By Ignatius Ikenna
Just imagine how Nelson Mandela, the great African legend felt with accolades and honour bestowed on him from different parts of the planet. Beyond this word. How about the legendary wordsmith and Playwright, Wole Soyinka when he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986? He must have felt like a 7-footer! Honour. It is interesting to note that the word now needs a qualifier to ensure its full meaning is not lost, or misconstrued.
Albeit, the word is amazing and elastic. It always finds a way to ensure people can recognise and celebrate it deservedly. It is a word that should make people aspire to be like the one on whom it is bestowed. There is bound to be progress and development in any nation where honour given to whom it is due.
Nothing can beat the feeling of receiving honour from one’s kith and kin. There’s this humbling and celestial feeling that it evokes. Your own flesh and blood singling you out for recognition – what an achievement! This must be how the spearhead of the transformation happening in Rivers State must feel: on top of the world. The Ogbakor Ikweree Cultural Association Worldwide is holding a civic reception in honour of Governor Nyesom Ezewon Wike in recognition of his contribution to the growth and development of Rivers State.
Students of history know that people from Ikwerre are one of the most enterprising, gifted and accomplished Africans. The Ikwerre are a rare breed; a people wired to be their brother’s keeper. A people who stand for equity, justice and demand outstanding performance from their kinsmen who venture into the corridors of power. The Ikwerre are miserly with how they bestow honour. For the Ikwerre, honour is not for the highest bidder. It is reserved for those who are driven to serve the people selflessly.
The Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Association Worldwide is a notable organsation that provides a unique platform for protecting, projecting and perpetuating the heritage of the Ikwerre people. Probity, professionalism and progress are some of the ideals that the organisation treasures. It is commendable to note that the organization under the leadership of Professor Emenike Wami has taken this bold step to recognise Governor Wike’s stewardship as an illustrious Ikwerre son.
Wike is your never-say-never leader that is driven by making an impact that brings development closer to people at the grassroots. From construction of roads, bridges, schools to empowerment of entrepreneurs and fueling economic growth in Rivers State, Governor Wike truly deserves the honour from his Ikwerre kinsmen.
Not one to assume airs, Wike is down-to-earth; a dogged believer in the cause of providing opportunities for people from all strata of the society to succeed. The nation certainly could do with more governors that can boast about knowing their states like “the back of their hands” like Governor Wike. As the Ikwerre people and their distinguished guests gather to celebrate Governor Wike, it would not be out of place to let him know much more is being expected.
While Governor Wike must be grateful to God for giving him this rare opportunity to be honoured by his people, it should also be a moment for him to renew his commitment to the cause of serving the people of Rivers even much more. He should draw inspiration from this priceless gesture from the Ikwerre people to sustain and surpass his achievements so as to bequeath a legacy that will be a watershed in the history books of Rivers State. History beckons, Governor Wike; there couldn’t be a better motivation than knowing that your people a behind you. This honour is well-deserved; albeit, like Oliver Twist, the people will want MORE!
But this article is not so much about Governor Wike as it is about bestowing honour on whom it is due. Honour that comes when one is alive and better still, from one’s kinsmen. Now, that is honour that one will be inspired to live and die for.
This is a call to the nation to re-ignite that passion for excellence that honour bestowed on the right recipients can evoke in our youths. Nigeria is in dire need of leaders; be they from the political class, academia, business community and civil society that we can all be look up to. Men, women, boys and girls that are completely sold to the ideals of integrity and excellence. Honourable individuals who are ready to serve our nation with “heart and might”. So help us God.
Ikenna, an entrepreneur wrote in from Port-Harcourt