Posted On: Sat 15 Jun 2019 By Tobenna Obiano
Congratulations once more! Whenever I begin any letter made for public consumption with caption, not “Open Letter”, but “Letter to a Soul Brother”, then you’re good, for I come in peace, and not pieces. Therefore, there’s no cause for alarm.
However, if time fades and I choose “Open Letter”, then I come in pieces, except on rare occasions when I still want to combine serious thoughts, yet with peaceful resolutions and happy endings. It rarely happens anyways.
I owe my conscience, and the entirety of my being, the unique obligation of writing this letter. It’s best served hot, at the inception of your time and tenure. The aim is that it serves as a guide. This can be documented for keeps. This can be taken seriously, and like many other Nigerian politicians, this can be squeezed and thrown into the trash can for further disposal and destruction. It’s your call nwannem, choose wisely.
This letter is being written out of pure love for you, and a quest to have you excel. It’s pertinent to note quite clearly, that the success you now enjoy didn’t come on a platter, it took series of sleepless nights, dedication to hardwork, diligence in output and a collective take of many who truly loved, cherished and believed in you. This is why I’ve chosen to write, to remind you quite clearly, that to you, succeeding shouldn’t be an option, but a must!
Fortunately or not, I would write quite bluntly here. I’m not going to massage any egos, nor be sentimental in my writing. However, I do not intend to hurt or ridicule or shame anyone. My aim squarely is to put down, for record purposes, those things you need to know and remember that would play an integral role in your success at the Red Carpet chambers.
As a writer, teacher, social critic and entrepreneur, I owe many persons who religiously follow my writings, and those who have shown unparalleled love towards what I do in writing, the very service of speaking up at all times. As a patriotic Nigerian, if I’ve written and received applause, praised when I should, celebrated when it’s needed, and condemned apologetically in the face of failure and brazen misleadeship, then I should be on the watch to continue doing same service for the love of nation and all her people.
During the build-up for your campaign, because of the believe many others and I had in you, we came all out, giving-up virtually everything, not for inducements, personal gains or whatsoever petty reasons anyone may choose to think or believe, but to have Anambra South rise, grow and soar. Your constituency has bled enough, and your people ran to you, choosing you to their rescue. You won’t fail!
Anambra South, one may rightly say, has been terribly misrepresented in many fronts. The Senatorial zone has had an awful outing in the last one decade. They’ve been poorly represented by a seemingly occultic family tree, which rose and refused to ever relinquish power. The Uba brothers of Uga were more than determined to hold forth to power, handing over to the other according to their ages, until the people rose in one voice, to end the senseless hereditary ‘Senatorship’ family train.
The success at the polls therefore didn’t come from anyone person or any group in particular. The people rose, fought and made it happen. The populace said No to the Kingmakers and Godfathers, choosing to crown you king. They saw your struggles, your outputs, and your numerous community contributions even before joining politics. They believed in you - communities, religious circles, business people, students, old and young alike. Everyone played a role; and so, it’s the will of the people that prevailed.
I want to make a passionate appeal, don’t ever become carried away by the victory that you now enjoy. I repeat, do not let your success at the polls to becloud your common sense of reasoning or judgment. A lot of things are going well for you, and in your favor, don’t ever mistake same as your magical making. There’s a reason for the endless positivity that are currently flowing your way. All I could advise is, like Oliver Twist, always dare for more.
May I make a quick reminder; in keenly contested elections with many other giants and billionaires, you won clean and square to serve at the Senate, representing your people of Anambra South Senatorial district. Young Progressive Party, YPP’s Open-Door was the medium through which you passed through.
Indeed, even with small things, one can do wonders. Therefore, it’s too early to think uhuru or quits. Infact, you’re the beautiful bride, garner more followers and there’s no measure as to what you can achieve, not even limited to a takeover of Agu-Awka. The “bromance” you enjoy with APC can continue, but as you always advise, “eyes on the ball”.
