“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals…”
THESE were the words of Martin Luther King Jnr in the heat of civil rights struggle in the United States of America, a struggle that led to the New America with a Black man in the White House today, an achievement that appeared impossible years ago.
The above quotation is relevant today in Nigeria as it was in the United States, especially as we approach the election year. Unfortunately all manner of politicking is currently going on around the country, with some politicians bulldozing everything in sight just to gain advantage without regard to the people. But in spite of this politics without conscience, there are still a few who stand with the people; who still understand that the people indeed count. For, where exactly is leadership without the people?
Ikeoha is leadership personified, and has repeatedly demonstrated through his selfless service that leadership is about creating change, putting two ears of corn where one existed, or two blades of grass where only one grew, creating wealth in the midst of poverty and being accountable to the people. And for these, the Senator indeed deserves well of mankind.
Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker of the Ecowas Parliament, Chairman Senate Committee on Constitution Review, and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Institute for Legislative Studies, Abuja, Chief Ike Ekweremadu has proven himself an all-round leader and politician par excellence. With successes he has recorded in each of these enormous responsibilities thrust upon him, it is clear that he didn’t just dabble into politics for purposes of seeking for the soft belly of a crocodile.
However, as my representative that I, just like the teeming population of Enugu West senatorial district is proud of, Ike Oha Ndigbo appeals to me most as a true representative of his people. Some go to Abuja and forget where they are coming from. Others come across influence and affluence and forget that they were once among the suffering commoners. Those whose kernel was broken for them by a benevolent spirit, easily forget Chinua Achebe’s advice to show humility. But, certainly not Ekweremadu. He appeals to me and other constituents as a man whose quality of mind has brought about enviable and empathic leadership that is fast touching lives, especially among the hitherto disregarded people at the grassroots, the real people.
Real people are those purportedly represented by the politicians. They are that category of the population who could hardly afford transport fare to Abuja to lobby for anything or enjoy the well-paved roads, electricity and all the fancies of the state capital. They are those who may never have seen electricity or pipe-borne water throughout their lives and who probably would have remained subsistence farmers because no good roads to transport their farm products to larger markets. These are the key people Ike Oha has served as God’s instrument to make those things thought impossible in their lifetime to be possible in rural communities.
For instance, the Senator, by his total dedication to service and love for the people has attracted numerous life-touching projects to the Enugu West Senatorial District. The last count in his accountability booklet is over 140. But of particular interest to me here is Agwu, which is my native local government area. Even though Awgu prides itself as one of the earliest favourite colonial settlements due to its topography on the hills, it has been regrettably backward in terms of development over the years for want of quality representation. But that was before Ekweremadu, the golden boy of Enugu and indeed Nigerian politics, came to the rescue.
Thankfully to Ike Oha, there are 34 completed or ongoing development projects attracted by him to Agwu Local Government as a whole. Awgu Local Government has turned into one huge construction site traversing educational, roads, rural electrification, water, and agricultural projects.
It, therefore, gladdens my heart and the heart of many that many local governments and communities in Enugu West Senatorial district are falling on themselves to endorse him. In quick succession, Ezeagu people just endorsed him on February 1 during an appreciation visit, while my own very people of Awgu followed suit on February 6. After all, who sees the road and prefers to wallow in the bush of uncertainty and retrogression?
Indeed, it is our earnest hope and prayer that 2015 will give birth to selfless politicians as Ikeoha Ndigbo, who believe that a country like Nigeria with abundant human and natural resources should not have second-class citizens .
Mr CHIDI NWACHUKWU, a lawyer, wrote from Abuja.