TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR HARRIS CHUMA ODILI ON THE MEDIA UNVEIL OF ‘UMUNNA REVOLUTION’, A DEMOCRATIC MODEL FOR INCLUSIVENESS AND WELL-BEING OF MAJORITY OF CITIZENS
All Protocols observed.
Gentlemen of the Press, I wish to heartily welcome you to this press conference, inspired by the need to offer the people of Anambra a veritable option in the quest to make life more meaningful for a greater majority of our people.
As a concerned citizen of the state, I have been inundated with so many disturbing thoughts about the welfare of the people. I have been bugged by one recurring question: “If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, why does it benefit just a handful of the citizens?”
When we look around us, we see poverty written on the faces of the citizens, which resulted from factors that are above their control. Without citing statististics from renowned bodies in the world, there is no doubt that the present era, constitutes one of the worst times for our people ever. Yet, democracy has been promoted as the solution for our problems.
Is democracy overrated? I will say a big NO. Democracy is still the way forward but governance must match democratic ethics to make it worthwhile for the people. I have a strong conviction that every society must evolve a system that works for it and adapt it for the wellbeing and harmony of her people.
In Nigeria today, it appears the beauty of democracy starts and ends at the Government Houses.
At the Federal level, we have that feeling when we see people who are privileged to visit Aso Rock Villa. While in our state, it comes with people’s ability to hobnob at Agu Awka, our Government House. But it is not supposed to be so. Every government in place must ensure that it rubs off POSITIVELY on the lives of majority, if not all of the citizens.
While our findings indicate that this style, where a few benefit is not entirely intentional, it is obvious that governments can do more by evolving a model that brings inclusiveness in the dividends of democracy.
As Ndi Igbo, we understand the concept of Umunna and how it works. Short of the nuclear family as influenced by the Western World, Umunna in our society is the fabric on which every Igbo clan is built on, which is why the idea of ‘Umunna Revolution’, which we have gathered here today to talk about, is unique. Umunna is vital in fostering unity amongst the people, considering the fact that it is a group of people bound by one destiny, who by every stretch of imagination understands what their concerns and needs are.
Umunna Revolution therefore, not only aims at bringing governance down to the grassroots but down to every family, so that the geese and the ganders can be equally treated. This is different from a situation where one comes to a certain town and you notice that all the benefits usually accrue to one family or group. This is anti-people and breeds resentment and division as we have been witnessing so far.
The greatest challenge of this model, I must confess is that it needs an accurate data to be functional, and that is where we have excelled because as I speak with you about 1.6million people have been captured for this which in our view, will be beneficial to the people. This concept will also act as the panacea for the growing insecurity in our land, because when governance touches every fabric of the society, agitations tend to go and like I always tell people, we will kill insecurity when we reduce the number of people wallowing in misery in our midst. If we can reduce misery to 5% with Umunna Revolution in one year, be rest assured that crime will also reduce by the same margin.
In essence this is where the INCOMING government of the African Democratic Congress, ADC has excelled. To be able to solve the problems of the people, you must be able to understand them and apply solutions that will transform their lives. While people say devolve power to the states or regions, ADC in Anambra is saying devolve governance to Umunna.
We are optimistic that by the time it begins to yield the positive results in Anambra State, a lot more states will be forced to replicate this model in their various states and beyond.
Gentlemen of the Press, I thank you for being here and for your attention and urge you to preach the word that something good is coming to the people through ADC. Something good is coming through Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo.