That you may know your David
By Jon Egie
The name David Edevbie rings a bell in the political landscape of Delta State, but not very many people have a glimpse and or, a close contact knowledge of the character and personality traits of Olorogun David Edevbie, Chief of Staff to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
In the annals of Delta State political evolution since the present democratic process began in 1999, David Edevbie is a remarkable reference point to the successes recorded so far by the PDP led administrations of the State.
Very few citizens had physical contact with him even though his name rang and still rings a bell in the corridors of power in Delta State and at the federal level until late 2014, when he indicated interest in the leadership of Delta State. And when he did, very many of the followers and supporters had limited knowledge of his potentials and values. But it was suffice for them to acknowledge from testimonies and attestation of those who have had opportunities of official business transactions and political engagements that the man possessed the six pillars of a person with good character namely: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.
Character is the mental and moral qualities distinct to an individual, and people who are considered to have good character often have traits like: Integrity, Honesty, Courage, Loyalty and Fortitude; and these traits are proven to be inherited from his pedigrees, resonating the common saying, “Like father, like son”, a phrase used to mean that someone resembles their parents either in terms of appearance or because of their behavior.
According to Psychologists, this happens as a result of a son inheriting traits from his father or by observing what his father is doing while growing up and at adulthood, the personality and qualities of the son will be similar to that of the father.
So, apart from the testimonies and attestation made available to the David Edevbie followers and supporters, the elderly across the board who knew his father in his prime saw in David, a reflection of the good character and personality traits of Engr James Okpako Rangers and a re-examination of the family pedigree gave a conviction of the projection of those traits in David.
Delta politics and stomach infrastructure
In the politics of Delta State, majority of the horde of followers of political leaders believe in what they could make out of the Principal and very few think of what they could contribute to the success of the political ambition, drive and ideology of the Principal. This tendency for satisfaction of personal interest blurs their view of the leader and when the Principal fails or delays at meeting or satisfying their mundane interests, they tag him with a stigma; without care about the upbringing, principles of life and personality traits of the leader. This psycho-social disposition makes majority of the horde of followers to waive, jettison steadfastness and shift grounds to camps where their desired stomach infrastructure could be readily made available and when the menu of the later camp is exhausted, they once again jump ship to the next vulnerable political benefactor who could meet their immediate petty social needs. David Edevbie like other political leaders in Delta State has been a victim of this scourge activated by political urchins, foot soldiers, political hangers-on and beggars, favour seekers and bootlickers. As 2023 inches close, some of this horde, out of ignorance and desire not to learn and know about the personality of David Edevbie are stringing chords of discord and disdain, labeling him as a Miser.
Since my acquaintance with him in 2014, I must confess, I knew little of David Edevbie except that I saw in him, a distinct personality, refined and clean gentleman who is quite different from the class of traditional politicians whose values of life fall short of the character traits of a good leader, and because I believe in his sterling qualities, I hung on and my hanging on has provided so many opportunities to learn, in a split second, what years of university education could not avail me.
Who knows David?
So, we do not know much of David Edevbie but the political, spiritual and industry leaders know him. The knowledge of the personality of David Edevbie was made bare in the three days of the celebration of the rites of passage of his father, Engr James Okpako Rangers Edevbie (Late), which held on November 7th, 8th and 10th, 2019. The resonate of the name was not only tied to the gridlock and stir that was witnessed in the streets of Ughelli and Afiesere during the funeral services but also by the influx of huge political personalities, business moguls, traditional rulers across Delta State and Nigeria at large. They came and they spoke on the personality of David Edevbie, giving information, hitherto unknown, of the potentials, pedigree, values, asset worth and a clear picture of who David Edevbie is.
Class of political leaders
Blazing the trail was President Goodluck Jonathan who in a tribute described the father of David, James, as one of the foremost indigenous engineers from the Niger Delta who contributed immensely to the development of communities in Delta State and Nigeria. Like father, like son, President Jonathan infers that David Edevbie will toe the line of his father.
