituency than any other person seeking this position because I know the system and I have the right contacts nationally and internationally. It was for this reason that I resigned my appointment as a minister when, after reflecting deeply about events in Nigeria and in particular my state, Anambra, I came to a point where I felt that the time had come for me to make the sacrifice of leaving a comfortable place to go to a difficult terrain in order to build a better place for our children and our children’s children.

My sole motivation for contesting the April 2011 senatorial elections is my desire to use my wealth of experience to attract more attention to my senatorial district, to Anambra State and to the South East geo-political zone, as well as to make Nigeria a better place through robust contributions to the lawmaking process and in performance of my oversight functions as a Senator. My ambition is not driven by the desire for pecuniary gains but by patriotic considerations and a strong desire to contribute more meaningfully to positively touch the lives of my people – the people at the grassroots.

My record as a public servant, especially as the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and as Federal Minister of Information and Communications, bears eloquent testimony to my ability to serve as a change agent in whatever position I find myself. The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not be an exception.

As Senator representing Anambra Central, I promise to work selflessly to justify my mandate and to serve my people with sincerity of purpose and with the fear of God. I will work very hard to attract development from the Federal Government and from outside the country through various international organizations and philanthropists from across the world with whom I have built good relationships over the years. All over the world, people are waiting for an opportunity to help me because of the war I waged against drug counterfeiters not just in Nigeria but also internationally during my days as NAFDAC DG from 2001 to 2010.

My representing Anambra Central in the Senate will therefore give me the right platform to attract various forms of developmental schemes to the zone, not just from Nigeria but also from outside the country. As a Senator, I will publicly announce the constituency allowances for Anambra Central and will ensure that they are judiciously spent – used for projects chosen by the communities. Even my personal salaries and allowances will be announced, part of which will be used for developmental projects in the zone.

Within my first month as a Senator, every major market in Anambra Central will get toilet facilities and a bore hole. This will be followed by a scholarship programme for indigent students in the zone, to be introduced within the first three months of my being in the Senate. The scholarship scheme will be followed by empowerment projects for widows to enable them carter for the needs of their families. As I have repeatedly told my people, if after one year of representing Anambra Central as a Senator, they do not experience a tangible difference as an outcome of my representation, I will resign. I will have no business representing them at Abuja if they are not gaining from my being there. If I fail them, I will not wait to be recalled, but will keep my promise, be on the path of honour, and resign.

I am, however, confident that it will never get to that. I have never been associated with failure. By God’s grace, my senatorial odyssey will not be an exception.

• Prof. Akunyili is the APGA candidate for Anambra Senatorial District in the forthcoming elections.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nigeria's 2011 election: Opportunity to boost Democracy and Commonwealth Values

14 Sep 2010 06:11 Africa/Lagos

Nigeria's 2011 election / A momentous opportunity to deepen democratic practice and uphold Commonwealth values

LONDON, September 13, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, has called on the leaders and people of Nigeria to work together towards a peaceful and credible election which will enjoy the full confidence of all Nigerians and the wider Commonwealth community.

Mr Sharma made this call following the formal release of election dates in January 2011 by the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC). According to INEC's timetable, National Assembly Elections are due on 15 January, Presidential Elections on 22 January and Gubernatorial Elections on 29 January.

“Nigeria is a valued member of the Commonwealth. It is the Commonwealth's largest member state in Africa and plays a leading role in a variety of ways in West Africa and beyond. It is therefore in the interest not only of the Nigerian people themselves but also of Africa, the Commonwealth and the international community as a whole that democracy thrives in Nigeria,” Mr Sharma added. political parties, civil society, the media and the electorate -- had a role to play in entrenching democratic culture and practice in order to achieve this goal.

“The Commonwealth,” Mr Sharma reiterated, “is committed to assisting Nigeria towards achieving the best ever election in its political history.” To this end, he urged all political parties to work together to ensure that the upcoming elections live up to the Commonwealth's stated democratic values and principles, to which Nigeria strongly subscribes.

Mr Sharma wished INEC, political parties and all other stakeholders all success in their preparations for the elections.

Source: Commonwealth Secretariat

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