As Ndoma-Egba Prepares To Steer NDDC’s Ship
“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men” like Lao Tzu would always say.
The name Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) needs no introduction in the polity of Nigeria, having served as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and rose to become Deputy Leader of the sixth Senate and Leader of the seventh Senate where his contributions to the development of Nigeria and the legislature are legendary and commendable. No wonder, there was wide spread jubilation across the region and Nigeria after the announcement of his nomination as Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Mohammadu Buhari.
That Ndoma-Egba recorded remarkable and monumental achievements is unarguably not in doubt. He was a Senator of high repute and a lawyer per excellence. His mastery of language and the gift of oratory placed him high and made him irresistible whenever he addresses a gathering. A single quality that made him unique, a quality that made him powerful, made him beloved, the quality of character as he would always say “I am guided by the strength of character I have built over the years and I believe that the state of your life is the reflection of the state of your mind” and “my goals have always been powered by focused determination, driven by discipline, patience, positive attitude, perseverance, time management, courage and my consistence in looking for what will enable me add value to the society’’.
Having worked very closely with him for five years, I have been struggling against this pushing urge to write about him and it became very compelling now as he prepares to take up the leadership of the NDDC. But my biggest challenge was how do I begin and what area of his life am I going to x-ray, giving that he is very versatile, an all-rounder, exceptional, multi-talented personality and broad-based in character, that often times he is being referred to as “Jack of all and master of all.” You see why it was an uphill task for me.
He is a strong character, just as Horace Greeley a former member of the America House of Representatives had a quote that Harry Truman used to like and it thus reads “fame is a vapour, popularity an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow, only one thing endures, ‘Character’.” Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is a cautious politician, a stern democrat, an ardent patron of the arts, and of course a radical and articulate lawyer who could persuade but surprisingly he could be persuaded too.
His respect for other points of view lent weight to his own point of view; He is never afraid to change his position if he is persuaded that he is wrong. This tolerance and sympathy are elements of his character, and this character gained him the affection and esteem of millions of Nigerians. His grace of persuasion in cicero’s phrase did much in stabilizing the 7th Senate while he held sway as the Senate Leader and it is believed that this will also be the trait in this new assignment of leading the NDDC.
Senator Ndoma-Egba believes in moral leadership. He gives rightful priorities to all assigned tasks. A great motivator and steel frame for the advancement of people-oriented causes; a firm advocate of good governance and one who possesses the uncommon ability to pursue popular causes even if they vary with his own personal interest. He is not only an astute technocrat and a team player; he has integrity that can be described as uncommon in this part of the world which makes me remember, Antoine de Saint –Exupery when he said “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
He is a champion of the people, the pivot and motivating force in the sustenance of politics in his State because politics is played local. A bridge builder who has gone through the fiery furnace of Nigeria politics unscathed but with dignity and honour and a success always in knitting together people of diverse religious, ethnic and cultural background. For him obstacles are merely hurdles that must be overcome in life’s journey and that life would have no meaning if there were no challenges.
An interventionist, who knows how to make processes work and loves the intricate workings of the democratic system, he is as unassuming as he is given to speaking only when it is absolutely necessary. A man of few words who allows his actions speaks for him. If words have to describe his actions and performances, those words are likely to come from others. A patriotic but silent achiever and one, who believes in the potentials of the Nigeria nation and its future greatness, no wonder he is always putting his Country first. He is an outspoken partisan, an individualist of the first rank, who will put his Country before himself and without mimicking words; the Niger Delta region would take a priority place in the agenda of transforming the region.
Senator Ndoma-Egba is a study in humility, not for him, the exaggerated sense of self-worth that is the hallmark of the public conduct of people in authority, those that are generally referred to as big men. He is a connoisseur of knowledge and basks in the light of constant update of his knowledge base via diverse courses.
He is a politician in the finest sense of that much abused word. A good example of one man who is richly endowed with a lot of brains and has helped to shape some important laws that affects our lives. He demonstrated a high sense of leadership and uncommon dexterity while in the red chambers; his effective representation is seen by all and became the cynosure of all eyes. No wonder, his people adopted the paradigm of a good turn always deserves another.
Ordinarily, the unassuming disposition of this NDDC Chairman and his simplicity are his background traits given his Christian family upbringing. He tells you that his father taught him the meaning of freedom and the responsibility that comes with it, that “being free does not mean free to do anything you like but to enjoy freedom within certain limits especially in a world that is morally ambivalent, that certain values must be exercised and kept in other that whatever you are doing is legitimate’’.
As he assumes office, am also quick to borrow words from Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California when he said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” He is passionate about governance and delivery on promises and usually not carried away by peripheral of office.
Peter Willie, a Special Assistant to Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba OFR, CON, SAN writes from Abuja