Due to the uncertainties surrounding the conduct of court ordered rerun elections in Imo State, I deem it fit to suspend discussion on that till the electoral umpire must have come out with credible information on the date for the conduct of that election. However, the topic under discussion also has a lot to do with that, as it is expected to help the people arrive at a better choice as regards whom they will be electing to represent them at any level in the legislative chambers, especially, as it is that these elections are particularly to fill up legislative vacancies. What kind of person should a legislator be?
The legislature is the most valuable arm of any democratic government, because it is constituted by politicians and power wielders who are supposed to represent the interest of the people within a government. Legislators are not supposed to be just like any other politicians, but live true and act real to the demands which the Constitution and democratic concepts place on them. They are supposed to be the peoples’ representatives.
A peoples’ representative is supposed to be a man or woman of compassion, understanding and honesty who sees the people in him or herself. It is safe to describe a legislator as an embodiment of the people he or she represents, because one cannot be a true representative of the people if he or she does not identify with the people. Being a representative of the people means being the eyes of the people, being their ears, and even being their stomachs. By being their eyes, you need to see things from their own perspective, or at least from a fair and realistic perspective, you also need to be their eyes in the government, to ensure that no opportunity for their development eludes them. Being their ears means you have to hear things the way they do and also keep your ears on the ground to ensure that whatever information in government circles that may be beneficial to them is utilized to their benefit. Being their stomach means that you need to feel their hunger and look out for ways to provide for them and make the best opportunities for personal and communal development available to them.
I am only a constituent of Senator Samuel Anyanwu (SAMDADDY) by residence, as I have resided in Owerri for about fourteen years now, but I hail from Orlu zone, hence, the Senator who represents me at the Red Chambers is Senator Hope Uzodimma, but I can say without equivocation that Senator Samdaddy has represented me more than my own Senator, Hope Uzodimma. Beyond personal benefits, I also believe that Senator Samdaddy has shown a better grasp of what it really means to be a peoples’ representative than most of the legislators from around here. This is because while most of these other legislators begin to get closer to the people during electioneering periods, Senator Samdaddy always sees every period as an election period as he does not fail to associate with the people who really matter in taking a decision on who represents them; the masses.
When planning for the world movie premiere of my latest movie, THE GREENPATH I had many options open to me as regards who would chair the occasion but I needed someone who would not disappoint. I knew I could afford not to have any or even all the special or distinguished guests I invited, but the presence of the Chairman is very crucial. Even though I cannot be counted among the very close members of Samdaddy’s political family, I know I have always admired the man, especially from the first time I had a close interaction with him some two years ago and every other person I sought opinion from on whether Samdaddy keeps his words answered in the affirmative, hence, I dispatched a letter to him requesting him to chair the premiere.
I followed this letter up with phone calls, and that is the first time I am seeing a Nigerian politician return calls to numbers he doesn’t know. Some of the times I put a call across to him, he would not be disposed to taking my calls, but on most of those occasions he returned these calls and gave assurances that he would try to be present. Understanding how tight his schedule can be as one of the most powerful Senators of the Federal Republic, I still had my fears, but his Senior Legislative Aide, Hon. Ann Ijeoma Nwafor played a crucial role in ensuring that the event was accommodated in his itinerary for the day.
26th of February felt like it will never come, but it did come and very early morning I spoke with the Senator on phone, he assured me he would attend but not earlier than 6pm as he had a full day. True to his words, at some minutes to 7pm, the debonair, easy going and intelligent politician ‘sneaked’ into the hall, like every other guest would. He sat on one of the chairs at the rear part of the hall. But it didn’t take long before the hall erupted in cheers for the man who has obviously touched so many lives. He waited patiently till the reviewer of the movie, Professor Alex Chinwuba Asigbo got done with his review before he allowed the ushers to bring him to the front row, where a seat was reserved for him.
When he got the microphone to speak, he certainly entertained everybody who was at that hall and also made serious common sense. Every sentence of his is worth documenting as a lesson for present and aspiring politicians, as he spoke not like a politician but like someone who understands what the ordinary person on the street faces. He started by telling the wowed audience that he is neither poor nor rich, but chooses his company more among the poor, because that is where most of his friends are. Every responsible legislator must understand that the majority of his constituents are not the rich bourgeoisies but the poor and struggling proletariats, unfortunately there are very few politicians; sitting and aspiring legislators who understand or appreciate this reality.
The Senator representing Imo East in the Red Chamber and the Chairman Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions further enthralled the mostly art loving audience when he made the audience understand that creativity is not an easy task and anyone who tried to come up with any work of art, should be encouraged. In his own words; “ I admire talented youths, and that is the major reason why I am here. I have come to encourage this young man, who though does not hail from Owerri zone, is a talented Imo youth.” There is no better way to support growth than investing in creative minds. Samdaddy shows that he is not a slave driver who would only give youths stipends with which they drink and engage in other frivolities, but he is keen on investing in ideas that have the potentials of lifting them to a higher level in life.
He encouraged the Minister for Information and Culture who was represented at the occasion by Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe to ensure that the movie is supported by the ministry so that more youths will be encouraged to invest their talents in more positive and nation building ventures like the one he has come to support. He matched his words with action by doling out good amount of money in support of the project, which he promptly redeemed and also made cash donations to other artistes who attended the event. He also pledged to assist in marketing the product to his colleagues at the National Assembly hence extending his invitation to me to be at the National Assembly. These can only be done by someone who appreciates creativity and a man who means well for the people. He joked that some other politicians may make pledges here without redeeming them till the next two or three years when elections would have been around the corner and those who have had one or two things to do with Nigerian politicians in the past will not have any argument with this position.
It is normal for politicians to be unusually kind and humble during electioneering campaigns, but it is only a sincere and responsible politician who would stand with the ordinary people less than a year after elections that he was hugely successful in. Humility, accessibility, sincerity and integrity are indispensable to anyone who aspires to relevance in a representative democracy. These traits are unmistakable in Senator Samuel Anyanwu and I recommend them for incumbent and aspiring politicians.