To many individuals, politics is just a game. But, to the All Progressives Grand Alliance House of Assembly candidate for Aninri, Enugu State, Obiageli Onwe, it is more. She says a process that determines governance cannot be likened to a mere game, but a fundamental, democratic exercise that is as important as the basic needs of man.
Democratisation, the gradual transition of any state’s political system towards democratic changes and policies, is pivotal to the development of that state.
The spread of democracy completely transformed the Nigerian political landscape from the military regime to a system where people have the authority to deliberate and decide.
Democratisation is important in shaping societies, to strengthen societal norms associated with many important positive outcomes, from respect for human rights to economic growth. Without a doubt, the development of political institutions at the national, state and grassroots levels will propel any nation towards prosperity.
This is what Oby Onwe stands for: democratisation at all levels, for the collective progress of her constituency.
Unfortunately, not many indigenes of Aninri share this vision. Some are out to destabilise the peace of the area, while others are out to fuel insecurity to perpetuate their nefarious deeds.
Particularly since democracy was restored in 1999, insecurity has come to characterise the Nigerian political scene. Its current upward trend has assumed a very dangerous dimension that is rapidly slowing development and endangering the nation’s corporate life.
The overwhelming insecurity in Nigeria is easily established without recourse to any authority. Armed robbery, ethnic and communal clashes, religious riots and all forms of social upheavals have left many dead, maimed or homeless.
Insecurity in Nigeria has resulted in the destruction of property, social and economic dislocation and its attendant poverty and unemployment. The situation has further disempowered both the rural and urban regions, and Enugu is not an exception.
The five South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, and Enugu were considered Nigeria’s safest for many years compared to other states of the. But today, it is a different.
In the face of insecurity, the South East is confronted with daunting developmental challenges, including endemic rural and urban poverty, high rates of unemployment, low industrial output, as well as inadequate physical and social infrastructure, among others.
In this context, it is easy to establish a nexus between national security and development. Accordingly, it is meaningless to talk of national development in the absence of national security. So, insecurity in a nation is a threat to development.
The recent levels of insecurity have trickled down to the rural areas, causing civil unrest and creating platforms for despicable politicians to continue their acts of corruption. For instance, the relatively calm town of Nenwe, Aninri constituency of Enugu, was recently attacked by gunmen targeting the residence of APGA’s House of Assembly candidate, Onwe, who was fortunately not around.
Sources state that the attack was by gunmen, believed to be working for her competitors, who may be uncomfortable with her rising political profile and popularity ahead of the elections. These individuals wreaked havoc, riddling the property with bullets, while forcing their way in to the country home of the APGA candidate. They destroyed furniture, window panes, doors, automobile and electronic appliances.
Witnesses said the gunmen in black attires came in the afternoon, screaming at residents, while vandalising valuables. The assailants reportedly proceeded to the rear of the building to destroy the plumbing and water facilities. This malicious destruction of property revealed that the gunmen were hired for far more violent purposes.
Onwe, speaking to newsmen in Enugu, condemned the attack, describing it as an act of desperation.
She said, “It was an unfortunate incident and I cannot understand the reason for the destruction. Many questions were on my mind when I heard the news; were there any casualties? What was destroyed? among others. Is it now a crime to join politics or are my opponents so desperate that they would resort to the wanton destruction of property? I do not know. Fortunately, I visited the constituency a day before the attack for a meeting that was geared towards achieving peace and improving the welfare of the people of Aninri.”
It would seem that the gunmen received intelligence on Onwe’s movement; so they decided to attack, probably to kidnap or assault the APGA candidate. However, the plan was unsuccessful.
Regardless of the assault on her life and property, Onwe is still standing strong, determined to finish the political race she started.
“Before I entered politics, I had been actively working on projects to improve communities, donating aid to the people of Aninri. This incident will not deter me from contesting the 2023 election, which is just weeks away. It will only spur me on to run the race to the finish line. I am confident that I will succeed in the elections, to take Aninri to the next level. We cannot keep living in the shadow of insecurity, as nothing can function in an insecure environment,” she said.
Onwe noted that part of her agenda, when she gets elected, will be to bring reforms and holistic approaches towards tackling insecurity.
The APGA flagbearer noted that there are many drivers of insecurity, including inadequate security architecture, ineffective criminal justice system, easy access to small arms and light weapons, existence of porous borders, prevalence of poverty and unemployment, multiplication of unaddressed socio-political grievances, poor land use policies, agitations over resource control, as well as failure to address structural and constitutional deficiencies.
Onwe, vowing to address the above issues, has urged all citizens to collect their Permanent Voter Cards and participate in the electoral process, for the progress of Aninri, Enugu and Nigeria.
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