ANAMBRA 2021 – VCO THE PDP TALISMAN
By Arthur Chibueze Ezechukwu
As the D day approaches, all eyes is still on the ball, in various quarters, well-meaning and experienced sons and daughter(s) of Anambra State are pumped to assume the helm of affairs at “Agu Awka”, come 2021. For many, and not just the aspirants but indeed, the masses, there is a strong desire to bring back good governance and transparency to the Democracy of Anambra State.
The 2021 election is indeed going to be one of the toughest and sophisticated elections ever conducted in our dear Anambra State. Already, we are witnessing, for the first time, an assemblage of incredible minds, both male and female, with a genuine fervor to take our dear state to greater and enviable heights.
Even more interesting is the fact that a greater percentage of these personalities as it were, is lodged within the walls of the Peoples Democratic Party, and this unarguably has once again, as has always being the case, placed the PDP at the center stage of this august political festival.
One won’t be mincing words when we say that for the PDP, this election is indeed, one to loose. The telltale is clear as crystal, that the PDP, is the future of Anambra State’s Democracy.
But what is faith without works?
While we proclaim and accent to the fact that the PDP is volumptiously dancing around the seat of Governance of this great State, we must not forget that an intentional and strategic approach must be deployed to transform this potential fact, into an actual fact.
Perhaps, there is need to take a brief detour back to the history and what has been the fate of the PDP in the past Gubernatorial elections contested by her in the State.
PDP IN ANAMBRA STATE GUBERNATORIAL RACE
It is not a private knowledge that the PDP, notwithstanding the fact that it is one of the strongest and if not the strongest parties in the History of our great country Nigeria, we know that it has threaded rough and arduous terrains in Anambra State politics and is yet to assume the vehicle of governance of this great state.
We must not neglect nor forget too soon, the fact that this great party nurtured the Democracy of our great state at infancy, after her creation in 1999. The party had had retained the seat of power from May 29, 1999 to March 17, 2006.
However, since 2006, attempts by the party in previous elections to win back the Anambra Government House, through several other candidates had been futile!
A failure unarguably attributed to internal disputes and conflicting interests within the party leadership at both the national and state levels. It was indeed a stormy period for the party. These disputes had always arisen in the party’s previous shots at “Agu Awka”, up until 2017 in which the party enjoyed a certain level of unity and cohesion in her leadership, but despite a clean victory by the former UN diplomat, Mr Oseloka Obaze, in its primary election, it was still difficult to get all the stakeholders of the party to be on the same page.
In a tremendous turn out of events and reasonable trashing out of contensions, one can confidently conclude without assuming, that the Anambra State PDP is having a smooth sail, with all the clogs in her wheel turning seamlessly on the grease of unity and pursuit of common interest and purpose, which is, providing good governance for “ndị Anambra”.
Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, the Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra has assured the public in recent times, that the party had mustered enough vigour and determination to win the 2021 governorship election in the state.
He has described the party as” intact and united”.
In his own words, “PDP is as strong as ever in Anambra state, the leadership is focused, we remain undaunted, and all the efforts of fifth columnists will not in any way distract us.
“We are determined to take control of power in Anambra not for the sake of taking control of power but to give Anambra people purpose-driven governance and dividends of democracy.
Having arrived at this conclusion on the established party unity on all levels in the state, the party still has to field only one candidate straight out of her primaries, to lead the charge on “Agu Awka”. There’s currently, a whirlpool of aspirants shooting for the party’s ticket.
Fortunately enough, the party has found her talisman for sure victory.
If you’re abreast with the previous issues and contentions in the party, you must know assuredly that by now, that the party needs to produce a candidate who is a collection of many things but to mention a few, the party needs a candidate who is homegrown, grounded in the affairs of the party both at the national, regional and state levels, versed in material and resources management, accountable, transparent, and who has strong personally proven philosophy of servant leadership.
Carefully perusing these qualities, the man, Mr Valentine Chineto Ozigbo comes to mind!
