– By Thompson Anika
The Nigerian Political Chess Board is getting broader, brighter and interesting as the time draws near for political parties to make their choices of who should fly their flag for the available positions at different levels of elections in the forthcoming 2019 polls.
Expectedly, the battle grounds would commence with the intra-party primaries, where all loyal party men and women, who are interested in representing their party, would square up against each other to ascertain who clinches the party’s ticket to compete with others for these positions.
Yes, there are rules and guidelines that regulates the conduct of such primaries at the party level while the party members would in addition to strictly adhering to the party supremacy, explore other avenues of assessing aspirants including their history, party loyalty, leadership qualities, experiences, capacity, value addition potentials, financial independence and most critical is a comparative pairings with aspirants of other political parties aspiring for the same positions.
The bottom line here however is that if an aspirant eventually gets a party’s ticket to represent it in a particular position, how generally acceptable would such a candidate be, compared to others? Of what electoral value would he or she be to the party and the entire constituency? Can he or she withstand the fire power of candidates of other contesting parties? Answers to these questions, among others, should certainly determine an aspirant’s fate as to whether he or she gets the party’s ticket or not.
It was William Shakespeare, in one of his world acclaimed literary works that postulated that some people are born leaders as imbued in them by God Almighty. Some others, he noted, are made leaders by the circumstances they find themselves; while others, he emphasized have power or leadership entrusted on them by their political leaders or godfathers. In any of these categories of leaders, the main thrust is quality leadership, good governance and value addition to the lives of your constituents and constituency as a whole.
From the foregoing analysis, Obol (Chief) Akinwumi Anderson Ricketts – the princely grandson of Late Chief (Sir) Noël Ofem, has a rich political history. His grandfather was first Paramount Ruler of Old Yakurr and Member of the House of Chiefs representing Old Abakaliki Province in the Eastern Region. He was a staunch Political Associate of Nigeria’s First Republic President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and also worked closely with political heavyweights like Chief Michael Okpara, Eze (Dr.) Sir Francis Ibiam, Chief Mbonu Ejike, among others. The Late First Class Chief played prominent role in the politics of the then Eastern Regional Government in Enugu and was reputed for attracting these juggernauts to the ancient city of Ugep for political meetings, all of which contributed to the rising profile of the city.
Obol Ricketts, who is more or less, a protégé of this great icon, is a Public Relations and Communication expert; a shrewd businessman; an administrator of high standing, a peace ambassador and motivator of great repute who has devoted most of his life to philanthropy, community development and entrepreneurship; remains the Master Stroke for the All Progressive Congress (APC) ticket for the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State in the 2019 general elections.
His soaring political pedigree in the Senatorial District and even in the State as a whole, transcend beyond party lines. With his populist philosophical slogan of “Cow wey no get tail”, Obol Ricketts, who is a traditionally ‘Defender’, ‘Protector’ and ‘Provider’ for his people by virtue of the traditional title of Obol Nkama 1 of Ugep bestowed on him over three decades ago by his kinsmen, is a lovable personage that has huge followership among youths, women and men especially the elderly across the length and breadth of the District.
Interestingly, his audacity and political sagacity in aspiring for this coveted Senate seat is being dreaded by many others, both in his party-the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) which are the two dominant political parties in the area. This concern is expectedly borne out of the fact that Obol Akin Ricketts is a trusted ‘fellar’ who is well revered by all and has genuine capacity to add value to whatever he does anyway he finds himself.
In fact, the Ugep born High Chief has indeed prepared himself for the onerous legislative task ahead and the prospects of his candidacy for the APC can better be experienced than imagined. His vast experiences spanning several years in entrepreneurship development, business management with high acumen that did not only record great milestones for his few business interests that cut across oil and gas, maritime and shipping, construction, clearing and forwarding, among others, but has impacted positively on the lives of a few Nigerians that have passed through him over the years.
Added to these progressive milestones are Obol Ricketts’ three and half years stint in the public service of the Cross River State, where he offered service as Commissioner for Information under the administration of Governor Liyel Imoke between March 2012 to May 29, 2015. As a team player that he is, the Senatorial hopeful made laudable imprints in the Ministry and the State in general, most of which are still visible today. Beside this remarkable impact, he came out of the Ministry as the longest serving Commissioner in a particular Ministry since its creation in 1967.
Above all, Obol Ricketts is hardworking, resilient, committed, well funded, independent minded and very sharp with high penchant for organizational skills; all of which are critical characteristics of a good leader that is ready to serve and provide good governance in the interest of the majority.
Therefore, given the senatorial ticket to such a tested, unassuming politician of high pedigree, and with full support of other political heavy weights in the constituency, would certainly make the job of electioneering campaigns very easy and guarantee victory for the All Progressive Congress (APC) ahead of other political parties; which is the target of all well meaning democrats in the entire Central Senatorial District of Cross River State.
The views expressed are those of the writer
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