By Goodluck Edafe
For a few years now, the political discussion in the country has been that of accusation of the elite’s nonchalant attitude towards politics and the sociopolitical development of the country, thus allowing for unsound-minds, irrational and poorly trained to roam about for many years to dominate the political space and now constituting a cog in the wheel of development and even credible free and fair elections. For the many, the idea of abandoning the political process in the country in the hand of morally empty, materially wasteful and intellectually impotent for too long is the biggest injury to the psyche of the nation. A country that is blessed beyond measure with competent and very resourceful men and women yet is governed and presided over by non-visionary intellectual weaklings, economically unproductive men and insatiable vain material gain seekers. It’s logically unexplainable. Of course, the gross economic waste, many years of political recklessness and moral damage to the country in the last twenty-three (23) years is telling on every side. The picture no doubt has in recent times heightened the call on capable and morally circumcised patriots to bail the country from the shackles of political incompetence, social irresponsibility and economic quagmire with a view to creating a purpose-driven and people-oriented government that is fair, just equitable and inclusive.
Recent calls to rescue and rebuild Nigeria have actually gained the attention of the elites across the country, including Delta Central, Chief Ede Omueya Dafinone, has answered the clarion call of service to the fatherland and has joined the Delta Central Senatorial race under the All Progressive Congress, APC. But, I am worried. Urhobo has in recent years and in the several elections proven to be an unstable majority that can easily be bought over or devastated by party sentiment and the influence of a few fleeting naira and kobo more that the quality and antecedent of aspirants. Laziness, individual selfishness and the desire to cure poverty overnight have almost eroded a sense of self-worth, honour and value-based judgment in Urhobo. That is my fear and the question is: Now that Ede like other thoughtful, morally built and rational thinkers in several parts of the country has yielded to a national outcry and has joined the Delta Central Senatorial race to add value to the ongoing effort to rebuild Nigeria and to sustain current outstanding voice at the National Assembly, will Urhobo support him or betray him? Will Urhobo betray him to uphold selfish and wicked individuals like Moses’ serpent of gold? I mean will Urhobo betray him to celebrate those whose many years in government have not improved the socio-economic condition of any community? Urhobo has a saying, “Those who caused trouble are usually not able to settle them.” It means that those accused of selling Urhobo in 2007 for personal gain and are now trying to fool us a 2nd time will visibly not be able to address the issues, which they created with hysteria. The Nigerian Christians would say, “Their affliction will not rise a second time”. The situation portends that Urhobo need a resolute and passionate bridge-builder, selfless and intelligent leader who can address her issues, and as we can now see, that leader is Ede Dafinone, a highly favoured intellectual of international repute.
Ede is a response to a national call to rebuild Nigeria. He is a response to the call to alter the Urhobo self-imposed economic and socio-political narrative – an acclaimed 4th largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria that turned itself into a political minnow in a small God-given Delta State due to individual selfishness, poor representation and devious operational philosophy. He is an enigma – a voice and a beauty that Urhobo, particularly the Okpe kingdom cannot betray. He is a man of the estate, vision and drive. Betraying Ede to laughably celebrate the harbinger of the Urhobo political summersault has great consequences. The truth is that if Ede as a private person could feel the pains of community women and youths to offer them micro-credit interest-free loans and vocational skills to help them maintain a minimum standard of living, he will do more as a representative of the people with constituency fund at his disposal. Ede amplifies competence, quality and promotion of a government and people relationship. Basically, he represents a concussion that will phase out of our political arena politicians who timidly but proudly say that ‘politics is their only work’. Politics all over the world has never been the only work of normal people. But, it’s to their shame. Ede is a pedigree, a unifier and a game-changer that Urhobo cannot exchange for a pot of porridge. He represents preparation for an opportunity that the ticking of time and democracy will bring. I have always told my students that our democracy will not continuously run on a do or die mode. I have repeatedly said, that time will phase out all political touts, mediocre and loose characters, and then Nigeria’s democracy will be clothed in honour and respect even in the eye of the international community. Thankfully, Ede represents the beginning of a new political era in Delta, nay Urhobo. He