By Samuel Udoma
Ward tours and grassroots mobilization remain integral aspects of pre-election rituals in many modern democracies. It is usually the period when prospective political office seekers go down into the nooks and corners, length and breadth of their areas of constituency and delineation, canvassing for votes, re-echoing their manifestoes, highlighting their interventionist efforts in such areas where necessary or available, and ultimately having the chance to openly meet with the prospective voters and instituting their local structures.
Simply put, it is a time when rural engagements are facilitated and where the people get to meet such office seekers in person and in philosophy where they would get to interact. On November 18, 2018, the nation’s electoral umpire, INEC lifted the lid for electioneering campaigns to begin and in one fell swoop, the Amazing Grace Campaign Organization of the PDP standard bearer for Etinan Federal Constituency in the forthcoming general elections, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Onofiok Luke had swung into action in a political merry-go-round to comb the whole of the Etinan Federal Constituency with the message of the man Onofiok, his voice to speak and that heart that gives cheerfully.
Suffice it to say here that since the official flag off of the Amazing Grace campaigns with an interdenominational thanksgiving service at Qua Iboe Church, Etinan, the ensuing wards tour have been a colossal success, generated massive engagements with the electorates, as well as helping in opening up new vistas and platforms for the Principal, Hon Onofiok Luke to once again, outline his Abuja plans for his people. Always at the height of an incredible level of energy and fanfare, Hon. Luke’s National Assembly campaign sojourns has been sporadic if not all encompassing.
A tour train that has taken him and his team throughout the breadth of Etinan Federal constituency, and still counting, meeting and conversing with people of all demographics, from traditional rulers to party eggheads, market women and youth groups. These tours provide the perfect template for Hon Luke to sample the representative desires and wishes of the people with a view to using those issues to construct and conjecture his representative model and areas of focus. Quite the perfect campaign module, one would agree.
However, quite beautifully, one outstanding thing that has stood out in the tours so far has been the overwhelming and widely received appeal of The Man, Onofiok Luke and what he represents. The overall mood of the tours can best be described as always carnival-like, with people trooping out in their numbers to witness in flesh, a man who has “built his skyscrapers on the lives of the people of the area” – quite, clear testaments to the amazing persona and representative credentials, the principal of the campaign has built for himself over time. Hon Luke’s presence always illumines the different wards, for he has, as a matter of fact, been an instrument of light to the people of the area for years now.
More so, in an era where political campaigns have been steeped and characterized by their volatilities, the Amazing Grace train has been impressively hitch free if not blissful, with even the worst cynics, including recent opponents turning in to show support for someone, who can best be described as “shining example of the audacity of effective representation”. Moreover, away from the usual carnival atmosphere and the convivial political camaraderie that have become the norm in the Amazing Grace tours, one can also talk about “Issues based campaigns”.
In this aspect, Hon Luke is clearly unmatchable.
Despite the fact that, with his unrivalled representative antecedents, a candidate of Onofiok’s effective ilk may even be excused from campaigning because his works all are there for all to see, he would disagree with you, for according to him, the National Assembly is a whole new level of legislative engagement. And as such, he has streamlined his campaign on being a voice that would always agitate for legislations whose largest beneficiaries would always be the common man, taking for instance, his desire to see to it that a proper data law is promulgated in the country to stem the tide of extortion by network providers.
Such is an example of one legislation that would have positive bearings on the lives of the common man, beyond even his constituency. For a simpler deduction, for all the wards and units he has visited so far, he has always through proper consultations identified peculiar problems facing such areas to help guide his representative decisions when he eventually gets to Abuja. To cap it at this level, it is a well worn maxim that when the righteous rules, the people are happy. In this case, with Rt Hon (Barr) Onofiok Luke eventually sitting atop the affairs of Etinan Federal constituency in few months time, the people have every reason to be happier even in anticipation.