By JOHNSON EBIGIDE
It is the right mindset that ensures the peaceful coexistence of people in a society of diverse cultures, religious inclinations, political differences, personal ideologies and various other nuances of association of humans in a society. There are bound to be different shades of opinion in any society; it is the willingness of humans to accommodate opinions , beliefs, feelings and conducts of others that brings about the peaceful coexistence of people in any society towards, not only the upgrading of their welfares, but ensuring that humanity moves on.
In 1986 the Late Obafemi Awolowo declined to serve in the Professor Samuel Cookey commission, put in place by the then military head of state, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, to fashion out a new sociopolitical order in Nigeria. Professor Cookey who was a Professor of Political Science and Chairman of the commission had written the sage, inviting him to avail himself of the opportunity to serve in the commission by using his wealth of experience to proffer solutions for the myriads of problems confronting the country.
Awolowo in his wisdom turned down the invitation to serve on the ground that Nigeria was greatly bedevilled and that until the evils in Nigerians were exorcised, nothing good would come out of the country, adding that the only option left for Nigerians was to be satisfied with a continuous state of despondency !
Many years after this Awolowo’s clairvoyant erudition, many Nigerians are yet to come to term with the belief that they are citizens of the country because of the pervading lack of confidence and trust in the governance of the country.
Again, in 1999 in his inaugural address as the President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo stated that when government at all levels in the country continue to make official pronouncements and not backup with visible beneficial actions, government forfeits the confidence and trust of the populace.
It is against this backdrop that one needs to commend the governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, in working so hard to continuously bridge the gap between the state government and the public through the State Orientation Bureau, under the watch of Eugene Azuka Uzum Esq.
The Ministry of Information has been doing the yeoman job of informing the public about the policy direction of the state government, but it is one thing to inform and another to internalise the given information and act positively towards the actualisation of the Stronger Delta vision of the state government.
There is no doubt that Governor Okowa had scored the bull’s eye in fishing out Uzum to act as the transparent interface between the government and the governed since the inception of the Okowa Administration in Delta State. Uzum was appointed the first Senior Special Assistant to Governor Okowa on Orientation and elevated almost immediately as the first Executive Assistant to the Governor on Orientation with the creation of a directorate of Orientation under his watch.
Not only did Uzum deliver on his onerous mandate of mindset reorientation of Deltans, but he endeared himself and the directorate to the public through quality advocacies and sensitisation programmes. His performance, like that of a golden fish that cannot be hidden in a shallow stream, informed his being elevated by the state government as the first Director General (DG) of the Delta State Orientation Bureau to further consolidate on his earlier visible achievements of positively moulding the mindset of the populace in line with the urgent need to continue to create the much needed confidence and trust of government policy thrust by the populace.
It was that glaring reality that informed the unwavering calls of the Chairman of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, for the state government to increase the funding of the State Bureau of Orientation under the purview of Uzum.
Apart from his official duties, Uzum has been a beacon of hope, not only to youths in his locality of Otolokpo in Ika North East Local Government Area, but many others from the state and beyond. A leader of immeasurable quintessence, imbued with inexplicable humility, Uzum has been silently galvanising those around him with positive ideological leadership mindset in the state and beyond.
Speaking recently in a congratulatory messaged to Uzum on his birthday anniversary on January 11, 2021, the Coordinator of the Delta State PDP Social Media Team (DESPSOMET), Edwin Afejuku, described Uzum as a distinguished personality, a pillar of the Okowa Administration and an ambassador of the prosperity agenda of the state government, who has impacted positively from his lean resources on the youths in the state and beyond.
Yes, this is also wishing the man popularly referred to by his teeming admirers in the state and beyond as Uzumnism a belated happy birthday and many fruitful years in the service of not only the state and Nigeria, but humanity as a whole !