By John Mayaki
Rivalry in politics is a necessity as it, in normal circumstances, serves as the springboard for the expansion of ideas, basis for important criticism and even more importantly, the provision of alternatives to the people on the best approach to governance and the advancement of the society.
However, as with all things in life, political rivalry has its limits. For one, it is underpinned by a shared principle of restraint and focus on ideas, not personal destruction with the exception being cases where the other party is an established existential threat.
This obligation is, in fact, higher for those occupying high offices considering that the appellation “His Excellency” attached to their names is both a mark of respect and a call to always act distinguished and honorably.
Sadly in Edo State, none of these features can be found in the behavior of the man who occupies the government’s highest position. Specifically, in the case of Dr. Pius Odubu, the conduct of this man and his cronies, many of whom were at the very least expected to be restrained by the demands of office, have brought executive leadership to a shameful low and taken ‘rivalry’ to a new and dangerous territory.
Unable to stomach the rising profile of Dr. Pius Odubu and yet another recognition of his talent and leadership abilities, a factor that resulted in his nomination as the Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC], Godwin Obaseki, took on the role of spoiler-in-chief and began to collude with actors in the opposition party to throw a spanner in the works.
Obaseki, using the powers and resources of his office to lobbied all just to prevent the emergence of another man into a position that would be beneficial to the state has so badly governed and the region he has invariably put to shame with his actions.
The President’s directive that a forensic audit of the NDDC should be completed before the inauguration of a new board is carried out was celebrated by Obaseki and his people; the unthinking lots who in their lack of foresight and restraint were willing to throw away the baby and the bathwater.
“We have stopped Odubu”, they cheered loudly. But they are mistaken. If there is anything to learn from the unraveling of Godwin Obaseki and his growing irrelevance in the state, it is that a position or lack of it is not what makes leaders out of people.
Whereas Obaseki, in his immaturity and incompetence, requires coercion and inducements to command followership, Dr. Pius Odubu does so with his grace, charisma and knack for getting the job done; whereas Obaseki needs the cover of office to promote self, Dr. Pius Odubu, even as a private citizen, remains highly regaled and widely loved across the state; whereas Obaseki squandered an opportunity to deliver development and earn support as governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, as a Deputy Governor, recorded so much success, he is, till date, the subject of conversations on remarkable public service and a model of what it is means to lead in the 21st century.
There are no words left for a man like Obaseki who even though he was helped to office, continues to reveal his lack of principles and honor. He is a mess that propaganda worth millions cannot cover or purge.
Our words are for Dr. Pius Odubu who has maintained a dignified silence in the face of serious temptations. He is a wise man, Okakuo, and he knows that there is nothing a pig craves more than a mud fight. As one with bright white clothing, he has wisely overlooked. And for this, we praise him.
Mayaki, an Oxford and Cambridge University-trained entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainability expert, resides in England.