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27.10.2010 Feature Article

Michael West: Between Politics and Service to Humanity Walter Duru

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A certain local parlance has it that because every lizard is facing the ground,

it is difficult to identify that which is suffering from some form of stomach

disorder. In like manner, because of the dishonest orientation and attitude of

lots of Nigerian Politicians, it is difficult to identify the few individuals

genuinely dedicated to service to humanity, which is the primary demand and

purpose of leadership -call to service.
Even at that, the Nigerian mass media will be doing a great disservice to the

Nigerian populace and indeed, to both God and spirits if we refuse to identify

and celebrate the few true representatives of the people. It would simply be a

mark of ingratitude to God for providing such persons.

Therefore, the emergence of great representatives and leaders like Hon. Ibinabo

Michael West to public service in our country is not by any means a mistake, as

it is one of God's special ways of remembering his people;- when the righteous

are in power, the people rejoice.
He represents the constituency 11 of the Asari Toru Local government Area of

Rivers state in the state House of Assembly and indeed, there are smiles on the

faces of the people.
Just recently, I was discussing with a media colleague from the area who said:

“Oh!, God must surely bless Michael West for us. He is the kind of law maker we

need. He is the kind of governor we need in Rivers state and indeed, the kind

of President we need in Nigeria. You will not believe it, the kind of things

that man has done for our people as a House of Assembly member is unimaginable.

He opened our eyes to the kind of money available for constituency projects in

the state and he is using his to actually do developmental projects in the area.

Now, come to think of it, even after opening our eyes, apart from him and a few

others, how many law makers are using their constituency funds for the purpose

which they are meant for? He is simply a blessing to us. I do not play partisan

politics. I am not a member of the PDP, but mine is to stand on the path of

truth. I commend and encourage those that are doing well and criticize and

reprimand those that are deceiving the masses....”.

Honestly, I did not believe him. I did not actually understand where he was

coming from. I thought he was simply singing praises, just like many other

Nigerians who strive in sycophancy; until we decided to embark on a secret fact

finding tour of the area.
Niger Delta Standard investigations revealed that virtually all constituency

projects and developments in Asari Toru Local government area of the state

actually started with his administration as the people's representative in the

state Assembly. Little wonder, a certain political leader in the area described

him as ''an eye opener' of constituency projects in the area. The tour of the

area made some very shocking revelations, hence, this report.

In the area of Infrastructure, West has embarked on the building of the

Omekwe/Horsefall compound Memorial/meeting hall, as well as the interlocking of

the compound; building of the Charles-Wokoma compound Memorial/meeting hall as

well as the interlocking of the compound; building of the main West Compound

Memorial/meeting hall as well as interlocking of the compound, building of the

Atiegoba compound memorial meeting hall, as well as its interlocking of the

compound; interlocking of the Jackreech compound, Johnny-West compound and

Egede-West compound respectively; and sunk a Bore hole which provides portable

drinking water for Lily-West compound, Buguma.
Others include that he provided, installed and electrified Omekwe Ama community

with a 76KVA generator, supplying electricity to the community, provided,

installed and electrified Sama community with a 76KVA generator, supplying

electricity to the community. He has built for the main West compound in Buguma,

Krakrama, Tema and other constituency communities, solid pier latrines.

Again, through his efforts, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,

provided and installed for the Emekwe Tari Ama community, a 100 KVA generator,

supplying electricity to the community.
In the area of education, he has completed the renovation of the Angulama

Community Primary School, as well as the office of the Principal of the Angulama

Community Secondary school.
Again, he has provided and maintains a Scholarship scheme for indigent Kalabari

students of Asari Tolu local government area in both secondary and tertiary

institutions across the country. Presently, there are about fifty[50]

beneficiaries of the scheme at both the secondary and tertiary levels.

In the area of youth empowerment, Hon. West has empowered and supports very many

youths, aged men and women alike, and also the widows. Presently, he has over

one hundred and fifty[150] youths of the area that are placed on monthly salary

that runs into millions of naira monthly; among lots of many other empowerment

programmes. Many others have also been sent overseas for some form of training.

In fact, reports have it that he is the highest employer of labour in the area,

outside the government.
More so, he has designed and is about to commence the building of the Ido Town

memorial/meeting hall.
In the area of Information Technology, Hon. West has designed and about to build

a well equipped Information and Communication Technology[ICT]/skills acquisition

center in Abalama for the human capacity training and development and

connecting same to the United Nations[UN] for continued assistance. This will

serve the 'Cernosia' group of Communities[the outside communities] in Asalga.

Also, he has designed and is arranging for the provision of Bore hole, for

portable drinking water for Oporoama, Sangama, Illelema and Angulama

communities. He is also arranging for the building of a concrete public

convenience for Ifoko and Minama communities, among many other people oriented

Commenting on his personality, a leader in the area and coordinator of the

Asalga project Initiative, [a non governmental organization based in the area],

Barrister Ibieme Cotton Amachree decribed Hon. West as a true representative

who has labored to bring succor to people of the area.

According to him: “Yes, the Asalga project is a project for the Asalga people.

Our dream and interest is that there should be true democracy and effective

representation of the people of the area. There should be good governance in

Asari Tolu local government area.
“We need good governance and Michael West is one of the persons that have

showcased that. This is a man who was elected to the Assembly in 2003. He has

been there for eight years and within this period, he has done marvelously well.

It is only the blind that can claim not to see the things he has done; but even

the blind can feel it that this man has done very well. First, our people have a

strong voice at the state Assembly. Look at the areas of human capital

development, infrastructural development, among many other areas. We are

impressed and for that reason, we are saying that if anybody should go to the

House of Assembly on a return ticket, it should be Michael West, because, he

has done very well. He is supporting people in all ramifications. His

magnanimity goes even beyond his constituency. Even some indigent students

outside his constituency are benefiting from his Scholarship and empowerment

programmes. We want such a person who loves the progress of his people to

Speaking on his popularity, Amachree says: “We are in a democratic setting and

people should be allowed to go to the ballot boxes to test their popularity. Let

all those who are qualified come out and the masses will make their choice. I

can assure you that the devil we know is better than the angel we do not know. I

can assure you that he will have a landslide victory at the polls. In the PDP,

people should be allowed to go and test their popularity. We shall resist any

attempt to impose an unpopular candidate on us. Those who have done well should

be returned. West has done well and should be returned. We want him to continue

to lead us”, he stressed.
Anchored on the fore going, it is obvious that people of the area shall have no

reason to complain if every political office holder should perform like Michael

West. The voice of man is that of God. With what is on ground, even spirits are

attesting of his good works.
Be that as it may, there is need for a level playing ground for all aspirants

and imposition of candidates should not be considered as an option at all in the

interest of our nascent democracy.
Democracy is tyranny of the majority and as such, the wish of the people must

Meanwhile, our present day leaders should endeavour to invest more in human

capital development, as building a child entails building a nation.

Furthermore, we shall be doing great disservice to man, the nation and even God,

if we deny the masses of their choice leader under whatever guise. This must be

Let true democracy and Justice prevail, as injustice anywhere is a threat to

Justice everywhere.
All hands must be on deck to ensure that the right things are done. The time to

act is now!

Chike Walter Duru
Chike Walter Duru, © 2010

The author has 157 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: ChikeDuru

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