A few days after winning, you jetted into Lagos with your ardent followers, and took the then APC Gubernatorial candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu by hand, taking him into the deepest part of Lagos, even to Igbo dominated parts where he once feared to near, introducing him to your Igbo brothers and asking of them, passionately to vote for him. In your style, you spent heavily - your time, resources and more, donating football and kits, plus many other gifts in support of the Lagos APC Governorship candidate and yes, he won. I asked your motivating factor, and you responded, “the Igbo economy”, and yes, Lagos is the commercial nerve center of Nigeria.
When many lights were down, and seemingly fading, you rose like a wounded lion, committed to fighting for a just cause, took it upon yourself to deliver Sen. Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Again, you flew with Sen. Lawan around Nigeria, reaching out and garnering support for his eventual election as Senate President. Even at the eve of that very election, you were everywhere making sure your efforts don’t go fruitless. I was there; I was a witness. It eventually became successful with Lawan emerging in a keenly contested election as Nigeria’s Senate President.
Indeed, you’ve every cause to be joyous, but more importantly, thankful to God and to the electorate for making all these happen.
At this juncture, may I quickly add, that it’s a widely acceptable norm that to whom much is given, even more is expected in return. I dare say, you’ve been given more than enough, and all eyes and hopes are now upon you and what your future entails. We are with you, and won’t watch to see you fail. God forbid, No way!
If you must succeed:
- First and foremost, at the Senate, be more of a good listener than a talker. What does this imply, listen more and speak less.
- I’m aware that you and your colleagues have gone through rigorous training exercises about proceedings at the Red Carpet chambers. The training isn’t enough. The theory can’t be enough, without practicals. Please, watch carefully and understand before making contributions on the floor. It doesn’t matter how much contributions you make; what’s important is more about the quality of those contributions that you bring to the discussion table. As a sane mind, I respectfully advise that you think more of quality than quantity.
- Senators who excel are usually those who make sound contributions. You need to know that some Senators are truly sound, learned and smart. They know how best to pass across their messages and when to reach out for support. Some of your colleagues speak only after intense research, studying and reaching out. It’s important to note that you must have a mini-research team, an assemblage of high-flying achievatrons who only aim at making a worthwhile input and contributions. This is not a FaceBook gods and goddesses thing. It takes even more. I request that you may reach out to Dist. Sen. Ben Murray Bruce. He speaks eloquently and commands respect whenever he rises to speak. He isn’t returning to the senate, but his integrity and respect remain intact.
- Let me make a beautiful combination for you. Please, combine the intelligence and leadership of former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the true Nigerian patriotic zeal of Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, the indomitable Igbo spirit of Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, the fatherly role of Sen. David Mark. Yes, though a dramatic fellow, you can slightly add the fanfare and more importantly, the eloquence of the humorous Sen. Dino Melaye. Don’t be them, you’re Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, measure up as Distinguished Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah. In the end, we would be proud to have you truly, to become the Prince of the Senate!
- I want to make three powerful suggestions for minds that can help you shape the narratives at the floor of the Nigerian Senate. These are intelligentsias, sound minds and respected men who can fit in beautifully as advisers and what have you. They’re: the quintessential, fine and refined diplomat of international acclaim - Amb. Ozo Nwobu, the respected and veteran writer - Chief. Uche Ezechukwu and the cerebral lawyer, Dr. Law Mefor, esq. Good thing, you know the three of them very well, and I saw two at your inauguration dinner. If you get these men review things for you, and advise you, be sure to having a swell and powerful outing at the Senate.
- The entirety of Anambra South actually voted for you, and people from even outside Anambra South in no less measure played lead-roles in your election. Please, be a worthy representative of all the people of Anambra South. You’re not the Senator to represent solely Nnewi. Yes, charity begins at home, but it should never end at home too.
- At your campaign tours, you made series of promises under no duress, please, do not be the everyday Nigerian politician who desperately makes promises, even unattainable ones, solely to win elections, and not fulfilling any after he’s been elected. Please, be your own class of politician, a talk and do politician. Those promises that you made, should please be fulfilled to the later. Luckily, I saw the records myself. You began well, you’ve fulfilled the promises you made to Achina and Uga communities during the campaign and after the campaign. Great start, thank you!
