BY IKECHUKWU ACHONU
The mantra in Imo State is change. And the general perception is a silent consensus that youths should take over the reigns of governance of the State in 2019. What was whispered in low tones has become a loud ovation and a general consensus among Imolites. The verdict among the Imo citizenry at the moment is it is time for the Youths to lead Imo.
Governance is a serious business and this is why it is pertinent only a youth well “baked” in the art of governance is saddled with the responsibility of governing Imo State. At a time the globe is embracing youth in governance as exhibited in France where 39 year old Emmanuel Macron was elected President and a 34 year old lady appointed a Minister in Botswana, it is important Imo State catch up with the wave that youths should govern. What Imolites require at a time there is a consensus that the State needs the best to manage its affairs is a vibrant, tested and trusted youth capable of effectively navigating the ship of governance of the State.
Experience in governance is a huge factor and also an added advantage for any youth aspiring to take over the mantle of leadership of the State. This is why it is also necessary that a youth that is conversant with the rudiments involved in governance is saddled with the task of governing Imo State in 2019. Hon. Tony Chinedu Nwulu represents the face of an Imo youth that has shown impressive leadership qualities having proved his mettle at the House of Representatives as a vibrant legislator, a seasoned administrator with the spark of a leader capable of taking Imo State out of the doldrums. The member representing Oshodi/Isolo 11 Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives but a native of Eziudo in Ezinihitee Mbaise local Government Area of Imo State has demonstrated strong ability to give Imo State responsive and responsible leadership when elected as Governor.
A son of the soil, a man of impeccable character and exceptional quality, Tony Nwulu was born on November 14, 1978. He had his early education at Aba- Owerri Road Primary School, Aba and his secondary education at Merchants of Light Special Science School, Oba, Idemili, Anambra State. He proceeded to the Abia State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.SC) in Economics. In furtherance of his quest for educational attainment, Nwulu undertook leadership courses at the prestigious Harvard University. Till date, he remains a Change Agent of the renowned citadel of learning. Thereafter, he ventured into private business where he proved to be an effective manager of both human and financial resources that yielded desired results. This led to his appointment as Pioneer Country Manager of the First Nokia Centre in Nigeria from where he headed other several companies in Nigeria that made huge impact on the nation’s economy.
His foray into politics has been remarkable. His burning passion for youth involvement in leadership led to his appointment as Chairman, PDP Youth Restructuring Committee where he was saddled with the task of formulating policies aimed at strengthening the PDP youth wing. The committee was inaugurated by Uche Secondus, then in his capacity as acting National Chairman of the PDP.
At just 37, he joined the race to represent Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency in Lagos State and a year later when he turned 38, he had his name engraved in gold by shattering ethnic barriers and cleavages in Nigerian politics which has been a major “disease” like cancer that has eaten so deep into the nation’s political firmament. He succeeded to re- enact the giant political strides of Late Nnamdi Azikiwe who was the last Igbo man to win a federal seat in a Yorubaland by clinching the House of Reps seat for Isolo/Oshodi Federal Constituency in a State firmly controlled by the All Progressive Congress, APC.
This remarkable feat compliments his exhibition of a strong capacity not just to govern but to restore the years the locust has eaten in Imo State. His political antecedents, sagacity, dexterity indeed bear the footprints of a young rising political leader whose burning passion to render service as Chief Servant of Imo State cannot be over emphasized.
At the House of Representatives where he has exhibited legislative prowess, he has proved his undying commitment to youth involvement in governance. This propelled him to initiate the Not To Young To Run Bill on the floor of the Green Chambers which has triggered unprecedented approval and support from millions of Nigerian youths. The Bill tends to encourage youths active participation in governance. More than 30 States Houses of Assembly in Nigeria have adopted Nwulu’s Not To Young To Run Initiative which has received presidential assent from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Not To Young To Run bill is one of the several initiatives which he initiated to aid youth involvement in governance that has attracted international attention and recognition from several countries and international bodies. It was laid at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), ECOWAS Parliament and the African Union (AU) where it attracted robust debate. Having exhibited such legislative acumen at the legislative arm of government, this places Hon. Tony Nwulu in a vintage position to bring such dexterity to the Executive Arm of Government. The youthful legislator has really prepared for the onerous task of governance particularly for a State like Imo begging for genuine, responsive and responsible governance after it has been subjected to rudderless leadership for many years.
