NMA to host debate on Anambra poll
• Another group searches for quality candidates
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Anambra State has expressed its preparedness to organize a Gubernatorial Public Square Interaction (GPSI) as part of its contribution to the electoral process that would produce the next governor of the state on November 18 this year.
The disclosure by the NMA came as the Centre for Leadership Trust and Moral Rectitude (CLTMR), urged the electorate to ensure the emergence of a credible person with good attributes as the governor.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, Chairman, Political Debate Committee of NMA, Dr. Jide Onyekwelu explained that the doctors’ move has become necessary due to the checkered history of elections in the state where the electorate do not even know the background of their candidates and how they intend to govern when they get into office.
According to him, “Post-election legal battles erode confidence of the electorate in the electoral process. Our elections are not won through the ballot box but at the court of law. This has brought voters apathy and vote sale. The electorate believe their votes do not count and easily fall to the temptation of selling them to the politicians.
“It is in this context of voters apathy engendered by lack of confidence in the electoral process that NMA in Anambra is organizing this GPSI. We want to have a say in the process.”
He added that the initiative would create an interactive platform where the gubernatorial candidates will have opportunity to face the electorate and sell themselves and their plans to address issues.
According to him, “We will hold enlightenment programs for our people to create awareness, the followers have a role to play to see there is attitudinal change in governance. Now we will tell the candidates our problems and how to solve them. Issues pertaining to governance will be discussed. If the system fails, we know who to hold responsible.”
The association expressed worry that virtually every social service in the state including education, health, housing, electricity etc. are private sector-driven, adding that GPSI initiative intends to highlight these issues in the interactive sessions, involving over 35 groups in the state like traditional rulers, town unions, market people, students.
On its part, the CLTMR, speaking through its Director-General, Barrister Innocent Ezeugo, vowed that it would take it as a duty to scrutinize all candidates presented by various political parties for the poll to ensure that the best among them emerges victorious, saying it is the only way the state can move forward.
Speaking at a press briefing also in Awka yesterday, Ezeugo disclosed that the group recognizes a leader who has interest of his people at heart and strives to carry his people along in the discharge of his duty as the Chief Servant of the state. According to him, “We believe a leader should not stand behind his people to push them, rather he should place himself before the people to facilitate progress and inspire them to accomplish set goals.”
He also said that a candidate must have a high level of integrity and evidence of personal discipline, high degree of loyalty and show courage of conviction and commitment to the state.
He said, “The candidate must be consistent and show proof of verifiable means of livelihood, experience in management of men and material, be tolerant, have respect for the Rule of Law and Human Rights.”
Other qualities he added include that the candidate must believe in popular participation and consultation, offer voluntary services to the state, cherish traditional values and customs and devoid of religious bigotry among others, insisting that if possessed by the gubernatorial candidates, they are capable of turning Anambra around.
His words: “These are the qualities Anambra people said they are going to look for. We shall scrutinize the candidates and verify their claims to enable us direct the people accordingly, in accordance with the objectives of our organization. The scrutiny would commence after the political parties have conducted their primaries in the state.”
Ezeugo however said that his organization would conduct another opinion poll on candidates that emerge after the party primaries, “to look at their background and how he or she has impacted on lives of the people. If we found that you have not done anything tangible in the state, we will not recommend you. These requires that the gubernatorial candidates are judged not just by the size of their wealth, but also by clearly measurable qualities.”
Ezeugo said their objectives include restoration of the dignity of man and democratic ethos through inspiring leadership qualities epitomized by precepts, as well as to encourage attitudinal changes from corrupt leadership practice to leadership uprightness.