BY TERSEER MNZUULGHA –
In the course of history, the rise to leadership is compared to an arduous journey that requires the unflinching and unfaltering divine support of followers. This factor is hinged on the fact that no leader rises to power without the approval of God, the Almighty and the massive support of the people.
Perhaps this was the scenario which replayed following the victory of Reverend Father Hyacinth Iormem Alia in the Benue State Governorship election held on the 18th of March this year.
Before clinching the ticket as the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, Reverend Father Alia had to sail the tempestuous political seas of court injunctions, rulings and judgement cancelling the primaries for the elections and issuing orders for a new one. Despite these setbacks, as a man of the cloth, anointed by God, chosen by man and favoured by all, Reverend Father Alia clinched a whooping 473,933 votes to defeat Mr Titus Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered a total of 223,913 votes.
Motivated by this victory to serve his people devoid of ethnicity, party affiliation, religion or creed, Father Hyacinth gave the glory of his victory to God and praised the people of Benue State for choosing him for the task. In a victory speech, Father Hyacinth Alia said the state needed a total reset by cultivating new ethos and all good hands must be on board for the task of governance. He therefore pledged to address the myriads of problems facing the state such as unpaid salaries and pension arrears, economic stagnation, technological retardation amongst a host of others.
The Governor-Elect in his speech, said the outcome of the election was a loud and clear cry of the people demanding for effective and efficient governance; a cry for all persons in positions of public service to consider the people first in all their decisions and actions.
This therefore brings to the fore the task ahead for the Governor-Elect. Already, many watchers have described the election as the opening of a vista for Benue State to assume its rightful place in the economic sphere of Nigeria and the rest of the world. But like any other responsibility, the task of Governing a state requires focus and rapt concentration.
There is no doubt that Father Alia prevailed despite the desperate push to the precipice of political machinations, electioneering pit falls and perilous ox bow lakes – all orchestrated by his detractors. However, there is the need for concentration on the goal, which is effective governance of the state. It’s also an undeniable fact, that the dedication and devotion of lieutenants and subjects of a leader, is the anchor of his success. Based on a critical study of Father Alia’s disposition and leaning during the electioneering period, analysts and watchers believe the Governor-Elect will assemble a formidable team to form his Executive Council.
Unlike some leaders whose rise to leadership were based on the support of shadow parties and god-fatherism thereby influencing their actions and decisions, Reverend Father Alia, whose faith is anchored on God, is a man of his word, a man driven by the desire to work while serving God, his rock and fortress.
The name “FATHER ALIA” rings bell in the minds of the Christian faithful, particularly those of the Catholic Church. The reason is simply that throughout his pastoral work, he was engaged in organising special masses for the sick and the wearied. Father Alia’s Healing Ministry, which is synonymous with his name, has impacted positively on the lives of Christians as there had been testimonies of their potency on them and his commitment to this cause has further strengthen their faith in God. Therefore, the governorship of Benue state is a wider platform for Fr. Alia to heal the land. And for the Governor elect to actualize his lofty dream for Benue, he must not be vindictive. Good enough, he has extended a hand of fellowship to all including his challengers at the polls, to join hands with him to rebuild the state.
Fr. Alia must also avoid the temptation of being power drunk, which often leads to imposition of ideas and persons as well as indisposed to genuine advice. He must allow the State House of Assembly to operate freely, thereby carrying out its constitutional responsibility.
Fr. Alia must assemble a formidable team to deliver Benue state from its present doomsday.
On his 57th birthday anniversary today, the governor-elect should reflect on his journey in life especially as he prepares to mount the saddle in 15 days’ time from now. Indeed, his month of birth coinciding with the month of his swearing-in as the 6th Executive Governor of Benue state is not a mere coincidence but one on purpose, and the purpose is liberation of the Benue people from impoverishment.
- Terseer Mzuulga of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN),Abuja, wrote this commentary on May 14, 2023