Uncle P: The Making Of A Benevolent Speaker
Sometime in 1996, I went to visit a close friend at his shop; he owned and operated a small boutique in Asaba, the delta state capital. Then was the era of military regime and Asaba was yet a sleepy town just evolving into a city. My friend, a young university graduate and a realist, with a vision to be an employer of labour rather than a job seeker had joined also a growing army of young hustlers who sort for small contracts in the state government ministries and parastatals.
And typically Nigerian class, ones ability to get jobs depended wholly on who you have as a god father. As we conversed, he excitedly narrated his chance encounter with the then Mr Peter Onwusanya, fondly called uncle p by friends and admirers. Uncle P was at that time, a civil servant working as an accountant with the ministry in delta state. My friend had faced a herculean task as he tried to secure a contract job in one of the ministries but providence played out when he ran into an old friend who subsequently got him introduced to uncle p, and pronto, he helped my friend secure the job and more. They didn't know from Adam.
Testimonies abound to attest to the kindness of the new speaker of the delta state house of assembly, the rt. hon. peter onwusanya. His benevolent nature has made him enjoy a cult following that cuts across all class of persons in his oshimili south constituency. Never, since the return to democratic government in 1999, has Oshimili south constituency enjoyed the kind of vibrant, pragmatic, dynamic, focused and accommodating leadership as they presently have in the person of speaker onansonya. He is clearly an example of who a representative of the people should be; loved and admired, accessible and friendly, charitable and humane, humble and fair, firm and upright, fearless and brave and above all God fearing.
Several politicians in this clime ride on the back of god fathers to clinch political office but Peter Onwusnaya's case is basically and interestingly different. On retirement from the employ of delta state, uncle p had gone into private business engagements with its attendant risks and uncertainties, but he prospered. Along the line he got an appointment as deputy chairman of oshimili south local government area, a position he held briefly. In 2011, after a dramatic party primary, uncle p was declared the winner of the keenly contested election.
He garnered an overwhelming majority of the votes from the delegates to beat the other contestants that included the then incumbent oshimili south local government chairman, the incumbent member representing Oshimili south in the state assembly, a PDP stalwart and state executive member and several other prominent indigenes of Oshimili south A PDP ward chairman, Hon. Gbalala okonta, recently told me how uncle p empowered them (chairmen) with cars and other presents encouraging them to work assiduously for the party in future elections. Continuing, he said, "uncle p is a giver and givers never lack".
He believes the new speaker has largely been able to impact on the lives of many, thereby fulfilling the yearning of majority of his constituents. "He has meet the hopes and aspirations of my people and Asaba has never had it so good", the ward chairman reiterated.
If Peter Onwusnaya had other political ambitions, it may have been to return as a member of the house in the coming 2015 elections - a dream yet to be realised by any former member from Oshimili south. But God had immediate bigger plans for him when on the 18th of march, 2014, he was sworn in as the 11th speaker of the delta state house of assembly. Making him the number three man in government.
The then incumbent, Hon. Victor Ochei had hurriedly resigned his appointment and clear unexpectedly, Onwusnaya, a first term legislator got the nod from his colleagues to become the first among equals. One can only call this a true conspiracy by the gods to favour his good gestures and unquenchable knack to render service to the good people of delta state.