By Mike Awhawha
A popular Kenya politician, Mwai Kibaki, once said “ Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others”.
Hon. Benjamin Essien Okiemute, a retired Navy personnel and former member of Delta State House of Assembly, has lived all his life to better humanity.
Okiemute, a complete gentleman, loyal and committed member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State, is integrity personified, who had served the country meritoriously.
Being a strong pro-Buhari supporter, the former lawmaker, had consistently mobilized resources to support the campaigns and elections of President Muhammadu Buhari in Delta State.
Clearly, Okiemute is among several reputable and worthy Nigerians who had served and contributed immensely to the growth of this country and it’s only fair to celebrate such personalities.
Born in 1966, the retired Navy officer, was enlisted or joined the Nigeria Navy in 1987, and assumed General Seaman Duties in 1988. He was a trained Gunner (Q/A) in 1989 to 1990.
Okiemute had his basic education at Ewoma Primary School, Ivrogbo and Ivrogbo-Irri Grammar School both in Delta State.
He later attended Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, where he got his first degree, Bsc Sociology and further obtained Msc Industrial Sociology from same Delta State University.
Okiemute, was in University of California, for a Leadership course at Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, California, United States of America. He also attended Oxford University, London, for a Leadership course, in the United Kingdom.
Back in 1991, he was in Directorate of Navy Intelligence, Apapa, and also in 1993 was assigned General Seamanship Duties in the Nigeria Navy. He was Head of Operations, Cracks, Delta Region.
Okiemute worked at various capacities such as Trained Special Force, Intelligence Operations, Intelligence Surveillance, Intelligence Sweeping. He was also trained on Special Body Guard and Tactical Operations. He served as Presidency Operations to late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
At Navy House in Lagos, between 1993 to 1994, he was a personal body guard to former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Dan Prince-Will Omashola and Vice Admiral Saidu. In 1994, he assumed at NNS, Delta ( Warri) as General Intelligence Duties / Operations. In 1995, he moved to NNBTS, Akaso Port Harcourt, on same assignment and eventually returned to NNS Beecroft Lagos, on General Intelligence Duties and Operations in 1996.
Interestingly, in 1997, he was reassigned to DNI Annex Operations ( HQ), Apapa Lagos, on Investigation, Technical Duties and Operations. Thereafter, to Defence Headquarters, Lagos on Operations. Same year in 1979, he was redeployed to NN Shipyard, Port Harcourt on General Intelligence Duties.
Hon. Okiemute also served as a Personal Body Guard to Captain Joseph Adewusi, former Sole Administrator, Government House, Akwa Ibom State in 1979. He also served as Assistance Chief Security Officer to Captain Walter Feghabo, former Sole Administrator, Government House, Delta State in 1998.
Having served the two prominent Nigerians and former Sole Administrators, he was again moved to NNS NNEC, Sapele, as General Intelligence Duties / Instructor, Technical Duties in 1999.
Between 2000 to 2001, at NNS Delta, Warri, as General Intelligence Duties / Surveillance, he led the Operation Zuma, that actually destroyed 80 bunkering badges and three cargo vessels in Delta State.
In 2002, he was redeployed to NNEC, Sapele, Intelligence Duties / Instructor, Technical Duties and Operation, Investigation Duties / Instructor at Headquarters, WNC, Lagos.
Having served in the Nigeria Navy meritoriously with outstanding track record, he voluntarily discharged from active service of the Nigeria Navy in 2004.
Okiemute, as an investor and security expert, in 2004, he founded Hamilton Guards Limited ( Provider of Industries and Private Guards) and has been a Security Consultant to several private organizations.
Hamilton Guards Limited which is today the most visible indigenous security firm in Niger Delta State with over 400 staff across the region.
In recognition and appreciation of his selfless service to the country and humanity, he was honoured and given awards by several organizations.
In December, 2008, he bagged the Isoko Heroes Award from the Publisher of Isoko Mirror Newspaper. And in March, 2009, he was honoured as the “Best Human and Community Developer”, an award given to him by The Front-Line News.
While in 2009, he bagged the Best Honorable Member on “ Human Development Award of Excellence” from the National Association of Delta State Students, Delta State University, Oleh Campus chapter. More so, he was given the Isoko Mega Award by Champions World Entertainment/Delta State Council of Arts and Culture.
He also bagged Golden Award for Excellence from Nigerian Print Journalism Development and several other awards just to mention a few.
