Tanangada: This is not about me, but the people
News of outgoing prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s dramatic election defeat on Thursday night spread like wild fire.
Minutes after the election loss was announced at provincial capital Gizo, social media contributors and commentators went on a feast.
The man behind this big news was secondary school teacher Jimson Tanangada, who was not given much public attention during the campaign period.
But he became an instant hero after he unseated his much experienced and powerful opponent, gaining praises from people far and near.
On social media, people described him a “champion”, “giant slayer” and all kinds of heroic praises.
Others equated the victory to the biblical “David vs. Goliath” story.
But for Tanangada, his victory is not about him, but the people of Gizo Kolombangara.
Speaking to the Sunday Star on Saturday from his home village of Kolombangara, Tanangada said he was aware of the wider media publicity and interest generated by his election victory.
“Form me, my victory and Lilo’s loss is just like any election results within other constituencies,” he said.
However, he said he understood well why there was so much publicity and talk about his victory.
The former deputy principal of Kukundu Adventist College in Western Province, who holds a Bachelor Degree in Education, said his victory does not come as a surprise.
“I’ve been expecting this because I know this is what the people of Gizo/Kolombangara want,” he added.
“But this is not about me, Gordon Darcy Lilo or the other contesting candidates, but about the people,” he said.
Tanangada, 37, said he decided to enter politics after taking a break from teaching and spending time with his people in the village in 2011
He believed the grassroots people influenced him to run in the national elections after seeing a gap between them and the government.
“I read most of the policies of successive governments and found that most of them focussed on rural advancement.
“But in reality, it never happen that way the policies were designed,” he said.
Therefore, Tanangada said he decided to stand up as a young man to educate his people to be independent and ensure a connection between them and the government.
He said this can only be achieved by working together.
“I am willing to work with Lilo if he’s willing and other human resources of the constituency to progress development in Gizo/Kolombangara and the country as a whole.
“There is no time to focus on the past and finger pointing each other but time for us to work together,” he said.
Tanangada polled 2,143, while Lilo collected 1,901, followed by Kenneth Bulehite – 1,093 and Schulte Maetoloa – 43.
BY EDDIE OSIFELO