Engr. Beloved-Dan Obinna Anike is a man after my own heart. Here is a man, who has stood for his generation, not because he was looking forward to leading on the big stage, but because of sheer love for humanity. He is a Christian in the true sense of a Pastor, who is a shepherd of the people. When I think of Engr. Beloved-Dan Obinna Anike, there are certain words that easily come to mind: thoughtful, brilliant, selfless, sympathetic, public-spirited and gentle. Leadership sits so comfortably on Obinna Anike. Twenty-two years ago, he was voted the Student Union Leader of Nnmadi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK). He was probably the youngest Student Union Leader UNIZIK has ever produced, yet he engendered a Revolution in the lives of the students. Obinna Anike pioneered the Students’ Welfare Scheme and the Work and Study Scheme at UNIZIK. He led a successful struggle for the transformation of UNIZIK from a non-residential to a residential campus.
As the community leader and organiser, he was the Co-ordinator of uncounted community Projects. He was the Community Leader of Umuchigbo Nike for more than ten years, where he built a solid reputation as a selfless leader and a tireless advocate of youth empowerment. Obinna Anike was the Chairman of Lands Committee in Umuchigbo Nike for five years. In all these positions, his name remains unstained.
As Commissioner for Transport under Sullivan Chime, Engr. Anike digitalised the Ministry. His innovations are numerous, some of which are: the Traffic Management Authority Bill, the Taxi Scheme Phase 3, the Taxi Registration Programme, the Traffic Light Scheme etc. Engr. Anike has a midas touch. He leaves landmark footprints wherever he sets his foot. He was part of the ENSUBEB team that has made Basic Education the talking-point in Enugu State. Led by Ikeje Asogwa, the Board was rated First Nation-wide in Utilisation of Counter-part Funds, and rated among the First Five Boards Nation-wide in School Monitoring and Evaluation; Engr. Anike was part of the theme that produced the two Best Primary School Pupils in Mathematics and Basic Science Nation-wide.
A Pastor and non-denominational Christian, Philanthropism is in the DNA of Engr. Beloved-Dan – he is the Founder and Chairman of Ositadimma Foundation. It is to his credit that the Foundation has empowered over 3000 widows and more than 500 students in tertiary institutions. A Technocrat and certified Mediator, who has successfully negotiated more than 500 cases, Beloved-Dan is the man our dear State needs at this time in our history. His deep fear of God, his long-standing love for community service, his selflessness, his brilliance – these are the qualities needed to continue to drive and sustain our dear Enugu State in the course of progress.
Indeed there is something common to nations that are moving ahead – the masses painstakingly watch out for people who have a history of humanitarian spirit, and have demonstrated that they are worthy of public trust. It is only in Africa that we have Emergency Philanthropists, who run to the masses with give-aways and titbits simply because they want a political office. Let me give some examples of how famous leaders earn public trust:
Barack Obama made history as the first black President of America – that was something many people never believed would be possible even in the next century in a race-tensed country like the USA. How did Obama achieve it? As a young person – in 1985 – Obama moved to Chicago and became a community organiser. He advocated and fought for social change and represented the interest of communities embattled by gun violence, drug addiction and poverty. About twenty-three years later, Americans singled him out to lead the most powerful country on earth. And he delivered. Obama-Care alone made health-care available to millions of poor Americans.
In the 1980s, Joe Biden was one of the foremost defenders of the fundamental human rights of Black South-Africans during Apartheid. Now as President of the USA is anybody surprised that Biden is the first American President to make a black woman a Supreme Court judge, and the first American President to appoint a black person the White House Spokesperson? Angela Merkel, the first woman to hold the position of Chancellor in Germany, and arguably the best Chancellor Germany has ever been blessed with, was a youth volunteer as a young person. She came to limelight because of her sacrifices and struggles to evolve a better German society. Good leaders don’t love their community because they want vote and power, they love their community because it is in their nature to love.
Unfortunately, in our own part of the world, the situation is different. Power is usually entrusted to Money-bags and Emergency Philanthropists who have no record of community service, and who only remember the masses when they want to grab power. It is very sad! How can we be making the same mistake over and over again, yet we are surprised that we are not making much progress as a people?
Now that we have another opportunity to decide our destiny as a people, are we ready to use our vote to change our future? Can we now summon Obinna Anike to the big stage? Can we begin a mass Movement for Obinna Anike, who has from his youth demonstrated genuine love for community service? Here is an opportunity! Infinite possibilities beckon. And the choice is ours!
Felix Isiwu, a public affairs analyst, writes from Agbani, Nkanu West.