- Religious fanaticism is a big problem in Nigeria; where more often than not, our political leaders are misled along the lines of same fanaticism and bias. Unfortunately, in Igboland, it seems even worse, where denomination tussles for who’s more powerful and which church decides, particularly amongst the Catholics and Anglicans continue to raise its ugly head, and cause unwarranted disunity. Do not allow yourself to be thrown into that burning furnace. It’s dangerous and deadly. It’s better left carefully avoided. No denomination can claim monopoly of what or who you’ve become; God alone made it possible.
- You chronicled and championed your political movement and train on the Igbo economy. As a successful Igbo businessman yourself, during your campaigns, you were vast, and touched virtually on all basic concerns of the Igbo businessman and woman. Chief amongst those remains tariffs on importation and exportation, the duties, cost of landing and the stupefying taxations which often comes multiple; those which remains the determinant factor for fall or rise of foreign currencies. Please, this is a herculean task, but I trust you would either magically or miraculously find a way of making it happen for the sake of the many Igbos that believed in you, and millions of other Nigerians that stand to support you, always.
- Please, you were elected to serve as a legislator, and not a philanthropist. Yes, you grew to becoming a philanthropist but more importantly, and lately too, you’ve become a politician, and as an elected public official, your primary job is serving the people. As a legislator, your job as a person now becomes to make laws; which represents a member of a legislative body. The Senate is the upper chamber of the Nigeria's legislative assembly, the National Assembly of Nigeria. The National Assembly is the nation's highest legislature, whose power to make laws is summarized in chapter one, section four of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. You may continue with your philanthropy, but remember you were elected to make laws.
- Do you know why many politicians underperform or fail woefully in politics? They’ve many financial obligations or bills to cover; very many unnecessary bills to pay. Yes, many persons played active roles during your elections, settle them and let them give you the space to work. It’s okay to reach out to as many persons as you can, remain in contacts, check up on them whenever the time permits, but please, eyes on the ball. Deliver on your promises to your constituents, that are your primary job and that are your responsibility. No one cares how you do it, just get the work done. You’ve been elected to serve and work, not to give excuses; you’re not President Buhari or the APC that gives senseless reasons and go with blame games always.
- The Cathedral church project that you began a few years back at your home town of Nnewi, must as a matter of urgency be completed at the record shortest time possible. Somehow, many are now becoming too worried, if it’s posed to stand for political gimmicks to garner religious sentiments from the Catholic Church. It should be completed and commissioned. The Assumption Cathedral church project at Nnewi is a big one, making you the only person doing so in Nigeria, and the second to have carried-out such gigantic house of God project in the entire West Africa. A Catholic Cathedral has only been built singlehandedly by former President, Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Ivory Coast. Please, I want to attend the formal dedication of the Assumption Catholic Cathedral, Nnewi within the next two to three years, maximum. I also expect wonders to happen at your Ifeanyi Ubah Games Village also.
- As an insider myself, there’re two giants that I would respectfully plead with you to always fall back to, and thank at every slightest chance. Many from outside the circle may not know, but I do clearly remember, and I don’t ever forget any good done for me. The duo of the incredible Omekannaya himself, Chief. Cletus Ibeto of Ibeto Groups, and Sir. E himself, Sir. Emeka Offor of Chrome Petroleum are great men. I duff my cap in respect. These two brothers of yours from Nnewi and Oraifite respectively both in Anambra South Senatorial district were indispensably supportive of your aspiration, and the good thing was that, they came all out in totality and unapologetically, for your sake and the good of your people. Always, source for advice from them, where need be.
- I want to quickly advise you on something. I’ve watched many young persons who relate and work closely with you. I want to tell you pointblank, they’re way too good. They collectively played great roles to delivering you at the polls. Yes, you command street credibility, you were a salable candidate and you were loved by many, but those young men and women who made up your ardent close allies and supporters did the magic. Please, do not discard them. I want to now ask that you start giving them more responsibility and trust their judgments. I’ve noticed that you often feel things may go the wrong way, if you don’t rise to take charge at all times, which by the way is noble and happens to me a lot too, but please, sometimes, relax and have things unfold. You overwork yourself. Plan yourself, give directives and sit back to watch things happen. Where they fail, correct them with love.
