Senator Annie Okonkwo
By Anayo Okolie
The immediate past deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Annie Okonkwo, has identified grassroot political mobilisation and education as key to an enduring democracy.
Okonkwo, who is also a South East states’ parity campaigner and represented Anambra Central in the sixth Senate, stated this at a multi-party stakeholders summit in Awka, the Anambra State capital. He said that the clear consequence of prolonged political infightings in the parties in the State was the unhealthy reign of political apathy at the grassroots. “The grassroots are the real owners of democracy in a free plural contest,” he maintained, “hence their education and mobilisation is very critical to the quality of representation and leadership they enthrone.”
Commending the initiative the senator said, “Now is the time for every stakeholder in the good governance of our state to admit that the problems we have all suffered for are man-made, and the solutions can only be people-driven.
The people that matter so much in this instance, he emphasised, are the grassroots people who, according to him, have been ignored for so long such that their faith in the political process has become weak and badly shaken.
According to Okonkwo, ”if we must get it right now, we must collectively decide to unselfishly educate and mobilise them to re-assert their sovereign authority to freely decide who govern them. The era of multiple judicial ambush and abuse to truncate the people’s will, must give way to their just choices and preferences.”
He therefore made a clarion call to all indigenes of Anambra State, saying “As 2014 draws near steadily but surely, let us once more demonstrate to Nigeria our esteemed historical culture that the ordinary people in our clans, villages, towns and local governments remain the only legitimate and honourable ladder to power and leadership.”