represents an era when Urhobo will get value for community representation in government. Yes, he represents an era when there will be community satisfaction, fulfilment and synchronization between leadership and the people. Interestingly, democracy placed it in our hands to choose between love and hatred, timidity and enlightenment, honour and shame, character and perfidy, development and retardation. Without flattering, many have been touched by Ede’s personal profile, sense of judgment, patriotism and concern for Urhobo after many years of socioeconomic strangulation and push into political doldrums. For sure, the time has come for Urhobo to identify community development as the only basis for voting representatives into government and until Urhobo realizes that community development and happiness of the people is the essence of government, it will continue to cluster around men who ordinarily should be in jail for stealing public fund and becoming overnight millionaires. As it is, this is no time to be fooled around and deceived by that old song which has not helped Urhobo to raise capable and qualified men in national politics for 23 years. I mean that song that feigns love for the people only at the time of election but not at the time of distribution of state wealth. “Our party, our party” they sing hysterically but with a hypocritical tone and a blink of an eye behind the people. Ede is definitely seeing what other aspirants are not seeing. He has raised key issues. First, is the issue of the Urhobo sociopolitical nosedive. Second, is the issue of closing the unemployment gap and enhancement of the manufacturing sector through a combination of a legal framework and deliberate executive action. It’s sad that when the Urhobo political madness started some years ago, except for a few, no segment of Urhobo was bold enough to speak against it. Instead, every group that has the mandate to speak was seen dancing to the music of desecration and chasing after flying monies and free jeeps. Today, the so-called 4th largest ethnic group in Nigeria and single majority in Delta has no single presidential aspirant even just for the fun of it. By the last count, a very small Ikwerre ethnic nationality in rivers state has two presidential aspirants who were making waves. They are a former governor and transportation minister, Rt. Hon Rotimi Ameachi of the APC and incumbent governor, Chief Nyesom Wike of the PDP. In all, rivers state produced about four (4) presidential aspirants. The storyline tells of the need for Urhobo to raise the quality of its appointments and representation in government. And this is why many are standing tall for Ede Dafinone, whom we believe can improve if not change the Urhobo political narrative. Ede touches on the heart of the issue when he talks about enhancing the productive capacity of the manufacturing sector. For there can be no true development in the country, especially in reducing hunger and the unemployment gap without having good investment and a creatively productive and efficient manufacturing sector. As he puts it, a Nigeria without a strong manufacturing base to employ her teeming youths and feed a geometrically rising population is a Nigeria that will continuously be in a crisis of insecurity. I really have no surprise, for his postulations are heartwarming. Ede is an organization builder. And there is no better explanation for his many appointments to Chairmanship and Trusteeship positions in several local and international organizations more than his value addition ability and commitment to true service. Apparently, the continued expansion and survival of Crowe Dafinone, the family’s owned Chattered Accountants firm in Lagos even after the demise of their father is an eloquent testimony that Ede and his children are good managers, purposeful and responsible children that are not only at sync with their father’s vision but can be trusted with the public good. It was Jesus who said, “He who is faithful in little is faithful in much”. And while condemning the squandering attitude of some, he asked, “Who will give to you what is your own if you cannot keep what is another man’s own”. Ede and his brothers have been able to keep Crowe Dafinone going over the years, they become glaring examples of Jesus’ doctrine of men that Urhobo can entrust with her collective aspiration.
Growing a business is not any form of magic that can be bought at the overt market. It entails an application of natural wisdom and thoughtful management strategies. Building a nation is like building a personal business. It requires those who are prepared for it, who could take appropriate decisions to keep the business above industry challenges and walk through profits. Governance is not a business for overnight millionaires who return into poverty and misery soon after their ouster from public space. Indeed, Ede could not have been Chairman, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria Export Group, MANEG and a Board Member, NEXIM bank by a rigged election but by the choice of the people who saw in him beauty and competence. ‘Charity’ they say ‘begins at home. So, let’s vote for Ede to close the many socio-economic and political gaps in Urhobo and Nigeria.
Edafe is former Secretary UPU Port Harcourt.