For long now, those who want to govern Rivers State no longer bothered to put it to the body that is the fourth estate of the realm to hear first and then take it to the masses of the state. They announce their desires and pursue it. In so doing, they leave behind the fourth estate and pursue the action estate where the treasure is.
Dawari George is an intellectual power house, a respecter of the press, a simple man, the son of a reverend gentleman (now late) known for guiding many Rivers sons and daughter as principal of schools and chairman of the scholarship board. He has deviated from the ugly norm by whispering his plan to the topmost press to prepare him for a full outing in the press.
Straightaway, he has frowned at what he calls ‘Toxic Political Communication’ which he says has taken over the state and has given the state a new brand proposition. “The world is buying it but the citizens are losing reputation capital. Younger people are beginning to like it. Please, press, stop promoting it. I won’t use foul language to get into office.”
He revealed that he has prepared for years to govern Rivers but that he is not desperate. “My agenda/policy paper has gone through many rounds of review.”
He says he is a man who performs better under pressure, “So ask me questions, critique me. Throw stones at me and I will use the stones to build a castle.”
His full name is Dawari Ibietela George of Action Alliance (AA). His elder brother is the highly cerebral Karibi George. At this point, he is holding exploratory conversations with those he considers his closest friends. His team is called the Bridge Team. He pleads with newsmen not report his conversations yet, even as he admits that his greatest asset is the media. And it showed, what with the likes of Ibim Semenitari and her Beke Anyalewechi directing. No wonder he asked the media to see his back, watch his back.
Those around himsay it is personal conviction beyond politics that brought Dawari out. He feels Rivers State deserves his assets; intellectual resources, experience, competences, and strategic reserves. He did not leave the APC because of any quarrels. He briefed his bosses before leaving though some appeals were made to him. Many parties courted him, but he chose AA because of atmosphere there, no encumbrances, he hinted.
Read also: Rivers political firmament on fire
He feels time has come for him to deploy his talents and resources over the years for his people: youth leader, played in boards, headed parastatals, became commissioner, went to the Federal House of Representatives (and served on ECOWAS Parliament where I was exposed to diplomatic politics). He studied and researched political economics with development as a bias. “Should I go to the grave without deploying this in my state?” Only Rivers voters will answer the question.
His doctorate thesis is on Poverty and Development, “What we see is top-bottom governance style but what studies said will rescue Africa, Nigeria and Rivers State is bottom-top approach where the ordinary people in every ward and LGA determine what poverty means to them. They guide the governors while the government becomes the facilitator of their own development drive. I want to practise what I studied.”
His cardinal point is ‘Peoples vision’, not ‘People First’ governance approach. People-first approach is when you (if you are even sincere) do for the people first before doing for yourself. But people vision system is where you deploy a strategy of harnessing what the people want from all the wards of your governance jurisdiction, line them up, allocate resources according to the budget realities, and pursue them with the representatives of the people working along with you for sake of transparency.
He gave an example of a community he wanted to give a jetty but they insisted on a water project. “You allow the people define their own poverty and plot their own solution. The government merely facilitates, not as owner.”
Nobody can blackmail me, he declared. He thinks this is morning that Rivers people crave for.
Clincher: I know you may have found space in one camp or the other, find a space for me.