Just like most of the elderly in Nigeria, my father does three things when he listens to the news; he shakes his head repeatedly, sighs, and says a prayer. Sometimes, he chooses not to listen because according to him, “the state of this country can induce hypertension and depression”.
He never stays glued to the end of the broadcasts. But he did one day. He sat through every word, and hung on to every last one of them, with his face so close to the Television and his eyes reflecting the light of hope. It was a session called Hard Copy on the Channels TV, and Frank Nweke Jr was the guest speaker talking about his defection, just like the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi, from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in March 2022, and his candidacy for the forthcoming 2023 gubernatorial elections in Enugu under the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Party.
He emphasised that his defection was largely due to the poor performance of the incumbent PDP administration within and outside Enugu State and their failure to exercise fairness in their operations, and faithfulness to both their people’s interest and their constitution (something that all Enugu residents would agree with). He also highlighted that all politics is local and should begin from home, hence his decision to contest and his vision to reignite Enugu. Beginning from its water crisis to its industry, road drainage system, and infrastructure.
At the end of the session, my father said just one prayer, a different kind this time, “If only we could have someone like him leading this country, then we would have no single fear for tomorrow. Even if I had both my legs cut, nothing would stop me from crawling to vote for him to become the governor of Enugu. Only he can give us the miracle that Enugu needs.”
He then turned to me and added, “You know him right? Frank Nweke Jnr. He held two or so federal ministerial positions when you were a child, and he did great things for this country in the Obasanjo government.”
I had known Frank Nweke Jr, and I knew he had held several public service positions and had never been involved in any negative reportage or fraud scandal. But I wanted to know more. This “messiah” for the southeast had put a lot of hope in my dear father’s eyes. So I began my research; articles, videos, speeches, and humanitarian activities. And I unearthed gold.
Frank Nweke is not your regular Nigerian politician. He is a philanthropist, a servant, a leader, and a teacher. He never speaks with the defensive tone that most politicians have come to be known with – that eagerness to defend something that you have done (or haven’t done) before it is even mentioned. He speaks his truth and opinions with a calm air of clarity and confidence in his principles – dignity and integrity. Principles he has applied in all his roles to date. He is neither a leader who would take credit for what others have done nor is he a philanthropist who would take a cameraman to let the world know what he was doing. Only the governorship campaign seems to have put a spotlight on his activities.
As a minister, he never believed in “billboard governance”, but advocated for “soul governance”. He will run a government where leaders don’t just look after themselves and toot their horns but care about the total well-being of their people.
To Frank Nweke Jr, all Nigerian lives are equally important and we can see it in how he carried out his responsibilities as a minister, as the director-general of the NESG, and as the Chairman of several civic organizations and NGOs like the Malaria, Child, Maternal Mortality Eradication in Nigeria.
I consider him to be a light in the dimness of Nigerian politics and I pray that all of Enugu are attracted to that light and vote for him as our Governor in 2023.
A Gen-Z from Trans Ekulu, Enugu.