Showing posts with label Peoples Democratic Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peoples Democratic Party. 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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Monday, August 16, 2010

If The 2011 Presidency Requires Bold Mixing Then Let In Oshiomhole


In essence, Nigeria functions primarily as a society of labor. The spirit of labor does not embed itself in any political house as in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) or any other national party.

The Nigerian people both in spirit and in body love to labor and therefore they appear to be divinely, subjectively and objectively drawn to a leader who in spite of his or her political affiliation or membership sees the subjects of human struggle, daily toil, and manual effort as beyond religious, ethnic and political boundaries.

If the Nigerian society has a personality it may be colored with qualities and characteristics in the likes of passion, enterprising, collaboration, appreciation, fashionable, patronage, pride, toughness, favoritism, idiosyncrasy, respectability, tribalism, slow change and trustworthiness.

In the face of the complex nature of the nation, a leadership style that crosses these diverse characters is what the country requires at this time. It is possible that one of those individuals is the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adam Oshiomhole. He sees the people’s issues and struggles as worth fighting for and defending even if it affects his own person in terms of leaning from personal and leadership shortcomings.

In the face of a constructive criticism from a national, traditional and corporate leader like Chief Peter Ojemen with regard to poor infrastructures in Edo State, he is not the type to take a personal or emotional response to correctional critique.

Instead he builds on open and good critique and strategically reconstructs special suggestions into meaningful works for the benefit of the people.

The current general belief is that Governor Oshiomhole, is a man of all flexible political and strategic sides who appears ready to boldly mix with anything or person as long it is all about the public good. In this regard he is a person that could be a part of the presidency and of importance, strictly on national grounds

He has shown the need for independent political thought as evidenced in his public actions that if ideas are of benefit to a group of people he is willing to listen irrespective of whether the ideas emanate from an oppositional or one’s own party. As such he is not the type to dismiss any leader simply on the basis of ethnic or political membership.

If truth be told he does not appear as one that is inherently tied to the doctrines of a political party, therefore making him fully ripe to run with any one with different party label and work across political lines. He has always being daring and loves to take on risky courses.

The long standing disruptive fight between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) saw some degree of understanding when he boldly involved himself, all for the sake of introducing a win-win atmosphere between all involve—faculty, students, parents and the government.

As we know there is the historical bitterness that marks partisan behaviors as in the case of the political climate that sometimes surround relationship between a President from a particular party and leaders from another party. Such is the case of the U.S. President Barak Obama, a Democrat and some heads in the Republican oppositional party where political divide sometimes become so wide that it affect national work.

As it has been known, Oshiomhole has shown that political divide must never be allowed to slow down State or national functioning. He is remains a model and a symbol of cross- political harmony as evidenced by his flexible relationship to members of various political parties across the nation.

He seems from time to time to show an act of flexibility with his apparent positive interaction with President Goodluck Jonathan, of the PDP, an oppositional party to the Governor’s party-ACN.

It was not long ago that the Governor would show to the Nigerian people that when a leader champions any good course for the betterment of a needy area as with the underprivileged populations, that individual deserves the collective praise and respect irrespective of that person’s political party and aaffiliation. Such was the case of the Edo North Senator, Engineer Yisa Braimoh who single handedly financed a special school for persons with physical limitations. The Governor in spite of differences in political affiliation between both of them, saw the benevolence of Senator Braimoh as what is of importance to the people and reasoned that he is a man that deserves to remain the senate. Why? Because the Senator’s work goes beyond political affiliation, and like the Governor the Senator has also shown by his good deeds that what is important is not what party one belongs to but how one uses their individuality, and leadership and blessings to bring to bear worthy outcomes for the people.

As always the Governor has shown his distinctiveness in his deeds and works. This leads to the question of how often does a Nigerian leader engage in various manual or altruistic service without the limelight of the media?

This he often engages in as it was the case of helpless victims in a ghastly automobile accident that he personally took to a local hospital when he came upon them on the highway.

He has shown that if Nigeria is to move towards open democracy, the psychology of “godfatherism” or subjective command of power and influence by a single or a few persons’ on a whole state or nation must be reconditioned and replaced with equal access and opportunity irrespective of one’s state in life.

His far reaching work in various international and national bodies as they relate to labor wages, the role of privatization, the role of functional insurance system, the fight against AIDS and the need for progressive constitution uniquely make him a wanted man who deserves to be helping on a national level for the good of the people.

He has shown that higher humane standards should be pursued at all time as was revealed in his constant labor battle with the post military government of Olusegun Obasanjo .

He believes in the power of the rule of law as he demonstrated in his gubernatorial war of 19 months until his resumption into office in November of 2008. In spite of the struggles he endured which included arrest, he believes that the matter of unity is far beyond political, religious and tribal lines, and that progressive unity is the ultimate end of a good struggle.

He believes the nation will be well served with leaders who are confrontational and sacrificial, at least when in comes to matters of adequately executing public serves.

He has shown time and time again that those huge Corporations that show insensitivity to the people’s heath and safety must be confronted. And such was the case of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation whom he legally threatened for their contaminated kerosene that resulted in loss of lives and destruction of properties some years ago. He believes the victims or their families should be compensated for the sake of justice.

Recently he openly corrected some personnel in his Executive council and even corrected his Commissioner of Health over the slow execution of a health-related project while at the same time same time ushering praises to the Commissioner in areas of the State projects were good performances are observed.

In other words, Oshiomhole always find it commanding to speak out only when it is about magnifying things that are of significance to the peoples’ overall progress.

If the Nigerian people are about pure development, growth, reform and progress, they should find a national place and mat for Oshiomhole to stand on and work.

He appears as a man who is idealistic, practical, simple, down to earth, and understands the psychological importance of risk taking, of constructive propaganda, of political maneuvering, and of shared politics as long as all these tactics lead to a better living, a better way and a better road to a great nation.

~ By John Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D , DABPS, FACFE, is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs--Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida.