The crisis associated with leadership in Nigeria once again engaged the attention of scholars and politicians in the public lecture organised by the Bende Historical Society (BHS) in Bende yesterday. The public lecture with the title ‘Politics, Political Leadership and Community Development delivered by the fiery and cerebral University of Nigeria don Prof. Victor Ukaogo interrogated the reality of Community development and the culpability of the elite class in deepening the crisis of underdevelopment in the polity.
The lecture choose to speak truth to power and it examined ways those in authority could be held accountable by their electors. Prof Ukaogo argued that probably on account of the sustained democratic spirit in the land, politicians are unwilling to remember that the army, if they align with the people could make their lives miserable by subverting and cutting short their stranglehold on power. Citing developments in several West African countries in recent times, climes such as Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso etc had witnessed rumble in the barracks where the army usurped power from despotic civilians citing impunity and sundry malfeasance as justification.
The don reminded non performing politicians to sit up and perform to appease their constituents to avoid the punishment associated Administrative violence which they visit on the majority of the weak and over burdened population. The lecturer affirmed that Bende is wearing a new look courtesy of the content and character of the 2019 exports to Abuja and urged the people to vote to retain and sustain the tempo of community development in the area. Identifying Hon. Benjamin Kalu as having done well, the don insisted that the impact of community development on the people is a barometer of measuring the performance of Political leaders and urged public office holders to be wary of the evil they visit on their people.
Earlier in the event, Prof Austine Amanze Akpuda of Abia state University and the special guest of honor, Hon. Justice C.A Okoroafor of the Abia state judiciary spoke in favour of the people getting the best from their elected representatives. They urged the people to be clear minded in demanding accountability from public officers without which the possibility of sustained community development will be thwarted.
In the question and answer section, the lecturer, professor Ukaogo took time to field questions from a largely appreciative and intelligent audience made up of the educated middle class and the group that you might refer to as the masses. In an explanation, the don who literally emited fire in defense of the poor asked Nigerians to punish political pretenders with their PVCs later this year and reward performers like Hon. Ben Kalu with a new mandate to finish what they started in Bende.
Responding to a question from the animated audience, Prof Ukaogo insisted that underdevelopment of Bende communities have been tolerated for far too long because the oppressed people took a liking to applauding their oppressors since 1999. He further affirmed that issues of community development can only be decided in people’s favour only when the people are vocal in their demand for justice, accountability and transparency.
The convener of Bende Historical Society, professor Chidi Osuagwu was highly appreciative of the attendees of the lecture and urged them to take a liking to developments around them. He thanked Hon. Ben Kalu ably represented by Chief Daniel Akwari for showing interest in the annual event and promised to heed his advise in sustaining the the pride of Bende. He also thanked the immediate past local government chairman chief Otamba for providing free logistic support for the past two years to the society. On a final note, the convener thanked professor Ukaogo for his usual forthrightness in pricking the consciences of the powers and speaking truth to them and their followers. The event ended in a convivial note with attendees and organisers taking photographs to commemorate the event.