July 20 1969 was a normal day until it wasn’t. A man landed on the moon for the first time and the date is enshrined into the annals of humanity. March 27th, 2021 began as a normal day until Nonso Smart Okafor climbed the podium to declare his intention to run for the governor of Anambra State and the day ceased to be an ordinary one.
Whatever happens in the primary election in June/July when the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, gathers to elect their flagbearer, and whatever happens in the general election in November, the date March 27th, 2021 would continually reverberate.
But whether it would be a date that would be remembered as a giant missed opportunity for Ndi-Anambra or a day that would be cherished for beginning a progressive shift in Anambra State, only time would tell.
And the time is now.
It is time for a shift from government-is-king politics to servant-leadership. Government is the servant and a lot of politicians say this. Showing this is the problem – the only way to show this is to crown the people the king by making the people actually choose their leaders. Since 1999, Anambra people have suffered the ills of godfatherism which saw a couple of governors rise to power to serve the interest of a few.
Nonso Smart is without a godfather, he is without billionaire backers, he is without the blessings of power brokers from Abuja or Nonso; he is alone. But in a true sense, he is not alone as he is surrounded by people who are hungry for real change, people who want their voice to be heard, and people who believe they can help create arguably the most important shift in Anambra since the return of civilian rule.
Nonso Smart is the creation of the people.
It is time for a shift from the politics of giving people fish to the policy of teaching people to fish. “One of the greatest concerns we have as a people is insecurity,” Okafor said on the day he declared to run.
He understands the harm unemployment is causing and he is aware that this cannot be solved by giving a few people political appointments (fish) or contracts (fish). For Anambra to become great, it has to empower the youths (teaching to fish). Smart is determined to do this. One of the ways he intends to do this is by building the Nnewi Mega City which would revolutionize the state economy and produce hundreds of thousands of jobs.
It is time for a shift from the politics of the unknown to the politics of tested figures. Anambra, since 1999, has produced governors who had no experience of governance and who, it seems, were learning on the job. It is 2021, Anambra has grown too big to have IT (intern) governors. With Nonso Okafor, Anambra would be getting a governor who has been in government, who understands what works, what doesn’t work, and who has first-hand knowledge of how to make things work.
Nonso Smart would hit the ground running on day one in Agu Awka.
Nonso Okafor is not aware of the problems of Anambra by reading the pages of Nigerian newspapers or scrolling down the timeline of his social media feeds. He is right there in Awka where decisions are made, he travels and connects with cities, towns, and villages where these decisions are felt.
With Nonso Smart on the ballot in November, Anambra would have the opportunity to elect a leader who knows how decisions are made and who feels the pains of ill-thought decisions.
It is time for a shift to the government of the people, for the people, and by the youths. Since the military returned to their barracks and civilian rule began in Nigeria, Anambra has been governed by mostly the elderly. It is time to try young blood.
“The whole idea is not just about being a youth. I am not contesting because I am young,” Nonso is quick to point out. “I am contesting because I am prepared for the task. I have been tested in some other positions and I believe I can do this job very well. I am qualified to be the next governor both academically, age-wise, constitutionally, and intellectually.”
Nonso added thus: “Today, we are in a digital age and we cannot afford to operate analog in a digital age. If you check the ICT and the entertainment industry and other sectors that young people have taken charge of, you will see how massively they are doing in creating an economy.”
“It takes young people to build any nation,” Hon. Okafor continued. “If elected, I will build a society that will be better not just for the youth but the older generation. I want to build a state that we will be proud of.”
Anambra has given the elderly a chance, and another, and another. Trying an agile youth, who is passionate about serving, who is hungry for the success of Ndi-Anambra, and who has a burning desire to build a legacy of efficiency, of excellence, and of prosperity is the way to go.
And the time is now for you to add your voice, your time, and whatever way you can to make the shift in Anambra political space and governance become a reality.
When Neil Armstrong stepped feet on the moon, he said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” On March 27th, 2021, Nonso Smart Okafor took a small step by declaring to run for governor, and with that, he has engineered a giant leap for Anambra State.
Time is ticking: May Anambra not miss out.
Editor’s Note: Kingsley Okechukwu is a political commentator based in Anambra State
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