BY JUDE OSSAI / ENUGU
Friday, November 4, 2022 was like any other working day of the week to many people, But to members of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and indeed, lovers of democracy, it was a historic moment for them as party faithful gathered in Owerri, Imo State capital to brainstorm and chart a way forward, ahead of the next year’s general election.
At first, it looked as if the summit was going to be a flop as only few of the top echelon of ADC showed up.
However, the arrival of the national chairman of the party, Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu, at 1.28pm was the tonic that raised the bar as shouts of “ADC, ADC, Arise Nigeria” rented the air at 107, Okigwe Road, venue of the summit.
The 2023 Enugu Gubernatorial Candidate, Pastor Donatus Obi Ozoemena’s team was fully present at the summit as his delegate led by the State Chairman, Comrade Stella Chukwuma, were seated even before the national chairman of the party accompanied by other national officers came to the arena.
The Southeast summit proper, with its theme entitled: “Mobilizing ADC in Southeast for Electoral Victory in 2023. A strategic Action Plan”, kick-started when the Chairman, Board of Directors (BoT) of ADC, Nani Ibrahim Ahmed through his representative declared the the event opened.
Ahmed in his speech noted that ADC is a unique part set to bring positive change in Nigeria’s political space.
While wishing the participants a fruitful celebration, he enjoined them to remain resilient and focus on their determination to get victory from not only Abia State but from entire Southeast geo-political zone.
“ADC is unique and we are going to get victory from not only Abia State but from entire Southeast zone. There will be transformation rally in Enugu and foundation rally in Anambra. As you have mobilized members, I want you to mobilise voters ahead of 2023 general election.
“Some of our national officers are not here because we are becoming cautious of the prevailing security challenge. Some are here while others are somewhere representing us”, he added.
In his welcome address, the chairman of the Summit and gubernatorial candidate of the party in Abia State, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, said he was overwhelmed by the calibre of people he saw in attendance, stressing that he accepted to chair thec gathering because of the dynamics in Nigerian politics.
“I have come for a change in Abia State hence I offered myself to govern Abia State come 2023.
“I welcome you all praying that through our conversations here we will speak to our people and change the narrative positively.
“We are here for strategic action plan. And hopefully, we will provide the desire change, Bishop added.
The national chairman of the party, Chief Nwosu, in his keynote speech, noted that the summit is historic, pointing out that the event showed that they are serious to take over leadership of the country
Nwosu maintained that ADC will play a major role in who becomes Nigeria’s next president.
The ADC chairman, a founding Treasurer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) went down memory lane on the crisis that bedevilled APGA, saying that the challenges should serve as a lesson to ADC.
“As founding Treasurer, I helped in registering APGA. APGA was designed by the founding fathers to be a national party and not a regional party. The crisis then in APGA affected me and I had to leave because I hate injustice.
“We should be committed to change the narrative. With the type of competent leaders we have in ADC, we will redefine the destiny of the youths of this country. Nigeria belongs to all of us and not to a cabal. We will become a nation respected, worshipped in the comity of nations if the right leadership is put in place. Nigeria must be taken back to the people.
“Today is historic as our gathering here is a sign of our serious declaration to change the status-quo, to bring positive change in the country.
The Lead Speaker at the event, Chukwuka Monye, took a swipe at soci-economic and political situation in Nigeria with an emphasis on Southeast zone, saying the insecurity in the land has taken a frightening dimension.
Monye noted, “Literacy is high in Southeast and poverty level is high too. But today, I say there is hope. I charge all our candidates to come out with electoral innovations. Door to Door, House to House campaign is the answer”
He opined, “ADC is a very big political platform for the future of Nigeria. Our actions or inaction in 2023 will have general effects in years to come”.
Among the gubernatorial candidates who delivered their speeches at the summit was the Enugu governorship flag-bearer, Pastor Ozoemena.
In a paper entitled; “African Democratic Congress, Enugu State Action Plan for 2023 Election, Pastor Ozoemena through his ADC state organising Secretary, Prince Charles Okechukwu said that ADC campaign could be an exciting experience.
According to him, “A great deal will happen between now and Election Day and with a little forethought and planning, we can be prepared for all the twists and turns and, by God’s grace, control the situation. This action plan is designed to help us anticipate what will happen, guild us through the activities and better prepare our minds towards winning the election.
Pastor Ozoemena explained, “First, it will be on point to keep the political landscape of Enugu State in memory while we plan to outturn the table. Enugu state is a PDP state with all political offices occupied by same party.
“The implication of this parallel political power is that it will not be a child’s play if the intention is really to win.
“However, while the Enugu State political landscape is an important factor and in many cases the most important factor, the difference between winning and losing lies with party structural relevance and campaign strategies & contents. The following steps are thoughtfully programmed to give ADC winnings if carefully followed.
“Step 1 Reviving Grassroot Structures of the Party
Elections are conducted in the wards. Hence, ward structure of ADC are to be resurrected and made active with activities to keep party men and women politically alive and hopeful. Such activities include regular meetings and visitations, polling units grouping among others.
“At any case where there are no ward executive (Structure), efforts should be made to arrange for capable hands to take the executive roles in the dead wards.
A ward-round visitation is important irrespective of who does the journey. High ranked party faithful from the State working committee can be assigned to some wards while H.E Pst. Donatus Ozoemena in his full capacity can also tour selected wards with giant strands and where ADC has more winning prospects. This will increase strength in the party’s grassroot structures.
“Consultations: Consultations are actually one of the orientation steps before campaign in full. However, for reasons we couldn’t challenge, we are still on it.
“Therefore, we have to deploy strength at it now and step up our consultations especially in prospective constituencies. Local government chairmen, House of Assembly, Rep and Senate candidates may help identify very important personalities in their constituencies for the effectiveness of this exercise.
“Presence at Important Social and Religious Gatherings
For the length of awareness and orientation associated to the 2023 election, the church is a very important campaign platform. ADC has an advantage here considering the office of our Guber candidate as a Pastor. A tour round very serious churches in Enugu State will increase our popularity and chances.
“In the same vein, there are rather more political oriented social gatherings in the state during electioneering periods. Such gathering should not be neglected as they help to announce the party and its candidate among stakeholders and electorates.
“Zonal Rallies: .”With many factors duly considered, Open air campaigns for ADC have to be split into three according to the three senatorial zones in Enugu state. Hence, one would be held at Nsukka, another, at Enugu East and the other at Enugu west.
“Permutations for venues of these rallies are on-going to ensure effectiveness, safety and result. At the end, there should be a general rally which will hold at Awgu, the home of H.E.
“Situation Room Activities: Under this, there should be a strong, analytical and experienced group of people whose job is to evaluate political trends, area of high political strength, challenges and prospects as they are foreseen and be able to solve the puzzle with the aid of available relevant data. Based on this, we need a holistic 2022 voter registration data, and the 2019 election data.