Aro needs more ‘You First; I Second’ leaders!

Ogbonnaya Akoma

Yes; after a careful thought and rumination over the issue, I decided to debut on this column on this topic that bothers on patriotism and altruism, two important aspects of true leadership. Yes, the town of Arochukwu, sincerely speaking, needs more of the leaders who will, first of all, think of the town of Arochukwu and  what the town needs, and try to give it to her before  thinking of  what individuals therein will get first before remembering Arochukwu. Yes; first think of what you can do for Arochukwu ….

In the beginning, that was the case of Aro leaders: ‘You First; I second.’ This is the motto of the oldest college in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria located in the ancient city of Uzuakoli (that was founded in 1923) – Methodist College, Uzuakoli – the alma mater of the columnist. Until just recently, those who attended that citadel of learning were introduced, early in life, to the virtue of thinking about others first before thinking of themselves, including yours faithfully! Yes; students of Methodist College, Uzuakoli, are first introduced to thinking about the welfare, well-being, and the good of others before thinking of their own welfare, prosperity and well-being (as some other leaders had done in the past), and today, more than ninety percent of those who benefited from the training given at that college, have always exhibited acts of patriotism, altruism and selflessness – wherever they find themselves: the Michael Okparas, the Onyema Ugochukwus, the Clement Isongs, et cetera! Yes, the act of patriotism and selflessness has been the characteristic future of good leaders – even as exhibited by Jesus the Christ in the Bible, and all other of his followers and friends! They talked less of themselves and talked more of others, which is why mankind still exists today.

Patriotic and selfless services will always ensure the existence of any society. Self-centeredness and ego-centric actions portray selfishness and retrogression, and do not improve societies. That Nigerians are suffering today is because, unlike the pre-Independence politicians and those of First and Second Republics, today’s politicians have ‘Nigerianised’ politics of self-centeredness and selfishness. While early politicians did all to provide all they could provide for all the people (that ensured societal growth), today’s politicians (beginning from 1999) are just after what enters into their pockets as individuals!

This is the case with Arochukwu. While Aro leaders and politicians (of yester-years) had the interest of Aro in mind in all they did, today’s Aro leaders (including our political representatives) have become very selfish, self-centered and ego-centric that they do not care for Arochukwu again!

They are after amassing wealth and doing those things that must benefit them first, unlike the thinking of Alvan Ikoku and the other Ikokus, the TK Utchays, the Nwakamma Okoros, the Kanu Ojis, the Udenyis, et cetera.  Those did not think for their pockets alone; they wanted the progress of their town too in their pursuits in life.

If Alvan Ikoku had been selfish; if Eze Kanu Oji had been selfish; if Nwakawma Okoro had not been patriotic, they all would have acquired all the pieces of land in Arochukwu that many of us coming behind them would not have been able to see where to build our houses today in Arochukwu!

It is because of selfish leadership in Arochukwu hitherto that all inter- and intra Aro roads have been deplorable but have been built and tarred on television, radio channels and news bulletins on the imagination of these ‘leaders’! It is because of selfish life that the construction of the Ozuabam-Ndiokereke-Arochukwu road has lingered since 1985. It is because of selfishness that government appointments have been eluding Arochukwu indigenes. It is because of selfish leadership style of today’s Aro leaders that the Aro Civic Hall project (at Oror) has not been completed for about forty years now!

Sincerely speaking, Arochukwu needs more patriotic and selfless leaders now than ever before. Yes, we need more ‘You First; I Second’ generation of Aro leaders for the town to survive.

Yes, we really need them urgently.

About author

Ogbonnaya Akoma

Public health practitioner/public affairs commentator
Trans-Amadi Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State

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