Akunyili, Citizen Godwin and APGA
From Day One, former information and communications minister and former D-G of NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili, had stood as a brilliant student. This much was observed right from her primary school years to the secondary. Being top of her class indeed was becoming boring at a stage owing to a dearth of stiff competition.
This was the state of affairs until she met a certain Godwin whom we shall call Citizen Godwin in this write up. For the first time Dora's domination of her class became seriously threatened by this Godwin who rekindled enthusiasm in our Dora. But despite this the first position in class began to oscillate between the two who eventually graduated with distinction.
Owing to the absence of modern day communication at that time the two bright students were not to meet again until three years after in circumstances Dora will never forget. Akunyili who was then in her third year in the university had gone shopping at Onitsha Main Market and lo and behold who did she run into? Godwin! The young student who had given her a run for her money back then at college.
But whatever joy Dora would have had at the re-union was brutally quashed when Godwin told her he was a conductor at the motor park! Godwin the young, promising student had metamorphosed to Citizen Godwin, the motor park tout! What brought about this crude transformation? Poverty! What else could have brought such a brilliant chap to the lion's den called the motor park?
Dora was humbled, really humbled and since that day she had resolved to live for others; to deploy her resources into fighting poverty; to fight to ensure that the fate that befell Citizen Godwin will not be the lot of other such people in society.
Thus as a supervisory councillor for agriculture in her home area of Anaocha in Anambra State , dora lived for others and excelled on the job. Pleased with her performance her people endorsed her for appointment as a member of the state advisory committee, women's commission. From there she was again appointed by her appreciative community to serve them as member health management board. Again she excelled. Next she got appointed as Anambra State coordinator of Better Life. She passed the test in flying colours and was asked again to represent her people as zonal secretary of PTF. It was another great story.
The time then came for her to be announced to the world when she was appointed D-G of the then unknown NAFDAC. Overnight she turned the agency around and gave it visibility to such an extent that everybody angled to head the agency. She became very bad news to dealers on fake and adulterated drugs, the barons who out of their greed sent many unsuspecting souls to their early graves. She nearly paid the supreme sacrifice when those bad guys attempted to assassinate her. But the God she served came to her rescue. At the end of the day she won the war and many lives were saved.
Pleased with her output the federal the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua appointed her information and communications minister. Many thought that was the end of visibility for the courageous fighter. But then they did not know her well enough. Again overnight the hitherto sleepy ministry became vibrant and little wonder she was appointed a second time by incumbent President Jonathan Goodluck. He simply had no choice.
In between she had proved she was not one to keep mum when things went awry. She chose the period of controversy surrounding the health of Yar'Adua to show Nigerians the sterner stuff she was made of when she became the first person to urge that Jonathan be made acting president and condemned the hide and seek game surrounding the health situation of Yar'Adua. This did not go down well in some quarters but she had said the minds of a vast majority of her country people. Now with six months left of her tenure as minister Akunyili has once again stunned Nigerians. On Wednesday December 15 she formally resigned her appointment as minister and declared her intention to come and serve her people as a senator representing Anambra Central. In taking this decision she said she wanted to come down and complement the great efforts of her governor, Peter, the Rock, Obi. Less than a week after this she was back home among her people to seek their support. According to her, all her public life, she had served the nation as an appointee and now wants to be elected for the first time. According to Akunyili if nominated and eventually elected she would give her constituents an unparalleled representation in the senate which would be anchored on the eradication of hardship encountered by the people.She promised to build toilets in all the markets in her constituency as well as to institute a scholarship scheme with the aid of affluent people in her constituency and outside the country where she said she had connections.
As soon as I get into the senate I will hit the ground running. I'm touched by the poor quality of life in the villages where I have also lived,' said Akunyili who also declared she was in the race to help Governor Peter Obi in the wonderful job he was doing in the state.
'I will not go to the senate unless you agree. I'm not going there for myself. I will make sure you get the type of representation you have never had before and at every turn I will tell the world that you sent me,' said Akunyili who also promised to hold regular town hall meetings to acquaint the people with developments in the senate.
She called on the people to ask for her resignation if within one year in the senate she failed to effect viable and tremendous changes. 'Don't recall me because that is a long process; just ask me to resign,' Akunyili told her constituents.
Now, folks, is it not clear that Akunyili has made the right choice to serve her people under APGA, a party that belongs to Ndigbo? Is it not clear that under APGA she can better realize her ambition of helping the likes of Citizen Godwin?
APGA is the vehicle for realizing that because it does not believe in sharing money but working for the people.
Jude Atu Odenigbo