Nwulu’s antecedents, recognition and several awards he has received certainly towers him above other youthful contenders for the Imo governorship contest in 2019. Such recognition strengthen the popular conviction among the people of Imo State that the State is in dire need of a youthful Governor that is exposed, posses relevant experience and capacity to turn around the State for good. In 2007, he was the United States Nominee for Congress Award and same year; he was also voted The Most Outstanding African Young Legislator in 2017, Most Friendly Bill of the Year 2017 Africa Award Winner, NUJ Young Legislator of the Year Award and International Visitors Leadership Award by the United States Department of State.
Currently, the Ezinihitee Mbaise born Federal Lawmaker is the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee On Capital Market and Institutions and Chairman, Sub Committee on Market Regulations and Compliance. He is a professional member of the Chartered Institute of Economics, Member of the West Africa Telecoms Council, International Member, International Youth Council and Founder, Igbo Youth National Forum. He is also a member, Nigeria House of Representatives Committee on Works, Telecommunications, Pension, Inter Parliamentary Affairs, Emergency Preparedness and Disasters Management. Member, Africa- European Co-Operation, Member, Nigeria Youth Organization and Founder, Igbo Youth National Forum.
The above accolades, awards, recognition and antecedents has shown that Nwulu is indeed “fully baked” for the task of leadership and governing Imo State. His programs and vision for the State reflects his burning passion to salvage the eastern heartland from its present ruins. The level of despondency among the people of Imo State makes it imperative that only a Governor that will pursue their happiness is elected. Nwulu clearly understands the myriad problems affecting Imo State as encapsulated in his programmes for the State. He had given a brief insight on how to rescue Imo State on the grounds that he posses the midas touch to salvage the State from its comatose condition. He has promised to run a small government to cut cost of governance, establish three zonal Development Commissions in each of the geo political zones in the State, introduce welfare packages that will put an end to the misery of pensioners and workers in the State and other programmmes that will uplift the Imo citizenry.
He had told an online newspaper in an interview “When I become Governor, Imo State’s best both at home and in Diaspora will come in and repackage our State from the mess Okorocha has plunged it into. We should also have in mind that it is not going to be easy because the rot and level of decadence in the State is so much.
“I have come to repair Imo State and the people will be marveled by the time we correct this mess and place Imo State on the path of prosperity. Hope is not lost yet and I remain confident that our dear State shall be salvaged from the clutches of despondency. We will approach the State House of Assembly with a Bill for the establishment of three Zonal Development Commissions for each of the three geo political zones in the State. This will encourage the three zones to develop at a rapid pace.
“We want Imo State to quickly join the queue of the fastest developing States in the federation. We will open up the economy which has been public service driven for many years. We will redirect the economy- make it private sector driven by attracting private investors. And for you to have investors there must be security, steady power supply and all that. We will go into partnership to have an Independent Power Plant to compliment what we get from the National Grid to boost electricity in the State. We have arable land. Our people are hardworking and this is why I m dumbfounded when I hear our people are hungry and living in misery. Agriculture will get top priority. We will run a small government to cut cost. Imo State is hugely blessed. What we need is the right approach to governance and every other thing will fall in place” Nwulu said.
Judging from the above narration, Hon. Tony Nwulu has demonstrated a strong desire driven by a passionate ambition to take Imo State to the next level. He offers a ray of hope for the Imo citizenry that is ravaged by a leadership that has not done enough to take the State to the next level. Indeed, Tony Nwulu is a man for the people of Imo State- the youthful Governor in waiting.