Next, was the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus who following the thought line of President Jonathan said in the more than 20 years of PDP led administrations of Delta State, the father of David was a utility resource for guidance and counseling—like father, like son.
Hear what the national compass pin of the PDP, His Excellency, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State says about his Chief of Staff: “My dear David, the world (not only Delta State and Nigeria) has been blessed with such an outstanding and inspirational son as your esteemed self whose life continuously impacted positively on the lives of several thousand”. Okowa like an elder brother and garrison Commander pulls David from the stable as a horse prepared for a race and battle against economic and political Goliaths ahead of time.
And then David’s political father, His Excellency, Chief James Onanefe Ibori adds voice in support of Okowa’s assessment to further evaluate and ordain. “My dear David”, with a pat on his back, “You are not only relevant in the society but actually rendering quality service to our beloved Delta State and our country Nigeria.”
The deluge of comments unveiling the character of David flowed without political party colouration. The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki Noghegbase Obaseki confirms the positions of Governor Okowa and Ibori saying: “Dear David, you are a child of high caliber who is adding great value to our society” and the Kwara State governor, Abdulraham Abdulrazaq in the same vein says, “I have no doubt that you, David, will be richly impactful”. And what about his Ogun State counterpart, His Excellency Prince Dapo Abiodun? He says. “David you are a source of communal wisdom and potent intervention” drawing from the father-son syllogism enunciated by President Jonathan.
From the National Assembly, the Deputy President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege makes a hands-on attestation and lifts the veil saying, “David, you have a manifest sense of good character and commitment to high ideals” just as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, drawing from the reflection of Davis’s father said, “You have genuine love and care for people and this is evident in your contributions to the development of Delta State” and in the words of the Minority leader of the National Assembly, Rt Hon Ndudi Elumelu, “David, you live a good life and impact on people”.
What about the immediate past governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan? In painting a concise picture of the personality of David says, “I have known you for over 20 years in various top positions in Delta State and Federal Government as a committed, disciplined and very organized individual”, and I think, it is in line with the Uduaghan’s perspective that prompts the Secretary to the State Government, Chiedu Ebie to say, “ David, you are a wonderful legacy of industry and excellence”.
Like father, like son; Senator Liyel Imoke deduces, “like your father, you live a life that is highly dedicated to the service of humanity” and the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) would not digress and adds, “Like father like son, David, you are an embodiment of honesty and integrity with strong fidelity to principles” just as the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo joins to say, “You are an indelible mark of lasting legacy.”
Are we done? No! The political class still speaks. The Chairman of the PDP in Delta State, Olorogun Barr Kingsley Esiso remarks, “David, you are our party leader” and whatever that prophecy implies ahead of time, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori in an exact pick says, “David, you are an apple that did not fall far from the tree”.
Up again, the Honourable Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Tayo Alasoadura, not departing from the Truth says, “ David, you personify your father, you have his exceptional intellectualism, professionalism and an inspiration to those who come across you.” Riding on, the former deputy governor of Delta State, Sir Benjamin Elue quickly affirms and says, “you are the son of a noble man” while the immediate past deputy governor of Delta State, Prof Agbe Amos Utuama, like a Headmaster says, “David, you are a living testimonial of your beloved father’s legacy. Without any blemish, you have been an asset in your diligence in service to our dear Nation and State. This lofty record of service is a true reflection of your pedigree.” Oh! And that is why the Senior Political Adviser to Governor Okowa, Rt Hon Funkekeme Solomon says, “I am not surprised, David; you are who you are, a chip off the old block and could not be less, coming from such an excellent pedigree of hard work and diligence.”
Captains of Industry
Captains of industries also spoke on the personality of David Edevbie. Aliko Dangote, Chief Executive of Dangote Group described David as a laudable legacy of philanthropy and peace-building. Tony Elumelu, Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation says, “My brother, you are a remarkable gentlemen and bridge-builder”. And Femi Otedola of the Geregu Power PLC saw David as a foot-print of immense community development.”
