By Iteveh Ekpokpobe
Those who walked Nigeria in the 60s, 70s and 80s will agree: They will agree that, unlike today’s Nigeria – where the teacher has been relegated to a dreadful low – a teacher was god. The level of patronage was even more endearing in rural settlements: The teacher was a compass that pointed the direction a society should go, to grow.
The teacher was a potent rallying point on issues of morality, sound judgement and all virtues thereof. And for the reason of this all-important role, he was allocated the choicest part of everything. He gets to marry the prettiest of ladies and rode on the latest bicycles, fiats, and beetle automobiles. His home was a cynosure and his children, little darlings, groomed for life’s best; groomed for service.
Mike Ezino Ogwah, was born into such a rich background – the son of an Owhe-Ologbo teacher who retired as Head Master.
Beyond the identity accorded him by his parents, was a well-heeled tutelage which has remained indelible in his mind. A typical ‘village boy’ as it is conjectured in local parlance, Ogwah grew under the watch of teachers. It was with this cross breed of pleasure and pain, that the core tenets of African virtue were planted in the navel of his soul.
He learnt discipline and humility. He learnt the importance of reverence for elders. He learnt obedience to constituted authorities. He learnt that dedication to work was a catalyst for progress. He equally learnt to team work, to cook as well, for he, verily, till date, can beat any chef to it on the ‘Fresh Fish Banga Soup and Starch cuisine’.
Young Ogwah first stepped foot in a formal academic setting at Azagba Primary School Otor-Owhe, where he graduated in 1979. He went further to cut his academic teeth in Iluelogbo grammar school, Owhelogbo.
Hon. Ogwah’s first sojourn, out of the boundaries of Isoko nation, was when he gained admission into the prestigious Ambrose Ali University, (AAU), Ekpoma. It was there in 1994, that he bagged a Bachelor in Arts, B.A (Honours.) in Religious Studies.
His unending quest for knowledge drove him back into the enclave of the four walls. Hence, in 2012, he clinched a Masters Degree in International History and Diplomacy (MIHD) from the coveted University of Benin (UNIBEN).
An incisive businessman with a knack for perfection, Hon. Mike Ogwah, in 2015, again placed himself under the burden of the book, to get hold of a Masters Degree in Business administration (MBA) from the Metropolitan University, London. Today, he is a fellow of the Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators.
Saddled with such well-off educational pedigree vis-a-vis an affluent parental background, Ogwah delved into the dynamic world of business in 1995 when he floated Ojarex Nigeria Limited; a trading/ contracting company.
His genius only catapulted excellence on his path, as the recorded geometric progress of his ventures eventually gave birth to Riwona Global Ventures Limited, an oil and gas downstream trading company.
At a time when the availability of jobs has far become a mirage to job hunters, Ogwah has under his business bosom, well over 100 direct employees, running into an excess of 300 through the multiplier.
Suffice it to say that, at the height of the American uprising in the year of our Lord, 1775, a Delegate, Patrick Henry, in his ‘Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death’ historic speech in St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia, postulated that it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope and that man is apt to shut eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms him into beast.
A quick question was put, however, that should it really be the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? “Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”
He concluded by saying that, “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun! … Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
It is on the background of this consciousness of liberty, this innate goad, this urge to redefine his environment and chart a course for his people, that Ogwah’s poise to delve into politics was defined. It was not better spelt until he contested and won councillorship of his ward in 1996.
Owing to his dexterity in representing his people in the Legislative house, and in his ‘get the job done’ attitude, Ogwah was quickly appointed Chairman, Task Force on Environmental Sanitation, Isoko North local Government Area; thus his political clamber was set in motion.
Hon. Mike Ezino Ogwah quickly rose through the ranks to bag appointment as Special Assistant to the Honourable Commissioner, Inter-ethnic Relations and Conflict Resolution in 2003 and, later in 2007, Special Assistant to Delta State Governor; and re-appointed Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Delta State Governor in 2011. Today, again, Ogwah is a member, Board of Directors; Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba; Chairman, Isoko Advancement Network (IAN) and the patron of Isoko Patriotic Front (IPF).
In view of these facts, so glaring, will it not be permitted if one states that Ogwah has but one lamp by which his feet are guided- the lamp of experience? Of course, yes! For this experience has proved invaluable, as Isoko North constituents are today clamouring, like delegate Patrick Henry, ‘Give Us Ogwah Or Give Us Death’ for the Delta State House of Assembly come 2019.
Ogwah has not declined either, for he sees the call to represent his people as clarion. Truly, he has, entwined in his psyche, the ideology of the great AfricanPatrice Lumumba who stated inter alia, ‘I believe that we have reached a stage in life in the economic development of Africa, where moving forward is perilous, moving backwards is cowardice and standing still is suicidal but we must persevere because winners do not quit and quitters never win.”
Isoko North stands to lose a lot if he is not elected. The clamour for him to step in is because of what the people know he possesses. For one who has held many, but principal political positions in his career, he has successfully carved his prints on sand’s time. For someone who has served on complementary capacities, he has defied all odds to learn the rope enough. At this moment, therefore, brethren, let the drums roll, as Honourable Mike Ezino Ogwah, an insignia of humility and leadership, steps in.