G24 EMBASARA Leadership Summit: The Long-Awaited New Dawn, No More Business As Usual

”It is known that all over the state that our politicians and political leaders are the cause of our woes. They introduced several serious social ills into our society namely election violence with rigging, militancy, kidnapping and fraudulent mismanagement of our resources.” This was part of a speech delivered by Chairman of the G24 Embasara Foundation Summit, Chief Amba Ambaiowei, who attributed problems governance and development to the failure of the elected officer to follow laid down codes of conduct.

Yesterday, stake holders among Ijaw people, under the auspices of G24 Embasara Foundation, proved that good governance is possible. During a one-day summit held in Yenegoa the state capital of Bayelsa, the group offered a code of ethics, leadership and governance template which prospective political office holders needed to abide by. The warned that whoever would succeed Seriake Dickson, the current governor of the state, must abide by these ethics.

State Commissioner of Environment, Barrister Iniruo Wills, made the presentation of the template which was entitled “Ijaw Nation Code of Ethics, Leadership and Governance.” The template states that the next Governor and other elected political officers in the state needed to declare their assets, imbibe a participatory governance, abide by freedom of Information and ensure proper audit of government account by impartial Ijaw leaders.


The forum’s Ijaw stakeholders comprised politicians, past office holders, youth group representatives, as well as elders under aegis of the Ijaw Elders Forum, including, of course, former member of the House of Representatives, Honorable Walmer Ogoroba, former governorship aspirant, Reuben Okoya, former Secretary to State Government, Dr. Gideon Ekeowe. Interestingly, all were unanimously agreed that the successor to Dickson and other elected officers must adhere to the code of ethics for good governance In the State.

Chief Amba Ambaiowei was a founding father of Bayelsa State. He indicted politicians in the state for fomenting instability in their bid to win elections. He said the problems of militancy, kidnaping, and other vices” are mainly the handiwork of digruntled politicians.
According to him these politicians “also mismanage our resources and live an ostentatious life style of alliance while abandoning development, thus attracting public hatred public hatred and rebuke. Our legislator fail to play the expected role of team work with their respective constituencies in evolving developmental objectives.”

Continuing the former ambassador stated that “Constituency project in spite of funds collected, are yet to be seen executed across the state to supplement the State government’s development agenda. The expected team work and cooperation between state and national legislators to attract both Federal Government and international developmental projects to Bayelsa state are yet to manifest.”

Ifieye Brebina, a pastor, agreed that both the summit’s message as well as its key focus were timely. Representing Ijaw Elders Forum and Ijaw Professional Association (IPA), he congratulated the conveners, pleading that politicians would indeed abide by the template for leadership as provided. Speaking, he said thusly: “there is the need to agree on principle in Bayelsa over the issue of governance, environmental justice, self-determination and many others. If we have a common position, we will be rest-assured that no matter the political position, we will be assured of good governance.”

With a global implication in leadership terms, the summit was a demonstration of and pointer to brighter futures for Bayelsa State and Ijaw peoples worldwide.


Image source: Ijaw Project:

Redefining Mo Ibrahim’s Prize For African Leaders

The Mo Ibrahim’s prize for achievement in African leadership was announced few weeks ago and for the umpteenth time there was no clear cut winner for the coveted prize among past African leaders.

After reading the news, I remembered a discussion with a colleague at work recently on the personality of Mo himself and how best he could channel his God-given wealth to develop his home of descent – Sudan.

My colleague had argued that instead of Mo investing so much as high as 5 million dollars on African leaders, it would not be out of place if he directly spend or invest it in Sudan or some countries battling with economic challenges within the continent.

Since I was a novice about what he is saying I had to keep quiet but was quick to marshal out my point as well and told him I have heard so much about him and that he was at the anti-corruption conference held in London of recent alongside Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari among others.

So, who is Mo Ibrahim?

After the announcement that there was no winner in this year’s edition of the award, I was further challenged to do some googling about his personality and his rationale for setting up the African Leadership Achievement Prize.

There I found out that Mo is a Sudanese-British Billionaire with investment majorly in telecommunication and one of the most powerful persons in the United Kingdom.

The foundation he set up has been in the fore-front of sponsoring the African Leadership Prize which is geared towards celebrating leaders from the continent who had contributed immensely to the growth of their country.

From my research, one of the objectives of the prize is to ensure that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of exceptional leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent.

Aside the 5 million dollars prize, it is expected that such Leader will earn 200,000 dollars monthly for the rest of his or her life.

That’s breathtaking you will say? Well, it was borne out of the free will of the donor which aims at encouraging African Leaders to invest vigorously in the countries they govern while also ensuring that such legacies are sustainable.

That the monetary value of the Ibrahim’s Prize is higher than the coveted Nobel Prize for Peace is also an indication that Mo meant well for Leaders from his continent of origin.

Since the Prize commenced in 2007, it has been won by four African Leaders, the last being former President of Namibia, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, .

In 2007, President Joaquim Chissano from Mozambique won the inaugural Prize while South African Leader, Nelson Mandela was an honorary awardee for that year. The award was not given to any Leader in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and of late, 2015.

Will it elude past African leaders in 2016 as well? Only time will tell.

So what’s my concern about someone’s else intention to reward African leaders for their achievements? The answer is not farfetched.

Most of these leaders are rich already while some of them will get life pensions and allowances after leaving the office. Why I am not saying leaders who have contributed immensely to the development of their countries should not be celebrated, what the sponsors of the Ibrahim’s Prize need to do is to look at sectors in which such huge amount of money can be invested.

Sectors like Science and Technology, Universal Health Coverage, Water Supply, Electricity, Education, Agriculture and Research among others can be prioritized, thus taking the continent out of the quagmire facing it in terms of funding these sectors.

Some specialized higher institutions on the continent have been established for the purpose of research in Medicine, Agriculture and Science and Technology. Such institutions are lacking adequate funds and they need grants to further consolidate on the mandate of establishing them.

Mo Ibrahim need to review his mandate on the 5 million dollars African Leadership Prize by channeling it to the development of countries and institutions on the continent rather than her leaders.

Africa need more philanthropists like the Sudanese-British billionaire at the moment in order to take her rightful place among the comity of nations.

Ours is a continent that is rich with abundant resources and talents which will take up the world in the near future. Suffice it to say that most innovations and inventions we see in America and the West today were developed by African brains.