Valentine Ozigbo, the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2021 Anambra governorship election, has revealed four yardsticks that should determine the best candidate ahead of the November 6 guber election.
Mr. Ozigbo made the submission on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, when he held a meeting with monarchs from Anambra Central at the palace of His Royal Majesty Igwe Peter Nwokike Anugwu of Mbaukwu in Awka South LGA.
While addressing the council of Igwes, Ozigbo acknowledged that 18 candidates are running for office, urging the traditional rulers to look at each contender’s personality, party, process, and promise before determining where to pitch their tent.
“How do we choose who to support on November 6? What criteria do we employ in selecting our next governor?” Ozigbo asked.
“First of all, we have to examine the person. What kind of person is the candidate? Any politician can make promises, but the strength of the promise depends on the reliability of the individual.
“Character is the primary criteria for choosing leaders, and that is how you all became kings. The truth is, if we examine this criterion, a lot of candidates will not even be on the ballot.
“Next, we should examine the party platform. If we are sincere, we will acknowledge that only three parties are in the race – PDP, APC and APGA.
“In the broader picture, we should vote for a party that will secure the interest of the Igbos at the national level.
“There’s a lot of talk about having a president of Igbo extraction. This dream will not become a reality if we do not align with a national party.
“In 2023, only two parties will present strong candidates, APC and PDP, and the obvious choice of Ndi Igbo is PDP.
“We should also examine the process through which the candidate emerged. Do our due diligence and ask these pertinent questions – How did the person emerge? Did he steal the mandate? Is his candidacy compromised?
“We need someone who emerged through a transparent process. The truth is that there was no primary in APC, and they are still in court.
“APGA imposed a candidate and disqualified others who were qualified, which has caused the uproar and division in the party.
“Finally, we must look at the promise made. It is on record that I was the first to reveal a manifesto, which Ndi Anambra have widely accepted,” Ozigbo, a respected business mogul, said.
Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, lamented Anambra’s sorry state, promising to be the answer to the prayers of Ndi Anambra.
“Anambra is an eyesore. Security, infrastructure, jobs and all sectors of the economy are moribund. I was in Lagos yesterday, and a lot of our brothers are afraid of coming home for Christmas. We deserve a better story, our identity is at stake, and we have a choice to make.
“Many of you know where I am coming from and can attest to my credentials. I want to be the best Governor Nigeria has ever produced, and this is not a political statement.
“If elected, I assure you that Ndi Igwe will play a vital role in my government. I am someone that listens. I will consult with you on how you want us to partner with you,” Ozigbo added.
While making his remarks, the Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, lamented the constant rift between the government and monarchs in the state, promising that Ozigbo will end the trend and entrench good governance.
“When I was governor, I was afraid of Igwes. Now Igwes are scared of the governor. There’s no Igwe here that can’t attest to feeling the effect of my government,” Obi said.
“When I left office, we did not owe salaries, gratuity, or pension. No contractor was owed. We had zero debts and billions in savings. That is not the case today.
“Take a close look at most of these people contesting for office. They live extravagant lifestyles that Anambra’s revenue cannot fund. As governor, I flew economy class, but some of them don’t even take commercial flights, only private jets.
“Valentine Ozigbo is most prepared for this journey. Support him and let us take Anambra back to where it was. We dealt with security on a zonal level, and our suggestions came from Igwes.
“Let us be part of a new Anambra State. Val Ozigbo will do it. PDP is the only party that will help Ndi Igbo negotiate power at the centre, and I will start that campaign with Anambra,” Obi remarked.
Also speaking, the host, Igwe Anugwu, expressed excitement at having Mr Obi at the gathering, pledging to support Ozigbo’s governorship bid.
“As you follow Ozigbo around, lead him well. I am with you 110%. Anambra needs someone who will lead us to greatness and Ozigbo is that person,” Igwe Anugwu said.
In his address, the Chairman of traditional rulers in Anambra Central, His Royal Highness Igwe AC Oragwam of Obeledu, thanked Ozigbo for taking time to see Ndi Igwe, describing him as a “principled man and a gentleman to the core.”
Several top leaders of the PDP and Directors of the Anambra PDP Governorship Campaign Organisation accompanied Ozigbo to the event.
Valentine Ozigbo is the Founder of the Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO), a non-profit organisation which has empowered over 300,000 youths and women. Since inception, the foundation has the forefront of promoting Igbo culture, initiating several programmes, including Ogene, Mbem and Oja competitions.
A true ambassador of Igbo tradition, Ozigbo introduced the annual New Yam Festival at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, when he served as its MD/CEO.