Anyone who understands the politics of the country, especially that of the South-eastern part of Nigeria would not be against any politician who embraces exercising or other things that will relax him/her as a means of surviving the high wire intrigues that often characterize the polity.
For instance, how many politicians can contain and manage the pressure of the recent confusion that rocked the outcome of the primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in some states of the South-east, where parallel elections were conducted by different factions of the party after spending heavily and at the end of the day, failed to succeed?
But for Chief Nwabueze Okafor, who defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) because of the prolonged crisis in the party after last year’s primary election in the bid to actualise his senatorial ambition, he resorts playing lawn tennis, table tennis and also spending quality time with his family at his home town in Amechi, Enugu State, to enable him manage the pressure of politics.
According to Okafor, who was also the National President, Association of Local Government Areas of Nigeria (ALGON), “Playing lawn and table tennis with friends at the Enugu Sports Club are among the things that relax me.”
Apart from playing table tennis and lawn tennis, Okafor, who is among the leading senatorial candidates in Enugu East senatorial district also said: “I enjoy spending quality time with my family in my home town Amechi in Enugu State, whenever I am not playing politics.
“I also have passion for serving my people which I started at the local government level. My achievements as council chairman and ALGON president are there for people of Enugu to see. So, if I win the Enugu East senatorial district election, as someone who always has his people at heart, I will give them quality representation in the Senate.
“Some of my achievements are distribution and extension of electricity at Maryland Umuanum/Umunna Onovo, purchase of bulldozer and new grader for his local government; distribution of six transformers – 300 and 500 KVA for communities in Enugu South council, rehabilitation and reconstruction of Garki/Akwuke Uwani Road.
“Construction and asphalting of three kilometre Udeji Amagugwu Amechi Road and two kilometre Gariki/Akwuke Road, completion of the perimeter fencing of Ikiriki Health centre, construction of a 1.5m X 2.5m X 7.5 RC box culvert along Igwe John Igwesi Street, Meniru and Mount Street, Idaw-River Layout, Enugu and construction and stabilization of site for the relocation of Mayor Market, Enugu,” the former ALGON boss added.
He also disclosed that if elected, he would make agriculture the main focus of his representation since the sector was badly neglected over the years by previous people that represented the zone.
“Our past senators did not look into the area of developing agriculture by keying into the federal government good agricultural programmes nor did they look into the area of using coal to enhance power supply in the area.
“Agriculture is going to be our main thrust in the senate if I’m eventually elected to represent our people. Nkanu people, Ugbawka, Nome people are all farmers. The federal government has a lot of programmes on agriculture but we have not had good representation. Our people have not been able to key into the programme. Our people have not been benefiting from the fertilizer subsidy from the federal government.”
No doubt, Enugu East senatorial election will not be an easy contest for Okafor, however, his chances rest on his performance record, antecedents and his popularity since Enugu is controlled by PDP.
Since 1999, no Senator of the district had renewed his mandate for a second term. Even the politically indomitable Nwobodo, former governor of the Old Anambra, the former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani. But can Gilbert Nnaji, the incumbent senator and PDP candidate for the election break the jinx?
The former ALGON boss boasts several achievements during his tenure as the National President of ALGON and Chairman of Enugu South Local Government Area.
Okafor was born on September 24, 1971 to the family of late Chief Ugwu Ogbodo Nwonu and Mrs. Mercy Chilotam Nwaowo Okafor, in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State. He attended China Town Primary School, Asata, Enugu and Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt for his primary and secondary education respectively and proceeded to University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State for his tertiary education.
Okafor has served in key positions in both private and public sectors. He was a member, Enugu West Development Centre; Secretary, Transport and Accommodation Sub-committee, Enugu State; Administrator, Enugu West Development Area and Executive Chairman, Enugu South Local Government Area between 2010 and 2013.
He was also the Chairman of ALGON, Enugu State; National President, ALGON; Vice-Chairman, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) Rabat, Morocco and Director, Infrastructure Bank.