Recently, I listened avidly to various speakers at a function in Lagos speak with great passion to underline the seriousness of their position and the depth of their conviction that leadership challenge in Africa is fueled by our ‘leaders’ non-possession of authentic leadership culture; a challenge they argued stripped Africa as a continent of 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 as the state governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi, like some other state governors has evidently demonstrated their possession of self-reinventing spirit, and their state, loaded with the power for both political and socioeconomic 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 Ogwuashi-Uku, bears eloquent testimony to this assertion.
Adding context to this discourse, Delta state becomes the focal point of this conversation considering the shaky and windy situation that heralded the administration and the ripple reaction that greeted same; a state of affairs that was compounded by Deltans unwillingness to allow the governor the space to unfold his game plan.
A fault that all must be absolved of wrong-doing as we dwell in an environment where doing is erroneously considered more important than planning, and where our thought system is programmed to view immediate execution as more important than spending the 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 undertone considering the time and season; a feeling that mirrors the entire effort as a political gimmick/Greek gift aimed at securing victory at the 2019 general election.
To such sad but envisaged voiced 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-purposed 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 sunny side 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, in my views, 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 latter-day saint that can visualize 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 governor 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; with the most profound being the urgent need to reduce the peasant discontent in the state especially between the blighted communities with that of 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, the students of the newly established Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area’s desperate need for an access road to their school.
Likewise, the people of Ubulu-Okiti in Aniocha South Local Council are waiting patiently to have a feel of the governor’s infrastructural crusade.
And above all, this 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, the state is blessed with teeming youths full of integrity, intellect, energy and drive to build a modern state.