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Between Okunbo’s existential accomplishments and hubris

PERHAPS, if he had caved in to pressure piled on him by many stakeholders in Edo politics to throw his hat in the ring for the governorship seat, multi-billionaire businessman-cum- politician, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, would have by now been traversing the nooks and crannies of the state, mounting the soap box to articulate his promises to the people. Such is the theatrics that have been going on in Edo State in the name of electioneering.

He would have, understandably, emerged as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.  This is because of the solid political structure and network that he has been able to emplace in the ecology of politics in Edo State.  But the man of means popularly referred to by his friends and associates as “Captain Hosa” chose not to upset the political calculations that had subsisted for quite some time before some stakeholders embarked on an enterprise of drafting him into the race.

Today, General Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (retd.) might not have been the candidate of the PDP.  Today, Captain Hosa might just have been the candidate of the party; today, he might have become Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s greatest foe and major threat to his re-election bid.  It is not that both of them do not have one or two points to settle; the grudge war would have been more grueling than the current proxy battle in which Captain Hosa is backing Airhiavbere to dislodge Oshiomhole from power.

Whereas Captain Hosa was one of the persons who reportedly funded Oshiomhole’s election in 2007, the game has now changed as both men have since parted ways due to some irreconcilable differences.  Captain Hosa has pitched his tent with the PDP, explaining that he would prefer to be with his friend, President Goodluck Jonathan, in the party.  And he has been working assiduously for the success of the party in the forthcoming governorship election.

Not many people would have been able to resist the opportunity that presented itself to Captain Hosa to become governor of his state.  He rebuffed the overtures to him, insisting on being allowed to focus on his thriving multi-billion naira business empire with global networks.  He would not want his business empire to suffer a deficit of positive public perception as people may construe his wealth as coming from the coffers of the state government.

Here is a very wealthy man, one of the very few well educated and quiet persons in Nigeria whose palm kernels have been cracked for them by the benevolent spirit: he is very humble; he does not make noise about his accomplishments.  Captain Hosa has, no doubt, chosen to define his existence and shape his destiny in the world of commerce, far away from the topsy-turvy terrains of politics and governance.

This is his essential spirit: he is not out to flaunt his wealth and his accomplishments, which political exposure would have forced him to do.  There is no way he could have been in the race for the governorship seat in Edo without deploying his massive material and financial resources to push through the venture.  He would have taken the battle as personal to preserve his reputation as an emergent aficionado of politics in Edo.

He is not the type to celebrate mundane things as well as the mendacity around them, such that gives a sense of fulfillment to many people who have had the opportunity of using the platform of government to “break through” in life.  He is solemnly reflective.  Indeed, Captain Hosa’s gravitas has a way of celebrating itself:  his facial expressions are always serious- no smile or should I say no smiling face- indicating a solemn mind preponderating the sundry tensions that are putting exertions on the exterior.

Notwithstanding his massive accomplishments in the world of business, he still does not believe he has been able to contribute his quota to the growth of national, continental and global economies.  This is in spite of the rare recognition accorded him by the Congress of the United States, which in collaboration with African Society Summit, African Diplomatic and the US business community, has selected him for the “2012 Africa Titans Award”.

In a letter, dated June 1, 2012, signed by members of Congress, Bobby L. Bush and Yvette Clarke, wherein Captain Hosa was formally informed of the award ceremony, the organisers said: “Your award will be conferred during the ‘2012 Africa Day on the Hill.’  For the first time, this year’s Africa Day, to be held on Wednesday, June 20th, will focus on Africa in transformation: ‘Celebrating Africa Renaissance’”.

The organisers said further that: “The 2012 Africa Day activities will feature prominent African business ‘titans’, leaders, celebrities and many others who seek to project a new and hopeful light on Africa.  Indeed, this illuminates the philosophy behind Captain Hosa’s selection for the award.

Yet, in his characteristic humility, he had said, in a letter of invitation to some of his friends to attend the award ceremony in Washington D.C., that: “I may not know at this point those contributions of mine that have aided my nomination, but I have always seen Africa as my focal point and the need for concerted efforts towards her development.  I really must say that I am humbled by this recognition and encouraged to do more for my fatherland.”

This is thus a tribute to a man whose existential nature is geared towards promoting the dignity of the other man and not the reckless hubris that has been the Achilles’ heel of some political office holders in recent times.  Sampler: Former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, boasted during the 2011 election that he would defeat Owelle Rochas Okorocha by a wide margin.  What happened thereafter?  He was shocked by Okorocha.

In Edo State, Oshiomhole is boasting that he would dismiss Captain Hosa’s PDP with a landslide victory.  The election is not about who can talk more or better.  It is about credibility of the political leaders at the state, local government, ward and unit levels to win the trust of the people.  Captain Hosa’s credibility is expected to provide salutary effect on the side of the PDP and shore up the chances of its candidate in his Edo South base….

This is congratulating Captain Hosa as he receives today, in Washington D.C., the “2012 Africa Titans Award.”  You are indeed a titan!

Mr. SUFUYAN OJEIFO, a journalist,  wrote from Abuja.


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