VALENTINE CHINETO OZIGBO AS THE PDP TALISMAN
Valentine Chineto Ozigbo is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp; he is an indigene of Anụwo, in Amesi Town, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. Mr Valentine Chineto Ozigbo is a refined leader with proven, outstanding and resounding achievements in leadership and economic development.
VCO’s life, education, career and philanthropic endeavours have been robustly documented and is readily available and accessible to ndị Anambra who wish to know more about him.
After a careful digest of VCO’s profile, you would see that he is an embodiment of the following factors and more.
VCO IS A HOME GROWN LEGEND
In several quarters, I’ve heard people refer to Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo as a man of the diaspora, as one who was born and bred in Europe. This is entirely a statement borne out of ignorance and perhaps, sheer political paltry.
Valentine Chineto Ozigbo is a man of very humble beginning even though his grandfather, called Ozigbo Eze Ego, was one of the richest in town.
Here is what he had to say about this, “But my father became a teacher, a headmaster, a catechist, which means we didn’t have a lot of money to play with. At some point, I carried sand; I did everything menial to augment whatever I got as school fees. I went to the farm in the morning before later going to school in the morning. So we went through all these experiences. And I grew from multiple villages. I was born in Umuomaku in Old Aguata, Orumba. I moved to Akpu and everywhere my father was posted as a headmaster, we would move.”
VCO was born immediately after the Nigerian Civil War, and completed his primary and secondary school education in his home town of Amesi, speaking about his primary and secondary education; VCO had this to say…
“I learned much early the meaning of hard work. I learned very early that actually in life it is he who hungers the more that succeed and not necessarily the most endowed. Because I knew, I had people, who were far more brilliant than I was in my school days. But because I always wanted to prove to my dad, I wanted to make him proud, I’d go the extra mile. I would follow a teacher at his home. I would beg him to clarify certain things. He would give me assignments and I’d fail and I’d go back to him. So I worked hard and all of a sudden, a subject that I considered difficult, I ended up becoming the best in that class. So I knew the meaning of this much early in my life. So when I went into a village secondary school, Christ the Redeemer College (CRC), I again put in my best and I started to represent the school in the quiz competition and debate society and all kinds of things.”
At the completion of his secondary school education and while awaiting admission into the University, Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo was called back to teach mathematics and physics at his Alma Matter.
At the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN where he studied Accountancy, VCO won all the prizes in the Faculty of Business Administration and also bagged an MBA. As a Chevening scholar, he studied MSc in Finance and also graduated with distinction. VCO is also a member of several professional bodies and associations.
He moved straight into the Banking Sector where he spent 17 years working and rose to the level of a general manager and head of offshore liaison for UBA, head of International Banking, head of Global Transition Banking for Bank PHB and regional manager at FSB among others.
He has this to say a about his banking experience…
“It was actually at this point that my international exposure started. After I came back from that Chevening scholarship, I had done 10 years before going for Chevening. So during my first 30 years, I hadn’t been anywhere outside of Nigeria. But from the moment I started handling those international roles, there are years that I would be in over 15 countries in a single year. So I was busy opening banks in different countries of the world, within Africa and beyond Africa. So I had interfaced with presidents of countries as a banker,”
It is important to note that for thirty solid years, Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo never travelled anywhere outside Nigeria.
Just another village boy turned global CEO by refined determination and hardwork.
VCO AS A CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, MATERIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES EXPERT
In 2011, he took over as the chief executive officer, CEO, of the hotel business of Transcorp Hotels Plc. He transformed Transcorp Hotels – starting with its human resources; changing their vision and imbued in them the Kaizen culture of continuous improvement.
VCO spent seven years in the hotel business, and became, perhaps, the most decorated man, if not black man in the hospitality sphere. He was voted the CEO of the year in Spain by the Seven Stars award in 2016. In 2019, he was also decorated as the hospitality personality of the year and became the only black man to be so honoured in these gatherings, a record anyone is yet to beat consecutively for the past six years before he left , Transcorp Hotel was voted the best business hotel in Africa by the World Travel Awards.
