In the early hours of that Sunday morning, the commercial and industrial city of Nnewi erupted in jubilation as the popular Amuko Junction was filled with joyful activities including cars and motorcycles riding, all celebrating as early as 7am.
While some were waving the flag of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), blowing whistles, singing, jumping and shouting “Nwa Nne ya n’eghe akara”, some had tears of joy in their eyes as they chanted and danced. Celebrations engulfed bars and most streets in Nnewi, while hundreds enjoyed free drinks at popular New Arrival Restaurant, Nnewi, many deferred their different church Sunday Service worship to join the historic celebration.
It was the celebration of the election victory of Nonso Peter Okafor, who, despite the unnecessarily tense and traumatic process, was declared winner of the Anambra State House of Assembly election for the Nnewi North State Constituency, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), through the Returning Officer for the election, Dr. Alapu chukwumbuikem Eugene.
It was the story of a young man, Nonso Okafor (Smart), whose bid to change the narrative of representation of his people in Anambra State House of Assembly, faced different forms of suppression, oppression and intimidation by those who have decided to take the place of God.
His Journey started on 23rd April, 2018, when he formally declared interest to represent Nnewi North State Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly, many saw him as a joker, not because he was not qualified or intellectually competent, but based on political realties on ground, the odds were stacked against him.
Contesting for the ticket of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), he faced gladiators in the race who were leaders in their own right and commanded a large followership, he faced moneybags whose declaration of interest ceremony were attended by the movers and shakers of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Despite the financial intimidation, on the October 4th, 2018, against all expectations, Nonso Okafor, won the primary election of his party, with thirty-four (34) votes, defeating his closest rival, Obiano Ngonadi who got twenty-eight (28)votes. Attempts to hijack his victory by those who have decided to sell their conscience because of their selfish ambition failed.
In the spirit of sportsmanship, out of the five (5) persons who contested the primaries against him, four (4) of them which are; Hon. Nnayelelu Onyejepu, Engr. Law Okeke, Barr. Ikenga Ubezuonu and Hon. Kenson Okeke, threw their full weight behind him while Dr. Obinna Ngonadi who alleged that the primaries was rigged, backed out and joined the Young Progressive Party (YPP).
As campaign proper kicked off in January, it became a battle of fists rather than a game of wits. Instead of campaign driven by intellectual contestation on the core legislative issues affecting the constituency and Anambrians in general, barefaced, blatant and brazen lies was launched on All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and her candidate, Nonso Okafor, to the extent that he was abused and ridiculed by one of the opponent who said that the Mother of Smart sold bean cake (Akara), therefore, he has no right to be contesting such election, thinking it will be to his advantage, the comment provoked public sympathy for Nonso Okafor (Smart).
As campaign intensified, Nonso Okafor took his campaign to all the clans and communities in Nnewi, he spoke more about his achievements in the previous positions he has held in the past and his plans for Nnewi, he impressed the public with his intimidating profile of how he was able to stand out in America among the five hundred (500) youths selected from fifty (50) African countries to move the brave motion preventing youths from fifty (50) countries in Africa from adopting Gay Right as the major issue facing Africa, his exploits as the Student Union Government President of Federal Polytechnic Oko, how former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as a member of the Technical Committee that designed the National Presidential Initiative on Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) as part of his Transformation Agenda and his other trainings in leadership. While the opposition remained reactive to issues, Nonso Okafor endeared himself in the hearts of the populace. The people’s belief in him made them to donate their resources towards the actualization of his ambition.
The few oligarchs who have continued to play god over the years refused to toe the line of the large majority of the masses, they deployed their financial war chest and propaganda machine in an attempt to impose their preferred candidate, few days to the election, they empowered the leadership of the different communities in the town financially to skew the result of the election in their favour, but unfortunately for them, the majority of the people have made up their minds to rescue the town from the hands of these few oligarchs, they resolved to play deaf to the horrible propaganda machinery unleashed on the candidacy of Nonso Okafor.On that tensed Saturday of 9th March, Ndi Nnewi went to the polls, the majority of voters rejected the one (1) bag of rice, two (2) sachet of indomie Noddles and cash of Three Thousand (3000) which was a reward to vote against their conscience, they voted for Nonso Okafor not because of his party but due to their determination to change the status quo of representation in Nnewi.
Power returned back to the people as Nonso Okafor polled 13,231 votes to emerge winner, defeated his closest rival, Obinna Ngonadi of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), who polled 12,383, while Hon. Benchuks Nwosu polled 2,452 votes to come 3rd.
It was indeed a victory for the People. It was an election which may have marked the final burial of leadership and representation enthroned by egoistic and naked oligarchs.
Nonso Okafor may not have promised much during the campaign but as a man of eloquence who can supply the oratorical gloss during legislations on floor of Anambra State House Of Assembly. He has the intellectual capacity and experience that will make him valuable in Anambra State House of Assembly. With him in the house, the quality representation of Nnewi will never be in doubt.