AN OPEN LETTER TO OSITA CHIDOKA (19 Nov. 2017) By Mitterand Okorie
Dear Osita Chidoka,
I have just read your short post-election speech on Facebook. I couldn’t have been more proud and appreciative of you. In loss, you exuded the same calm, dignity, erudition and finesse which you carried with you throughout your campaign.
The results are in, and your party, UPP are nowhere close to the mark. It is my hope that you do not see this as a rejection of what you embody— guts, courage, a sound ideology in a sound mind. The Igbo love merit, and in due course, you may yet clinch whatever political prize that you seek.
Today, I have read many who make sarcastic posts in derision of your ambition, some who said you were a good man but the odds were against you. Those who said, you were a good man, but your media handlers did you no favours. It is hard to respond to either group; the first do not understand that if we are sure of the odds, elections would no longer be a contest anymore. I have no response for the second group.
I am especially appreciative of you given how you ran an issue-based campaign, your concern about transforming society through creating the necessary conditions for wealth creation and economic prosperity. Your campaign was consistently issue-based, even as tongues waged, that such are not the things that win you elections.
I like that there was no false humility about you. No frying of akara, or roasting of corn or jumping on motorcycles, all of which end up humiliating the dispossessed even more. Things that degrade and mock the poor since politicians no longer do these things after victory is won.
Every time you spoke, you exuded an intellectual panache that I found not only refreshing but very comforting as well. Many people argued that these things do not win you elections in Nigeria. They said it wasn’t about how good your English was. Sadly, all of it came from people with University degrees. I am happy none of these deterred you.
Now they accuse you of wasting your time and money contesting because you had no grassroot base. And I ask, what grassroot base did PDP have before 1999? And APGA before 2004? I love that this didn’t deter you also. Those grassroots were built by humans, and you attempted to build yours.
I know that you went to streets, to the hinterlands, you spoke to people yourself, and you tried to convince them. They were not convinced, yet this was no fault of yours. I love you for believing in incremental change. Should you contest again in four years, you would have three times the grassroot base you have today.
I am sure there must have been times when you doubted yourself, when you asked why bother since I had neither the state purse, nor the federal purse, nor a godfather; but I wish to inform you that you never showed it. You never showed that you doubted yourself or that you had only half your heart in it. And for this, we the younger ones watching draw a lot of inspiration.
Despite coming up short in this election, despite been trounced in fact, you’ve transformed the mindset of millions. You’ve helped some of us who feel submitting oneself to the scrutiny and judgement of the masses wasn’t worth it. You’ve collapsed the mystery that politics was some enterprise reserved for a special kind of people, those who are ‘so up there’. You’ve helped us believe that the process can be just as important as the outcome. You’ve helped us believe that in chasing ambition, we must not allow the fear of losing supersede the impact we create by making an attempt.
I hope you would look back on your time and role in this 2017 elections, and see how much your presence illuminated it, and see how much you put both Anambra and the Igbo nation in a positive light.
Igbo nwere mmadu.
I wish you, sir, the very best for the future.