The Sun News

Has Tony Nwoye changed? 

By Peter Ekwueme

Campaign seasons are opportunities for men to bring out their best qualities, to sell themselves and their agenda to the electorate. Men being men, we also know that this is often not the case as men and women also use the opportunity to bring down those they know have superior agenda to theirs.
It is in this light that I write based on my observation of the developments in Anambra State. I must confess that I had for sometime been aloof to the trend of politics in my native state given the well known banditry, treachery and deceit that had become the watchword for government in the state in recent times.
However, the intervention of my former colleague as a medical student back in the day, and a socio-political activist from the cradle  may have changed my perspective and hence, this my own intervention.
I am referring to Dr. Tony Nwoye, a person I know so well right from our medical school days. I was a year his senior but served in the SUG House of Representatives of which Tony was the Speaker. He has always been hardworking and industrious while he invested his time, energy and resources in social crusading, civil and human rights activism and in fighting injustice. This ultimately endeared him to all who ever had any encounter with him.
He proceeded in 2003 to become NANS President and his antecedents have remained unbeaten in the history of Nigerian student leadership.
So, from my Enugu base I have watched in disbelief how in the course of the All Progressives Congress, APC primary campaign some hatchet men made efforts to redefine the Tony Nwoye that we all knew and came to admire. In fact, some have made very strong efforts to describe him in the opposite. At one time, he was even described as a member of a cult. Which cult, they didn’t say.
I was at one time asking myself, are these politicians talking of the same Comrade Tony Nwoye who, as a student leader, fought cultism to standstill at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus? Are they talking of the Tony Nwoye, who stood up for students rights, embarrassed the university authorities but was at the same time applauded by the authorities and specifically by the then vice-chancellor for his role in stemming out cultism!
As the APC primary election campaign neared an end, I also began to see an innuendo, alleging that Dr. Nwoye, had signed an agreement with one of his supporters, I mean Dr. Arthur Eze, to mortgage the finances of the state; to wit, that he would pay Dr. Eze 30% of the state’s allocation every month!
That really got me mad. Though Arthur Eze has on his part come out to rubbish that claim, I am still miffed at what politicians can do to get the ascendancy over those who provide superior agenda to the electorate.
Are they talking of the same Tony who, as a social crusader-student activist fought both at UNN and as president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS fought against such conspiracies returning to his vomit?
Of course, he could have done it like so many politicians have left their calling, but the fact that I have kept regular touch with my friend and colleague tells me that he has neither changed nor compromised.
So, I am appalled at what politicians would do to achieve their goals and that is why several of them who gain office with such campaigns of calumny never get to do anything for their people.
I am as such determined that these politicians never stop Dr. Nwoye. My support for him is not because he is a fellow medical doctor and not even because of his political party, but because of Tony The Man!
I encourage the conspirators and their sponsors to do more background check and trump up propaganda that may appear believable but not this kind of cheap, laughable, immature and despicable one that only gives them away for the desperate desperadoes they really are.
I tell you one thing, and from experience, when opponents’ only tool is campaign of calumny, they have already conceded victory ab initio to the better candidate. Anambra needs better than the present drivers. Anambra needs excellence in leadership. Anambra needs tested, trusted and dependable personalities.
Let’s leave cheap propaganda alone and showcase good governance. Let’s convince the people by our actions and antecedents rather than deception.
It shall be well for Anambra.

Dr. Peter Ekwueme, an Enugu-based medical practitioner, is the secretary of the Enugu State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA.

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