Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Chuks Okocha writes that the PDP National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s appointment of Osaro Onaiwu as his special adviser on governors and government is a fitting tribute to a man who has over the years nurtured an enduring bond of friendship among the country’s ruling elite
These words by Glenn Frank, American writer and educator, helps put Onaiwu’s impressive strides in perspective: “The advertising man is a liaison between the products of business and the mind of the nation. He must know both before he can serve either.”
His observation is apt when one takes into account the recent appointment of Earl Osaro Onaiwu by the National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as his special adviser on state governors and government.
Without doubt, the appointment of Onaiwu is one that best fits Frank’s postulation of knowing the business and having a hand on the nation’s pulse in order to serve it well. The new special adviser is a man that knows his turf like the back of his palm when it comes to serving as an ambassador of sorts amongst the political class and between them and the people.
After over two decades on the branding and protocol scene, Onaiwu has carved a near impeccable niche for himself when it comes to chaperoning and creating social and media relevance for those, especially governors and upscale entrepreneurs he works for and with.
Given his peculiar style and presentation, he is described variously as a branding icon, protocol impresario, creative trailblazer as well as brand innovator. There is little doubt that he has earned all of these titles by dint of hard work, perseverance, dedication and above all loyalty.
During the campaign for the man he fondly calls BMT – Bamanga Mohammed Tukur – his towering presence could be felt as he worked to ensure that all minute details are not left to chance and making contacts with various states’ officials as the BMT train moved from one location to the other.
If anything, the PDP national chairman, who is himself a reservoir of experience, would find an additional asset in his task of reforming the party, a task that requires the commitment of governors if he must succeed. It is in this regard that one puts into perspective the appointment of Onaiwu who boasts a robust relationship with majority of the states’ helmsmen having served as coordinator and consultant to the Governors’ Forum.
As a person given to detail, loyalty and excellence, Tukur could not have made a more uncanny choice in Onaiwu who often argue that commitment, focus and loyalty are hallmarks for anyone that desires to serve well whether in business or politics.
“There is no shortcut to doing well in any human endeavour especially in the brands, events and protocol terrain. You need to stay ahead of the game and for you to do that you have to put in your energy, drive, passion, creativity and loyalty or commitment if you like. For me, after all the creativity, you must show that you are loyal to you client, to society and to yourself. Loyalty is my weakness and I should confess I have no regrets for that but it has come from supreme discipline and sacrifice,” Onaiwu, who goes by the sobriquet, The Earl, said in a recent interview.
Onaiwu who until his appointment was the president and chairman of Red Carpet Protocol and Showbiz Africa, gave an insight into his choice of managing high political office holders: “You and I live in this country where people just believe once you are a political office holder especially a governor, it is for you to engage in other things other than governance. There was a time Nigerians were describing governors as ‘Owambe governors’ and that is unfair and not charitable. It is because we easily forget that these persons are human beings that need to have a semblance of everyday life. But thank God we were able to pass that stage after hard work and presenting the real picture of who they (governors) are.
“It is easy for you to see that people are beginning to look at what these governors are delivering in terms of projects and not just about their personal lives.”
The P.L.O as he describes his new position also has media experience as the producer of The Governors Mandate TV and Newspaper, would not only serve as a bridge between the governors and government, he is primed to give informed opinion in media relations and also with regard to how the office of the chairman can creatively engage the government and the public on issues of national interest.
For The Earl, his office offers him a new vista of opportunity to establish synergy between the governors and the national chairman and how they can effectively work together to create a polity that is in sync with the aspirations and expectations of the people. “If you go by the elections, you will realize that some of those that failed did not fail because they didn’t perform, but they just did not get the right niche, the proper linkage with their people because they failed to see themselves as political brands. They did not present themselves as believable before their people and they failed in the process.
“Our politicians should begin to see themselves as brands of loyalty and service as there is no way any politician who is not a loyal brand can earn the trust of the electorate and you need professionals to do that for you.”
Affable and mild-mannered, Onaiwu has clearly imbibed the words of Brian Phipps who noted that “brand builders must be the life of the party”.
Exuding confidence on his call to serve, he waxed philosophical: “there is no point going to a restaurant simply because it promises great food. It should be because the caterers serve great food off the menu,” adding that what he represents is to “fertilize, conceive, gestate and give birth” to a system that works.