WHY I AM RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR OF ANAMBRA
A question seldom asked candidates is why they are running for public office and what motivates them? At Shikamo we go beyond we inquire why one wants to be elected is it because people asked? Or one has a plan and calling to fulfil? The motivation matters in ensuring a candidate or party success.
My desire to run for public office was ignited by a yearning to improve the lives of my compatriots. From the humble beginnings of my entrepreneurial journey which began when I set up a small toys trading firm at the heart of Idumota, the rowdy commercial nerve center of the cosmopolitan city of Lagos, I appreciated how politics permeated every social condition and dictated all aspects of commercial enterprise. In the course of becoming a renowned businessman, I have had to reflect on the multifaceted problems plaguing this country which, despite its huge repository of natural resources, still remains underdevelopment in many respects. There is evidence of infrastructural dearth, neglect and decay in virtually every state of the federation, amongst other challenges. When I started out as an entrepreneur, Lagos afforded me firsthand knowledge of the challenges ordinary Nigerians face eking out a living and yet they have collectively been able to exercise agency and manage their dysfunctional environment.
In running for public office and pursuing active politics, two strong convictions drive me. The first is my sense of indebtedness, having built a successful business renowned for its African theme toys, I feel obligated to pay it forward and contribute towards positive change by assuming public office to address our most pressing challenges. The second is my sense of duty, having personal experience of what it took for me to succeed, I am invested in leading a life of public service because politics can make or break a society – hence in order to make a meaningful difference, being in active politics is the most impactful way to do it.
I am an advocate of people-centric development because I believe that political decisions must be informed by, relevant for and responsive to the lived realities of local communities, in order to guarantee service delivery that prioritizes the needs of the people. Although my academic background is in Accounting, Business and Management Research, my passion lies in addressing the challenges of development. Over the years, I have gained knowledge, expertise and insight into the development in the Nigerian context and specifically in the Anambra State. I have practical ideas on how the political, social and economic structure can be strategically leveraged to deliver and boost sustainable development in the Anambra State to enhance the overall quality of life.
I do not take the decision to run for office lightly and have had to contend with well-meaning friends and family who have expressed their reservations regarding this course of action. I enter the terrain of active politics with some apprehension as I am not naïve in assuming that my noble intentions will suffice in ensuring my success in the political enterprise I wish to embark on. However, in pursuing and attaining my goals of becoming a positive change agent, I am driven by the strong conviction that entrenching value-based leadership in the Nigerian polity is a worthy and urgent cause. In taking up the challenge of active politics, I am mindful of the great personal cost I may have to incur as politics is not for the faint-hearted. Fortunately, as a businessman, I have never let fear stand in the way of my deepest convictions or deter me from pursuing any course of action that I believed would ensure my success. In running for public office, I seek to channel the qualities that made me a formidable businessman into becoming an effective, transformative and development-oriented public servant. I fervently hope the people of Anambra afford me that honour.
I have come to define my impact and contribution to this generation of Nigerians by what kind of legacy I hope to build and leave behind. Beyond successfully building a business whose products are sold across the globe, beyond closing international business deals or attending some of the most prestigious universities in the world or making headlines in renowned media such as BBC, Forbes, etc – I care deeply about how I can make a lasting difference. I believe the time to step up and serve is now. I don’t take for granted my great fortune in having managed to succeed in Nigeria’s very difficult operating environment. My privilege has not blinded me to the plight of my compatriots who face innumerable challenges that I cannot remain indifferent to. I stand ready to serve and to lead in transforming our communities and ensuring the development of Anambra.
I wish to place at the service of the people of Anambra the very same qualities that made me an accomplished businessman: innovation, bold vision, practical solutions, entrepreneurial drive and most importantly – the unrelenting will to succeed. I wish to place at the service of the people of Anambra the same tenacity that made me succeed against the odds, the unwavering faith that allowed me to prevail in a hostile and dynamic business environment. The ability to navigate and overcome structural barriers in pursuit of success, with no support from the relevant financial or Government institutions, is one of the skills that individuals from the private sector like myself can bring into the public sectors. In running for public office, I intend to bring my private sector expertise to public governance so as to champion value-based leadership that places people at the centre of developmental initiatives.
By participating in the next Anambra gubernatorial elections scheduled for November 2021, I hope to become part of the solution to the numerous challenges that my compatriots are forced to contend with. In order to convey my motives for running for public office, I borrow the following words which so accurately capture my convictions:
“Your worth in life is a function of your contribution to mankind; your importance is a product of your impact and you will have no attraction in the community until your light begins to shine. And your light can only shine when you have groomed yourself to be a solution provider and not a liability.”