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Patrick Ogbachi: Tribute to a good man, by Dr. Aminu Salihu Yakudima

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Patrick Ogbachi: Tribute to a good man, by Dr. Aminu Salihu Yakudima

When all hands were on deck to correct the critical question of the Nigerian project, I stumbled on late Honourable Patrick Ogbachi, who was formally introduced to us by the first executive governor of former Enugu State, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, as his private secretary in 1998.

Dr Nwodo was a member of the defunct, courageous and vibrant ‘G38’; a group of like-minded democratic enthusiasts who canvassed and paved the way for the enthronement of today’s democracy, which has remained uninterrupted for the past 25 years in Nigeria.

It may be recalled that the popular G38 exerted intensive pressure on the Armed Forces Ruling Council on the need for the enthronement of democracy. This pressure ended the eleven years of military governance in Nigeria by substituting it with a civilian administration. In fulfilment of democratic tenets, the military registered a number of political parties and constituted an electoral commission and allowed the G38 metamorphosed into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party was inaugurated in November 1998. Dr Nwodo became the pioneer national secretary of PDP and appointed late Honourable Ogbachi as principal secretary.

PDP, being a broad-based political party with national spread and visibility, represents a microcosm of many political associations in Nigeria. It was at this juncture, that I came on board not only as a foundation member, but a pioneer director of intelligence and security. I worked closely with late Honourable Ogbachi at different levels and capacities, including my appointment as the second national administrative secretary, first Director of Administration and Chief of Staff to Dr Nwodo when he was elected the national chairman.

Occupying these sensitive positions in the service of PDP gave me additional responsibilities, which helped me to relate effectively with the national chairman, national secretary and other members of national working committee (NWC) of the party.

It also necessitated the compelling need for comparing notes with Honourable Ogbachi and Dr Phillips Salawu on administration and management of the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. Dr Salawu was PDP’s pioneer director of finance and former deputy governor of Kogi State.

Late Ogbachi, from my assessment, can be described as a true democrat, transparent and visionary leader. In fact, he possessed all the qualities of good leadership.

Certainly, the principles of leadership are fundamental values and guidelines for a leader’s behaviour and decision-making process. Most politicians in PDP, APC and other political parties and those in positions of authority in Nigeria are lacking on these good qualities of leadership which Honourable Ogbachi possessed in abundance. More disturbing about other public officeholders are their ineptitude, incompetence and impunity as well as corruptible and sycophantic tendencies, which resulted to leadership failure and bad governance in the country.

For leaders to excel, it is compulsory for them to build integrity and be able to demonstrate a strong moral compass, ethics and honesty in their words and actions. They must keep promises, avoid conflict of interest and nepotism. Again, they must be seen to demonstrate transparency in decision-making and consistently act with fairness and justice. More importantly, they must remain free from corruption and maladministration.

Undoubtedly, above are some of the guiding principles of Dr Nwodo in his style of administration and governance, which were learned and adopted by late Ogbachi in a routine implementation of policy decisions. Late Ogbachi also encouraged innovation and experimentation in achieving the vision of the founding fathers of PDP and worked hard for the party’s consolidation.

Ogbachi’s strong conviction in the diversity of Nigeria in all ramifications encouraged unity among Nigerians. His kindness and compassion extended beyond his immediate circle, as he rendered several assistance to auxiliary staff of the national secretariat. In fact, he had touched the lives of many people within the PDP and other parties across the country.

It’s true that Honourable Ogbachi’s demise leaves a void within the political group of Dr Nwodo, which is going to be difficult to fill. His dedication to work, professionalism, compassion for others, and his zeal for good life for the downtrodden serves as a reminder of what it means to live a wonderful life of integrity and service to the people.

Honourable Ogbachi passed away after a brief illness at his residence, Arab Road, Kubwa, FCT, Abuja. He will be buried on June 24, 2024, at his family house at Amafor, Ede-Oballa, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Dr Aminu Yakudima is a columnist and writes from Abuja. 

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