Nwaoboshi and the burden of service

By Lucky Ogolime

When some of us look back at Nigeria, most times we are tempted to believe the country is on some sort of ancestral curse. We are a people who do things differently from the rest of the world. It is unfortunate to say this, but we are more inclined to destruction and personal gains than progress.

We neither appreciate hard work nor dedicated to service-oriented leadership. It is the reason our political firmament is strewn with very odd characters, who strive every day to compound our problems. I juxtapose what is the political cum leadership currency in my native country, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, where I have spent the last 10 years, but all I see sadly, is a widening leadership gulf.

We devote precious time and energies pursuing imagined enemies and spare no weapon to achieve our evil goals. The tendency to masturbate lies, mudsling, embark on vendetta and vindictiveness are very high and frequently exhibited, even against those whom we should bolster to give us good leadership.

Sen. Peter Nwoaboshi compelled me into these deep thoughts. I have met him at a distance once or twice in my entire life. Nevertheless, I have monitored his public service, politicking traits and personal disposition about life. And I am impressed with him. He strikes me like a very positive leadership character to watch.

The first impression, I had of Sen. Nwoaboshi, who represents Delta North senatorial district in the National Assembly is that of a personality strongly committed to his convictions, outspoken, reliable, straightforward and a leader who believes in the principles of fairness, equity and justice. His morphing from a local politician in our state of Delta, where he had been a State Commissioner, Political Adviser and the longest serving Delta State chairman of the PDP to a Senator and national political figure must have bruised or unexpectedly terminated the ambitions of some perpetual power mongers in the state.

There are a thousand who are displeased with his meteoric rise in politics and leadership. So, they are fighting back and very dirty, to distract, destabilize and extract their own pound of flesh from him. They are persistent, even where there is no modicum of evidence; to support the largely weird allegations they often package to nourish the retrogressive plots.

I keenly followed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) saga, where the issue of a N2.1 billion naira contract awarded to his company, Biderberg Enterprises Limited by the Delta State Government in 2010 for the supply of equipment. Though the job was delivered to specifications, but emergency and faceless anti-graft crusaders, which goes by the name the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum originated a petition to the anti-graft agency.

But neither the Delta State the State Government which awarded the contracts nor the ministries concerned complained of infractions in its execution. But a petition was packaged to embarrass and malign the Senator. The intention of the petitioners to the EFCC was just to do anything possible to throw him behind bars, even if momentarily to whittle his rising influence. The case dragged for months and faded.

But each time a plot fails, a fresh one is hatched and when the EFCC arraigned Nwaoboshi at a Federal High Court in Lagos , which finally slammed a remand on him to decide on his bail application before the court at another date, over allegations bordering on money laundering and fraud, involving two companies linked to him -Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, his opponents jubilated overtly.

And since then, the detractors of the Senator who chairs the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs has known no respite. That reality of his temporary shelter in jail gladdened the hearts of his traducers and rivals infinitely.

But Sen. Nwaoboshi is the proverbial cat with nine lives. He secured his bail, not much of the case is resonating any longer. Therefore, his opponents have crafted another plot . The faceless groups, are always primed to exhume and concoct past issues to ensure the heart of Sen. Nwoaboshi, who is fondly called by his people and admirers as “Oracle, Miracle or Oshimili’,” is kept permanently on the boil.

This time, a conspicuously unverifiable group by the name Coalition of Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG), issued a public statement imploring the Delta State Government to hasten action on the trial of persons allegedly indicted in the killing of some people in Ibusa, Delta State in 2013. The group specifically, demanded that Sen. Nwaoboshi be quizzed on the matter.

But the Senator’s only link to the alleged killings was that he happened to be the State chairman of the PDP at the time of the killings. However, the contents and intendments of the statement narrowed down to Sen. Nwaoboshi as the target to be implicated in a murder case in the permutations to halt his 2019 re-election . That’s the extent we have embraced bad politicking, devoid of sense and reasoning.

But I am convinced this may be another exercise in futility. Sen. Nwaoboshi is not a novice in Nigerian politics or its murky waters and such infantile plots would not shake him. He is an exceptional leader and it is these attributes that earned him the 2015 senatorial victory to represent the people of Delta North at the National Assembly.

Even at the national political scene in Abuja, Sen. Nwaoboshi knows how to beneficially navigate his path to attract development to his people. He was a prominent shadow in the winning team that produced the incumbent Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki and other principal leaders of the Senate.

It was unmistakable to him that delivering dividends of democracy to his constituents, close ties with leadership of the Senate was indispensible. And the people of Delta state generally who are reaping bountifully from his friendly romance with National Assembly leadership loudly attest to it.

But it does appear to me, Sen. Nwaoboshi’s splendid representation which has further endeared him to constituents, who are massively waiting for the hour to click his re-election ballot has become the greatest undoing of the Senator. Possibly, that’s s why his enemies are still hell-bent on crucifying him, which unambiguously account for today’s resurrection of the 2013 killings in Delta state . We know him as a man conscious of himself, public image and open repulsion for crime anywhere he finds himself.

But a leader who embraces truth, justice, fairness and service to humanity is innately or divinely protected. First, the plot to use the EFCC against him crumbled. He remained unperturbed and could not even be silenced as planned by his political rivals.

What his political detractors have failed to decode pathetically is that the revered Sen. Nwaoboshi is a man who has nothing to hide either in his business or private family life. He is an epitome of complete public trust and service to his people is his second name. This plot too has fallen flat before daybreak.

Like the cliché goes, a man who has no skeleton in his cupboard fears no accusation and Sen. Nwaoboshi is fearlessly ready to combat his opponents on the political turf to victory. And his only weapon, which his enemies cannot suppress or weaken is his unequalled numerous youth empowerment programs, in education, infrastructure, and human capital development in just three years in the Senate to the people of Anioma and Delta State who are infinitely grateful with his stewardship.

Sen. Nwaoboshi has constructed several roads projects in his constituency, skill acquisition centers in different parts of Agbor, influenced the inclusion of youths in the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government and most youths have already benefitted from gainful training and empowerment; cash assistance constituents, including the physically challenged among others. This is in addition to the marvelous humanitarian works of the Nwaoboshi Foundation and so, the Senator’s popularity has unrestrictedly soared.

Therefore, I have no hesitation to believe that those seeking for the head of Sen. Nwaoboshi must necessarily come back after 2019. But presently, if the desire to distract him is all about 2019, certainly, they have picked a wrong specimen for the experiment.

Ogolime is a security expert analyst and writes from the United Kingdom.

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