The off-season gubernatorial election of Anambra State scheduled for November 6, 2021 has thrown up the good, the bad, and the ugly dimensions of elections in the state.
The state is embroiled in political rancor in almost all the political parties jostling for the seat currently occupied by Willie Obiano of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
There are factional candidates, fifth columnists, sponsored crises, selections against elections, and discovery of great assets and talents.
The courts are still entertaining cases arising from factional primaries. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to know the authentic parties and candidates on its ballot, as the court can spring some surprises anytime.
This is a country where, the court, not the electoral umpire, has the last say in elections.
Decrying the ugly extent to which politicians now go in securing judgment outside jurisdiction, an erudite lawyer, Goddy Uwazuruike described as unfortunate and condemnable what he called “Forum shopping” being embarked upon by lawyers in the political chess in Anambra.
Forum shopping refers to the practice of choosing the court or jurisdiction that has the most favorable rules or laws for the position being advocated. A party can forum shop when more than one court has jurisdiction over the dispute, choosing the court that gives it an advantage over the opposing party.
Uwazuruike, who spoke in an interview session with Arise Television, insisted that it was condemnable for politicians in the Anambra debacle to go to Bauchi High Court, Imo High Court, Jigawa High Court, Ukwa High Court, and other courts playing truancy.
“If the truancy is about Anambra election, what is the business of Ukwa, Birnin Kudu, Owerri, Bauchi, etc? he wondered.
The learned elder statesman expressed the optimism that the legal acrobatics would not sway the Anambra voters from doing the right thing on the Election Day.
He said: “Anambra has a peculiar system of governorship elections. In Anambra, the voters are very intelligent; you cannot deceive them. I respect them and I am sure they are monitoring what is going on. I want to advise them to be as consistent as you have been or as it is said in the street, ‘shine your eyes’”
One of those who recently tasted the bitter pill of electoral manipulation and rascality in Nigeria is Godwin Maduka, a United States-based medical practitioner, pain management expert and founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre, USA.
While explaining his reason for leaving the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the platform on which he had wanted to contest the November 6 election, Maduka said: “I was already going to win the ticket of the PDP, and the Adhoc and statutory delegates were ready to vote for me, but unfortunately, the PDP decided to do selection instead of election.
“On the day of the primary election, the delegates’ list changed three times, and at the end, they disenfranchised all the Adhoc and statutory delegates and used what they called super delegates’ list.
“When that happened, I decided I will look for another party because the PDP did not seem to me like they were serious. It was in the process of searching for a new party that I found Accord.”
Addressing an elaborate press conference in Awka, the state capital, the governorship candidate said: “I have no problem with PDP, they are still my friends, a lot of the members are now here (Accord) with me, and I know that on that Election Day, they will vote for me.”
“I was also a sympathiser with APGA and I know the governor, and he and many of them remain my friends. I decided to leave PDP and look for a party that I can work with. I know my chairman in Accord, and my chairman knows me. I decided to choose the people I can work with,” he said.
Maduka described his decision to join the gubernatorial race as one of the best things happening in the state right now.
“I do not need the state money. I am not seeking the job for money. My aim is to better the lives of the people of Anambra State. The suffering is too much. Hunger is too much. If I do all the things I have done and still doing for my people with my personal money, I believe I will do much more for the people with the state resources and proper management of revenues,” he said.
Maduka, a philanthropist who changed the face of his community, Umuchukwu in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State by single-handedly building infrastructures, said he believes in the ‘Akuluouno’ philosophy, and that he is practicing it.
According to him, “Wealth would be meaningless if it cannot be used to better the lives of the people around the custodian.”
Beyond his career, he has made it his mission to transform his community in Umuchukwu. Over the last years, he has completed various philanthropic projects.
While explaining his philanthropic gestures, Maduka said: “I embarked on all these to save my people from my ugly experience while growing up. I grew up in a home that when it rained, it rained more inside the house.”
Maduka said he was bringing back to the state the same development spirit he has successfully used in America to become one of the most successful medical practitioners in the States.
According to him, “I had little when I started building houses for widows and the poor 20 years ago, but God told me to do it.”
“I am from humble beginnings like many of you. I trekked 7 miles on market days to go sell farm produce so my fees could be paid after my father died. I fell from the palm tree seven times and sustained back injuries, but that did not stop me. I got scholarship to study in the US by the grace of God and I have never forgotten the land of my birth. God told me to help my people since 20 years ago and I have never stopped, because God always wins in my life,” he said.
