By Gab Ejuwa
There is something to be said of the name “Joel”. Especially in the Bible, the name resonates eminence and a kind of Midas touch. “Joel” was the name of one of the minor Prophets and the others being Josea, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah etc.
Among these Prophets, Prophet Joel arrogates to himself a certain exclusive difference, being the Prophet that initiated the much-needed revival of the polity after the Israelites had embarked, willingly or unwilling, on the corporate apostasy that was to cordon them off from the auspicious influence and benevolence of God: their Maker and Deliverer.
That was the chaotic state of things when Joel initiated a salubrious corrigent fast and the gathering of a solemn assembly involving all and sundry, even the kids and the animals, that arrested the spiritual rot, cauterize the festering spiritual sore and galvanized Israel’s agrarian economy along the channels of abundance and rejuvenation.
Coincidentally today, there is a namesake of this renaissance-configuring prophet from the annals of the Isoko nation who by dint of hard work and selfless service is making waves in his chosen discipline and becoming the toast of all. He is none other than Hon. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas Ewomazino who has stepped out, so to say and aiming for the Isoko Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in next year’s general elections. He is the new bride being courted by the movers and shakers of the Deltan society to fill the exalted slot come 2019.
One may ask; who is Hon. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas Ewomazino? What impressive qualities and attributes and competencies does he parade to merit investiture into political society?
It is pertinent to say that Joel-Onowakpo at the beginning cut his professional teeth in business as a sales boy, cashier and later accounts officer in two modest private business concerns and ultimately successfully acquired a Chartered Accountant certification and status which is the bench mark for Accountancy practice in Nigeria. He later got employed by and further trained in Onothome Ofo Thirlwell & Co, which won the prestigious Nigerian Stock Exchange Merit Award for quality audit reporting and depth of information provided in annual accounts.
Furthermore, Joel-Onowakpo consolidated his technical expertise by founding his own firm of Chartered Accountants, over which he presided for over ten years. His professional integrity and professionalism enable the firm to become one of the most accredited and patronized local account and audit firms in Lagos, Nigeria. Consequently, he delved into other businesses in the hotels and hospitality, financial services commodities trading, mining and exploration, computer and telecommunications sub-sectors. His hotels conglomerate proudly exhibits two active hotels in Lagos with a novel four-star hotel in Asaba, Delta State.
Apart from this business pedigree and inclination, Joel-Onowakpo is an avid grassroots governance and development practitioner and was a former Executive Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Council (2007-2008) where he excelled at demonstrating perceptive leadership and topnotch flair.
A corollary of his rainbow colored career successes and positivity saw him being formally invited to exhibit his financial savvy as the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (2009-2015) where he was billeted with the onerous task of overhauling the taxation system to synchronies with contemporary practices and standard, especially, in the bid to enthrone ICT compliance, as a result of which he grew the internally-generated revenue of the state by over 250% and theoretically formalized the former Governor Uduaghan government’s “Delta Beyond Oil” vision.
It is suffice to say that his input was so impactful that the working conditions of the tax board took a quantum leap skywards so much that today an ultramodern six storey structure beats its chest as the Internal Revenue headquarters in Warri, complemented by twenty other regional and zonal offices in different local government areas of the State.
As a matter of fact, so efficacious and refreshing was the digitalization of the former analogue system of revenue collection, so fraud-proof that a little while after the dissolution of the Board by the State Governor, the National Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler appointed him as the coordinator in charge of three states in the south-south geo-political zones of the nation: Delta, Edo and Rivers.
In addition, he was a bonafide member of the Delta State Economic Council, which had the responsibility for setting and overseeing the implementation of policies for economic development of the state.
Joel-Onawakpo is a potent theoretician for sustainable human empowerment and a disciple of charitability to marginal societal groups: a demonstration of which he functions as the President of the Board of Trustees of Joseph Onothome Ofo Educational Foundation – a nongovernmental initiative envisioned to award scholarships to brilliant but indigent students. He is also the Patron of Ithihikpebe Campaign Organization-a charitable corporate entity initiating the activism for civil rights, economic and educational empowerment.
What is more, Isoko North with a lower population than the south over time had been monopolizing the House of Representatives slot before this time. Therefore, for equity, sense of belonging, fair play and justice to reign supreme in our land, it is time for Isoko-South to fill this slot, and Joel-Onowakpo is ready to serve. Support him, embrace him.