However, political analysts favour a victory for the incumbent, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu who is currently the Deputy Minority Leader in the Green Chamber of the House of Representatives, Abuja.

According to them, his impact in terms of constituency projects, his accessibility and prompt response to the needs of his constituents, his intellectual fecundity and influence on the political architecture of the current 9th Assembly of the House, all count in his favour.
In the words of Hon Ikemefuna Udeagbara, Councillor representing Achi-Uno Ward 1, “Toby was the person who opened our eyes to Constituency Projects. Those before him never had any impact in that direction. Most importantly, he has ensured an even spread of his projects and interventions across the three Local Governments of his constituency”

Udeagbara alluded to the spontaneity with which Toby responded to the distress call by Oji River stakeholders regarding the erosion menace threatening to dissect the Oji River –Awgu road at Achi. According to him, Toby visited the endangered portions, all of which are in his ward such as the portion in front of Achi Joint Hospital, Achi, Oji River LGA, accompanied by Hon Chinedu Onyeagba (Omex), the Executive Chairman of the council and other stakeholders such as Mazi Okwu Nnabuike Emmanuel (Ozo Ohamadike n’Achi), President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide and Hon Ejike Ilo, President General Ehuhe-Achi/ Coordinating President General, Enugu West President Generals.

There and then, he extracted a commitment from the Arab Contractors’ site engineer handling the reconstruction of the Udi –Oji River –Anambra border section of the old Enugu-Onitsha expressway, who was also there with his team, that remedial construction work would be effected on the troubled spots.


That was despite the fact that the Oji River- Awgu highway was not part of their contract. Exactly four days later, Arab Contractors swung into action and got the erosion threatened portions of that road fixed. Toby merely leveraged on the longstanding relationship he has with Arab Contractors and other elite construction firms to pull of that feat thereby making it look easy.

Based on his love for his people and need to have a dedicated vehicle for charity and philanthropy from him and his family and in order to ensure an organized process for interventions in the lives of the common people of Greater Awgu, Toby setup the Toby Okechukwu Foundation on February 24th, 2012.
The Foundation focuses largely on the educational empowerment of the common people of his constituency. This is line with one of his motivational quotes “No nation makes progress beyond the quality of its educational system”. Therefore, Toby, being the son of teachers himself, believes that the greatest gift the society can bequeath to any citizen is education. Conversely, an educated citizen is a threat to society.

It was Zik of Africa who said, “Show the people the light and they shall find their way”. To Toby, education is the only viable and sustainable way to show his people this light, so that they shall be enlightened enough to find their way in today’s hi-tech and ever evolving world.

His sterling intervention in the education sector were in the following areas; infrastructural development, WASCE registration, donation of instructional materials, training of science teachers and distribution of Science kits, etc. One cannot appreciate the impact of paying for the WASCE registration of an indigent student unless one puts one’s self in the shoes of the student or his/her parents.

Based on his conviction that education is not limited only to academics but that it encompasses the whole spectrum for the acquisition of needed skills and competencies for the individual’s empowerment so as to be able to function effectively as a good citizen, his educational interventions included study tours that took senior secondary school students from his constituency to Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Innoson Technical and industrial Company, both in Emene, Enugu. Imagine how enlightened and inspired these students from rural communities in Aninri, Awgu and Oji River LGAs would be after such visits, most likely their first.
In 2019, the Toby Okechukwu Foundation sponsored hundreds of youths from his constituency for a skills acquisition training at the Science Equipment Development Institute (SEDI), Akwuke, Enugu. The youth, comprising both genders, were trained in welding technology, fabrication of Agro machines, ICT (Programming), plastic moulding, lens making, glass blowing, recycling waste to wealth, electrical installation, wiring and maintenance.

Also, in 2021, the Foundation in conjunction with the Nigerian Hospitality and Tourism Institute (NIHOTOUR) organized workshops in cookery and hospitality for fifty persons in each of the LGAs of his constituency. At the grand finale, in Oji River, the participants then received gas cookers and other cooking utensils as well as some cash for take off.

The beauty of all his interventions is that they are evenly spread across the three Local Government Areas of his constituency, in line with a popular 042 slogan , “Enye ndi ebea, enye ndi ebea”.
According to Hon. Israel Ani, Esq, Administrator Aninri West Development Council, “Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu has raised the bar on effective representation and leadership within his constituency”
In line with the words of the American contemporary artist, Tom Sachs, “The only reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more work”, Ani believes that re-election of Toby is the best thing Ndi Greater Awgu can do for themselves. “Having done so well as a Deputy Minority Leader, I’m sure that if he returns to the Green Chamber, by God’s Grace, his next destination will either be a Speaker or Deputy Speaker, depending on the country’s political configuration”

Some critics say, he has done enough and should give way to candidates from Aninri or Oji River LGAs to have their turn. Regardless of the fact that rotation of offices/zoning is worthwhile, it makes no sense to sacrifice our most prized player at the altar of rotation, now, that Nigeria is at the brink of being re-made or entirely ruined.

Furthermore, Toby has found time despite his heavy schedule as a principal officer to engage in intellectual pursuits. In the style of the philosopher kings of Ancient Athens and in consonance with his Olympian intellectual sagacity, he recently co-authored a book titled, Reflections on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, 1960-2020.

The ebullient Prof Udenta O. Udenta, the book reviewer and also one of his constituents described the book as an “opus magnum” and one that would “re-define studies in that critical sector”.

Inspite of all these, Toby is always in touch with his constituents, especially the common people. Just like he said recently during an interview on Weekend Deal, NTA’s variety program, “The only native doctor I consult are my constituents and doing the Needful”.
Perhaps, Mrs Juliana Aniude, a Primary School teacher from Ogbaku, Awgu Local Government Area best described how Toby does the “Needful”.

According to her, “Toby is the one we know. There is nobody in Greater Awgu who has not benefitted from him, either directly or indirectly.
“He is very attentive to our needs and allows everyone access to his house. If you call him, he picks his calls personally.
“He has empowered our youths and our womenfolk. With his interventions, other political office holders and stakeholders have less to do”.

Finally, as we approach the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), party delegates should realize that regardless of monetization of votes and other influences nobody benches a Messi or a Ronaldo just because he has scored so many goals and should allow any other person to try. Ndi Greater Awgu owe themselves the duty of returning Toby, their prized asset to the Green Chambers in continuation of his glorious exploits.

Courtesy: Greater Awgu Good Governance Advocates

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Call Now Button