The deputy governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has said Nigeria is not progressing because of the greed and selfishness of the majority of the country’s leaders.
Ewhrudjakpo stated this on Friday during the Literary Swansong and Day of Tributes organised in honour of the late Paramount Ruler of Tombia Community, HRH Christian Atani Otobotekere, at Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa.
He said despite the nation’s huge pool of material and human resources, the nation is still backward among the community of nations.
Ewhrudjakpo lamented that selfishness had been the bane of progress in the country, stressing that every progressive nation has leaders who are not only patriotic, but selfless.
Describing the departed foremost traditional ruler and educationist, popularly known as ‘The Poet King,’ as a man of impregnable integrity, he urged the political class to emulate people like Otobotekere in order to make positive impact in the society.
He said the lifestyle of the late nonagenarian was devoid of greed and selfishness, which enabled him to lead the Tombia community for about 50 years and his native Ekpetiama Kingdom as the head of the clan for 14 years, without recording any major intra or inter-communal crisis.
“Selfish countries are less progressive. Nigeria is not progressing because of the greed and selfishness of most of her leaders over the years.
“The less selfish a country’s leaders are, the more progressive it becomes, and vice versa. Our father whom we have all come to honour today, clearly lived an impactful life.
“He was not greedy. He was not also selfish. And so, we really have to imbibe and follow the footsteps and positive legacies of people like him for us to be able to make good progress in this country,” tbh doputy governor said.
Ewhrudjakpo also applauded the deceased for contributing immensely towards the intellectual development of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta region in general through his outstanding literary works.
He equally commended Otobotekere’s children for the elaborate celebration they put together for their father at his 97th birthday, adding that it is more worthy to celebrate a great man while he is alive than to do so when he had passed on.
Responding to some of the recommendations made by the reviewer of the 14 books written by the late Otobotekere, the deputy governor noted that the poet king deserved to be immortalised, not just for a decade as recommended, but for as long as Bayelsa remains.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Seiyifa Koroye, underscored Otobotekere’s contributions to literary development in the society, with several anthologies comprising no fewer than 400 poems.
Koroye, who described Otobotekere as a compassionate and true leader of men in all spheres of life, appealed to the Bayelsa State Government to institutionalise a biennial writers’ festival named after the literary icon to immortalise him.
In his book review, Professor Kontein Trinya of the Ignatius Azuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, stressed that although Otobotekere’s creative writings had not been streamed in the global literary screen, his works were quite outstanding, especially in the genre of poetry.