Thousands of new entrants and returnees to the Peoples Democratic Party greeted Monday’s official declaration of foremost contender in the Anambra State governorship election, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, to contest the November 6, 2021 election on the platform of the party.
Dr. Okonkwo’s declaration may have boosted the chances of the PDP, which seeks to upstage the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance and return to power in the state, given his widening followership on account of his reputation for delivery.
It was gathered around party circles that Okonkwo’s declaration has altered earlier calculations, as he is believed to have the uppermost demography of followership, particularly among the voting population.
New entrants and other PDP members from the 21 local governments across the state stormed the party’s secretariat in Akwa, Anambra State capital, for the event, which caused serious human and vehicular traffic gridlock in the Udoka area of the state capital.
The crowd of supporters were received at the party’s secretariat by the State Chairman, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, and other leaders of the party, who commended them for joining PDP and assured of a credible nomination process that will throw up a candidate that would be acceptable to the generality of the Anambra State people.
Speaking at the declaration, an elated Okonkwo said he was humbled by the level of solidarity from Anambra people towards his governorship ambition, leading to the mass entrants into the party.
He said: “I am indeed humbled by this outpouring of support and solidarity from Ndi Anambra.
“You have decided to join the PDP because of my decision to contest this governorship election because you believe in me.
“Many of you are coming into politics for the first time; many others left other parties and others are now returning to our fold, all because of me.
“Your action today has placed enormous responsibility on my shoulders and I shall not fail you.”
The business mogul and philanthropist, who recently launched a new airline, United Nigeria, said he is in the race to accomplish his God-given inspiration to rebuild and reposition Anambra State for higher productivity, reiterated that his confidence is in God and the collective will of the people.
Okonkwo, who noted that he has very strong campaign machinery anchored on the vision of massive infrastructural development, knowledge economy and empowerment of the people, assured that he will effectively “utilize the party’s ticket to win the election and deliver on the promises”.
He said what Anambra State needs at the moment, beyond primordial sentiments is a leader with a vision, capacity, competence and integrity, for which he ranks highest among the contenders across all the political parties.
Okonkwo presented a 10-point development action, which centres on rural development, social welfare for all categories of the people, youth and women empowerment, job creation, urban re-development, diaspora engagement, re-design of healthcare development, re-engineering of water supply among others.
Speaking at the event, a chieftain of the party, Prince Azubuike Iloh (Ise Na Ise), described Okonkwo as the choice of the people and urged other aspirants to make personal sacrifices for Anambra people by jettisoning their ambition and rallying around him in the collective interest of the people.
Others who spoke at the event commended Dr. Okonkwo for venturing into the contest for the leadership of Anambra State, adding that it was time the state was rescued from professional politicians who, though are qualified to contest, however, lack the capacity to win the state for PDP.
Some of the new entrants told journalists that they were lured into the party by Dr. Okonkwo’s credentials.
One of them, Chudy Ezeaku, said: “I was lured into the party after reading his profile.
“I am encouraged that we have someone like him offering to lead our state.
“I am attracted by the fact that in almost 30 years, Okonkwo has worked to create wealth and never at any time earned a salary as a paid worker.
“Rather, he has been paying others.
“This means that he knows what to do to make thing better for us the youths.”