In the last one week, the air has been thick in Anambra State with the wind of the endorsement of the presidential aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The excitement on the faces of the people gathered at the site for the brief ceremony put together to flag off the site and services scheme of federal housing project at Awka/ Amansea said it all.
All of it could be understood because for a very long time, the people of the state have not been lucky to have the federal government inaugurate a project that would directly benefit the people.
But all that appears to have changed since Jonathan assumed office eight months ago. Within this period, the President has not only visited the state, he has also ensured that key projects like the Onitsha river port, the second Niger bridge at Onitsha, the Zik‘s mausoleum, the Sacamori channel and the Federal Housing Estate scheme at Amansea got off the ground.
The list of those who endorsed the President for a fresh term during the minister‘s visit are the governor of the state, Owelle of Onitsha, Chief Chukwuma Azikiwe, the Nriewelana of Nri, Igwe Obidiegwu Onyesoh, and the Owelle of Nimo, Igwe John Okafor-Agilo.
That was the mood of the excitement of the people with Jonathan when the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien, arrived in Awka the state capital last Monday to flag off the Awka/Amansea Federal Housing project.
The events and meetings the minister held from Amansea, through Onitsha, to Nri and Nimo all turned out to be endorsement events for President Jonathan.
A week earlier, the governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, had to explain why in spite of the party differences between him and the President, he has endorsed his presidential aspiration.
And in his influential position as the Chairman of the South-East Governors‘ Forum, he was calling on the people of the state and indeed the Igbo to give their support to Jonathan.
He had explained that his support for the President was informed by the fact that the state and the South East zone were witnessing unsurpassed federal presence under his administration.
The governor noted that key projects like the second Niger Bridge, which over the years had become a subject of political propaganda had been duly designed and awarded by the present administration, while work will soon commence on some erosion sites and Sacamori Onitsha which hitherto, has been receiving lip service from previous administrations.
And so right from the palace of the Igwe Kenneth Okonkwor, the first event that the minister attended, the message was made clear. ”Goodluck Jonathan is our man for 2011. Go and tell the President,” the traditional ruler charged Essien.
And then at the flag-off ceremony of the site and services scheme, the minister got a resounding affirmation from the crowd, when he asked, ”Should this Good Luck continue?”
To prove their excitement, the community hosting the project had that morning conferred the title of Onwanetilora of Amansea on the minister. The title means the moon that shines for all to see.
The special guest and governor of the state put it succinctly when in his address at the ceremony said he would not waste any time to call out the first name of the President, because the ”Good Luck” was there for everyone to see.
From Amansea, the Minister‘s team moved to Onitsha to inspect the abandoned Nnamdi Azikiwe mausoleum project being built in honour of the late Nigeria‘s first president.
First son of the former President, Chief Chukwuma Azikiwe, who received the team had this to say, ”We are aware that when Mr. President visited this state that he did make a promise that he will address this project. We were encouraged by that because you, the honorable minister was already moving on the ground.
“We want to thank the President for the positive steps so far and we pray that by the grace of God this will not be another dashed hope.”
The train moved on to Nri, Anaocha Local Government Area, the ancestral home of the Igbo where the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and urban Development is constructing 2.5 kilometres of internal roads, complete with street lighting and drainages under the Millennium Development Goals.
Overjoyed by the benefit the project will bring to his community, the Eze Nri, Igwe Obidiegwu Onyesoh, promised to mobilise all his subjects to register to vote in next year‘s elections.
”That is the only way that we can ensure that the Good Luck that President Jonathan has brought to our community will continue,” the Eze Nri said.
A member of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, who hails from Nri, but belongs to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, said she would mobilise her people to support the continuation of Jonathan in office.
It was similar story at Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area, where the ministry was constructing internal roads. The Owelle Nimo, Igwe John Okafor-Agilo praised Jonathan for remembering his community and promised to get his people to register to vote in the forthcoming poll.