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By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe Esq
Centrality of morals in democratic politics and leadership connotes political correctness, moral uprightness, well activated and nurtured good conscience, broad reasoning and unbiased analysis of issues, well calculated thoughts processes, proactive decisions and deliberate patriotic alignments by political actors and leaders in the pursuit of individual and party interests for good governance.
It also refers to sound leadership principles and firmness, good strategy management, result oriented political permutations and harmonious team work synergy with the ultimate objective of influencing, providing and sharing dividends of democracy to citizens via all strata of representative governments.
Actions and inactions emanating from centrality of morality in power politics usually facilitates social harmony, programmes and policies that genuinely impacts the lives of majority of the people in a multicultural, diverse religions and multiethnic society like Nigeria. This level of multifaceted intellectual exclusivity can only be accessed at the very top of leadership and power pyramid.
And when applied to power game and governance; the very concept of centrality of morals and good conscience is to guide decision makers, leaders and political actors to act decisively on complex issues that affects or benefits the greater number of people in a state, country or social milieu. It is a selfless realm of leadership.
Furthermore, centrality of morality requires open heart, detribalised instincts, imbibing the principles of equality, rule of law, equity, good conscience and service above self. The worldview of these class of leaders and political actors is usually broad based and nationalistic in scope. It abhors narrow mindedness and selfish personal interests. It is a calling!
Centrality of morals in political power game requires steady focus, uncommon tenacity, deliberate hard work, absolute dedication, unblemished integrity, unconditional selfless service to the people, strength of character and pragmatic doggedness to withstand political storms.
Thus, visionary and goals oriented political actors must first plot the electioneering graph correctly, then deploy centrality of moral force and good conscience in the political arena while at the same time politicking and aligning with the right camps or caucus before, during and after electioneering dispensations.
The party’s interest and direction is uppermost in all calculations and political permutations. This thought process hardly fails in the dynamics of power. Governor Okowa and Former President of United States of America, Barack Obama Esq and few world leaders are found in this tiny enclave of highly productive and pragmatic leadership.
It is a well known fact that major political parties plan to win big time during general elections, and for this to happen some patriotic and loyal political actors must of a necessity deploy the multifaceted strategies and gains of centrality of morals to negotiate political power before, during and after electioneering campaigns and victories. This does not and will never amount to betrayal in party politics.
To succeed through the moral factors you must be willing and ready to forsake narrow self interests for the party’s greater interests that would ultimately benefit majority of the people in a state or country. This is exactly where to situate governor Okowa’s dynamics of power game.
As Ohaneze Ndigbo rightly posited, Okowa displayed maturity, wisdom, uncommon tact, intelligence and unblemished capacity in the process leading to the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as PDP’s presidential candidate.
He efficiently deployed sufficient dose of Centrality of Morals, equity and good conscience by placing the interests of PDP and love for Nigeria, far and above personal interests while dealing with complex political issues, especially for aligning himself with the peoples desires to rescue Nigeria from the bad governance of APC national government. Winning the presidential election in 2023 becomes the primary responsibility all loyal party men, women, youth and supporters.
In the light of the above salient facts, one must recognise and appreciate the political leadership and statesmanship, as well as the patriotic zeal exhibited by the governor of Delta State and Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, before, during and after the party’s presidential primaries.
Yes, the Southern governors converged in Asaba and agreed on a Southern Presidential ticket in 2023. Their collective decision cannot and will not override the final decisions of their respective political parties. It was a marriage of political strange bird fellows with different political ideologies.
Simply put, the Southern governors decisions which was not at the instance of the national leadership of their political parties, APC and PDP, was therefore subject to the zoning intrigues of the parties. It was a joint decision of governors in Southern Nigeria, not the decision of the political parties, and whereas party is supreme.
It is absolutely impossible for PDP and APC governors in Southern Nigeria to impose that decision on their political parties. Never, it won’t work and it crashed like a pack of cards.
