• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Delta 2015: Ofuani makes official bid for government house


He greeted the audience with all the languages spoken by the various ethnic nationalities in Delta State evidencing his deep connection to the grassroots. The moment he began to speak, an enveloping silence permeated the atmosphere of the multi-purpose hall at Orchids Hotel, Asaba, where the public declaration of Clement Ofuani as a gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the PDP took place on Friday, October 3, 2014.

Taking to the podium in the company of his wife, Ofuani passionately reeled out his intents for the people of Delta State.  Quoting extensively from Chinua Achebe’s ‘Problem with Nigeria’, identifying with the fact that leadership is the major culprit in the country’s’ stunted development. According to him, if a different result is to be expected from leadership in the future, then the method of selecting and electing leaders must change. “In our businesses, we know that the right personnel are our best assets and we hire them through rigorous processes. How much more important should we therefore consider the recruitment of men and women for the most important jobs in our land – our public service” he questioned.

The event which could be likened to a carnival of sorts attracted party loyalists, traditional rulers and family members. Also there to lend their support were women groups, differentiated by their colourful attires, student groups under the aegis of Delta Students Alliance (DSA) and other affiliates who were not left behind.

For a State like Delta which boasts of eminent sons and daughters at the top of their games in different parts of the world, it is expected that anyone who aspires to lead the state must be a personality of worth knows his onions. Ofuani is no less worthy considering his pedigree as a chartered accountant with extensive private sector work experience in diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy, especially banking and insurance. His foray into public service began as special assistant to the commissioner for finance and economic planning in Delta State in 1999 prior to becoming pioneer commissioner for economic planning of the state for a four – year period. Ofuani had a stint as economic adviser to the governor of Delta State prior to being appointed as senior special assistant on policy to late President Umaru Musa Yaradua. His unique abilities also led him to become a member of the President Goodluck Jonathans team, serving as senior special assistant on presidential matters.

As someone whose public service career has proven to be a reference point on transparency and innovativeness, it is obvious Ofuani comes highly prepared for the job of holding the mantle of leadership in Delta State.  With the manner he presented his speech and the rate at which he was able to convince the gathering, he comes across as a charismatic leader who combines the rare virtue of confidence and humility.

Speaking on his willingness to serve, Ofuani said he discovered during his tour round Delta State that despite the ethnic and cultural peculiarities of the people, their aspirations are basically the same, underscoring their common humanity. “Our people want to live in a decent society where everyone will be treated fairly and with dignity. They want our children to go to schools within our neighborhood and not travel long distances with associated risks in search of good schools.  They want basic infrastructure such as electricity, water supply, functional mass transit system and good roads. They also want to

see leaders that are accountable and transparent, who are not their masters but are servants in the true sense of the word” he declared.

Distinguishing himself from the pack of politicians who seek public office for selfish aggrandizement, Ofuani said the decision to present himself as a candidate for the office of Governor of Delta State in 2015 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party was based on lots of introspection and personal interrogation of his motives. “I am not driven by an ambition for power for its sake but by a commitment to serve, founded on a strong belief that my demonstrated leadership capability, interpersonal relationship, particularly across the ethnic divides in our state, professional development, strength of character and political trajectory to date have prepared me for the daunting challenges of providing effective leadership to our people as Governor of our State”, he said.

Hearing him speak, one can connect with the affinity he has with the people he wants to govern. This affinity is shown in the testimonial people gave about him during the course of his public declaration.

For an oil rich State with rising cost of governance that sends out signals of opulence to the masses amidst  rising poverty, there is no doubt that the candidacy of Ofuani, if given a chance to serve would birth the breath of fresh air the people of Delta State long for.

Mabel Dimma