Anambra politics is not for the faint-hearted. And it is not for the underachiever; it is for the dauntless and the “performer”.
Some politicians in the state have had their political fortunes plummet owing to a prodigious level non-performance. Anambra people have a voracious appetite for progress, and for development. They are least swayed by money, and even if they receive money to vote for a particular candidate; they often vote according to the dictates of their conscience, or preference.
Stella Oduah, fondly called ‘Ada na eme ogo’ by her people, is breaking a jinx. She has risen to become one of the most valuable and influential politicians in Anambra. And her shine appears far from waning.
Oduah, who chalked up years of experience in the private sector, running an oil conglomerate before joining politics, shared a bit of her experience as aviation minister with me. According to her, she is the best aviation minister Nigeria has had in years. This meeting will be the subject of a broader piece.
Oduah has sustained her clout by injecting seminal programmes into the lives of Anambra people, and providing curative services and projects for her people in Anambra North. From routine award of scholarships and grants, which she started in 2012, to provision of amenities, even though outside her remit as a senator. Stella has lived up to the billing of most Anambra citizens.
I interviewed a few young persons in Anambra North to sample opinions on her performance. Most of the respondents were ecstatic, having benefited from one of her scholarships or grants.
For a state with an accented male dominance, Oduah has surprised us – we the pessimists. Perhaps, she knew the only way to maintain relevance and etch herself in the hearts of many was by delivering “the goods”. This explains why she still coruscates, even in the dark alley of Anambra politics.
Really, it is not in the purview of legislators to take on projects. But we exist in a peculiar environment where every elected representative’s effort is counted more on the initiatives introduced to alleviate poverty than on the bills sponsored. No doubt, Oduah has sponsored impactful bills tailored towards addressing some of the challenges of the south-east. The South-east Development Commission Bill is one. And there are more.
Oduah may not be without controversy, but her performance in Anambra North is a strong argument for the expansion of political space for women to thrive. Personally, I would love to see a feminisation of the Anambra political firmament in 2019 with the emergence of more female legislators.
Perhaps, some day, Anambra will have a female governor.
Fredrick is a media personality.
He can be reached on Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo; Twitter; @FredrickNwabufo