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Of late pensioner and lawmaker who betrays his promise, By Kenneth Uwadi

By News Express on 03/06/2018

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•Kenneth Uwadi
•Kenneth Uwadi

Nnamdi sank lower in the rickety chair of his study room. He crossed one of his legs over the other and surveyed his dusty black pair of shoes. “Papa!”, Angela called. Nnamdi glanced in her direction, aware that she and a younger girl with very black hair were moving towards his study room. Angela was all he had to show for six years of marriage that had ended seven years ago in a divorce. “Yes?” he asked through his teeth. “Pa Okoro has slumped, Papa, come quickly”, she said.

Nnamdi hurried to Okoro’s house. So many people ran to this house, too.  Someone accompanied a trado-medical doctor to the house. The doctor rubbed him with a liquid substance, pricked him with needles and pinched hard, but still, Okoro did not move. He was dead! He was a retired Imo State Civil Servant, 75-year-old, with a thick, fiery beard and bushy eyebrows. He was broad-framed, with unkempt hairs and narrow eyes. Evidently, he had become disenchanted with life and frustrated, after nearly a decade of hunger and starvation: what a reward for service.

The government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha denied him, and other retirees, their pension for years. Some say the government owed him 89 months pension. This deliberate act wickedness is how Okorocha’s administration rewards a man who spent his youthful vigour and energy serving his fatherland. The worst kind of poverty is when someone cannot get food to eat and, therefore, grows lean, becomes weak, leading to an installmental death.

During Pa Okoro’s burial, Emmanuel Orie – member, representing Ohaji/Egbema at the Imo State House of Assembly – made a pledge to assist the bereaved family financially. But he has since reneged on his promise, and has stopped picking calls from members of the family. This, to me, is very bad. Leaders depend on the trust and loyalty of their followers. Why should a leader lie to his followers, when he should understand the negative consequences of being caught in that lie? Orie lied to the bereaved Okoro’s family by failing to redeem his pledge, made at the funeral of a man whom the Imo State government starved to death. Although a professed Christian, he forgot the Bible passage which says: “A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed …. (Proverb 11:25-28).  He forgot the Chinese idiom: “He who obtains has a little, he who scatters has much.”

In another scenario, I recall when Orie met with Johnson, one of his followers from Obeakpu-Egbema at a burial ceremony, and invited him to Owerri. He promised that he had something for him. But on getting to Owerri, he instructed his aide to tell Johnson that he was not around. Yet, before embarking on the journey, the young man had called to notify him that he was coming. He gave the nod and asked Johnson to proceed, only for him to stopped picking his calls when he got to Owerri. Yours truly had also suffered same fate in the hands of this State lawmaker and elected representative of our people. He has done it to several other persons. The Honourable Member, Imo House of Assembly, is fond of making promises he never honours. He seems not to be a man of his words. Perhaps, that is common with politicians.

But, from the moral point of view, what’s wrong with deception is that it is a betrayal of trust. Trust is impossible without truth. Without trust, you may have a senior title, but you are not a leader. Stop sparing feelings and be a leader that values and respects people enough to be a model for leading from the truth. You cannot deceive someone unless they trust you, believing that you’re being truthful with them. When you succeed in deceiving them, you exploit that trust, using that person for your own ends. In every domain of life, such betrayals weaken or destroy the trust and relationships essential to our vital institutions. The health of a democracy depends in part on the ability of its leaders to muster popular support for their policies, and that requires widespread trust in those leaders. In fact, the trust of constituents is one of a political leader’s most valuable assets. But lying to your supporters squanders that trust and diminishes your capacity to lead.

Permit me to state an unambiguous fact here. I am not going to discuss the sanctimonious or avaricious tenure of Hon Orie at the Imo State House of Assembly. I hope you are not disappointed. You may be saddened or happy, but I am not surprised of the manifest successes, failures, tactics, wisdom, folly and blunders of Orie’s tenure. I am less concerned about the general excuses or indexes that are often used by Orie’s supporters and opponents to praise or castigate his activities at the Imo House. Whether he did well as a lawmaker or not, is not my concern for now. This should be reserved for posterity. My concern is that he should learn to keep to promises. Lying to his supporters squanders that trust and diminishes his capacity to lead. As citizens, we have a responsibility. We have to impress upon those who lead us that we do care about truth and honesty, and that losing our trust is an unacceptable cost of deceptive politics.

 •Kenneth Uwadi writes from Mmahu-Egbema, Imo State.

Source News Express

Posted 03/06/2018 07:44:42 AM


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