Grassroots mobilisation key to democracy – Sen Okonkwo
By VINCENT KALU
Wednesday May 09, 2012

The Sixth Senate voice for erosion and South East campaigner for regional state parity, Senator Annie Okonkwo, has identified grassroots political mobilisation and education as key to an enduring democracy.

The Senator who represented Anambra Central stated this at a multi-party stakeholders Summit in Awka recently, arguing that the clear consequence of prolonged political infightings in the parties in Anambra State had been the unhealthy reign of political apathy at the grassroots.

“The grassroots are the real owners of democracy in a free plural contest, he maintained, hence their education and mobilisation are very critical to the quality of representation and leadership they enthrone.”

Commending the initiative by the large high calibre audience to pursue a common dawn in Anambra politics, the Senator said: “Now is the time for every stakeholder in the good governance of our state to admit that the problems we have all suffered is man-made, and the solutions can only be people-driven”.
The people that matter so much in this instance he emphasized, are the grassroots who have been ignored for so long that their faith in the political process are weak and badly shaken.

He continued, “if we must get it right now, we must collectively decide to unselfishly educate and mobilise them to re-assert their sovereign authority to freely decide who govern them. The era of multiple judicial ambush and abuse to truncate the people’s will, must give way to their just choices and preferences.”

He therefore made a clarion call to all Anambranians that “As 2014 draws near steadily but surely, let us once more demonstrate to Nigeria our esteemed historical culture that the ordinary people in our clans, villages, towns and local governments remain the only legitimate and honourable ladder to power and leadership”. But in the interim, he charged the Summit, “may we resolve in one determined spirit to unreservedly persuade the incumbent government in the state to overcome its contrived inertia and phobia, and conduct local government elections, so that democratic participation at the grassroots will come back to life.

My simple philosophy is that as mere mortals, Anambra State will certainly outlive all of us. So as each masquerade execute its political dance steps in the public arena, it is guided wisdom to watch the faces of the people you entertain to know if there are smiles or consternation. Because in Igboland, you cannot wear the costume of the beautiful ‘Ijele masquerade’ yet scare people with dry whips.
In conclusion, he noted that products of celebrated constitutionality at the state government should not exit in perpetual denial of it to the people it mattered most, the grassroots.

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