The Eastern Union (EU), a political pressure group for the people of the Old Eastern Region, has applauded the Action Alliance (AA) for the emergence of Dame Uju Uchendu Ozoka, a female lawyer and journalist, as its candidate in the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State.
Hon. Charles Anike, the EU National President, who spoke to INDEPENDENT on Tuesday, described the development as a welcome development, even as he stressed that the party, by its action, has taken the country’s democratic experience a step further.
Anike noted that Anambra State has always being in the forefront of giving the women opportunities in governance, even as he recalled that Chief (Mrs.) Virginia Etiaba has remained the only female to governor of a state when she stood in at a time former Governor Peter Obi was temporarily showed the way out of Anambra State Government House.
He maintained that Dame Etiaba performed creditably in that position even above expectation, inspite of the pressures from different quarters then which she overcame and came out tops till when Obi retrieved his mandate through the judicial process.
He stressed that since then Anambra State has become a pace setter adding that from the inception of this democracy, the state’s women have always emerged as senators and members of both House of Representative and State Assembly.
Anike stated: “The State has produced the PDP National Woman Leader (Iyom Josephine Anenih) and she performed extremely well. With the recent nomination of Dame Uju Uchendu Ozoka, a lawyer and publisher, the state has yet again demonstrated in practical terms to be more gender-friendly than any other states in Nigeria.
“The last World Bank estimation shows that 60% of Nigerian population is made up of young people. Therefore, if you add all the womenfolk to the youths, you discover that their percent will be overwhelming. These are the people that really vote during elections, but usually marginalised and dumped immediately after elections are won.
“We expect the Anambra women to come out en mass to show solidarity to their own, and the youths also. We also appreciate that the Action Alliance’s candidate who promised to pick a female running mate.”
Anike maintained that although the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano of the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) has performed very well in the last four years, there may be need for the people of the state to try a female governor this time around for greater achievements.
He commended Barrister Kenneth Udeze, the National Chairman of Action Alliance and his National Executive Committee (NEC) and the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for given the women opportunities, even as he urged other party leaders in the country to emulate the example.