By Ugaba Emmanuel and James Ibechi
To say that dearth of good political leaders is the bane of Africa’s development is a cliche, but it is true. Absence of the right kind of people who would lead this country to confront underdevelopment, poverty, disease, marginalization, tribalism, nepotism and make life worth living in our country, is still a big challenge.
However, in the midst of this leadership challenge in our clime, there are a few outstanding leaders whose efforts at changing the story of our communities are tangent, but whose political principles are mostly misunderstood.
Notable among such outstanding leaders is Hon. Nick Eworo, aka Odukelaho, Deputy Majority Leader of Benue State House of Assembly, representing Obi State Constituency.
Hon. Nick Eworo came into political limelight in 2010 when the people of Obi sought for the replacement of Hon William Edor Ogbole, former deputy speaker of Benue State House of Assembly (2007-2011).
Before coming into full politics to contest for a political office, Hon. Nick was the manager of Bendel Feeds in Kano where he played very prominent and supportive roles to the Ito born emerging politicians.
In 2000, he was elected president of G-12, a socio-political association aimed at projecting credible Ito sons and daughters both at home and in the Diaspora for elective political office back home.
During that period, Messers Jimmy Ikpe and Ugaba Emmanuel, President of Ito Welfare Association (IWA) northern zone and Secretary General of G-12 respectively, were mandated to work closely with Chief Odeh Ageh, Benue State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, then a banker, who was nursing the ambition of vying for the Obi Local Government chairmanship seat.
While in Kano, Hon. Nick assisted so many Igede people, particularly, those from Ito axis. He played supportive roles during the campaign and primary election of Chief Ageh in 2003 in his bid to clinch the chairmanship seat of Obi local government council. Although he lost, yet their friendship did not wane.
In 2008, by divine arrangement, Chief Ageh became chairman of the local government council. In the twilight of his three-year-tenure, in 2010, Hon. Edor Ogbole William, plotted to unseat Ageh through the instrumentality of the state House of Assembly, which he partially succeeded in the form of one-month suspension that was slammed on Ageh thereby creating a political disagreement between the two gladiators and bred a fertile ground that ushered Hon. Nick into the political turf, by foraying in the state House of Assembly election which followed shortly later.
If Hon. Ogbole had played his part well by allowing Ageh to be returned as a caretaker chairman, Hon. Nick would not have featured in the 2011 state House of Assembly election.
It was the political conflict of interest between Ageh and Ogbole that made the former to call his friend, Nick to come home and contest against the latter in the primary ahead of the Assembly election of that year.
The Chief Ageh’s superior political calculations led to the political crincum crancum that eventually turned the tide against Ogbole, as his bid to return to the House for a second term was torpedoed.
At the PDP primary election, because of the antecedents of both contestants, Ogbole and Nick, the latter defeated the former. Ageh no doubt factored prominently in Nick’s victory, because one good turn, they say, deserves another in return.
However, in politics, interest is the only one thing that is significantly important. All other things are subject to the interest one has in the political struggle.
Political intrigues robbed Hon. Nick the position of the deputy speaker we all expected; but for the sake of his ability and political sagacity, office of the deputy majority leader that did not exist before was created for him.
Hon. Nick was an outstanding key player in the state Assembly. Though a first timer, he was able to shoot his way to the legislative limelight above some of his peers and his predecessors from Obi.
By dint of hard work, dynamism, pragmatic leadership and legislative prowess, he was widely accepted as a representative of not only Obi, but Igede in general. Hon. Nick is outspoken and knows how to cajole people to agreeing with him even if he is criticized to be unfair in his decision and motives.
Popularly called Odukelaho, Hon. Nick is easily accessible to all that get to him and has the Midas touch of this century political manipulations. His superlative performances at the assembly plenary sessions make him outstanding all the time. His ability to change with the political tide gives him an age over his equals.
His return to the House in 2015 amidst high level political calculus is a theory never practiced before. These writers salute his courage and determination because that singular act changed the political equation of Obi local government area.
Politics is not merely a game of number, it is full of intrigues, calculations, wits and of course an interplay of psychological and physical exercises. In all these, Hon. Nick was seen to hold sway and successfully put them to work in his favour.
Although, many may disagree with the modus operandi and styles of his political dance step, Hon. Nick Eworo is still the most desired as a near perfect representative of his constituency. This is exemplified in the many unsung dividends of democracy he has attracted to his constituency.
His position is more or less central to the Igede nation. The appointment of Mr. Andyson Iji Egbodo from Oju LGA as his Senior Aide on media is an indication that Hon. Nick is not only Obi’s representative, but entire Igede nation.
His change over from PDP, which ticket he carried to the House of Assembly, to APC that enabled the Governor Samuel Ortom led administration to take off smoothly is a sacrifice that is highly commendable that the administration cannot forget in a hurry.
On the whole, Hon Nick Eworo is seen as a political enigma of our time that people from his constituency misunderstand. His desire, among other things, is to present effective representation for his people both at home and in the Diaspora.
These writers urge the entire Obi people to take deep look at the man called Nick Eworo for proper understanding of the political gift he is, not only to them and Igede nation, but also to the entire Benue State.