Vox populi, vox Dei! The people have spoken, and their decision is so loud, it is deafening.
For both Mrs Ngozi Anierobi, a petty trader at Eke Awka and Dr Jude Udemba, an accomplished legal practitioner based in Onitsha, despite their differences in social and economic status, they have one thing in common, and that is the choice of these two individuals. From the hills of Ukpor to the plains of Aguleri, the choice is the same. It reverberates across the land. The verdict is unequivocal.
The Anambra Man of the Year Award is instructive because it seeks to arrest the terrible societal decline and set in motion value reorientation to salvage the soul of the Igbo society.
It is timely and pushes the narrative of the ancient values of honesty, hard work, excellence and community service to the front burner, redirecting the focus of our youth to the things that matter instead of the suffocating vices, shortcuts, greed, and selfishness.
It gladdens the heart that Ndi Anambra understood what Martin Luther King Jr called “the fierce urgency of now” and bought into the project massively, participating actively in the voting process and urging those on the sidelines to join the train.
The reasons for the decision are apparent. Beyond politics, Valentine Ozigbo has garnered experience in the banking sector for over seventeen years before heading Transcorp Plc, where he spent close to a decade, all these at an exceptionally young age. Suffice it to say that he has an untainted track record in the corporate world and a proven acumen in managing people and resources with positive outcomes.
Despite these achievements, Valentine Ozigbo has maintained a very quiet and unassuming mien. Still waters, they say, runs deep. His carriage has been one of dignity and respect, and this has rubbed off on the kind of politics he plays. Prior to the election, Anambra State was on the brink of total decline of law and order. Ozigbo’s brand of refined politics was the needed tonic, the fire extinguisher that helped calm the situation and restore order.
Alexander Chika Okafor, (the Chicason Boss)on the other hand understands perfectly the philosophical underpinnings of aku na uba in Igbo traditional thought. No Aku is complete without the uba. It is the uba that gives it the meaning and the essence. Aku is wealth, uba means a recognition that the society is better off if everybody becomes empowered.
Similar thoughts in Igbo cosmology include onye aghana nwanne ya (Be your brother’s keeper). And so, this man concentrates his huge manufacturing concerns in Anambra State, creating massive employment opportunities for ndi Anambra, increasing the GDP of the State and widening the tax net for the government. He is, unarguably, the biggest employer of labour in the state after government, and when most companies are complaining of ease of doing business, he increases his businesses because east or west, home is home.
These two giants deserve every accolade. They represent the best of us. Their stories should be like a needle that runs through our hearts and minds, inspiring our young in the wilderness of get -rich- quick syndrome and setting a standard for a fulfilled and excellent living.