Abia: Between Politics And Leadership – By Mark Mbam Jnr.

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In his sermon, in Abbey, London in March 20, 1925, Fredrick Lewis Donaldson outlined what he termed “the six social sins which are wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, commerce without

morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice and politics without principle”.

 


The ladywood, Birmingham born clergy was emphasizing in that sermon on the basic virtues that should be upheld by leaders and followers

alike. An insight into his outlined ‘sins’ would reveal that Fredrick Lewis was looking into the future as if he was aware of the prevalent leadership decay ravaging the African society today. In his sixth ‘sin’, Fredrick Lewis impliedly decreed that politics without

principle may not only be a ‘sin’ against an individual but is capable of destroying many generations.

 

A politician without principle is like a blind man whose movement is dependent on the navigation and direction of another; thus, where his navigator directs him (the blind man) to a deep hole, he falls into it where also he decides to navigate him with honesty, he (the blind man) anchors safety. That is to say that an unprincipled politician is at the mercy of his navigators. But a principled politician is firm, decisive, unshakable and believes in a noble ideology not even, the sounds of the bullet nor the roaring of the lion would deter him from toeing the path of the will of the masses. He sleeps only in few hours and keeps wake at the rest of the times, brainstorming, reflecting on how best to secure a better future for his people.

 

This is the position of the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. For him nothing is more important than re-writing the poor economic history of the people of Abia. And one of the ways to achieve this is to provide the basic infrastructure for the development of the commercial nerve centre of the state, Aba.

 

The date was May 5, 2017 and the weather was friendly that noon, when a long convey of the Abia State Governor and that of his Ebonyi State counterpart, Engr. Dave Nwaeze Umahi, who is also Chairman South East Governors Forum arrived Alaoji along Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway amidst thunderous crowd who were there to give a rousing welcome to their own.

 

The event was the flagging off of the reconstruction of the Aba- Port Harcourt federal road which has been in a deplorable state for over sixteen years. The contract will be handled by Setraco/Heartland

construction companies and is expected to be completed within eighteen months.

 

It would be recalled that Governor Ikpeazu recently visited the dilapidated Port-Harcourt road which is a federal road and promised to fix it. “Port-Harcourt road is a federal road but unfortunately there no federal citizens. So, we are touched. Initially, you are aware that we have been waiting for the Africa Development Bank (ADB) to give us facility to go into that road and give it the kind of touch we are

giving to Faulks road and other areas. But the thing is delaying; we are almost marking our second year anniversary. We think that because

of the strategic nature of the Port-Harcourt road where they manufacture machine tools and fabrications, to bring them to support our battle for the growth of SMEs in our Government, we look into Port-Harcourt road at this time” Governor Ikpeazu said.

 

The event which signaled the ushering in of a new hope in the lives of the Aba residents will not only  benefit the people of Abia but also enhance movement and commercial activities in and out of Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital. Ordinarily, one would have exonerated Ikpeazu administration from non-performance owing to the high level of distractions facing his administration since its inception since May, 29, 2015.

 

On the contrary, Ikpeazu has joined other world scholars to differentiate between a politician and a leader. Specifically Ikpeazu dogged efforts to develop Abia in spite of these litany of legal distractions  has aligned him with the words of a retired English Banker, and finance consultant, Gauri Sankar, who noted that while politicians  work for the party, leaders work for their followers. Sankar, further noted that while a politician wants to keep his party alive, a leader who is also a politician would in keeping his party alive puts the welfare of the generality of his people in the priority list.

 

The reconstruction of the Aba-Port-Harcourt road is indeed a proactive step to recover the dying Enyimba City. Proactiveness is one of the most popularly attributes of a leader. Today, Ikpeazu is respected not on the altar of his office as a governor but by virtue of his character. It was as if Dave Hins an English Scholar knew him before he said “A leader earns respect by virtue of his character but a politician demands respect by virtue of his office. A leader delineates  a clear cause of action and takes  responsibility if errors are made but a politician seeks to avoid responsibility for errors, and thus tends to obfuscate, saying very little with a large number of words”.

 

To a leader, getting a thing done is of prime importance. One might take as an example the legendary Cincinnatus to who George Washington was often been compared. To a politician the goal is of less importance than maintaining power and position. In fact to a politician if a thing gets done, his continuing relevance may come into question, since he has built an image around that particular issue,” he said.

 

An in-depth diagnosis of Hins idea would raise so many questions on real objective of those who set out on a legal battle against Okezie Ikpeazu’s election as Governor of Abia State. What is their objective and why do they want to achieve it? If the ambition of those who want Ikpeazu out of office is to develop Abia State, is Ikpeazu not already doing that? If their objective is to become a Governor of Abia State and to be respected by the virtue of the office, then they belong to those class of politicians whose collective goal, according to Hins’, is of less importance than maintaining power and position. If they feel that the respect they earn in the society today is not yet enough again, they are, according to Hins, “politicians who demand respect by virtue of office.”

 

Although, there is no legal wrong in one seeking redress where one felt he was wronged in the court of law, there is a moral wrong, where one in  seeking such redress do not consider the effect of his action on the entire people.

 

The question is apart from the resilience on the part of Ikpeazu to deliver his campaign promises to the people of Abia State amidst all odds, what would have been the fate of Abia today? Out of constitutional four years tenure of Ikpeazu administration, the Governor has spent two years fighting legal war. What do the dramatis personae intend to achieve by these titanic ‘war’?

 

Is it in the interest of Abia people, is it healthy for the economy of Abia State, is it favourable for the corporate image of Abia State and indeed is it noble for the nobles?

 

The reason for raising the above though provoking question is not in the altar of favouritism but are premeditated from a contrite spirit. It is  the wailing of a broken heart, it is the cry of a widow, it is the song of the Abia generation and this  is indeed not the wishes of the Abia founding fathers.

 

As Abians wait May 12 Supreme Court Judgment on the Abia Governorship election, their prayer is that

democracy in Abia State should not be truncated.

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