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'Returning to God is our sure hope and not the proposed turn-by-turn leadership philosophy that is creating discord in the State. It is always God's turn to produce a leader, for a people and for purpose. Only God know the needs of man per time and not any ethnic group. Godly leadership needs heavenly wisdom and not just ethnic blood. It is what Rivers State will become that matters and not what an ethnic son will become. Moreover, the idea of turn-by-turn pre-empts God and introduces the syndrome of turn-by-turn stealing. The idea is very evil inclined and will never allow Rivers State to move forward. A sense of purpose for success in leadership comes by divine direction and not by ethnic rotation machinery. You cannot actualize a divine assignment in a natural way and expect perfect result. The source always directs the flow. A leader sourced by ethnic consideration will surely champion an ethnic agenda' (Excerpt from Deacon Parker's manifesto).

Today, the current scenario before the electorate in Rivers State or the polity is the search for a political saint. By a political saint, what do we mean? It is politics that is theocentric and with goal of serving the people. Christian's realism tells us that politics must be based upon theocentrism, with God and man, as the centre of all political activities. Dr. Lee in his book, Beyond Ideology argued, 'Anthropocentric polity eventually turns against human rights, with the ruling elite becoming more and more capricious in its abuses of power. A theocentric polity works for human freedom, for the only tangible way of serving God is to serve people, especially those people who are downtrodden. Abraham Lincoln, for example, used to kneel before God at least once a day and confess for his sins for not being able to serve Him as should, and in this humility lay his greatness as liberator of men and women'. God's requirement of a leader is a 'person who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God' (2 Sam. 23:3) 'What is the most necessary theocentric spiritual milieu?' says Dr. Lee. A good democratic constitution can thrive only where both the rulers and the ruled seek to glorify God. If, on the contrary, the ruling elite aspire to be equal to God, the whole body politics turns into a diabolic force engulfing human rights, human freedom, and social progress. To ensure a good government, Christian's realism demands a few specified conditions. A politician that seeks to rule must not only have the fear of God, he must rule justly-righteously.

Governing is a serious matter. Those who desire to rule need to have demonstrated competence in the field before they are thrust into responsibility for governing. Plato's pupil Aristotle said it this way 'if therefore, there is anyone superior in virtue and in the power of performing the best actions, him we ought to follow and obey, but he must have the capacity for action as well as virtue'. One of cerebral intellectual and renowned senator late Senator Martyns-Yellowe when he aspired to contest for Governorship of Rivers State rightly captured my view in his manifesto entitled: 'Why I seek the Governorship of Rivers State'. He wrote; 'The Governorship of our state, considering its strategic socio-economic and socio-political importance and relevance to corporate Nigeria, is no sinecure. It demands from an aspirant to it a proven track record of enduring success and achievements in private as well as in public life. It requires of the aspirant a considerable working knowledge of the various psycho-socio-development problems of our State and people, which only sustained interest and years of direct involvement in the affairs of the state and people can confer on him: The aspirant must have vision enough to anticipate the needs of our people; he must be compassionate enough to feel their needs and problems; and he must be astute enough to assuage them from wherever possible'.

'It has no place for experimentation or mediocrity. Rather, it presupposes and takes for granted that the aspirant has a strong and incorruptible character, a mature sense of judgment, a high degree if integrity, honour, and moral courage; and the decisiveness of action to address the variegated interests of a multi-ethnic State, such as ours, and to draw a clear line between 'playing politics' on the one hand, and rendering services on the other, while striving to keep the balance in favour of the latter. It expects that the aspirant has a broad exposure to, and a considerable knowledge of the intricacies and vagaries of national politics, in order to situate the State and its people at no disadvantage in a nation-State of inequitable and exploitative tendencies which Nigeria has unfortunately been since independence. Furthermore, it is imperative for the aspirant to be imbued with the fear of God, and to exude such commitment to probity and accountability, in the management of the enormous human and financial resources as would enable him to successfully steer the affairs of the State to the benefits and satisfaction of an overwhelming majority of our people irrespective of sex, age or ethnicity. Above all, the aspirant must admit and accept that governance is not an event, but a continuous process, and therefore to achieve sustainable development, he must necessarily continue programmes initiated by his predecessor governor, and build on the latter's foundation in the various sectors of the State's economy, with emphasis on even spread, efficiency, and effectiveness of services. Lastly, he must realize the strategic importance of Rivers State to the national economy and see the responsibility of protecting and securing the enormous national economic investments in the Niger Delta in general and in the State in particular as equipotent to governance of the State; take the leading position in establishing, maintaining and sustaining investment-friendly environment in the Niger Delta; and visibly subscribing to a united, indivisible, prosperous and sovereign Nigeria nation-State'

Of the multitude jostling to contest for governorship of Rivers State, who among them possess the qualities and capacities to govern as stated by Deacon Akuro Parker's and late Senator Martyns-Yellowe's commentaries. I worked with them both. They both had the qualities, capacities and ready manifestoes/programmes to govern not waiting for political parties to draw up programme to govern the State. At the time the system never gave them the opportunity to serve. My passive attitude to those currently seeking to govern Rivers State is because they need to do more than the clamour for the ethnic group that should produce the governor come 2015, media funfare, social media crusade, newspaper and electronic interview to building electioneering structures with their parties and ministering to the needs of the downtrodden in their localities. Let there be a demonstration that you can serve your people first at local level as antecedent that should speak for your ability to perform at the state level, if given the opportunity. Endorsement by different groups is no qualification nor translate to winning party ticket or election proper. Paid endorsement and media bliss are misdirected adventure to sound politicking at this time. Who govern Rivers State is important to God just as who govern Nigeria. Hence, the body of Christ takes special interest to who emerge as candidate of each political party in Rivers State. The search for political saint continues. Who will the Christian Community in Rivers State support? Read analysis/profile of some identified aspirants coming up soon. You are blessed for life

Written By Dr. Lewis Akpogena
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