Joseph Ebitibi Kanjo
As the Ijaw National Congress (INC), the apex decision making body of the Ijaw ethnic nationality warms up to get new leaders at its zonal levels to pilot affairs of the Ijaw nation at such levels, it is imperative round pegs are position in round holes, that is, the right persons should be given the opportunity to serve the Ijaw nation as it was done at the national level. Persons who are much concerned about the suffering of our people should be given the opportunity.
As we have successfully elected men of integrity, men who are so much concerned about affairs of the Ijaw nation and particularly its future at the national level, same should be replicated at the zonal levels so that the national will not be over burden.
No doubt the Professor Benjamin Obaka-led national exco, within the few months of its inauguration, as proven to the Ijaw nation that the mantle of leadership entrusted on them by the entire Ijaw nation was not a mistake. The Prof. Okaba-led executive has been on top of national issues, and has been bringing to the fore position of the Ijaw nation on issues that affect us as a nation. Indeed, in his few months of inauguration, the Prof. has proven beyond doubt to the entire Ijaw nation that he is in this position for a selfless service to his people. Prof Okaba has won my heart within the few months he assumed office as national president of the INC, and I believe he has not won just my heart alone but many sons and daughters who have been following happenings in this country.
The Ijaw nation needs character of Prof. Benjamin Okaba at the zonal levels who will stand in the gap for him while he concentrates on national issues. Men of unquestionable characters; men of integrity; fearless and bold; men who are not selfish but ready to render selfless service to their people; men of transparency and that will be accountable to their people; men who will be accessible by their people; men who will not form a cartel when they get to office; men who will not turn INC to money making machine or make fortune out of it; men who will deliver to each clan and individual that which is due for them; men who have already made it in their capacity, and so will not be expecting fortune from INC; men ready to render selfless service and make us proud as a nation.
Among such men is High Chief (Engr.) Pascal Ebi Akpofagha, a selfless man with an impeccable character worthy of emulation. Little wonder three out of the five clans in Edo State met on his absence and reached an agreement that the western zone chairmanship position which has hitherto been zoned to the state should be occupied by Engineer Pascal. High Chief Pascal Akpofagha track record as clan chairman no doubt earned him this without lobbying.
Before I proceed further, let me make it clear, at this juncture that, I am not the praise singing type; I’m not a praise-singer journalist/writer or among those paid for branding or selling individual to the public. You may call it pride but that is my person. So, when I put my pen into use over an event or individual, such person must have won my heart through his or doings just like Prof Okaba and Engr. Pascal have done, so purge your heart of the thought that the High Chief in question must have heavily paid me for this. God bear me witness, I never met him one on one for this neither did he call me to do this with a promise to pay, I am just an advocate of good governance.
Engineer Pascal has done things that won many persons’ hearts and this is why they decided to nominate him for the chairmanship when he never thought or dreamt of it, and as an illustrious son of the Ijaw nation, he cannot turn down decision of elders of these clans who believe in his leadership and want him to lead them.
High Chief Pascal Akpofagha has this to say on his nomination: “It is pertinent to let you know that the INC Western zone chairman position has been zoned to Edo and the three clans (Furupagha, Gbaraun and Okomu) held a meeting in my absence and nominated me as their preferred choice. They eventually came and informed me of their resolve, and who are mine to turn decision of elders of the three clans down. I obliged to their decision.”
Permit me to use this Yoruba adage to further capture the personality of the High Chief and the action of elders of these three clans who endorsed him for the chairman position. ‘Be Eegun eni ba jo dara, ori a ma ya atokun re.’ Literary meaning: If the masquerader dances excellently well at the arena, the guide becomes motivated. High Chief Pascal Akpofagha has done well and still doing well particularly at his clan level hence his clan people and neighboring clans are proud of him. He is has done excellently well at clan level, and so, deserved a higher responsibility.
If you don’t know, his chieftaincy title, the Ibe-Ebidowei was given to him due to his track record. He did not pay to get the title but his good work earned him. He has been up and doing in his clan and has tremendously contributed to the growth of his clan, people around him and people who are not from his clan or relative.
High Chief Pascal Akpofagha would replicate in western zone what he did in his clan as chairman. He never hold anything or opportunity coming from the INC to himself or immediate family. Whenever such opportunity comes, Engineer Pascal leaves the city and travel down to the creek; sending messages across to the villages of the opportunity coming from the INC and the need for people to forward names of persons qualify for such. He did this during the Federal Government amnesty scholarship. This is the kind of person INC western zone needs; a man who will give to each clan and individual what belongs to him or her; a man who will canvass for the zone what belongs to her, and will carry everyone along. Man who will not make the zone his family, clan affairs or form a cartel. Man who run a transparent and open door policies.
This is why it will be wise and be of uttermost important the two clans of Egbema and Olodiama joined their sister clans of Furupagha, Gbaraun and Okomu and endorse High Chief Pascal Akpofagha as their concessions candidate to lead the western zone of the INC. High Chief Akpofagha will exceedingly do well if given the opportunity. He is tested and trusted.
I plead to all stakeholders in the five clans in Edo, to which the chairmanship has been zoned, to disregard campaign of calumny being peddled by some individuals against the person of High Chief Pascal Akpofagha that he might not be available when needed to discharge his duty because of the nature of his job. Engineer Pascal was never found wanting in discharging his duty as expected as clan chairman, so I am optimistic doing same at the zonal level would be his uttermost priority. He is well experienced.
Egbema, Olodiama, Furupagha, Gbaraun and Okomu, please endorse High Chief Pascal Akpofagha as your concession candidate for the chairman position in the zone and watch as the narrative changes for better.
It is time for INC in western zone particularly Edo State changes leadership of the zone by giving the right persons the opportunity for a better western zone.
Joseph Ebitibi Kanjo, a journalist and affairs commentator writes from the creek. Kanjoforsuccess@gmail.com