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Bank limited, Adetokunbo Abini described David as a son of a man who lived a Christian and exemplary life and for Jubril Adewale Tinubu who is the Group Chief Executive of Oando, “You are a son of an accomplished entrepreneur, community leader and philanthropist”. For Nduka Obaigbena, Editor in –Chief of ThidDay Media Group and Arise Media Ltd, “David, you possess the quintessential achievement and humility of your father. You attained the position of Principal Secretary to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at a critical time in the nation’s history. You were raised by a loving and warm family” and thus, these attributes would prompt Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director of Access Bank to say, “David, please let’s share some time together soon.”
And then, the Urhobo Amazon, Dr Cecilia Ibru, President and Co-Founder of Michael Cecilia Ibru University declares, “David, your illustrious career at the Commonwealth of Nations and other top positions you have held in different capacities both at the State and Federal Government are a reference point to many.
Traditional rulers across the State and the socio-cultural organization of the Urhobo people (UPU) also spoke. President General of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, Olorogun Moses Oghenerume Taiga says, “David, you have become a Titan, contributing immensely to the growth and development of Urhobo Nation, Delta State and humanity”.
The Obi of Owa, His Royal Majesty, Dr E.O. Efeizomor 11, who is the Chairman, Delta State council of traditional rulers says, ‘The name Edevbie has become a hallmark in the annals of human history because it resonates within all aspects of human endeavour including Education, Industry, Politics and Creative Humanities.” For this, the Ovie of Ughelli, HRM, Evang Wilson Oharisi 111 asserts, ‘David, you are our hope in God of the great Ughelli kingdom.”
In solidarity with the testimonials, other monarchs speak. The Ovie of Agbon kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Ogurimerime Ukori 1, says, “the good people of Agbon kingdom stand with you, while the Umiaghwa-Abraka traditional council through the Otota of Umiaghwa-Abraka kingdom, Chief Nath-Anho says, “His Royal Majesty, Air Vice Marshal Lucky Ochuko Ararile (rtd) and the good people of Umiaghwa-Abrak are with you.”
The Okobaro of Jeremi, His Majesty, Matthew Ediri Egbi Owawha 11, described David as an indelible mark of a man who lived a fulfilled life and pledges “the royal family, council of chiefs and the good people of Ughievwen kingdom stand by you”. The Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami in sincerity of purpose joined to celebrate the good legacy inherited by David.
And for the man who got to the tree to know the leaf, Dr Benjamin Ikenchuku, the Dein of Agbor kingdom passionately says, “Mr David Edevbie, over the many years I have known you, you have indeed been an embodiment of the character that made your father who he was. By the blessing of God these enviable quality of a silent but strong leadership has become part of who you are today; private, steady going, strong, intellectual and a very caring and thoughtful man.”
Who does David says he is?
That is your David in the eyes of the people but what does David say about himself? He confirms President Goodluck Jonathan’s submission on the like father, like son syllogism and agrees with others who see him as a rare gem and an asset of great value.
But he has a challenge in making the common folk, the locals and the less privileged irrespective of social status, to understand and appreciate his special qualities and values which they claim is alien to them. The fears of the challenge are real. Recently a Chief who in all standards is educated and comfortable with reasonable economic assets to his credit said of David, “No! I don’t like him, he is too civilized, he is British, and he does not open his doors.” Oh, yes! What the Chief meant to say is that David does not allow a thoroughfare for easy squander of money as obtainable in the courts of our regular and traditional politicians. And this sentiment needs to be corrected. This, David has observed and summarizes in a message to his father and to those who should care that you may know your David.
“To My Daddy….
You have taught me much during our time together. In particular, I have inherited the double-edged sword that is your devotion to hard work and perfectionism in everything that you do. I say double-edged because while this unwavering attention to detail has proven to serve me brilliantly in more structured and civilized environments that allow an achiever to thrive, they have also presented their challenges in less developed climes where such traits are generally viewed with mirth and sometimes treated with disdain. Nevertheless, wherever I find myself, I will continue to fulfill my promise to you to carve out areas of excellence and strive for improvement. Even if others do not always value this perseverance, I know it is worth pursuing.”
Gbam! Here you have your David, now you know him!