Och’Idoma: Echono, the round peg for the round hole

By Abu, I. Michael://

Human development, empowerment and socioeconomic prosperity have always been the aspirations and yearnings of the people of any given society. Even handed leadership react to the concern of the people who desire good conditions of living by ensuring that responsive and responsible persons occupy such positions and stools of authorities in genuine attempts to meet the expectations of the people, as well as giving them opportunities for self-actualization.

 President Muhammadu Buhari has done much in parading worthy reformist models that require the people’s cooperation in his Government. The likes of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Oyeama; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu; Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan. In their likes, is Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno and Governor Mala Buni. There is many more cutting across party lines; but this piece mentioned only a few especially the governors from the ruling political party. Arch. Sunday Echono is of such great class who has demonstrated sound knowledge of leadership and management. Echono is at present the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, and he has pedigree maintaining records of accolades of outstanding performances in the various positions he held. 

Since the paramount ruler of the Idoma nation, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa transited by going on ‘hunting expedition’, kingmakers and relevant authorities as it is expected have been profiling some eminent sons of various areas of the kingdom to enthrone as successor for the coveted throne. In choosing the next Och’Idoma, there is the need for the kingmakers to reflect upon the major functions of traditional rulers in contemporary day, and a deliberate attempt be made to connect them to the antecedents and pedigrees of the individuals being considered for the position.

Various scholars of chieftaincy affairs, administration and development identified 5 modern functions of traditional rulers. They are to ensure the economic empowerment of their people by linking the people to investment opportunities; preserve the cultural identity of their people and influence extension of national identity; engage in low level judicial functions and conflict resolution for harmonious living in his kingdom and the state by extension; play the watchdog role; and serve as institutional safety regulator for the overloaded and many background bureaucracies. A traditional ruler must be highly skilled in administration and management to fast trackthe development of his kingdom and render support to the government of the state or the country.

The intrigues of elections are high unlike that of appointment; Idoma sons and daughters would have appeal for the appointment of Arch. Echono as the new Och’Idoma. I am not aware of the other illustrious sons of our great kingdom being considered for the throne except for Arch. Sunday Echono whose name has been ringing bell since the issue of the vacate throne started to vibrate. I have never met Echono, but have read much about his exploits in the Nigerian Civil Service terrain as an achiever that the government is pleased with.

As a very senior Federal Permanent Secretary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he is no doubt an accomplished technocrat and administrator with that social tact required to lead or rule. His concern towards improving the conditions of the people and ensuring the general development of the society is incomparable compared to what we have witnessed over the years which record his trajectories. 

The Idoma land is seriously in need of development ranging from road infrastructure among other social amenities to capital and human capacity development. For once, let us reason as a people and agree on a common thrust for the development of our kingdom, fellow Idomas.  I once published a piece titled, ‘FCE Odugbo: Buhari’s Magnanimity and Echono’s Place of Pride.”I never saw this coming.

For the Och’Idoma’s Throne this time around, I beg to say that, Arch. Echono is the round peg for the round hole. This write-up is a tribute to all other qualified sons and an appeal to them to rally round the person of Arch. Echono to ascend the throne. It is the most humble and bold way to show that they all love the people and desire the genuine development of the Idoma Kingdom.

Abu is with the Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation, Abuja

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