By John Mayaki
Last week, the office of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, released a comprehensive second-year report providing an account of his stewardship and progress recorded on his declared legislative agenda.
It ran into several pages, extended not by empty words and perambulation but by a long list of credible and verifiable feats of interventions that covered virtually all of Delta State and the country at large.
Before we get to the content of the report, it is noteworthy to stress the importance of its existence and what it means for our country’s democracy. It is not very often one sees a prominent leader in this part of the world provide a consistent and up-to-date account of his record in office juxtaposed with documented campaign manifesto in the way Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has done. And the reason for that is not far-fetched.
Campaign manifesto for most political actors is a matter of electoral routine; something to be produced and published just because it is expected and others did the same. No serious attention is paid to its articulation and development and so it is set aside immediately after victory at the polls. Some do not even produce any, thus making accountability and measure of progress indeterminate guesswork. A notable consequence of this is the poverty of debates surrounding elections.
The absence of accountability that a lack of agenda breeds allows non-performers to slip through the cracks, accentuating and directing focus to less-important issues to deflect attention from the serious works of governance.
It is here that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege first distinguished himself. From his electoral bid to his emergence as Deputy Senate President and the composition of his staff, he demonstrated his embrace of scrutiny and full commitment to accountability.
He holds himself to the highest stands and he wants his constituents, and Nigerians in general, to be able to do the same in a precise, empirical, and clearly defined way. An agenda was drafted and published, and it is followed with a consistent progress report. Only a man assured of himself and his acts of service would dare.
With that singular action, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has raised the bar and expectations. It is unlikely that the people of Delta Central, and indeed the whole state, will settle for less. This is leadership – of sterling quality.
But it doesn’t end with symbolism. His evidence of competence, which the report documented, is beyond compelling. It provokes thoughts and deliberations on how anyone could achieve so much in such a short time and with such little resources. Nigeria is battling economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Dwindling resources face even greater pressure from competing needs of extreme importance. Yet, in spite of all that, Ovie Omo-Agege has managed to negotiate favorable deals for his people while also drafting and securing landmark legislations repositioning several institutions and sectors in the country.
How does Omo-Agege do it?
His second-year report has several pegs including his constituency projects divided into rural electrification, water projects, educational and ICT infrastructure, primary healthcare, human capital development and empowerment. It also detailed his Bills and Motions as well as political leadership, consultations and strategic engagements.
Each component comprises a comprehensive list of achievements and activities, all of which have been certified by his constituents and other beneficiaries. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is a super-senator in the sense that his impact stretches far and beyond his direct constituency.
Take rural electrification, a project that has transformed education, health, and commerce. A well-lit neighborhood is comparatively safer, enjoys extended business hours, easily foils and averts crime. Health centers can operate efficiently; students can study within the comfort of their homes without holding books to candles, causing long-term damage to their sight. This is the development Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has heralded in his constituency and beyond with the success recorded thus far with the rural electrification project. And that’s just a single component.
The transformation of his constituency and state has not prevented him from conducting, effectively, the business of lawmaking and oversight on a national scale. He has combatted sexual harassment in higher institutions with the aim of creating safe and conducive learning environments for our women to study and excel, alongside a path to justice for victims. In the ongoing constitutional review exercise, Omo-Agege is a leading voice on the knotty issues of federal structure and power devolution, fiscal federation and revenue allocation, electoral reforms and sustenance of civic rights.
He has achieved all of these while emerging as a shining political star in his position as the leader of the All Progressives Congress in the South-South region. Omo-Agege has expanded the party’s base, rallied grassroots support, and formed key synergic alliances crucial to good electoral outings.
Anyone with an active imagination can see how humanely impossible it may appear to combine all of these without lagging in any area. And it brings us back to the same question: How does Omo-Agege do it? While we find answers to the question, the immediate goal is in ensuring that Omo-Agege is elevated politically to continue his incredible feats on an even greater scale. He breaks the scale of qualification and none is more deserving. The people of Delta are calling for him.
Mayaki is a Journalist, Historian, Diplomat, Archivist, Documentalist, Communication, Culture and Media expert (Coventry University, England). He’s also an Oxford and Cambridge University-trained entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainability expert. A Professional Consultant on Communication, Management and Strategy (Chattered Management Institute, England).