He has built six large Pain Institute and Medical Centres in Las Vegas, USA. They are- Nellis Medical Centre, Las Vegas Mefical Centre, Blue Diamond Medical Centre, Centennial Medical Centre, Henderson Medical Centre and Sahara-Strip Medical Centre.
The Accord standard bearer, who told BusinessDay that he came to change the negative narrative in the politics of Anambra State, said he was the people’s choice.
Among the philanthropic projects he had successfully completed include, 100 houses for indigent people and widows within his community and beyond (according to him, he has replaced every thatched house in the community with four or five bedroom bungalows), magnificent duplexes for Anglican and Catholic Priests, two Cathedrals, each for the Anglicans and Catholics, four-storey Trinity Hospital and Maternity Home, Immaculate Conception International College 1 and 2, with buses donated to them, standard Divisional Police headquarters for security, inaugurated by a former Police IG, Mike Okiro, and a magnificent Magistrate Court.
Others are, a state-of-the-art High Court, a standard Market (Afor Market), containing over 500 roofed open stalls and over 100 lock-up stores (all given out free of charge to traders), world-class barracks for the Civil Defence staff, two monasteries for churches, Civic Centre for the community and another community Hall for his own village, Modern Post Office and Transformers to boost electricity in the community.
Maduka further listed other community projects he had delivered to include, mighty edifices for primary and secondary schools, magnificent duplexes for five of his aides, constructed three bridges linking his community with nearby villages and towns, Five star hotel known as Lion of Africa Resort, constructed over 100 Km road network within Umuchukwu and other communities, donated Innoson Security trucks to Police and other security agencies and 17-floor skyscraper world-class International Hospital/Health Research Institute.
According to him, he has also donated about 100 motorcycles to the unemployed and underprivileged members of his community; given out scholarships to community residents to study both in Nigeria and abroad, among many others.
While sharing his vision of a new Anambra State under his administration if the people graciously give him their votes, Maduka listed healthcare, agriculture, quality education and human capital development, women and youth empowerment, and security as his priorities.
Others are infrastructure and tourism, technology and digital information, transportation and environmental hygiene and renewable energy.
At his official presentation to the media in Awka Wednesday, he also unveiled his running mate, Kenneth Obi, who he described as a grassroots politician in the state.
In his brief remarks at the official unveiling of the Accord candidate, Batho Igwedibia, the state chairman of the party, said that Maduka had all it takes to govern the state.
While describing Maduka as the only gubernatorial candidate that did not have a political godfather in Anambra politics, he assured supporters that the party was battle-ready to win the election and take over the state Government House.
The man Godwin Maduka
He hails from Umuchukwu in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, formerly Nkerehi.
He lost his father while he was still in secondary school and life became more difficult and hopeless for him and his siblings. Being a resourceful and focused youth, he had no alternative to survival but to venture into palm oil trade in order to train himself and his siblings through their primary and secondary education.
While growing up, Maduka was remarkably brilliant, hence he effortlessly secured
admission to study Medicine at University of Port Harcourt. But due to financial constraint, he could not proceed with the offer.
Nevertheless, by providence and through the assistance of a friend, he obtained scholarship to study at Rust College which covered only half of his tuition. He later got monetary support from his late younger brother and uncle and moved to the United States in 1982.
In 1984, he graduated summa cum laude (with the highest distinction) in Chemistry from Rust College. He immediately secured another scholarship to study Pharmacy at Mercer University and graduated in 1988.
After graduation, he worked as a Pharmacy Technician, before getting a full scholarship to study Medicine at University of Tennessee where he completed his internship and graduated in 1993. He proceeded to Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre for his post graduate training and residency in Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Management, and graduated in 1997.
Immediately after his education, Maduka moved to Las Vegas and secured a job where he was paid $8,000 as an advance payment. He worked as an anesthesiologist at Desert Spring United Methodist Hospital, Nevada and other hospitals before starting his private practice at Red Rock Medical Group, Nevada.
He was certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology in 1998 and fulfilled the role of Medical Doctor for Neveda State Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Godwin Maduka is a member of the Neveda State Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Pharmacists Association, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
In 1999, he founded Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre and has expanded the hospital to five more locations in Southern Neveda, United States of America.
The centre includes specialists in pain medicine, radiology, wellness, and physical therapy.
Dr. Maduka’s specialities include chronic and acute pain management, anesthesiology, and interventional pain management. The centre works in tandem with diagnostic imaging and family medicine practitioners.
He is a Clinical Faculty supervisor and adjunct Professor of Pain Management and Anesthesiology at Touro University Neveda. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at UNLV School of Medicine.