MY THANK YOU NOTE - Maria Ude Nwachi.
Oh God I am still in a state of disbelief! No matter how sure you are of something, it is never real until it becomes a reality. Because in life, anything can happen! Politics was the furthest thing from my mind when I returned to Nigeria, specifically my hometown of Afikpo, years ago, after spending over 15 years in America. I was just very busy doing my best to make life easier for everyone I came in contact with in my town. In my undying quest to improve the lives of my people, in my own small way, I was able to drastically bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in my town, in more ways than one but that is a story for another day.
No one in my town has ever approached me to join politics, and rightfully so because my carefree lifestyle alone would not even give room for anyone to think I will ever be interested in entering the heavy waters of Nigerian politics. And for some reason I never ever ever thought about venturing into politics. Currently I am heavily involved in Media, especially social media, since I started living in Nigeria. I am a pioneer in news dissemination online; which I started doing in the USA in 1991. I also created the 1st major newspage in FB Nigeria, Ndi Igbo page. I own Igboist group, the most active FB group in Nigeria today. Don't forget Afikpo Chic blog, winkz. In addiction, I am an image maker, working for many prominent men and some times companies. In fact I am the only one in this country practicing the method of image-making I perform. I have carved a perfect niche for myself in this regard.
Then one day, a friend by the name of Nnaji Obed Asiegbu, called me and asked how I was doing. I started bragging to him that I WAS doing marvelous, that my media outfit was bubbling, I was like, I just got a job here and there and I am doing so well, blah blah blah. This guy just shut me down on my track, he said, stop all that stuff you are doing, go and grab a ticket in your state, Afikpo people over-love you and will be very happy to elect you, stop all that thing you are talking, your media jobs might make you millions but in politics you will be able to help more people, especially your people, the way you desire and you will make a very good politician as I know you will work well and others will have to follow your lead. I said, Obed, but do you know that I am bit crazy? I can start a party any second and start dancing and other stuff, if I am a politician will I be able to do such? He instantly dismissed it, he said your people loves you so much, you have done a lot for them and the best way to really do all you desire for them is via politics, go and pick up a ticket, go and do it NOW. They do not care about the things you are thinking, they know you are a free-spirit, they love you the way you are, and women like you usually make great leaders. It takes a unique woman with offbeat qualities to attain greatness. JESUS. I was jolted out of my mind. I was like Obed, do you know what you are talking about. He answered, yes I know what I am saying. Go and pick up a ticket now, I said what ticket, he said you can start with assembly. EWOOOOOOOOO. My heart started racing.
The following week, I went to my home town for Yam festival celebration, I was doing my usual street show where I block roads in my town and dance in the street with a microphone blasting, AFIKPO OR NOTHING, if you are not from Afikpo you be blah blah blah and other trash talks I do for fun. With what Obed said on my mind, I started blasting, 2015 THEM GO HALLA MY NAME OOOOO. Them go halla Afikpo Chic for this state oooo, for this nations, for this world ooo. Get ready for the only Ezenwanyi of Afikpo to storm this nation by force. 2015 get ready for me ooooooo. 2015, you must obey my desire..and other braggadocio trash talks. One of my many sons named Iheukwumere Okogwu Otu, (I nicknamed him Organizer, years ago and ironically he became the person that single handely organized my first political outing supper successfully. Jesus Christ, the boy is good.) came to me and said, Mama, are you serious about politics? If you are please this is great news, my dad is the PDP chairman of our ward, I will take you to him quickly so you can start right away. The guy currently in our assembly is bad news, the town would be so happy to have you replace him. I was like yes of course I am not joking, but let me finish my street dance and trash talks then we will talk further.
The rest is history! We met with his father the next day. And then from there, we visited many stake holders and informed them of my intention to run for house of assembly in afikpo north east. To make long stories short, I was the 1st person to buy form under PDP in my state.
My stay in PDP was short-lived. A day before the PDP primary, the deputy governor of my state, Dave Umahi, pulled a stunt unheard of in Nigeria. He smoothly took over the structure of the state, by conducting an election for his own lineup while those in neutral line up like me and Governor Elechi lineup where told by Elechi not to partake in the primary because Abuja cancelled it. We believed the Governor then but it turned out it was a bold faced lie. Abuja never cancelled it. While we were mocking and laughing at the Umahi faction, we never knew that the joke was on us that boycotted the primary election. After after, Elechi moved his line up to Labour, leaving people like me in the dust. Many of us, simply gave up. And me give up? Espeaklekwa! My manager and I started hunting for any party we can get, any party. Out of fear that I will be rigged out giving my popularity without godfather or help, we figured we needed a party with some kind of structure so they can help me protect my votes. But before going to APGA and APC, we drove to Umuahia and bought a PPA form which had had zero structure in Ebonyi state. It was our fallback. That way if nothing comes out of the parties with structures we wanted to get into, we will not do out of desperation do anything stupid; we will simply go back and do our best with PPA. Well, the hierarchy of APC and APGA we ran to saw me as a goldmine because my popularity was feverishly high, and wanted badly to give me the ticket, but their candidates did not want to step down. And I was not going to tamper with my sweet-name in my town and be a party to grabbing anyone's ticket without the complete consent of the person. I told the management of the parties that I will not be a party usurping anyone's ticket without their consent which one of the party managements wanted me to do. We ran back to PPA and simply finished the form formalities; and then breath a sign of relief because those few days of trying to hurriedly enter another party before INEC deadlines etc was quite intensive. It was not easy.
