By Patrick Ochoga
Being humble is not a sign of weakness or cowardice but a signature for statesmanship and leadership. This is what Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, a man who has lived all his life building not just legacies for himself and those around him but also a society where a future for the next generation can be secured, represents.
As a revolutionary, Nelson Mandela once said “You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself or made a positive impact in the society… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty and humility”.
Unfortunately, the rising profile and steadfastness of Captain Wells Okunbo appears to have become thorns on the flesh of some forces within government circle in Edo state, leading to the hunt after the Benin billionaire philanthropist by the same people under oath to protect the lives and property of the people of Edo state.
As long as men of honour continue to be persecuted with impunity, the reign of tyranny will swell in the most despicable way. It is something every right thinking person should be bothered about as it threatens the right to life of every individual in a democratic society.
It is sad that this is coming at a time when the people of Edo state are suing for peace and good leadership for the state to complement private investments put in place by the likes of Captain Wells Okunbo and attract foreign investments into the state to make life more meaningful for the good people of Edo, that attacks are being targeted at him.
One might be forced to ask if a man who has paid his dues to the society and should by all standard be encouraged to do more in whatever measures rather than being hunted and vilified out of hate or to put it, his free will as a citizen is so treated, then what is the fate of an average Edo citizen?
Recent media campaigns orchestrated against the person of Captain Hosa can be likened to blackmail and persecution aimed to intimidate a law abiding citizen who has by every standard contributed to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Obviously, these attacks are deliberate plots to intimidate and sell negative narratives about him. The Captain Hosa we know, will absorb all and will continue to prove a point with his good work for humanity.
A recent publication on national dailies connecting Captain Hosa to former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke is again proof of a desperate move by some forces to hang a bad name on his shoulder. Why would a man who in his business life in the petroleum industry had not been indicted be so vilified by people he had once lifted?
I have followed keenly the existing fuss created by some forces in Edo state against the Governor and Captain Hosa, which is currently generating concern in various media space and the Captain Hosa’s continue display of wisdom in the face of plots crafted to undermine his hard earned reputation and drag his name into the mud, only reminds me of what my father used to tell me then as a young man.
“Living with honour and humility no matter how highly placed you are in the society, tells more of who we really are”.
Those who have followed the activities of Captain Hosa will attest that he carries a responsibility that affects the lives of the average Edo people for public order and peace building.
A commercial pilot, a philanthropist and a business tycoon with investments spanning the petroleum industry, agriculture, real estate and a host of other businesses that have earned him a place among the biggest employers of labour in Nigeria today, shows that Captain Hosa represents a new breed of the 21st Century leaders.
Then one would wonder why would a man who many communities across Nigeria are asking God in prayers to be blessed with, has become a game to be hunted by disgruntled people who appear to have phobia for development and progress.
Such shows of ingratitude should never have a place in our society. When has it become a crime to be a blessing to your people?
Why is a good man being persecuted for absolutely being a man of his words and character? How more commendable conduct those after Captain Hosa are still expecting from him before their retrogressive appetite can be quelled?
Records have shown that among the notable personalities produced by the Benin nation, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo has stood himself out as one who recognises the need of building a society that embraces peace and progress. His records have also earned him both national and global recognitions.
Last year, he received the Global Peace Award in Geneva Switzerland, for his commitment to peace and nation building. In March 2017, he was also named Vanguard Business Man of the year at the Vanguard personality of the year awards. These are outside other recognitions he had bagged previously.
Records have also shown how Captain Hosa has given total and complete support to successive governments in Edo state, including the present one, using his influence to bring massive investments to the state and providing economic and commercial solutions to the problems in the state, thereby creating employment opportunities for Edo people.
As a statesman, Captain Hosa has maintained a position of neutrality in politics and that is why his relationship with people in public offices cuts across political divides.
Captain is a man of honour and respect who has shown high regards for traditional institutions, and government as an institution for running the affairs of the state and its people. He has shown on several occasions, his dedication and commitment to the upliftment of Edo state and the Edo people without sentiment and bias.
Captain Hosa is a worthy Edo son that deserves the utmost respect for his contribution to the Edo nation and therefore every form of attack on his personality should be condemned. Those who are playing politics for their immediate pecuniary gains should not tarnish the hardly built reputation of a worthy Benin son for the sole purpose of an election that is coming and will soon go.
Patrick Ochoga, sent this piece from Benin City,