Governor Okowa and other governors of PDP in Nigeria; North and South adhered strictly to the “no zoning of presidential ticket” decision of the party. The decision enabled all eligible and qualified party men and women to join the race for the presidential ticket and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won gallantly in a free, fair and transparent primary in Abuja.
Governor Okowa, for reasons best known to him decided not to join the presidential race. And if he did, some political detractors would have bought advertorials in national newspapers to accuse him of spending Delta State money to pursue his presidential ambition.
He chose to support Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because of his visionary leadership, well articulated and achievable manifesto, his pedigree and capacity to win the presidential election for PDP in 2023. The question to ask is; does it amount to betrayal for Okowa to support any presidential aspirant of his choice during primaries? The right answer is obviously NO. Does it amount to betrayal or breach of constitutional or moral rights for a PDP governor to comply with the decisions and/or directives of his political party? We all know the answer to be NO.
It follows that governor Okowa did what was right by supporting Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a presidential aspirant of the party, because zoning was jettisoned by PDP. In fact, no nobody called governor Okowa a betrayal until he was named the Vice Presidential candidate of PDP by Alhaji Abubakar.
More importantly, governor Weysom Wike who PANDEF and Middle Belt groups supported for the Southern presidential ticket avoided Delta and Edo States during his consultation tour of the Country. He visited the Oba of Benin Kingdom and left Edo State without visiting Governor Godwin Obaseki and the delegates.
In my view, Wike felt Edo and Delta delegates votes were inconsequential. No matter the circumstances, he ought to consult Edo and Delta governors and the delegates.
As a matter of fact, Governor Wike technically declared Edo and Delta States as political enemies by his actions and inactions, and for bluntly refusing to consult the governors of the two states and their delegates.
Governor Wike, no doubt, is a dogged and popular politician with multifaceted contacts across the country. He should understand that in any political race, one person must emerge as the winner. And as a valuable party leader within the PDP family, it behooves on him to collapse his political structures into the Atiku/Okowa winning ticket. This is my humble appeal to our indefatigable leader and performing governor of Rivers State.
From the above scenario, it goes to show that Okowa became an alleged betrayal after he got elevated to the enviable position of Vice Presidential candidate. This unmerited song of betrayal is heavily garnished with unfounded allegations calculated to misinform the general public. It is very unfair and undeserving.
In my humble view and without disrespecting our PANDEF and middle Belt leaders, governor Okowa deserves apology, commendation and goodwill messages from those castigating him unjustly. He did not betray the Southern governors, not governor Wike, and he will have no reason to betray anybody.
Okowa is a pragmatic and visionary leader endowed with uncommon wisdom, high sense of humour, positive aura and meekness, foresight, goal oriented and well principled. He is essentially a grassroot politician, a strategist par excellence, a master planner and a team player.
Delta State gave her best leader to this nation, in the person of the Vice president in-waiting, Senator Okowa, and together with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the duo shall make Nigeria great again. Their foreseeable synergy in jobs and wealth creation, qualitative education free from all manners of strikes and neglect, economic remodelling and revamping of the nation’s industrial potentials, good wealth policies and medical care for citizens, permanent solutions to security crisis, unite the country shall restore the nation’s status as the real giant of Africa in all ramifications.
Okowa is not a betrayal, he is a great patriot, a loyal party man and a leader who has deliberately dedicated his life to serve humanity and dear our country, Nigeria.
As he rightly puts it while speaking to Nigerians on Channels Television; “it would have amounted to gross disservice to Nigeria and Nigerians if I had rejected the Vice Presidential candidate offer.” I concur.
In a nutshell, Okowa’s centrality of morals in the dynamics of political power and balance of power is worthy of emulation by present and future leaders in Nigeria and beyond.
Congratulations, once again, to our amiable Vice President in-waiting. You are a great selfless leader and a nationalist par excellence.
About the Writer: Olorogun Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe Esq, is the Executive Assistant to Delta State Governor on Communications, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Information and Strategy Management, Fcism, and Chairman, Coalition for Media Politics and Governance, CMPG.