MARCH 18: No Affirmative Actions, Support From My Party, APC’s Umuahia East HoA Candidate, Mrs. Ogbonna Cries Out *Breaks silence on incessant attacks
By Charity Uwakwe
As various political parties across the country are bustling with activities in readiness for the forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly elections, the candidate for Umuahia East State Constituency, under the All Progressives Congress, APC, Hon. Chief Mrs Nnenna Chriatiana Ogbonna has lamented that she has never enjoyed any form of affirmative action from her party, unlike the leaders of other political parties in the State.
The former Counselor and Adviser to the Chairman on Women’s Affairs and former Chairman of Local Government Secretaires lamented over the weekend, in Umuahia, the State’s capital, during an exclusive interview with famousreporters.com, that neither her governorship candidate has never batted an eye at her, considering her gender, hence to make her feel a glimmer of hope as she battles with the male counterparts from opposition parties. This is even as the election which was initially slated for Saturday, March 11, now comes up on Saturday, March 18, as various political parties fiercely prepare for the long awaited exercise.
Ma, please, tell us how you have been coping with the race. Has there been any act of intimidation or victimisation from the male counterpart in the opposition parties?
Ans: Yes, the race is sweet because this is not the first election I’ve been a candidate; we have intimidations from men especially this time around. Among the men that are contesting in my constituency they are five, I’m the only female candidate among the five candidates, so, all of them are bouncing on me. You hear them say things like; How can you allow a woman to go and represent you in such a position? But, I know that women make more efforts, women represent well in any where they are, especially, I always tell them, look at Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, if Nigeria did not bring her out, nobody would know the potentials in that woman. So, as for me, I’ve been a supervisory Counsellor in umuahia North local government, and when I was there, the Local Government knew that a woman was there. Because the potentials in me as a politician started coming out. I was there and after the Counsellorship position I went back there as an Adviser to the chairman on women’s affairs. I also was the Secretary of the Local Government from the year 2008 to 2010. The first female Secretary of Abia state, after my tenure, because that position nobody knew a woman can do it better, I Chaired the 17 local government secretaries, I was their Chairman as a woman. After that position, the next governor of Abia state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu came in, he decided to use 17 women for each local government as secretary of that council because my performance was very perfect and excellent and I was able to showcase to them the hidden capacity and potentials of women, because previously, they believed a woman could not do that job but, after doing the job as the Secretary of the Council during T. Orji’s regime, I did it well. That is to tell you that we have the same potential as men have. The only thing is that the men like to intimidate us, especially in elective positions.
Q. So how have you been able to cope seeing this caliber of men in the same race?
Ans: I’ve been coping because I believe in myself; I’ve always go on my campaign with men because I know some men are also gender sensitive, they know what a woman can do, so they follow me. Also, both the young girls and the women have been there campaigning for me, but the only thing is that the men always like to intimidate and attack us.
Q. Has there been any incident of physical attract since the beginning of this election?
Ans: No, no physical attack for now, but during my last elections there were physical attacks, they broke my car glasses, that was during the 2020 Local Government elections, they attacked me very well, but this time around no physical attack because I took precautions that I’ll not do my campaign anything from 8 0’clock to 9 0’clock in the evening. Because, I know that is when they always attack me, so after 9 0’clock I’m always in my house so that I will not be a victim of their attack, because they always attack us when we move in the night, so for now I’ve not had a physical attack, but spiritually, they’ve been attacking me, because I know myself, last week Saturday I was virtually a dead woman but thank God for my life. It was a spiritual attack and it was prayers of men of God that restored my life back, but I know I’ll always have that attack as a woman but I’m strong in the Lord.
Q: Ma, as the governorship and House of Assembly elections come up in few days time, have you enjoyed any form of preferential treatment in form of affirmative actions from the party, at least to lessen the burden on you as a female?
Ans: I’ve not, because my party as APC party, the governorship candidate of my party is not carrying me along, because we have two factions in Abia state, Ikechi Emenike’s and Uche Ogah’s factions. But, as High Chief Ikechi Emenike won in the Supreme Court, we expected him to carry everyone of us along.
I am a candidate of APC, Abia state House of assembly, for my constituency, Umahia East State Constituency. I won in the Court because the man I contested with is in ikechi Eminike’s faction, and after the court decided that it was me that won the primary election, ikechi would not let me work with him, he only believes that a woman cannot go for that position, because I expected him as a father,
I’ve gone to him, I’ve made my contacts to reach him, yet all my efforts were in avail. As a father, I expected him to call his people, call his sons and daughters so that we can work together as a party, for that reason, no privilege, no assistance from the party, all the money that is supposed to come to us from the party or from any where is coming directly to him and he is hoarding that money.
Okay ma, women are considered among the vulnerable groups during electoral processes, so please, so far have you enjoyed any form of benefits as a woman either from your female supporters
I’ve not enjoyed any form of support from the party nor have I benefited from any female supporter financially, but the woman are there working for me at the grassroots, their prayer is that a woman should go this time. They believe that this is the time for them to be in the House of Assembly, as they say that men have been there for 24 years especially in my constituency, and the most funny part of it is that all these men that went for 24 years are going there with my ticket, after winning the primaries, when I was in PDP, they’ll call me and plead and say I should release the ticket for so so so person, and if you say no, you’d find yourself either dead or disfigured, so with fear I’d release the ticket to them, so it has been a war in my constituency, that is why I pull out of PDP and went to APC, thinking that it’ll be easy for me in APC. If not for Court judgement, they’re planning also to take the ticket away from me, but the Court said no, give this ticket to this woman that she is the winner of the primaries. So the women are supporting me in grassroots. Although I’ve not seen any physical cash, even the women in politics, I’ve been meeting with them because they said women don’t have money, so what they can do for me is to campaign for me, meeting the women groups and pleading with them to vote for their fellow woman.
Q Alright, ma, please, what is your major challenge?
Ans: My major challenge is that I’m not being carried along by my party leader, that’s the governorship candidate, and you’re not getting support of any kind of financial support from anybody.
Yes, it is my husband and his brothers that have been supporting me
Q. Finally ma, what are your anticipations come Saturday March 18th?
Ans: My anticipation come march 18th is that; one, I’m 100% sure that if the election is free and fair, I’m going to win this constituency, because the women are there shouting, praying that a woman will go this time, so they are very much supportive, and I believe strongly that, if the women can cast their votes, women are more than men in most communities, so in every community the youth, the girl child, the women are all there for me and I’m sure if they cast their votes and it’s free and fair, I must win this constituency by the grace of God.