By Tonnie Egun
Privileged subject of the Dein of Agbor Kingdom
Special Assistant to the Queen Mother.
Can I defend the Queen Mother?
I am very privileged to be the elder brother to the Queen Mother. I am very privileged to have gone through primary education in Agbor, secondary education in Agbor, Onicha-Ugbo and Ughelli, and tertiary education at Nsukka, Benin, and Lagos. I have been fortunate to have taught in secondary schools and tertiary institutions before acquiring great experience in the private sector of oil services, shipping, cinema management and advertising and public relations. In 2003, Chief Dr. Chris Agbobu, gave me the opportunity to serve as his Personal Assistant when he was the Minister of State for Defence (Navy). That marked my entry into the public service and I have served as a Special Assistant to Hon. Magnus Onyibe when he was Delta State Honourable Commissioner for Information and also as a Special Assistant to my sister, the Queen Mother, as she served as the Delta State Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development.
I am sure Elder Ehikwe remembers me very well as a teacher in Mary Mount College whom he entrusted his paper to for presentation at a public function which he could not personally attend. He can recall our meetings in the effort to retain the State School of Nursing in Agbor. I am sure he can recall our involvement in his relationship with late Chief Francis Momah. He must also be able to recall my interaction with him and Mr. Nwagimejen at Hon Ben Obuh’s official residence in Asaba when they served in the Elders’ Council of the Campaign Organisation of PDP in Delta State.
I just wish to establish that I am old enough, educated enough, and a bit experienced enough to also appraise and appreciate the political scenario in Ika South. As an Agbor man and given my very privileged and cherished relationship with the Dein and the palace of Agbor Kingdom, I do not consider it appropriate to conclude that Dr. Uduaghan has compromised Ika Royal palaces and their people by dragging senior royals into partisan politics.
Queen Mother Ikenchuku’s Performance
At this point, I will attempt to, objectively, assess the Queen Mother’s performance as the Delta State Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development. Are we aware that Queen Mother V. Ikenchuku holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, Humanities with a major in Psychology which she obtained in 1986 from Thames Valley University, Ealing, London?
Between 1982 and 1995, she had a volunteer career with London Borough of Ealing Social Services while managing a Counseling Service at the PRIORY Community Centre, Acton Lane, Acton W3 and completing a Diploma course in Person Centered Counseling at Metanoia Psychotherapy Training Institute in Ealing, London.
This “senior royalty” worked in Britain for about 20 (twenty) years catering for herself and her two sons. Her employment history while in Britain reveals experience in Drug/Alcohol Residential Rehabilitation, Primary and Aftercare Services. She worked with drug traffickers in prison while working at the Nigeria High Commission in Britain, Immigration Services. Her job schedule included coordinating group seminars for Africans in London in Westminster Council Social Services the Consular Affairs Section of the Nigerian Embassy in Britain, Child Welfare Issues, Youth Offending Services and other Social Welfare Departments.
For three years, she worked in Her Majesty’s Prisons (Category C Prisons) in Surrey, providing Clinical Rehabilitation/Psychotherapy for Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists, murderers, rapists and their families, and clinical sessions for other prisoners who are recovering from drug addiction and other chemical dependency.
As Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community & Social Development in Delta State, the Queen Mother brought these experiences to bear in effectively managing the clients of her Ministry, which include the most vulnerable group in the society such as orphans and vulnerable children, physically and mentally challenged persons, people recovering from leprosy, widows living with HIV/AIDS, female secondary school drop-outs, juvenile offenders, etc. it is on record that very positive transformations took place in the Ministry in the just concluded first four years of the Uduaghan administration.
The Queen Mother achieved the Governor’s objectives through the programmes and activities of her assigned Ministry. She was not a disgrace or a source of embarrassment to womanhood, royalty, and the Agbor people. Her royalty did not prevent her from participating effectively in governance and she represented her various constituencies effectively.
The Queen Mother as a Public Servant & Politician
The average Agbor politician felt very involved in Uduaghan’s administration as arrangements were made to ensure that they were invited to and attended various government functions and activities.
Queen Mother Ikenchuku has not been a partial or sectional politician. She coordinated the Governor’s re -run elections in January, 2011 and also served as Ika South Coordinator of the Campaign Council in the April 2011 elections.
It is on record that she succeeded in bringing all the factions together. She attended all the meetings she was invited to and aware of to present and represent the Agbor interest. She ensured that every interested person was involved in electioneering campaign meetings and activities. She disbursed campaign materials objectively, judiciously, and as appropriate.
Can somebody, please, conduct a poll and assess the level of self esteem the Agbor politician has experienced since the Queen Mother became involved in governance? What are the indices for measuring relevance in governance and politics? Let our analysts and strategists do this for us, please. Let us develop objective measurement and evaluation mechanisms for assessing our representatives in government – elected or appointed.
I am sure we are aware that we have Agbor sons and daughters who have been Special Assistants to the Governor and Honourable Commissioners in grade A Ministries since 2001. They were there until the recent end of tenure on May 29, 2011. They may be re-appointed. Are they too young, small, or insignificant to have influence and impact on the politics of Agbor? Are they senior royals as well?
I thank Elder John Ehikwe for his write up but the headline should have read: Uduaghan, please do not reappoint Queen Mother Ikenchuku into your new cabinet. There was no need for the rigmarole and insult on the Dein.
Fortunately for all of us, Queen Mother Ikenchuku has served the government and people of Delta State for four years. His Excellency is in a very good position to assess her performance and relevance to his agenda and determine if she is worth re-appointing into his government in any capacity.
Meanwhile, people have cleared their farm land for the next planting season. Are we going to wait till harvest time to complain that we do not have the desired yield?
Remember that when you blame others, you give up the power to change.