By Aghogho Oletu
Leadership is the art of effectively mobilizing, galvanizing and utilizing available resources to achieve set goals and objectives. It engages fundamental principles which must be about the people, focuses on positive change and improvement as well as promote diversity.
Every good leader also understands the value of listening and working together to achieve more. In a free setting, achieving political objectives should be about galvanizing, lobbying and convincing the majority to appreciate and adopt one’s perspective and viewpoint. It is never through harassment, shunning or intimidation.
As a people, several great leaders have emerged from amongst us pre and post-military era. In 1999, Hon Paul Akegwure was elected member into the Delta State House of Assembly and was later replaced in 2003 by Hon. YD Igbrude while Hon. Anthony Efekodha from Enwhe, Isoko south, represented the entire Isoko nation at the Federal House of Representatives between 1999- 2003, same time Sen. Stella Omu became majority whip in the Senate.
These leaders, though with their own degree of imperfections and human frailties, had the courage to open their minds to contrary views, cross-pollinate ideas and even bowed to superior arguments in making decisions.
They mostly strove to achieve a unified stance and presented solid fronts on behalf of the people for the development of motherland and improvement of livelihoods. They gave room for the growth and development of others into leadership positions. Otherwise, there would have been no way the current leadership would have emerged, if they met the same structure as the one that is obtainable now.
Sardonically, the free atmosphere of growth and political participation which they encouraged, which helped the emergence of the current leadership, has since been eroded by those who took over the reign of affairs at both state and federal levels. Those who confronted the order then, with the support of the people have now become the very image the people stood against.
A culture which is utterly averse to contrary opinions, politics of inclusiveness and stampedes growth of the younger generation has been entrenched. The subversion of the people’s will have become commonplace even at the party level.
This for whatever intent and purpose have only helped in the balkanization and enslavement of our people with lamed and creepy development of the region. It has also led to the over-centralization of elective positions to certain communities at the detriment of others in the local government.
Our party under the current leadership has deteriorated so badly. Manifest impunity and narcissistic disregard for party constitutional provisions, protocols and conventions are at the centerline. Those who have treated the people like they do not matter, surprisingly, have found a dependable ally in the current leadership of our party to continue to perpetuate themselves in power ad infinito even though the people have outrightly rejected them.
This rejection of the current leadership and culture of impunity by the people was manifestly evident in the inability of a consensus candidate for chairmanship position to emerge in the recently concluded state primaries for council polls, as was the case with several local governments in the state as directed by state leaders of our great party.
We are thankful that the political schemes, manoeuvres and bickering was finally laid to rest by His Excellency, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa. Wherein his wisdom, gave a directive for us all to follow. As loyal party faithful who believe in the sagacity and perspicacity of the Chief Executive of the state, his viewpoint has become ours to obey.
However, we have no regrets whatsoever in daring to confront an irritating order which we believe is out of place and has become not just tiresome but burdensome to our people. We are glad to have elected ourselves to fight on the side of the people.
We are in full awareness that “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed”. It has always been an expensive thing with a history replete with facts that it is rarely gained without sacrifice and denial.
As we look into the future, our charge to the political leadership of Isoko north is to the fact that as a nation and people, we have all agreed to operate under a democratic setting, therefore, like every democracy, the thrust must be inclusiveness.
Everyone must be allowed to participate in the decision-making process. Our voices, thoughts and opinions must be given vents and the ultimate direction of any decision that affects the mass of the people must reflect the majority decision.
We are valiantly committed to fight side by side the people to resist the Herodian era where anybody assumed to be below the rank of a leader or at variance with predefined minority views is ordered slaughtered so long as it favours the continued perpetuation of certain individuals in power, to the detriment of the mass of the people.
We reject completely any semblance of hegemonic rule by a few “bourgeois” who place themselves in the stead of celestial beings who must be worshipped and not questioned. We say caboodle rejectamenta to politics of larchrymonic mercantilism which has debased our people and decimated their individual economies.
We take this stance not as political desperadoes or emergency relevance seekers but as those who have the mandate of the oppressed communities to speak on their behalf plain truths, which the padlocks on their lips would not let them speak. The people having seen the light, have become pensive and are more willing now to be liberated and will stop at nothing until their freedom and civil liberties are fully restored.
At the party level, it is our firm conviction that more is required to manage a party like ours which spread across our land and will naturally house different power blocs with divergent views and interests. We encourage the current leadership to seek knowledge by reverting to history and those who are managing effectively party politics in other climes.
We anticipate that all players will draw lessons from this last dramatic episode and begin to take deliberate steps to make amends.
Finally, we wish everyone, especially our numerous supporters a happy and prosperous new year.
Long Live Isoko North!
Oletu is the Publicity Secretary, Isoko Renaissance Group