Posted by News Express | 30 July 2018 | 1,361 times
Recently, at a function in Lagos, I listened avidly to various speakers speak with great passion to underline the seriousness of their position and the depth of their conviction: that leadership challenge in Africa is fuelled by our leaders’ non-possession of authentic leadership culture; a challenge, they argued, which stripped Africa as a continent the power for socio-economic transformation.
Indeed, the postulations got the vast majority of the participants convinced, as they listened with an endorsement.
However, contrary to the above teaching, the events that recently unfolded in Delta State reveals that the postulations may not be absolutely accurate. For example, Delta State governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, like some other state governors, has evidently demonstrated his possession of self-reinventing spirit and, the state, loaded with the power for both political and socio-economic rejuvenation.
The well-thought out plan, and coordinated human capital and infrastructural development in the state - from Warri to Asaba, Oleh to Agbor, and Burutu to Sapele, bears eloquent testimony to this assertion.
Adding context to this discourse, Delta State is the focal point of this conversation, considering the shaky and windy air that heralded the administration as well as the ripple reaction that greeted same; a state of affairs that was compounded by the reluctance of Deltans to allow the governor the space to unfold his game-plan. This is a situation that all must be absolved of wrong-doing, as we dwell in an environment where doing is erroneously considered more important than planning; where our thought system is programmed to view immediate execution as more important than spending time to generate breakthrough ideas.
Unknown to Deltans, while this season of doubt was ongoing, the governor capped himself with a different leadership ideology that places a higher premium on thinking and planning, that will ensure outstanding results.
In line with the above philosophy, analysts have since accentuated that Governor Okowa is currently succeeding on the job of infrastructural development in the state, because of his perception of governance as a project which must be planned and executed in a certain sequence, to create a unique result and meet the expectations of the people.
Meanwhile, as accolades continue to pour critical minds are, however, worried that no matter how noble the projects may appear, it can never be devoid of political undertones, considering the time and season; a feeling that mirrors the entire effort as a political gimmick, a Greek gift, aimed at securing victory at the 2019 general election.
To such sad but envisaged opinions, adequate replies have become inevitable.
Whether for good or for bad, even if the project executions are politically motivated, it will not in any appreciable way erase the fact that Deltans remain the beneficiaries of such projects when completed. After all, we are witnesses to past leaders that instead of executing people-oriented projects, decided to pocket the funds in order to buy the votes on the day of the election.
Correspondingly, not viewing this development from the sunnyside is a sure proof that as human beings, we think of ourselves “as more generous, selfless, honest, kind, intelligent or good looking than in fact we are.” Such disposition, in all fairness, makes it extremely difficult for us to be honest with ourselves about our own limitations.
In reality, ascribing 2019 connotation to the ongoing infrastructural development in the state, is a pragmatic admittance to being oblivious of the fact that globally, it requires prolonged effort to administer a state and change the backward habit of the people; that a certain amount of administrative pressure is necessary at the beginning, of which, if creative leadership is not applied, may mar the entire administration as previously witnessed.
Creative governance the world over has proved not to have a leftist or rightist time for delivering democracy dividends so far it will eventually be delivered, with the projects enduring and built-in consonance with the needs of the people.
What the governor is doing in the state, in my understanding, is a redefinition of power; as embarking on such projects remains the most dynamic and cohesive action expected of a leader like him to earn a higher height of respect, second term or no second term. The governor has used the projects to point out that the essence of power is no other but to effect social, economic and political changes in the state.
Looking at commentaries, Okowa, by demonstrating leadership, has become to the vast majority of Deltans a political later-day saint that can visualise the future that is different from the present; and a man with extraordinary intellect who possesses the quality that is deeply important at this moment of our history.
Certainly, what is going on in the state has understandably raised a lot of expectation that afterwards there is hope for the future of this country.
Still on the positive side, Deltans with discerning minds are unanimous that Okowa is but using the power/position freely given to him by the people to end suffering in the state, that he is using the power/position to create employment for Deltans and transform the lives of the peasants in the state; that the governor is profusely using his position to tackle poverty and insecurity in the state.
From what the people are saying, the government has initiated the fundamental changes that will lay the foundation for Delta State to catch up with the rest of the world.
But there are exceptions, as there will always be an exception. The most profound is the urgent need to reduce the peasant discontent in the state, especially between the blighted communities and the city-dwellers, which may cause serious tension and misgivings.
In the same fashion, the pockets of infrastructural complaints from some quarters need to be closely looked into. For instance, students of the newly-established Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South Local Government Area are in desperate need for an access road to their school.
Likewise, the people of Ubulu-Okiti in Aniocha South Local Government are waiting patiently to have a feel of the governor’s infrastructural crusade.
And, above all, the time is auspicious for the governor to co-opt promising youths into his administration. Those he can hand over the system to; those he can transfer knowledge of how to plan, build, and administer the state, come 2023.
Luckily, Delta is blessed with teaming youths of integrity, intellect, energy and drive to build a modern state.
•Jerome-Mario Utomi, of Springnewsng.com, writes via email@example.com and can also be reached on 08032725574 (SMS)
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