There’s something that is becoming highly obvious about democracy. It’s like a well refined wine that gets more mature with time. Complain as we do, which anyway is our socio-political right to do so. If you actually take time to reflect, you will discover that there are slight improvements on the political environment.
Take for instance, some of our political office holders are gradually becoming people oriented in their approach to service. Though it’s just handful of them, but gradually, in spite of the social challenges we’re facing today, that handful are spreading.
There are very few politicians who actually came with the sincere desire to serve the people, and you will see sincerity of purpose, humanity mixed with humility in their approach to issues. Their focus are normally people oriented projects, which they carry out with deep and sincerely convincing passion.
Such qualitative character was what l discovered yesterday in Obinna Ichita when l attended the Aba South Constituency Summit he organized for Aba traders who trade with Chinese partners. The Special Guest of Honour was His Excellency, Ambassador C. O. Oguh, Head, Nigerian Mission, Shanghai, China. To a technocrat like me, listening to the traders lament about what they have been passing through in the hands of Chinese business partners was an eye opener.
First, our traders getting visa to China is very difficult as they have to pass through so many difficult hurdles. It didn’t just stop at that, they’re being taken undue advantage of by an exploitative systematic policy put in place by a cartel. Whereas other traders coming from outside the eastern enclave pay far less to obtain visas, our traders are subjected to pay 200% of the same amount to process their visas. One of the traders, Mr. Innocent lamented how he had to go to Kano State to register with their chamber of commerce just to obtain Chinese visa, yet, when it was due for him to get it, he was told that he had to register to vote in Kano before such can happen. It was a story like this that really made me to appreciate the impact of that summit that Honourable Obinna, the APGA Lawmaker representing Aba South organized.
Several traders lamented how their Chinese business partners always find a way to outsmart them and take undue advantage of them. From shortchanging them on agreed goods to be shipped, showing them one thing and shipping another, paying for a full container and getting lesser which push them into debt after clearing their goods at a very high cost. It was one sorrowful business disappointment stories after another and the traders were completely helpless not knowing who to run to, or where to lay their complain. So you can imagine their relief when the Nigerian Head Mission to Shanghai was sitting there, listening and taking note of all their complaints and asking them to forward their documents, promising to go straight and meet the Chinese Ambassador and also to set up a permanent committee specifically to look into some of these issues enumerated above that has hampered their economic growth and development.
You can then reflect and see the positive impact this is going to make on the business fortunes of Aba traders and discover why l talked about Hon. Obinna Ichita in such high regards. Seeing how far he has gone in bringing the Nigerian Head Mission to Shanghai to Aba and the positive attributes that came out of it made me think that this is what quality representation should be all about. Feeling the vibes of your people and answering to them is what social service should be all about. Governance isn’t just all about building roads and all of that. Luckily for Aba traders, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is answering to that.
So, in organizing this Summit the Honourable member is complimenting it to give his constituents an all round quality service.
Can you imagine that there are several Chinese people that collected funds from our traders and stopped communicating with them? Others you will send like $10,000 USD and they’ll ship $7,500USD worth of goods.
The Chinese Embassy even stopped issuing our traders visas at some point, they insisted that you must be issued visa only if you have traveled in the last 3 years. And, they equally stopped issuing new entrant visas. While taking all these steps, they now started planning to start flooding Aba markets with the same goods that our people visit to import. With all these background information l am convinced that by now you are getting the full positive impact of the value of this intervention that Honourable Obinna has started making.
This is what representation should be all about. Other political leaders should learn to listen and know where the shoe pinches their electorates the most, and take steps to address them.
Once more, my sincere appreciation to Hon. Obinna Ichita for such a selfless service to our people.