It is often said that it is only he who feels it that knows it. Those who had felt the pang of poverty know what it means to lack the necessities of life. Those who were not born with silver spoon in their mouth but managed to overcome poverty by dint of hard work, they are better equipped to take other people out of crushing suffering.
Godwin Maduka, governorship candidate of the Accord Party in the Anambra gubernatorial election on November 6 came from the poorest of family. In a conversation with BusinessDay he shared his story how he fell from palm tree about eight times while growing up in the village.
“What would make a parent allow his or her child to fall from palm tree eight times if not poverty? The palm nuts would be processed and I would carry it to a market in another village far away from ours. It was from there I would pay my school feels,” he said.
Asked why he was always falling, he paused and as if remembering the pains of those days, said: “You know I was so skinny that it was difficult for me to hold the knife with one hand; so, in an attempt to hold the knife with both hands to cut the palm head, the bamboo with which I climbed the tree would just shift; I continued that way because I must go back in order to pay my school fees.
“When I look back today, I knew that God was preparing me for something, otherwise I would have died.”
On the lesson learnt from that ugly experience, the United States of America-trained medical doctor said: “Each time I see a child hawking on the road, it reminds me of those sad days. But do you know what I have resolved to do? If I become the governor of Anambra, no Anambra child will suffer the kind of things I suffered growing up. We have the resources to achieve that, it is just to harness them.
“Again, harnessing the resources would not be a problem because I am used to such things. The state needs someone like me who have been making investments in Anambra and also a good manager of men and material.
“You cannot give what you do not have. That is the major problem with leadership in the country. Many of those who claim they are leaders are not able to deliver because they lack the experience. I have the experience because I have been very poor, and now I lead people and also well exposed.”
On his campaign journeys across the state, Maduka has continued to tell his “from grass to glory” story, which he insists has sufficiently equipped him to govern Anambra or any other state for that matter.
Meanwhile, on imposition of candidates or running the local government with caretaker committees, the Accord Party said it was a means of diverting the council funds, a system it believes has its roots in corruption.
The party accused the incumbent government in the state of mismanaging and diverting the local government allocations for seven years.
Kenneth Ifeatu Obi, deputy governorship candidate and the running mate to Godwin Maduka, said that if Accord Party is elected in the November 6 election, if would conduct local government election and grant financial autonomy to government.
He stated that the total Local Government Allocation Received by Anambra State as documented by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) totaling about N251billion for 7years was allegedly diverted.
Obi flayed the APGA-led government for allegedly diverting and mismanaging the local government funds.
“Politics aside, where is the Competence? Where is the Responsibility and where is the Accountability? Does our Local Government look like where one tenth of N251bn was expensed? Bear in mind that before they wind down, another N36.7bn would be received too on the average!” he said.