On speaking about these achievements, he had this to say
“… And for me, it wasn’t really about these awards. It’s the fact that it allowed me to be truly be of service to people. Hospitality is the true meaning of service because what you care about really is how to make the other person happier now that he’s walked into the property. So mine has always been how to leave a positive impression on anybody that I met in that period. And I can say to you that if I go by my experience so far in politics, I tell you that I thank God for the enormous goodwill he has led me to build over the years. Because I see remarks and I hear remarks from people and I see how they’re buying into this vision.”
After seven years, VCO became the group CEO and president of Transcorp, which covers power, oil and gas, and hospitality.
HIS CULTURE OF HUMILITY, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo had a very humble upbringing, even in the wake of his intelligence and brilliance; he stayed humble to the core. Reading in between the lines of his profile, you’ll understand that VCO is nothing less than a servant leader.
VCO doesn’t just point the way, but he leads the way, perhaps this observation by a close friend of mine who is a non partisan political pundit, Dr. Charles Kene Ojukwu, concerning VCO’s approach to leadership, will throw more light on the extent and reach of his humility.
“I have known Val right from his days at Hilton… Sometimes people say I’m a freak of Hilton hotel. When I lodge at London I found Hilton hotel close to me, I opted to cough out the funds to lodge there just for the maximum comfort. When I was at Liverpool few days ago… I still went to lodge at Hilton Hotel. Whenever am in abuja I stick my meetings and hangouts at Hilton Transcorp Hotel such that friends I told am in town to meet me up would say, oboy wetin you dey find for transcorp. I also club at play club in Hilton. This is to show how I’ve fallen in love with the ideology and drive behind the pilots of the affairs of transcorp headed by Val. I’ve seen him move the hotel from point A to B to C and further. I had been to Hilton in as far back 2009 during school politics days, before Val became the CEO and I can tell you if he’s performed in Hilton and got elevated to be the overall group CEO of all Hilton businesses he’s shown capacity enough”
On Emotional Intelligence, you find in Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo, a man full of compassion and understanding, he is a man who believes that everyone matters and would engage everyone that matters in a conversation, to avoid any being left feeling marginalised.
This has earned him the name “unifier”. Even in the wake of the numerous rancour existent in the PDP at the time he declared his intention for Agu Awka, he went on to rally and kept on rallying the conflicting factions together for dialogue, to achieve a common front for the good of ndị Anambra.
VCO is a kaizen champion by virtue of his training. The Kaizen culture in his own words, “is something that we lack in and it’s something that actually will help to change the story of a black man.”
Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement.
In every situation, the first question VCO tries to ask is, what ways we can improve whatever we’re currently doing for the better. He not only challenges the status quo of the sector he finds himself in, but on a daily basis, he challenges himself to do more and better.
This is what Anambra State stands to experience under the leadership of the PDP through Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo. An Anambra State shining truly, as the light of the Nation, in other words, Ka Anambra Chawapu!
VCO A PHILANTHROPIST AT HEART
For VCO it doesn’t take vieing for public offices, to give back to the society.
In 2015, without the fore knowledge of contesting for any public office, VCO singlehandedly initiated and financed a business plan competition and carnival in his home town of Amesi, with the grand Finale holding at the famous football pitch of his Alma Matter, Christ The Redeemer College. Cash prizes were won and 3 winners of the business plan competition were given the sum of N1,000,000 to start up their business plans.
I am proud to be called one of the winners.
In 2017, he officially launched the VCO foundation, then called the Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, where he trained the Youths of Amesi, Akpo and Achina, collectively called Akalabo, on ICT.
In 2018, VCO through his Foundation, hosted the largest business plan competition and carnival in the southeast, with a crowd of over ten thousand persons converging at the grand Finale held at the CRC field, where three major beneficiaries were awarded the sums of N3,000,000 to the overall winner from Achina and N1,000,000 to the second and third from respectively from Amesi town, to startup and or sustain their businesses. They are all doing well now, with a track record of massive improvements in their businesses.
This August, VCO through his foundation, released a teaser on Anambra Talent UNLOCKED, another breath taking competition to be unveiled officially, at a later date this month.
