By Sunday Onyewonsa
Every political season comes with itsgenerous dose of political adventurers, many armed with ideas and ideals too brazen for the simple-minded and others furnished with far too much resources and way too little resolve to make any significantdifference boding a change from the norm. Of course, it would appearthat while many political aspirants would deign to perpetuate thesystemic rot and imbalances of the successive political expeditions,indulging money-splurging political patronages and vote buying,doling out more cash than they can give account of, most are caughtup in the needless frenzy to endear themselves to the public and fewhave in them the restraint to not blur the lines between doing somereal good to becoming a real goof.
We see it every time, the same picturesof political aspirants hobnobbing with the down and trodden and goingto great and often outrageously incredible length to show that, theycare, squeezing water from the sachets, stopping over to patronisethe corn seller by the roadside, eating from a plate with indigentchildren, for these lots, the list is endless and just when you thinkthey cannot slide any further down the patronising pole, they outdothemselves and go to serve others fuel from the pump at the stations.Sigh.
But again, every now and then, we areblessed with the fortune of a few exceptional intrepid savants, whoare taciturn about their talents and reticent, whereas they arerobustly resourceful and gifted with the capacity for realtransformation. In Ambassador Felix Johnson Osakwe, we find one suchindividual.
Soft spoken and not given to manywords, he made his entrance into the Nigerian political scene in the2019 general elections, casting his lot in the ring and daring toslug it out with the many beleaguered Nigerian political chessplayers. Before long, his presidential consultations gatheredmomentum and crisscrossing his native Niger Delta region into theSouth West where he was raised and had lived much of his young adultlife, Ambassador Felix Johnson Osakwe or FJO as his teeming followersand admirers prefer to call him, made several incursion into theNorthern part of Nigeria, engaging with leaders of opinions andthoughts across the social, traditional, political and religiousinstitutions seeking counsel for what he already knew was an oneroustask.
But who is this man? What has he doneand where did he emerge from? These and many more questions thiswriter sought to find out about the clergy-diplomat who is seeking theoffice of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the FederalRepublic of Nigeria for the second time?. A preacher, diplomat andbusiness management consultant, Ambassador Osakwe hails from theUkwani speaking area of Delta State, South-South Nigeria and was borninto a humble background in the serene agrarian community of Ezionum,tucked in the heart of Ndokwa nation.
Ambassador Osakwe answered the altarcall at age 19, and served in several capacities in the RCCG as oneof the first generation of evangelists prior to establishing his ownministry, Christ Evangelical and Prayer Ministry, CEPM with branchesin Nigeria, the US and India. A teacher, life coach, charactermoulder/influencer, human/material development expert, talent hunter,mentor of youths across the globe, Ambassador Osakwe cut his teethand rose to prominence through theological, systemic developmentseminars, youth ambassadorial engagements, motivational speaking bothhome and overseas and spirited efforts at mentoring global youths. Apassionate believer of the endless potentials of the youth, hecontinues to devote his time, resources and attention to helpingyoung people find their purpose in life and live out their potentialswith an eye for values and principles and the other onkingdom-centred purpose.
In addition to his ecclesiasticalresponsibilities, FJO who is widely travelled is a philanthropist, asocial crusader, justice of peace with belief in the philosophy ofprogressive politics. He believes the Nigerian State needs a newbreed of leaders who will inject into it the ideals of contemporarypolitics believing that the norm must change with the global trend ofdevelopment. But he is not sitting on his hands and expecting thedevelopment and transformation that this country needs to justhappen, he is willing to work for it, to lead it. He is ready to leadthe birthing of the New Nigeria., A Nigeria of New, Exciting andUnhindered Opportunities.
And yet again, FJO has against thepolitical run of play come unhinged with his ambition to become thePresident of the world’s most populous black nation. Like in 2018when he first took to the political turf undergoing series ofconsultations all over the country, engaging with key politicalfigures and opinion leaders across geopolitical, cultural andreligious divides, he has set out a grand plan to Raise Nigeria Againby working to make it a Land where as he puts it,’. . . every verydream is valid, every idea is valuable and everyone has access to NewExciting and Unhindered opportunities.’’
In his words, “This change, thisrebirth will not come easy as there are a collection of those whowill seek to thwart this plan. The enemies of aspiration to leadNigeria are the reactionary elements who are against change in norm.I crave character rebirth in a new Nigeria where the citizens enjoyequal opportunities without let or hindrance. This assertion is notwithout cause, FJO has seen first-hand how quickly things can getnasty in the political space, in 2018 when he sought to contest forthe presidency under the platform of the Social Democratic Party,SDP, he saw horse-trading, mind-numbing treachery and all manners ofintrigues play out in the keenly contested primary elections where hevied for the party’s presidential ticket against the likes offormer Minister for Information and Culture, Professor Jerry Gana,the former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke, John Dara andProf. Ambassador Iyorwuese Hagher, one-time Nigerian HighCommissioner to Canada.
