Suitability of giving Odubu the chance to alleviate poverty in Edo/ Dr. Pius Odubu

It was John F. Kennedy that said that “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”. Recall that in the bid to give meaning to this saying that the World Summit for Social Development was convened by the United Nations in Copenhagen as far back as in March 1995 on poverty, unemployment and social disintegration. It is a shame that after 25 years that the Summit was held that poverty still exists in some societies, particularly in Edo State where poverty literarily walk tall and harass people on the streets.

In as much as one would agree that the tripartite social problems of poverty, unemployment and social integration are collectively a cog in the wheel of social development, it would be germane in this context to conjecture that they are intertwined but poverty still remains the worst of all the social problems. It is at the root of other social problem which I am optimistic of that Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odudu is poised to address when given the chance to fly the flag of the State’s All Progressives Congress (APC) at the gubernatorial election come September 19, 2020.

A popular aphorism laconically describes poverty as a disease. No doubt, it is a disease in the sense that it debilitates its victim’s abilities, talent, intellect, dream, ambition, goal, efforts, performance, plan, self-respect, self-awareness and self-confidence. Another aphorism couched in philosophical term says “A man is not poor everyday”. In other words, a man is only poor on the particular day he could not fend for himself and his family.

No matter how African Traditional Philosophers want people to see poverty, the fact remains that once a person is poverty stricken, no matter the pressure from his I-can-do-it spirit, hardly can he succeed in any endeavor except there is a divine intervention or “mother luck” on his side. Poverty, no doubt, has rendered many Nigerians absolutely hopeless and despondent. Many cannot buy things they want, many cannot pursue their goals and many cannot exercise their unassailable rights to freedom of speech for the fact that it would not be accepted because of their poor status.

Many poor individuals in Christendom see poverty as the handiwork of those demonic elements in the spiritual realm. This trite superstition is beyond dispute; after all it has been written that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places”.

Poverty is a serious issue to contend with that most Christians are wont to attack it in a violent manner. After all, the word of God says that “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force”.

Have you ever observed a deliverance service against poverty? If you have not you are missing a lot. Paul C. Jong in one of his books on Holy Spirit captured the picture thus: “Those who attend such meetings tend to cry out instead of uttering prayers. When the atmosphere reaches its feverish peak, people scream out and faint in every corner. However, the preacher on stage keeps the microphone to his lips and makes the sound of the wind while he guides people ever deeper into religious fanaticism. He prays by speaking in strange tongues and jumps off stage to lay his hands on people’s heads”.

Without being exaggerative, the foregoing graphic illustration pervades in the nook and crannies of the State due to soaring and biting level of poverty. More so, it aptly paints the picture of a typical deliverance service towards the casting out of demons that were satanically assigned to unleash the affliction of poverty on their victims. Poverty is truly a disease. To free oneself from the stranglehold of poverty that demands physical efforts, it needs the kind of leadership styles that Odubu is known for. To me, he has the ability to free the people from the throttlehold of poverty.

Agreed that the problem of poverty may sometimes be spiritual, but have we asked if our leaders are truly putting the people first in their socio-economic enhancement programme the way Odubu would have done if the opportunity had been given to him? It suffices to opine that forces and elements in the spiritual realm may not be totally responsible for the preponderance of poverty. Poverty may have been exacerbated in Edo as a result of the seeming ineptitude, insensitivity, official malfeasance, corruption, tribalism, nepotism, materialism and any other factor which the powers that be are wittingly or unwittingly exhibiting in the course of carrying out their official responsibilities.

Against the foregoing backdrop, permit me to exude every sense of endorsement I have for Odubu to say that he is equal to the task of delivering Edolites from the deep hole of poverty.

A recent piece in the media captures the dismal socio-economic situation in the state. The writer paints a picture of a state where many are mired in the quagmire of poverty and lack occasioned by inept governance being exhibited by the powers that be. 

The situation in the State as regards to poverty is so grim. It is not an exaggeration to say that the situation is diametrically opposed to what the incumbent government promised the people in 2016, and it cannot be discounted by anyone.  Argued from the foregoing perspective, permit me to assert that Odubu is a personality that believes in doing something big for the people as he has the mindset of the fact that those who make a commitment to an idea or to a community ironically find a sense of freedom. The words of Archimedes that said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I will move the world” aptly describes his personality in this regard.

To put it bluntly for the sake of setting the stage for a people-oriented government which Odubu is poised to deliver, and has on that note being humbly requesting the people of Edo people to give him the lever that is long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it. Lever in this context is power which every card-carrying citizen of the State, irrespective of his or her party, religious and ethnic affiliations has.  Giving Odubu this opportunity is not about him becoming the governor only but for the bigger picture which is the State that belongs to all of us. In these coming elections; both at the primary and general election stages, what should be uppermost in our minds should be taking Edo to the next level. It is about time we our primordial and pecuniary interests and vote for the right candidate, such as Odubu, in order to take the State to where it should be.  To me, taking the State to the next level should be a collective effort. Ill-advisedly, it appears we are being obdurate. If I may ask; can we pay the price of not having the right leadership in place for the second time to the detriment of the wellbeing of the people? 

Not only has Odubu been requesting for the proverbial lever in this context to lead Edo people alright, he has the ability to demonstrate moral imagination which is a virtue that invariably starts with the art of listening. It is the ability to put oneself into another’s shoes and build solutions from their perspective. Listening itself can be an act of generosity. We should not be unmindful of the fact that we learn to communicate across lines of differences, and in the process develop a sense of identity as well as that of those around us. This entails work, to reflect on how we see ourselves and also how others perceive us.

Think about Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s as he stood in Washington, D.C., having listened to the needs and desires of African Americans. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” True moral imagination can reveal shared aspirations and yearnings. King understood and communicated what each of us wants in our own deepest selves. In so doing, he moved the world.

Without any scintilla of hyperbole, Odubu, to my view, is the Moses Edolites are waiting for to take them to the promised land in the next political dispensation.