In 2011, he secured the opportunity to serve his people of Isoko South Constituency 2, and he was eventually elected to represent the people of Isoko South Constituency 2, from 2011 to 2015.
Evidently, because his only intention and political journey to the Delta State House of Assembly was to better the lives of his people, he ensured that all constituency projects were executed and completed.
The 12 Constituency projects were construction of six modern classrooms block and renovation of staff quarter at Ivrogbo Grammar School. Renovation of three modern classrooms and construction of five room toilets at Itimi primary school, Irri. Construction of three modern classrooms at Abriku primary School, Ada and construction of three primary school at Eto primary school, Ivory. Construction of Three modern classrooms at Eweri primary school, Emede, construction of three modern classrooms at Okugbe primary school, Ikpide. Construction of three modern classrooms at ICS, Oleh and construction of three modern classrooms at Idheze primary school, construction of three modern classrooms at Orie and construction of three modern classrooms at Uro.
He also influenced over 27 projects which include roads, Health Centres, Streetlights, Water project, School Chairs and Tables, renovation of Town Halls, Electricity Step-down Transformer, Concrete Drainage, Civic Centres, to to his constituency that were executed by Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission DESOPADEC and Delta State Government agencies.
Hon. Okiemute further executed 21 projects from his hard-earned resources such as renovation of six classrooms, provision of borehole and streetlight, Oleh, resurfacing of 2km road at Emede, renovation of Utue Community Town Hall, renovation of Uzi town hall, renovation of Okpara town hall, renovation of Eviewho town hall, renovation of Okogho town hall, renovation of Enuru town hall, renovation of Edhukwe town hall. He was first to evacuate and distribute reliefs materials to the Flood Victims of 2012 at Ase creek and River Niger.
The former lawmaker, personally facilitated the employment of twenty-six ( 26) youths from his constituency into the Nigeria Army, Navy, Air Force and Police Force respectively. He also influenced the training of 15 youths in the Nigeria Arm Forces in January 2015.
To enable the downtrodden and less privilege to also benefit from his phillantropist gesture, he founded the HON. OKIEMUTE FOUNDATION EMPOWERMENT SCHEME, through which he gave out small Grants of N3m to markets women in Oleh, Irri and Emede respectively. He also donated N200,000 each to 177 men and women across his constituency and Isoko land for small scale businesses. Provision of 500 pieces of Sewing Machines to 500 fashion designers in Isoko land, and provision of 426 pieces of Hair Dressing Dryers to 426 artisans in Isoko land.
The foundation also bought 250 Hair-cut Clippers for artisans, provision of School bags and uniforms to students, 3000 cutlasses and files to farmers in his constituency at the 2012 floods. Over 300 youths were given Starter-pack for their choices businesses, donation of 96 cars to 96 persons in his constituency, donation of 601 Motorcycle to youths and men in his constituency, N4m for scholarships to students across the constituency and provision of micro finance to Mechanics, Motorcycle Riders, and National Union of Road Transport Workers in Oleh, Irri, all these he achieved with his personal salary and allowances in four years at member of Delta State House of Assembly.
Apart from making sure the funds meant for constituency projects were diligently utilized to the amazement of his constituents, he also sacrificed and donated 60 percent of his monthly salary throughout the four years 2011-2015, for human empowerment programmes which benefited hundreds of elderly, women and youths in Isoko South Constituency 2 and the entire Isoko land.
Hon. Okiemute is a man of integrity and high reputation who has no record of crime or corruption, a clear emulation of his political father, President Muhammadu Buhari, the internationally acclaimed Mr. Integrity.
He attempted again in 2015 and 2019 to represent the people of Isoko South Constituency 2, at Delta State House of Assembly to continue with the laudable initiatives and consolidate on his achievements of making life better for his people, unfortunately, he was rigged out and his mandate stolen.
He may have retired from active service from Nigeria Navy, but he is not tired, as he is still willing and very determined to serve the country at any capacity to further contribute to the societal stability and economic development in Nigeria.
Hon. Okiemute is a tested legislator, a seasoned administrator, a businessman, and above all a bridge builder. He is being described as Isoko eyeopener, the architect of Isoko modern politics and the grassroots general.
Finally, this core and loyal APC chieftain has sterling qualities, he is a refined and seasoned leader. He is strong and buoyant in thoughts and actions.