The SDP Presidential primary producedDuke as the flagbearer and that development led to a litigationalleging malpractices on the part of the party and its electedpresidential Candidate Duke and Prof. Gana. Suave, polished, decentand as a complete gentleman, Ambassador Osakwe walked away from thebricks and brimstones thrown by the crisis in the SDP and moved inhis pursuit of his desired aspiration of becoming the president of aNew Nigeria where equity, justice and, peace are the commondenominators. Like Moses, leading the children of Israel, FJO led histeeming followers into the Democratic People’s Party, DPP where hewas welcomed with fanfare and without hassle was unanimously accepted by thatparty leadership via a general consensus adopted as the party’spresidential candidate.
Flying the flag of the DPP, FJO wentinto the 2019 elections and eventually emerged 17th place in theresults announced by the Independent National Electoral Commissiondespite being a relatively new entrant into the intriguing, cutthroatworld of Nigerian politics. As the countdown to the 2023 electionprogresses, FJO has made no attempt to conceal his intention to viefor the Presidency again.
According to him, “Our politicalmovement focuses on aggressive and accelerated growth and evendevelopment of human and material resources in all parts of Nigeria.We will ensure that our national integrity and solidarity is restoredto give every Nigeria a pride of place in the global community. Myteam craves a prosperous and powerful most populous black nation inthe world that will robustly engage world powers and discuss Africandevelopment and not debt relief. We will grow our nation and exit thecitizens from poverty and mass illiteracy and despondency while westeer the ship of our nation state in the direction of selfsufficiency in food production without necessarily promoting hungerand starvation.
“Our social contract withNigerians is that we will make this Nation a land of New Exciting andUnhindered Opportunities and run an all-inclusive administrationwhere we prioritise input from the socio-political environment andnot rule by proxies. Our administration shall be for all Nigerianswhile we pride ourselves above blind acquisition of stolen wealth.Considering the social crisis occasioned by the collapse of socialorder and the menace of insecurity, our immediate priority will be tomake this country safe again, the Ukwani- born Evangelist-turnedpolitician stated.
A man well versed in dealing with highlevel engagements with world leaders and economic players, FJO boaststremendous experience in decision making and economic engagement. Hewas appointed the United State Coordinator of Land MarkersInternational by the General Lai Yusuf-led Land Markers Worldwide, abody that promotes healthy relationship between the US and Nigeriaand has by this means been instrumental to a lot of foreigninvestments in the country. He has also maintained a healthy andactive relationship with several international development agencies,key political leaders across party affiliations and human developmentexperts, many of whom can attest to his dexterity in matters ofcorporate governance and economic management.
Since 2017, Ambassador Osakwe hasserved as the Director Executive Affairs and International Ambassadorfor Peace of the Universal Peace Federation, an organisation withgeneral consultative status at the United Nations Economic and SocialCouncil, (UNESCO). Through this position, he has exuded enormousdiplomatic prowess building a far-reaching global network ofprofessionals and business leaders, political associates and alliesall over America and Europe.
“Having sojourned in the largestand most civilised democracy in the world for over three decades, thetime has come for me and my team to take the mantle of leadership ofthis country in 2023. Nigerians need a leadership that will take thenation out of the woods and to the promised lane. I have beenconsulting Nigerians across social divides, and we have madetremendous progress in this direction and our followers are in theirmillions and stretch from the North to the South.
He has made it clear that his goal isto build a robust economy with capacity for food sufficiency, masseducation, security and technology infrastructure and he isdetermined to ensure that the secularity of the Nigerian State isrespected. His optimism is such that he believes that Nigeria canbecome a free society where everyone can live and consciously promotefriendship and brotherhood across board eroding the vestiges ofethno-tribal and religious sentiments. Our solidarity shall be to thegreen and white flag while extolling the virtues of an indivisible andinalienable Nigerian nation,” Ambassador Osakwe stated.
Perhaps what is interesting is hisaffinity for the youth and he is not abashed to state that his willbe a government that puts young people in the driver’s seat,cheering them on as they lead Nigeria into a desirable future whereopportunities are made abundantly available here and not elsewhere,thus checking the mass migration of our best talents to other climes.Indeed FJO is one presidential hopeful to keep an eye on even as thecontest for the Nigerian presidency promises to be interesting in thedays to come, what with the calibre of Nigerians who are eager tothrow their hats in the ring.
*Onyewonsa is Lagos-based journalist