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IT'S becoming a thing of National disaster, whenever rain falls heavily in Nigeria. Prior to this raining season, weather officials had predicted heavy rains to last over 200 days.  The rains are here, it has started pouring heavily and the results across the nation are of devastation and loss. Lagos and other densely populated cities experienced gridlocks but with the third mainland bridge partially shut down the commuters and residence of Lagos are bound to experience heavy traffic situations.
The torrential rainfall experienced in most part of Lagos metropolis for most part of last week has brought to fore the manmade environmental obstacles, leading to massive flood that took over the metropolis while many areas of the city were cut off from each other, many residents had tales of woes to tell as their prized possessions were either washed away or destroyed.

IN contemporary history, leadership transcends the frontiers of one man ordering people around military style. Leadership is about sacrifice, innovation, vision and ability to recognise that even the best of diamond was first coated with dirt and dust. Great leaders are therefore those who see opportunity in oppression, who turn adversity to advantage and those who see today what others will see tomorrow.

It took a life of risk and sacrifice in a moment of war for Americans to see the strong character of George Washington. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, confined to a wheel chair at middle age by polio, turned what others may consider an adversity to advantage. He became one of the greatest presidents of the United States , winning election for a record four times even on a wheel chair. He sacrificed his comfort to steer America out of the straits of the Great Depression.

Bring on the architect of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. Coming through the trauma of Second World War and the emotional bitterness of Japanese occupation and British domination, he sacrificially rallied his troop of young and resolute Singaporeans to birth a new nation with the full dignity of Singapore citizens restored.

In the furiously dynamic field of informatics, we see a handful of great leaders who denied themselves immediate comfort to innovate a better future for humanity. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell. They all let go their comfort to innovate a great future and empower humanity. Jobs once said that “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. Gates predicted that in our time and in the coming years, “leaders will be those who empower others”.

It took the conscientious, conscious and selfless exertions of Martin Luther King Jnr and other Black activists for the world to witness a Black American president in the White House over four decades later. It is impossible to wade through the history of nations without finding bright dots and brilliant flashes of good leadership sometimes even in the midst of overly administrative tardiness.

In Europe, America , Asia and other climes, you find such leadership milestones in both the private and public sectors as blue chip chief executives, district heads, mayors, governors and heads of government. These are men and women who through innovations and visionary candour, wrought transformation in their stations. In Nigeria , in spite of our historical culture of poverty of leadership, we still find bright spots of purposeful leadership sparkling in the horizon like oasis in a famished desert.

You find them as local government chairmen, company executives, lawmakers and sundry public office holders. In this list of change-agents is Godswill Akpabio, the executive governor of Akwa Ibom State .

Akpabio is a real outlier who during his working life in the private sector was part of a small but very effective group of lawyers who laid the legal foundation for the telecom revolution that was to sweep through the nation. Called the Telecom Lawyers Association of Nigeria, TLA, Akpabio and a few of his peers played an avant-garde role in the formative years of the deregulated telecom sector. Their vision, foresightedness and spirited pursuit of professional excellence provided the catalyst for the birthing of a telecom revolution in the country.

Like all great leaders, Akpabio has been consistent in character. He arrived Akwa Ibom Government House with a rich tool-kit laden with administrative dexterity, visionary élan and an imbued Jewish spirit complete with chutzpah, candour and unvarnished charisma. As a commissioner, he wormed his way to the hearts of the people. His rich vein of people skills and unfeigned deployment of emotional intelligence stood him out as a puritan from the crowd of political jobbers. He was a veritable stabilising force who used his goodwill to build bridges and forge a bond of unity in an otherwise fractured Akwa Ibom polity.

He is a man fated to success and it was no surprise that he emerged victorious in the 2007 gubernatorial election which thrust him into the centre stage of governance in his state. His trajectory from the private sector to the public arena and his seamless adaptation to life in the corridor of power owe so much to his social malleability and political flexibility.

In barely five years as governor of Akwa Ibom State, he has demonstrated without any pinch of doubt that he is the ultimate God's will for his people. He is to Akwa Ibom what Moses was to the Jews  a man ordained to set the captives free. Thus, guided by the invisible and sturdy hand of God, he has guided Akwa Ibom out of the valley of gross darkness to the crest of socio-economic magnificence. A state once manacled to the tethers of underdevelopment and a ready by-word for backwardness has joined the league of Nigeria 's fastest developing states. He has wrought uncommon transformation in the state even to the admiration and acclamation of his most acerbic critics.

The Akpabio I knew from his days in the private sector is a man for whom hard work is fun. He is a great listener, perceptive and patient, intuitive and generously endowed with a high threshold of cognitive aptitude.

The conferment of the national honour Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) on him firmly attests to his leadership exemplum encapsulated in his uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom State . It is a fitting seal on the plethora of awards he has garnered this year alone, including award of doctorate degree (honoris causa) in management science by the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

It is not for nothing that Wikileaks, the spunky whistleblower in spite of its inclination to expose the dirty underbelly of Nigerian politicians singled him out as a 'man to watch', an obvious testimonial to his peerless service delivery quotient in government house. He is the real Renaissance man.


Chief Godswill Akpabio, the executive governor of Akwa Ibom State bows to a standing ovation as he receives the honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in recognition of the record breaking development agenda he has judiciously executed in his state.

 

NOTHING captures in essence the leadership qualities of Chief Godswill Akpabio more than the second to the last sentence of the opening quote from Admiral Stockdale.  Men like Chief Akpabio are never out of a job and never out of followers, little wonder he is one transformational leader who has had the greatest single impact on the lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State since the state was carved out of the old Cross River State.  Today, he has left a footprint on the sands of time for posterity to judge. And that he is not yet through with his development agenda is what makes the whole scenario what recounting. Men like Chief Godswill Akpabio do not pass through this clime often; they are part of a rare breed of whom service is life itself.

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