The Waverley community has thrown their support behind Dr Nwankwo to be the next MLA
The good Doctor is in! Well-known and seasoned community activist with a Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics. Dr Uche Nwankwo (call him Focus if you see him in the neighbourhood) becomes the first nominated Manitoba Liberal Party candidate for the next Manitoba Provincial Election.
Since 2012, he has been lecturing in the Department of Economics at the University of Winnipeg. Before joining the university, he worked as a Research Associate at the Natural Resource Institute at the University of Manitoba, where he focused on food security within the Indigenous communities.
The next Manitoba general election will occur on or; before October 3, 2023, to select the 43rd Legislative Assembly. Although elections tend to have fixed dates, nothing stops the current government from sending Manitobans to the polls early as it did in 2019. That decision was calculated and resulted in a Conservative majority.
Governments with a majority mandate rarely call early elections and, it is unlikely the Pallister government will send Manitobans to the polls early for a second time. The first time that happened, Manitobans were angry that the government did not honour its fixed election date sending them to the polls months before the federal election.
Although Manitobans suffered from election fatigue, the Conservatives had the luxury of knowing when the Premier would be calling the next provincial election. That inside knowledge left the other parties playing a guessing game. That uncertainty ultimately resulted in those parties fielding candidates that may have otherwise not been on the ballot had the election taken place a year later.
In elections, name recognition can go a long way whether you are the incumbent or a candidate. In Dr Nwankwo’s case, not only does he have name recognition, but he also has overwhelming support from the community. The Waverley riding is one of the most diverse in Manitoba that also happens to be home to a large African diaspora where many identify as a member of the Nigerian community.
In the past, the African community traditionally cast their votes among the various party candidates, but that was before they had a candidate that is a likeable leader from within their community and who also connects with other ethnic nationalities. It is hard-pressed not to conclude they will continue to rally around Dr Nwankwo and vote him to be the next MLA for Waverley.
People tend to vote for candidates that can win, and Dr Nwankwo not only can win, but he also checks all the boxes of the ideal candidate. Educated, community leader, name recognition and has the necessary skills and experience to serve in cabinet and govern.
“The healthcare and education system are going in the wrong direction. The P.C government has failed Manitobans in the manner they handled the COVID-19 pandemic. I am not a person that sits idle when my community requires services and leadership.” Said, Dr Nwankwo
He further added that he plans to be a visible MLA that engages the people within the constituency to foster transparent dialogue on issues of importance to all of the community. Dr Nwankwo does not recall the last time the residents of Waverley had a town hall meeting with their representative other than when it was time for an election.
Dr Nwankwo’s name on the ballot is a big win for the Manitoba Liberals. They get a high-profile candidate that is a slight favourite to unseat the incumbent MLA Jon Reyes. Reyes who was serving as a backbencher was recently elevated to the position of Minister after the resignation of Eileen Clarke, Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
Her resignation came in the wake of the Premier’s remarks that the Indigenous community have called insensitive that downplay the role of colonialism and destruction of Indigenous culture through the advent of residential schools.
Waverley will be a riding to watch come election day. Dr Nwankwo has a veteran campaign team with donors that have deep pockets and big cheque books.