The concept of leadership has always been of tremendous interest to classical thinkers as well as contemporary political, entrepreneurial and empowerment scholars as our world continues on the path of progressive route.
Similarly, astute leadership theory rose to prominence in 1980-90s, and can be traced back to the political sociologists, Max Weber and James Macgregor Burns, who did justice to leadership evolution.
Classical leadership fits have a twin focal point on ‘who a leader is as well as what a leader does’, merging both the trait and behavioural theories of leadership would be met.
Replica leaders are exceptional because they possess a deep sense of personal purpose coupled with an unshakable self-confidence in the ability to realize this purpose.
They also have a willingness to take personal risks and make sacrifices in order to get their destinations.
They anticipate change and are proactive, rather than reactive to events cum challenges.
They focus on opportunities, not on problems. They have a winning mentality and will never rationalize failure.
A real visionary leader accomplishes great feats by drawing on innate inner strength and as such is not often moved by external challenges.
In Delta, Oghara is regarded as the State’s political Mecca, where the faith and destinies of people are determined, especially in every election year until the recent gubernatorial Primaries that produced Sheriff Oborevworhi as PDP gubernatorial candidate as affirmed by the nation’s apex Court. Time shall tell if Bible will return to Israel.
Truly, it remain Delta political Mecca, in as far the ‘Odidigboigbo’ is alive, his political permutations are always apt.
No doubt, since the return of democratic rule to Nigeria, Delta State has been blessed with leaders of a class whose vision and thoughts have molded the state to the path of sustained greatness.
One of such leaders is Chief James Onanefe Ibori, popularly referred to as Odidigboigbo of Africa, the state’s first executive governor.
One of the golden eras in the socio-political evolution of Delta State was, without a doubt, between May 29 1999-May 29 2007 when Odidigbiogbo held sway as governor.
From the outset, he had clearly promised to give Deltans purposeful leadership.
Upon inauguration, Ibori pledged to revive Delta past glory and make the State a peaceful place for investors to strive, that which he never lost focus on.
Upon resumption of office, he immediately set up a committee to look into the remote course of inter-ethnic crisis in the State, with the view of putting a stop to all ethnic crisis. Prime among the ethnic crisis then was the hitherto Ijaw and Itsekeri crisis, oil facilities vandalism, hostage taking among others.
Chief Ibori been the Chief Security Officer of the State then, never advocated for vendetta of any sort, he always preaches peace among the different ethnic groups in the State.
He acted accordingly to all the recommendations of the committee and the hitherto Ijaw and Itsekeri crisis, militancy among others were amicably resolved.
Ibori development firmaments knew no bound, as he developed all the knots and crannies of the State.
He made the impossibilities possible; Bomadi and Omadino bridges, establishment of three Polytechnics across the three senatorial districts, Colleges of education, roads networks among others too numerous to mention were handwork of his.
Even when he was out of government, he is still a factor to development of the State.
Ibori travails taught me that no matter the challenges of life, how and mighty it is, one would live his destined life.
When he was facing political persecution, many a pundits believed that all was over for him, especially his political journey, unknowingly to them that they were not God.
But being a faithful man, God saw him through in all the travails that is capable of rotting ones destiny.
If you may ask me, Ibori travails was part of his destiny fulfilment, because if it was not, he would not have survived the battle, he did not just come out from the ordeal but came out stronger and more healthier.
During his travails “we” the people of Oghara were sober looking up to God to see our brother through in the hand of his oppressors, and God being a merciful God answered our prayers.
His return from London, along with friends, I saw the crowds that cheered Chief James Ibori as he drove on the streets of Oghara on his return from London after his prison service in the United Kingdom. There was pronounced joy as young and old in Oghara struggle to catch a glimpse of the man. We followed his sport utility vehicle (SUV) at close range did not believe it was indeed Ibori until he, at a point, emerged from the top of his (SUV) to show an apparently well-fed and healthy looking former governor cum national leader. There was a long joy, broken by a question from one of my friends we all thought was rhetorical: “Do these people know what Chief Ibori was, and what he did?” What followed was an animated and passionate argument that laid bare my emotions, arguing that Ibori did no wrong.
Defense for Ibori, I told my friends who were waiting for the window I will use to justify my assertions, and I told them one among many things that makes this world evil is that “All fishes eat human flesh; the shark alone bears a bad name”. After all, there are people out there who even did worse than Ibori if he had committed the said offense, yet not incarcerated and subjected to this kind of inhuman treatment and embarrassment.
I also told them not to forget so quick that in 1984, Dr. Umaro Dikko, (now diseased) a minister of transportation under Shehu Shagari’s administration, was allegedly accused of stealing $625m. The war against corrupt officials was high then. Dikko and his corrupt politicians who could not withstand government hunt for corrupt politicians went on self-exile to Britain.
At the discovery about their hiding place in London, the government of Nigeria then filed a formal extradition request for Dikko and his co-corrupt Nigerian friends to be tried in Nigeria, but the same British government that cooked up concocted lies to make Ibori life miserable refused, neither was he tried by the British Government for money laundry. What a paradox of life! That Dikko could not be tried in Britain. If what is good for the gender is not good for the goose as well, then there is an aberration in the case of Ibori.
If Ibori can survived the well crated plans by then Nigerian government to eliminate him, when President Goodluck Jonathan ordered security agents to arrest him life or death, I bet everyone that he would also overcome every political betrayals, gang-ups against him with brigades of enemies, from his home front queuing to dig his political grave. His destiny is beyond human imaginations.
No friend! No foe!
Kparobo Ehvwubare wrote from Oghara-Delta State. Could be reached on [email protected]