By Ifeoma Ejiofor
Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag-bearer for the 2021 Anambra governorship election, took another significant step in unifying the party ahead of the November 6 poll when he hosted the party’s former statutory and ad-hoc delegates to town hall meetings in the three senatorial zones.
Mr Ozigbo received his certificate of return from Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of the PDP, on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, after the party’s National Working Committee had certified his victory at the party’s primary held in Awka on June 26, 2021.
Since winning the party’s primary, Ozigbo has kept his campaign promise to unify the party if given the mandate to fly the PDP’s flag. He has engaged with party leaders at the national and state levels.
The PDP candidate took his unification drive to the grassroots of the PDP by hosting three ‘VCO Thank You’ events in Nnewi for Anambra South, Awka for Anambra Central, and Onitsha for Anambra North.
At the three events, the respected business leader expressed his sincere gratitude, first to God from whom all victory comes. He also thanked the party leadership at different levels for their collective and individual roles in ensuring that he emerged from a free, fair, and credible process.
“I do not consider this a personal victory. It is a collective triumph for our great party, the PDP, and the first step towards taking back our rightful position at Agu Awka,” Ozigbo said.
In his address to the packed Anaedo Hall, Nnewi, Valentine Ozigbo appealed to the aggrieved party delegates who could not vote at the primary. He reminded them how he has interfaced with them for the past two years, earning their friendship and winning their support.
According to Ozigbo, he made last-minute efforts to ensure that they were part of the voting process at the primary election. Still, conflicting court injunctions had forced the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) to dissolve the party’s structure at state, local government and ward level, leaving only the automatic delegates, who were not affected by the court rulings.
“After many months of getting to know you, it personally hurt me to see you disenfranchised at the last minute. I know how hard you have all worked for the party’s progress, so I feel your pain,” Ozigbo told the party faithful from Anambra South Senatorial Zone.
“I assure you that you all will be part of the process as we head to the main election. I will never forget the effort you have put into ensuring that my candidacy is a reality, and your good works will be rewarded.”
Ozigbo, and his campaign team, proceeded to Cana Hall, Awka, where he charged the party faithful from Anambra Central Senatorial Zone to keep their eyes on the ball as they gear up towards the main election.
The multiple award-winning global CEO reminded the audience that the PDP must focus on the more fantastic trophy ahead and ensure they “bring it home”. He reiterated his confidence in their commitment and ability to carry on the good work until the last day.
“I am here today, not only to thank you but to also remind you that though we have achieved a lot together, greater achievements lie ahead. I couldn’t have done this without your support, and I’m counting on it in the coming months of this vital race,” Ozigbo said.
“Even before winning the primary election, we have set our governance goals and objectives to reflect a massive development of every sector and area of Anambra through creativity and innovation that will leverage 21st-century technological advancements.
“I assure you that we are fully committed to those aspirations that got us here in the first place, and you will be part of every step of that process,” Ozigbo told the lively crowd at Cana House.
At Sharon Hall, Onitsha, a boisterous crowd of animated PDP members welcomed Ozigbo, who assured them of his commitment to creating massive opportunities for the people.
“I want to especially appreciate all the delegates of our great party – both the automatic delegates that eventually voted and the statutory and ad-hoc delegates who could not vote due to specific internal issues,” Ozigbo said.
“Your belief in my candidacy from the beginning of this journey contributed to the overall win we are celebrating today, and I am incredibly grateful.
“Your trust and confidence in the party’s supremacy were put to the test on the election day, but you showed your true allegiance and demonstrated strong loyalty to the party,” Ozigbo told the PDP delegates.
Also in attendance at the three events were key stakeholders and PDP faithful from the three senatorial zones. Directors, coordinators, and members of the VCO Campaign Organisation were also present to add colour to the events.
Since his emergence, Ozigbo has visited party leaders like former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, Sir Emeka Ihedioha, a former Governor of Imo State; Senator Ben Obi, Chief Linus Ukachukwu, Chief Chris Uba (Eselu), Senator Stella Oduah, Chief Olisa Metuh, a former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP; past and serving Anambra lawmakers, and more, with the aim of building consensus around his candidacy.
He has also extended a hand of friendship to the aspirants who contested for the PDP ticket by visiting or calling the fifteen of them.
Valentine Ozigbo, a corporate titan, made history when he won the keenly contested primary election of his party by winning the majority of the votes from a lineup of 16 other aspirants. He defeated United Nigeria Airlines CEO, Obiora Okonkwo and Senator Uche Ekwunife, who came second and third.
Ozigbo resigned from his role as the President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc in March 2020 to dedicate the next chapter of his life to public service. He has been rated the candidate to beat in the upcoming November election as his brilliant brand persona has endeared him to the people of Anambra.