Before you could say Jack, PPA became a household name in Afikpo. The only thing on people's lips were Maria and PPA. The undiluted love my people showed me was just too surreal! It was unrealistic and incredible. No one will believe it if being told because it did not sound real. I became a sensation of humongous level. It was as if without Maria in that seat, the world will cave in Afikpo. Old, young, small, big, were doing my campaigning. I that was the recipient of this agape love was in a daze, I know my people love me but I never envisioned this level of near zealotry, this level of agape love. Most did not know what I was running for, all they know is that Maria is the candidate and that is who they want. Some of my people even thought I was running for president. During the presidential election I got many votes, even those outside my constituency was going and saying which one is for Maria. LOL. When I go to Abuja and tell them I am running an election, when they ask me which party and I answer PPA, they laugh and say that I will not win, that even if I get votes, I will be rigged out, and I was say this to them, Rigging Maria, Afikpo Chic, out in Afikpo is like rigging Buhari out in Daura, Katsina state, they will not believe me because they won't understand. They cannot imagine someone without godfather of any type going to a PDP stronghold like a Ebonyi and winning such election just like that. Well who is right, now? Owoooo. I was even praying they do not rig me not just for me but because I will not be able to control what my people will act that day. And they would have surely acted. And the act will not be your usual protest. It will be more. Thank goodness Afikpo people were not denied of their desire.
One the day of the election, I incidentally had run out of money and did not have a penny to give anyone. In PPA, i was the woman leader, organizing secretary, candidate, everything. LOL. No help of any type from the party. No godfather, no nothing. I was OMO, on my own.I gathered my agents and election workers and told them them I had no money at all day, I told them that they are doing this for their mother which is me and for their future as the journey I am about to take is for us all and generations unborn, before I could finish, they said, Ezenwanyi go and rest, we are going to do this for us, for Ehugbo. I told the officers working that day I had no money, they did not care, youth corpers, I no get money ooo. Security agencies, not cent to give them. Again no one cared, everyone did their job and helped me in anyway they could to make sure the election was free and fair. While the Labour party and PDP share millions of Mula.I gave nothing as I had nothing. But everyone in Ehugbo became a PPA agent, woman, man, old young, they were working hard for me, people voted and refused to live for fear of any attempt to rig Maria. Every voting booth was the sound of I came for Maria, show me Maria, where is Maria's logo, Maria Maria maria. Imagine in some boots I got 250 while other parties where sharing maybe 40. At some point the corpers got tired of showing Maria, voters started showing others where Maria party logo was.
Cut long tory short. I was declared the winner officially same night. Despite heavy rain, (which some interpreted to be a way of God cleaning whole town clean for Maria to start her job hahaha) people were dancing on rejoicing in the street.
TO AFIKPO PEOPLE:
Never in the history of Afikpo or even Ebonyi state at large has any candidate been supported in the manner you supported me. It become what can comfortably be called MARIA MOVEMENT. God created me in Ehugbo for a purpose. And it is all about to manifest in full. I am just a vessel. A vessel that will take Afikpo to the greatest and highest level possible selflessly, happily, joyfully and gallantly. My life today is all about legacy, making great history for Afikpo, my state, this nation and beyond. It is about spreading kindness, imposing smiles in place of teeth-gnashing. And most importantly creating a good name for Afikpo to the world. Because a good name is better than gold, silver and all the monetary riches there are. My tenure is going to be a statement to the world that Nigeria will just like a civilized nation if those elected/appointed to serve, really do serve. My devotion to the betterment of Afikpo can never be compromised. No amount of money or power can blind me towards my God-given duty to wipe away your tears and to make life easier for you. Your burden is fully my burden. I am your mother, a mother does not, and should not, eat when her children has not eaten. I WILL NOT EAT UNTIL YOU EAT. Your happiness brings me untold joy. Your laughter is like music to my ears. And Your enjoyment is what crowns it all for me. The days of joy, laughter, & comfort is here. I would rather not exist than disappoint you. I am going to hit the ground running. On the day I officially resume office, you will see an instant change as we have that will become eternal. YOU LOVE ME & I LOVE YOU. And our love will last forever and ever! Amen.
TO MY FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS:
Thank you so much for your support. I will not disappoint you. It will not business as usual. I will set a trend in this nation that will be hard to ignore. Just watch and see and then believe. Again thank you all.
TO NNAJI OBED ASIEGBU:
You are the one God used to get me interested in politics. You have no idea what you have done for Afikpo People and beyond. You will be coming to Afikpo so that my people will thank you in their own way. THANK YOU AND THANK YOU!!!
TO OTHER CONSTITUENCIES IN EBONYI STATE:
I will not only look after my constituency, but I will certainly make sure you feel the sweet breeze of goodness during my tenure. I made it known to my people that you will also be looked after by Nwanyi Afikpo. So get ready for me.
TO THOSE I HAVE OFFENDED OR HAVE OFFENDED ME:
Please forgive me. Let us start afresh please. And if you have offended me, I am here saying that all is forgiven please. Life is too short, let us hold hands and be merry again. BIKO FORGIVE ME. Thank you!
Thank you for cracking my palm kernel. For this honour, I will devote my life to uplifting humanity. God, whatever wrong I have done in the past, please forgive me. I will make up for my past errors, mistakes and mess-ups by simply being above board in all I do. By being a good example for others to emulate. This I promise you, please give me the grace to obey you. For you to make this possible means you are giving me a clean slate. I am ready to abide. Thank you. God.
Yours sincerely, Maria Ude Nwachi.