So, we have closed the door on 2020. The year ushered in one of the worst pandemics the world has seen in decades and even as it comes to an end, the second wave of the pathogen in raging in many countries and Nigeria is not exempt.
The past year, aside from the virus, was marked by an untold wave of unrest following the #EndSARS protests. Never-before-seen youth anger swept through the land, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its path. In our country’s North and Central regions, it has been the constant tale of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings, and general insecurity. We nosedived into another economic recession, and to many people, it feels like there’s no end in sight to bad news. Indeed, this was one of the most tumultuous and challenging years.
But, no matter how dark things get, there’s always a reason to be grateful. We are still here. With over 83 million infected with the coronavirus, close to 2 million dead, and millions still battling with the virus, if you are alive and well, that’s one reason to be grateful.
The spirit of gratitude happens to be something we need to cultivate at a time like this. Gratitude is scientifically proven to help reduce stress and improve physical health. It increases mental strength, fosters resilience, helps overcome trauma, enhances empathy levels, and reduces aggression. Gratitude also rewrites our brain’s signature to unlock abundance. These are what we need to set us on a path for winning in 2021.
It’s a new year and a fresh opportunity to seize the moment and write a new script. I anticipate great new opportunities to make an impact this year, and I also look forward to raising my people’s consciousness about the richness and profoundness of positive human connections.
My publishers have just informed me that they will be releasing two of my books in the first quarter of this year. I am excited about the unlimited potential to transform lives and thereby shape society through these books.
2021 happens to be a defining year for my people in my beloved home state of Anambra. We will be heading to the polls to elect a new leader. I am excited about the prospects before us to re-chart the trajectory of leadership in our state. I believe that by November when the governorship election will hold, the choices before my people will be clear. Either to cling to the same old dysfunctional, ineffectual, and divisive leadership that has crippled our social systems and stalled our growth; or to choose a brand new path by selecting a fresh leader with an abundance of competence and compassion to lead them into a brighter future.
I am placing my bets on the collective intelligence of the Anambra people to choose right. It is this hope in our humanity that drives my quest to lead my people. It is my unshakable belief that we can do better as a people that keeps me fueled. It is my grand vision for Ndi Anambra that propels me in this quest.
What is this vision? It stems from my well-grounded belief in the principles of service born from a place of love. With every sense of humility, I have lived a life of service. Wherever I have found myself, I have always offered the best of me in the service of others. So, my quest to become the governor of my dear state is in line with my life story.
What I bring to the field are unmatchable competencies and leadership experience. I offer a commitment to excellence, a culture of continuous improvement, and the emotional intelligence to build bridges and inspire confidence. These are lacking in leadership in our country, and it explains the level of cruelty and corruption we have seen in governance in Nigeria.
I am stepping out to provide transformational leadership that replaces fear and divisions with faith and unity. The kind of leadership that is bold enough to ensure that every single child gets a world-class education. Leadership that empowers our youth to thrive and rule their world. I mean, the transformational leadership that brings on a new world where the powerful lift up the weak, and the rich organise and channel their wealth to causes that lift all of us.
In seeking this high position, I reject entirely the past’s bitter and petty politics; the kind of politics that destroys value and pulls down our leaders and our icons. In its place, I bring the politics of ideas and upliftment. I offer a new message of inspiration, hope, and possibilities. I believe that united, we will take our rightful place of pride, not just in Nigeria, but the entire world. I believe we can, and we will make it happen.
I am convinced that what Nigeria needs at all levels of leadership is a new mind. We need to usher in a new era of compassionate leadership that genuinely cares for the people. This year offers a chance to demonstrate that we are determined to make our lofty dreams for our future come true by doing what it takes to rewrite our story for good.
My earnest prayer is that the Almighty God would bless each of us with the wisdom we need to make right choices, the courage we need to take the right steps forward, and the grace to endure until we break through the tunnel to the light.
God bless you. May you prosper in 2021.
Valentine Ozigbo is a respected Nigerian business leader and philanthropist. He is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, a position he stepped down from to pursue a career in public service. He is widely regarded as a frontrunner in the upcoming 2021 Anambra governorship election. He is the founder of the eponymously named, Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation. He can be reached on Twitter @ValentineOzigbo.