A visit to Awka – Part 2
‘The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership’.
After the listed speakers, it was now time for Chief Anyaoku to address the audience in a vote of thanks manner which he articulately did, in his traditional rich baritone, careful articulation of words in a at-home British accent. But he took time to address national issues which he had refrained from doing for about a year. He said that Nigeria was degenerating into ‘international relevance’, because the nation was drifting away from the dream of the founding fathers. He also decried the level of insecurity and poverty, condemned kidnapping, and terrorists in the country.
At the end of the lecture, it was time for Governor Obiano to entertain his guests in his county home Aguleri. Aguleri! I remember how we used to discuss the battles between Aguleri and Umuleri! Two communities with identical names, obviously of the same ancient stock but perpetually at war. but that war has ended. In Aguleri, we saw another side to the character and disposition of the governor. The expansive country home was built before he became governor, clearly showing that he was wealthy before assuming public office. While with his guests, he showed extreme humility, a down-to-earthapproach and urbaneness. He personally served us drinks and small chops with relish, even picking up discarded bottles and drinking glasses from the side stools. Whoever does that? A serving governor in Nigeria? As if reading my thoughts, Don Adinuba Commissioner for Information assured me that Governor Obiano was being himself, always pragmatic with no false airs when dealing with persons from all strata of society. The icing was the three kids he had adopted into his family, bringing them up as father with the full support of the First Lady. This is a big chance for the kids to get on in life.
While sitting with Governor Obiano in the mini theatre, we saw videos and pictures of landmark projects in the state which he completed for the benefit of the people of Anambra State. It would have been great if I had the opportunity to visit some of the sites. The cargo airport which he has almost completed infrastructure-wise will be a big relief to businessmen in the state who had hitherto relied on other airports. It is indeed a challenge to the airport in Asaba. The competition will be real! But the menace of the rampaging soldiers and greedy policemen in the southeast must be addressed by political and cultural leaders of the zone. Silence is not golden in this case!
Leadership should be by example. No matter the height he has attained, a leader’s feet must always be on the ground. He must keep touch with reality. All too soon when people are in power aides and sycophants make them believe that they are superhuman. That they will rule forever. That the world would be incomplete without them. That they are the Messiah sent by Allah or God to save the cosmos. Sadly, some people in power fall into the deceptive trap and conduct themselves like deities until the day of reckoning. If Nigeria must change, leadership must be redefined and practised with a view to altering the fortunes of the ordinary folks of the world.
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