VCO has also through his foundation, sponsored student union programs in the tertiary institutions, he has also consistently reached out to vulnerable members of the society.
VCO is the chairman of Unusual Entrepreneur, which started in 2018 when he became the chairman of Unusual Praise, the largest Catholic Praise Concert in Africa, through which he economically empowered members of the church.
He also has the Chairman of Feet ‘N’ Tricks International, a sports promotion company, the biggest promoter of freestyle football in Africa, a company he registered with the likes of Kanu Nkwankwo. The sports competition started in 2017 and last year, 30 countries participated in the event in Lagos.
According to him, “The idea is to create another platform to empower the youths. And it’s for men and women. This year, for instance, we are going to start up the competition virtually, from July 1.”
This year’s competition was tagged FREESTYLE UNLOCKED, which held Nigerian and African African Championship finals on 25th July and 2nd August respectively.
The African Freestyle Football Champions, Mohannad Hosam Ali (Egypt) and Fatima Akif (Morocco) took home the grand prize of $1,000 each.
Second-placed winners, Yousef Ayman Riesco (Egypt) and Lubna Omar (Sudan) each went home with $750, while Ayoub Haouas (Tunisia) and Evelyn Okafor (Nigeria) who both placed 3rd win $500 each. The 4th placed winners, Samir Saidi (Algeria) and Yasmine Rais (Morocco), took home $250 each.
At the Grand Finale of the Nigerian Championship, Benjamin Ebong and Augustina Unamba walked away with a cash prize of N150,000 each as the winners of Nigerian Freestyle Football Champion of 2020 in the male and female categories.
The 2nd Place winners, the 2017 champion, McCarthy Obanor (Men) and the reigning African Women Champion, Evelyn Okafor (Women) each went home with N100,000 each. While the 3rd Place winners Prince Okereke (Men) and Treasure Nwoye (Women) got N50,000 each. In addition, the 4th to 8th finalists in both categories got N20,000.
VCO THE DEEP STATE PDP FAITHFUL TURNED GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT
Many have marveled and fantasised on the notion that VCO is a neophyte in the political realm, especially as it concerns the PDP.
Let’s hear what he has to say about this…
“Undoubtedly, Anambra needs a breath of fresh air, and that’s one of the things I represent. It means I have not been part of the problem, and those whose only claim to fame is career politics cannot extricate themselves from the issues we currently face. That said, I am not new to politics. I am deeply rooted in the PDP and have made positive contributions to the party where I could in the past years. My role as a former chief executive of officer, CEO, of Transcorp Hotels placed me in a unique position to understand politics in ways that hardly some elected officials do. For these reasons, I am not just the best of one world, but two.”
To say that one is deep rooted in a thing is not a fancy statement, from the National Structure, down to the State structure of the PDP, VCO has played the role of a key stakeholder in the party whose core ambition is to see that PDP gets the opportunity to propel our great State and Country in the right direction.
He is a politician who’s history in the party points to unity, faith and progress. His aura exudes excellence to the core and communicates a desire to bring about the greater good of Ndị Anambra.
VCO DOVETAILING INTO THE JOINTS OF THE PDP POLITICAL AMBITION
If the PDP is going to launch a successful siege on Agu Awka at the polls in 2021, it has to be Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo.
With his track record of unification, proven academic soundness and governance prowess, coupled with his addiction to continuous improvement, Anambra State is will have a sure shot at excellence in the next 8 years.
Already, on the lips of many, he is perceived as the most competent for the job, and he is willing to do the job to the latter.
So as was in the beginning of this unusual expose, the onus has been shifted back to the PDP.
Indeed, the Anambra State election is an election to loose for the PDP. VCO is poised to bring bring back the honor and repute of this great house, let’s give him a chance, as we proceed to the primaries, let us bring to bear, the events of the past elections and resolve not to play the victim, but display an unflinching desire to let Anambra Shine again.
At the primary polls, let us decide VCO!
Ndị bẹ́ anyị Daalụ nụ ọ!
#vco #excellencetothecore #kaanambrachawapu #VCOFoundation
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