- Many may not really like this one; but do I really have apologies? No! There’s a deep rooted animosity brewing in various camps of some of your closest followers. Sadly, it has destructive tendencies that if I fail to mention herein, when it gets bloated out of proportion, a lot of damages may be done. The Ifeanyi Ubah Support Movement, IUSM lays claim that they solely delivered you at the polls. Their sudden rivals, the Afaigboefuna group also holds same claim. This is very bad, and must be managed with utmost precision. Individually and collectively, they all played roles. Everyone did. What should matter now is the good news that you’ve won. Everyone can keep aside the winning roles, return to work towards a successful outing at the Senate. That success actually is more important than merely the winning itself; for as the saying goes: the end justifies the means.
- At your formal inauguration as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you seconded the motion for the nomination of Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan as Nigeria’s Senate President. Some may find it so quick and totally unnecessary, but with his now eventual election as Nigeria’s Senate President, you’ve become the man that saw tomorrow. It’s now our hope that the Senate President, Dr. Ibrahim Lawan would return back the good you’ve done for him, even with not being from his political party. You’ve a background knowledge in Nigeria’s oil and gas and have become a successful entrepreneur. Therefore, Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources or sometime close wouldn’t be bad. This is only but a suggestion.
- At the evening after-party ball, you hosted what might’ve become the most glamorous, electrifying and beautiful party to celebrate the inauguration. Infact, you painted the FCT, Abuja rainbow with the crowd that attended from far and near, and the outing generally. It attracted the high and mighty. It was a memorable night to remember. Maybe, after a thanksgiving outing at home with your immediate constituent if necessary, then all partying should be brought to an abrupt end. Then, get down to real work non-stop.
- Most politicians always mistake their responsibilities. I want you to draw a thin line between politics and your family. I tell you quite boldly, your family comes first, always. They’re the ones who would genuinely stand-by you, where everything else fails or quits, they most likely and in higher percentage wouldn’t give-up on you. They would stand by you, in good and hard times. Incredibly, you’ve remained an amazing husband of an ever supportive wife, and a very caring father of beautiful and hardworking children. Please, never allow your quest in leadership or our politics to beat down your love, care and responsibilities as a husband and father. We often ignore this, but it’s as important as everything else, if not more important.
- I need not remind you that you’ve finally, fully joined the muddy and murky waters of Nigerian politics. Politicians in Nigeria are often taken as a bunch of criminals. Sadly, in huge numbers, many are. This is because of the abysmal wastages that happen in our politics, careless spending and their ridiculous pays and take homes. I want to advise as a friend and as a junior brother, nwannem, strive to write your name boldly in gold, crest it quite clearly on the heart of men and on the sand of time. This alone would be your saving grace. Many of our political leaders do not care about what they would be remembered for; please, don’t be them, always think of what positivity to bring forth, run far away from negativity and push the quest as to what you would be remembered for. This is only the path that would draw posterity to be kind to you and in judging you.
- They say that you save the best for the last, and so, you’re blessed richly amongst two beautiful and powerful women, Sen. Uche Ekwunife on the left and Sen. Stella Oduah on the right for Anambra Central and Anambra North respectively. At the Senate, political party affiliations should be kept aside for a common goal and common good. Please, do not ever underestimate what women can do, and where they can reach. Note this, what takes a man hours to attain, with whatsoever powers, women attain those in minutes. The women-power can do a lot of good for Anambra State. Yes, you can combine the scenty powers of those women to the unparalleled energetic output of a man to achieving virtually everything and all things for Anambra State.
Lastly on the pack, but not to be numbered is the importance of building men who would help you to build the society. There’re many multi-talented and creative minds in Anambra State and Nigeria in general. You can do yourself the great service of finding them, and investing heavily in them, the serious-minded ones, the rewards in the future are innumerable and can’t be regretted.
