The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State, the youthful, dynamic, entrepreneurial, public spirited and widely accepted and acceptable Peter Mbah, has in his result oriented “disruptive innovation” driven strategy, completed his thank you tour of all the 17 local governments in the state. For the first time in the history of post-gubernatorial nominations in the state, a candidate for election undertook such a tour to thank the people among whom are those who were not initially in support of him. What a show of gratitude, sense of appreciation and of unifying love and common humanity. It goes to show too, a man who is accessible, who has a listening ear, very dialogical, open minded, democratic and collegial.Reciprocally the people of the local government areas he visited, enthusiastically, happily and appreciatively received him.
His visit to Igboetiti was however very remarkable. What made it remarkable was the presence of the former governor of Enugu State as well as former national chairman of the PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, who among numerous others came out to welcome Peter Mbah. In his address to party members and supporters, he gave a deep insight into the persons of Mbah and his running mate, Ifeanyi Ossai expressing strong confidence in the ability of both of them to lead Enugu State to the promised land.
He described Peter Mbah as “ICT complaint and an enabler of fourth and fifth industrial revolutions” and identified him as the best hand for the state having been recognized as a global player in setting the 21st century economic order. In the words of Dr. Nwodo, “I will emphasize on just two or three things so that our people will be happier than they were before the coming of our visitors. I am delighted that we have been able to produce resourceful persons like Peter Mbah in Enugu State. He is one of those driving the fourth generation of development in the world. You know we had the first industrial revolution, the second, the third, and we are in the fourth. But if you have been able to discuss personally with Peter, you would appreciate the fact that he has moved from the fourth industrial revolution to the fifth industrial revolution”.
Dr. Nwodo told the people that Mbah is not just a man of ideas; he also has the ability and capability to translate his ideas to practical, empirical and substantial realities. Again in his words, “Not only is his vision global, his vision is matched with convincing methodology to actualize that vision because it is not enough to visualize. What some people may think is impossible. But when you visualize it and you have the roadmap to achieve it, then that vision is almost fulfilled. Peter has very clear roadmap to achieve what he has in mind for Enugu State. You know, my generation is analogue, but Peter is ICT compliant. So where he is likely to take Enugu State to is where the world is today. And to my understanding, his agenda is anchored mainly on economic emancipation of our people and infrastructural development for our people”.
Chief Nwodo, a major stakeholder in the affairs and governance of Enugu State and even of the nation has spoken. His views in matters of state cannot be easily discountenanced. We have to begin to understand first and foremost that leadership is about vision. What Chief Nwodo is telling us is that Peter Mbah does not only have a clear vision, his vision is global and he has very clear roadmap to achieve his vision. One thing is crystal clear, leadership is a serious business, but and as confirmed by Chief Nwodo, Mbah has prepared himself for leadership even on a global scale. His humble background has taught him to be humble, simple, hardworking, resourceful, neighbourly, cooperative and a manager of scarce resources; his working experience had equally exposed him to inter-personal and inter-organisational relations, governance principles, social problems of poverty, insecurity and humanitarian issues; his long and continuous education and training for proper refinement led him to globally acclaimed institutions, including Oxford and Harvard Business Schools.
Peter Mbah must have indeed heeded the advice of the great philosopher; Plato who had postulated that to be a leader is to be skilled in the art of leadership. One must be prepared to be a leader. Plato was so vehement in his opinion that he unequivocally declared that “there will be no end to the troubles of states till philosophers became kings in the world or those whom we now call kings and rulers really and truly became philosophers”. In order to realize this vision of producing good and effective leaders for the state Plato practically established an institution, where philosopher kings could be trained and prepared for leadership after a long, tortuous and continuous education. For Plato, it is meddlesomeness and sheer interference for one to try to plunge oneself into a position one has not prepared oneself for. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, also a philosopher, nationalist and statesman agreed with Plato. He warned that any leader who assumes public office with gross mental, emotional and intellectual inadequacy will never give effective leadership. According to the revered statesman, “whether we are conscious of or acknowledge it or not, the fact remains stubborn and indestructible that poverty, disease, social unrest and instability and all kinds of international conflicts have their origins in the mind of men… It is only when the minds of men have been properly and vigorously cultivated and garnished that they can be safely entrusted with public affairs with certainty and assured the best of their unique opportunity and assignment”.
The implication of Chief Nwodo’s wisdom talk therefore, which is roundly supported by Chief Awolowo’s thesis, is that we must do away with charlatanism which unfortunately Nigerians have today elevated to high art in politics. Politics has become a market place for the untutored and the unskilled.
What we are saying is that Mbah’s tour of Local Government areas must have afforded the good people of Enugu State the opportunity of assessing from his demeanour, compartment and comforting speeches that Chief Nwodo is after all not wrong in his appraisal of the governorship hopeful. Peter Mbah is simplicity, humility and empathy personified. He has comprehension. He prepared himself for leadership eventualities in a globalised and globalizing world and had developed the ability to appreciate and grasp the salient details as well as the theoretical and practical implications of a given problem or situation in politics, bureaucracy, and the world of business. Let’s give him a chance.
Dr Ogbaji, a public affairs analyst, writes from Enugu