BY EGWU NWACHUKWU
The quintessential example of leadership hovers very much around populist; the zeal and the will to meet the people, original owners of the power being wielded, at the very point of their needs. Populism holds the prospect of readdressing the wrongs of the influential elite who exploit the rights and powers of the ordinary people and supporting the struggle to overcome this. This was the philosophical orientation of Awolowo who bestrode Western Nigeria Politics post-independence as a celebrated colossus. His Excellency Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Okowa is indeed to the people what the people are to him. He struts over a retinue of unshakeable followership owing largely to his openness and accommodating nature, simplicity and understanding all crowned by unquestionable humility. It is to the nature in the man that the people exert their trust and followership. He is very much dissimilar to many of his contemporaries who allow the fume of their root and by extension create a yawning gap between them and their people.
In strict comparison, Dr. Okowa is a down-to-earth politician worth his onion, and guided by the singular wish to serve in earnest in the interest of the people who have elected him to rule them and show them the pathway to livelihood. He is indeed making a good show of it as a governor but had begun the fruitful journey in his political prime as a one-time chairman of Ika North-East Local Government Area. Dr. Okowa parades a precious pedigree capable of stimulating envy across political divides. This is owing to particularly his style of leadership which admits people before his presence, big or small, rich or poor, man or woman. He does not discriminate anyone and so the people in reciprocation would do all in their power to work assiduously for his political success, obeying his political directives without question.
This is typical of his colleagues who believe so much in power for power sake and not for the sake of the people. Such are the political office holders, appointed, elected or re-appointed who only remembers to visit their ward when they want to canvass another support for their political intention, or deliberately visit to showcase their new wonders on wheel while the people who voted for them continue to wallow in want. Apostles of power for power sake abound among our Ika political office holders who distant themselves from the electorate believing that they owe no one anything especially if they are appointed and they only display “Eye Service” loyalty to their political benefactors.
The leader who has his people at heart go the whole hog to ensure that they benefit from the office they hold through acts that can bring palpable succour to the yearnings and aspirations. Popular among which are food on the table, school for the children, roof over the family’s head and some little comfort therein. Service to the people should not be hinged on election time hand-outs alone, or in occasional visits to the people one represents without any meaningful impact that could alter the strains they bear and share. To be more specific, Dr. Okowa is an Owa-Alero man first of all and an Ika North-East man next. There can only be argument from every critical “Pull Him Down” (PHD) quarters that he has impacted Owa-Alero positively from his appointment times as three time commissioner, through the influencing of government to locate tenable projects within his community. At a time, Owa-Alero became the envy of all and sundry within its vicinity as almost all their earth roads even those leading to their farms were tarred, through the instrumentality of Dr. Okowa and Amb. Godson Echiegile. The same efforts were put to ensure that Ika North-East also benefited to the best he could do at that time. Under the present dispensation, he has continued in his prized strides, ensuring that schools are face-lifted, roads are maintained and tarred, employment is battled to a standstill through youth empowerment programs, and that in no time, Deltans can put good food on their tables through the different agricultural ventures located across the three senatorial districts. What more can one say about a man who has doggedly built himself an enviable political pedigree but to ask that he must endeavour to have a genuine succession plan in place for Ika nation such that as his political light begins to dim, it does dim anyway, some other one is brightening up in order not to leave a lacuna.
Today’s political game field is not for all comers or the indolent and uniformed. The stakes across the nation is getting higher by the day. It may be different strokes for different people, but the time for winning elections through the backdoor is winding up in the face of growing discernibility of the voting populace. The bar is daily being raised at the different levels of the game and the earlier Ika nation keys into the upped stakes, the better. It cannot continue to be business as usual because we subsist in a contest across the state and only meritocracy having been undermined in times past is rearing its head. No one would want to support an indolent goofy for any representative position, or the political peacocks who are unapproachable for that matter.
BY EGWU NWACHUKWU