By: Professor Ndukaku Anunobi
The history of great nations is linked to purposeful leadership. You can’t talk about the United States without the inspiring leadership credentials of Abraham Lincoln and JF Kennedy, or Dubai without referring to the daring visions of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, or Singapore that went from third world to first world in three decades without the uncommon dedication of Lee Kuan Yaw. Unfortunately, Nigerian politicians have a skewed concept of what leadership entails, an abberation sort of. Many see it from the prism of long convoys, the paraphernalia and appurtenances attached to public office holders and naked show of power. They revel in the attraction it holds but despise the responsibilities that come with it. But power is nothing without responsibility. Leadership is about inspiration and impact. It is about taking the people to where they ought to be even when they don’t realize it. It is the most effective way of changing a society’s trajectory in her quest towards fulfilling her destiny.
Leadership without impact is vain. The parable of the talents emphasized on the importance of making the talents yield positive results, and so is leadership. The political elites here constitute a non productive class who rely on the control of state structures to access economic rewards. For them, politics is a game for self centered political gains, a scheme for corrupt enrichment. The reason Africa has remained a burden on the world is basically tied to the challenges of leadership. The scramble for power and the sit tight attitude of many African dictators are cogs in the wheel of progress of African liberation and progress. They seek power as an end instead of as a means. Power and authority are meant to be used to transform the lives of many, to change positively the collective destiny of a people, to lessen the burden of the less privileged and turn their fortunes around.
A study of the crop of the current contestants jostling for the soul of Anambra State shows that Dr. Maduka is refreshingly different. He has never had any previous dealings with any arm of government in any manner whatsoever. But he has already become a government on his own, embarking on projects that ordinarily should be the exclusive preserve of the government and changing the trajectory of the life of the beneficiaries. More importantly, there is a method to his infrastructural intervention and human empowerment. He embarks and accomplishes strategic projects that is in line with Sustainable Development Goals of the UN and are critical to eradication of poverty. He has set an extraordinary example with his community and has shown what model governance should be. These projects are not for his personal aggrandizement. His philosophy is rooted in the ideology of planting trees whose shades he may never enjoy. It is for posterity. What actually is governance if not to give people the best education, to make justice delivery system effective, to make health care delivery system accessible and affordable, to provide other basic infrastructure and inspire the people.
The Holy book says that you do not light a candle and keep it under a table. You mount it on the table top to illumine dark places. Dr. Maduka’s soaring transformation of his community and his extraordinary success story is a testament to the truism that the limitations to what one can achieve is in the mind. Furthermore, his heroic tales talks to the DNA of the Igbo. It tells them that someone who is rejected does not reject himself, that even when they are neglected and abandoned by the government, that they can turn around their fortunes despite the abandonment. In other words, it tells the Igbo that their destiny is in their hands, that they are the master of their ship and the captain of their souls. That explains the wave of transformation he introduced in his community without waiting on government.
He understands the role of government in the lives of the people and this he has shown in his community Umuchukwu with his court, hospital, market, school, road and rural electrification. This is a man who has sank up to 200 million dollars in his community. No local government can embark on the kind of ambitious project he has embarked on. He has built a city without federal or state allocation, and without expecting a return obeisance. He has taken off the financial burden the state government would have incurred from developing Umuchukwu from the shoulders of the State government. To this, a public observer and social issues commentator said, “Dr. Maduka is an icon and miles apart from others. His selflessness and philanthropy are unrivalled by any other person I have ever known. I am told he has transformed his village to a modern town. I have not met him but i have heard so much about him. I heard he is interested in governing Anambra state. Ordinarily he should have been sent to Government House Awka unopposed but the nature of democracy requires a contest of ideas. Personally, I will support his aspiration when the time comes and save Anambra from these professional rogue politicians”.
Anambra people are enjoined to queue behind this man and take back the State from monumental incompetence and from the jaws of the jackals masquerading as contestants whose real interest is to pillage the State further and lay siege on her finances. Dr. Maduka has already outperformed most Governors using his personal resources and selflessly too. He has shown uncommon capacity as a private person. A male cock is known from the cradle. With Dr. Maduka at the helm of affairs in Anambra, we shall someday look back at his period in service and proclaim, “This was our finest moment”.
Ndi Anambra geenu nti oooo!