Former Lagos State Governor, Sen. Bola Tinubu, a once Moshood Abiola’s boy has risen, and now built an army of political sons and daughters who have risen to mountain tops today and are doing well. The Yoruba nation know he exists, and powerfully too in a higher pedestal. I’m not his fan, but he’s good at what he does.
At some point, Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in the entire of Canada. Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie was an American industrialist who amassed a fortune in the steel industry then became a major philanthropist. Mr. Carnegie devoted himself to philanthropy, eventually giving away more than $350 million in the 1800’s to charity.
Mr. Carnegie grew in business and mind. He was able to build many who rose from poverty to flourishing prosperity. Mr. Carnegie helped many who had nearly nothing, to rising to ranks of millionaire statues in Canadian dollars. He made nearly one hundred millionaires, persons who rose to those millionaire statuses solely from working with and for him.
It’s said that at that time, a millionaire is more like a billionaire in dollars of today. This was the quality of persons Mr. Carnegie built and stood. At death, upon Carnegie’s casket was a powerful sixteen letter word inscription which read: “Here Lies A Man, Who Met Many, and Bettered Their Lives More Than He Met Them”. What a glowing tribute to a great man. Till this day, he’s remained a reference point and a model to many. In the business world, he’s my model. You Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah can continue to do good, and become the Carnegie of our time.
Don’t bother whose writing. You already know who. I’m sure that you aren’t even surprised. I’m Tobenna Obiano, the only one who can write it, truthfully and unapologetically. I often tell my readers to love or hate me, it matters less to me; I just want to be remembered for one thing, “the young man who always wrote truth to power, unapologetically, for the love of Nigeria and all Nigerians”.
Ordinarily, I should’ve charged you heavily for this letter, but for friendship sake, I’m gifting it freely to you, and asking you to decisively choose what matters to you for your futuristic glory. It’s okay if your aim is the Nigerian Senate, but from my own eyes, that of an eagle, I want you to return to Awka and help build the Anambra of our dreams. If you conquer at the Senate, more responsibilities would come your way to come back home, and do justice at Agu-Awka. It’s a dream, and yes, dreams do come true. We can make it happen.
Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, please, make us all proud at the Senate, millions of hopes and faith are on you. Surely, you would constantly have our prayerful wishes and kind support, for sound health, vigor, willspirit and wisdom to overcome at all times. The Lord is your guide and your strength. He would make all doors open and break down barriers of limiting factors. You shall succeed. You simply don’t have an option.
I’m here, you know how best to reach me. I do not want to work directly for you; but I would be by the sidelines, willing to “freely” advise you where and whenever the need arises. I feel better as a friend, than a staff. As a friend, I can still advise you, where I can disagree vehemently, yet remain agreeable with you. But as a staff, things might be wholly limited on the “yes sir” basis, and that’s not who I am. This would also serve as a guarantee to the few who feel any threat; as far as Tobenna is concerned, he’s way too busy, and so, their jobs are safe in the bags for keeps. He’s not interested.
I’ve not driven all the way from Awka to Abuja and back in the last nearly ten years, but for your sake, in the company of four other persons, we did a strenuous, troubling and tiring seven to eight hours road trip to Abuja, with yours faithfully as driver. The shock absorber of my car near totally destroyed, and wearing-out on the car, plus sundry expenses, including incredibly high hotel and feeding expenses for my friends and staffers that came with me to town to celebrate with you. I won’t complain, just to bring to your notice some of the last minute sacrifices that have been made, all for love. Please, do make those inputs worthwhile with good works.
I’m a friend who writes honestly. Please, do good always; for where you fail, I wouldn’t hesitate to hit you up back to back. And where you excel, I would blow your trumpet and gather a champagne and cocktail party in your honor and at my own expenses. I would respect our friendship, but your success and excellence in service delivery is more important to me and us.
Glory, honor and praises to God, our universal King, Lord and Maker. He alone, made it possible. Good luck to you my dear brother, go make us proud and yes, become the Prince of the Nigerian Senate.
The contest and competitions are now finally over. The litigations can continue. It’s now time to make our promises come to light. The time is now.
Nine thousand, eight hundred and twenty-seven words is more than enough for the wise. Bye!
Always your brother,