As Nigerians Examine Essence of Good Governance At Okonkwo’s 70th Birthday | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Faith, LIFE

As Nigerians Examine Essence of Good Governance At Okonkwo’s 70th Birthday

Posted: Sep 9, 2015 at 12:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Aramide Oikelome

Lagos

If the truth be told, the last edition of the Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture was a thoroughly exciting and euphoric event; not only because it attracted eminent Statesmen and clerics from across Nigeria and beyond but also because it provided a unique opportunity for both young and old to celebrate a legend, the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Dr. Mike Okonkwo, who recently turned 70.

From left, former Governor  of Lagos and the event Guest Speaker, Babatunde Fashola, Bishop Peace Okonkwo, second runner up, Jonathan Iherijika,  a student of Kings College, Lagos, the celebrant, Presiding Bishop, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) Dr. Mike Okonkwo, winner of the 2015 Bishop  Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition, Chisom Emeto, a student of Port Harcourt International School, Port Harcourt, River State, first runner up, Asuquo Mirabel , a student of Redeemers International Secondary School, Port Harcourt, River State and the event Chairman, Chief George Obiozor at the 16th Bishop Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture to mark the 70th Birthday of Bishop Mike Okonkwo held at Muson Centre, Lagos last week.

From left, former Governor of Lagos and the event Guest Speaker, Babatunde Fashola, Bishop Peace Okonkwo, second runner up, Jonathan Iherijika, a student of Kings College, Lagos, the celebrant, Presiding Bishop, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) Dr. Mike Okonkwo, winner of the 2015 Bishop Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition, Chisom Emeto, a student of Port Harcourt International School, Port Harcourt, River State, first runner up, Asuquo Mirabel , a student of Redeemers International Secondary School, Port Harcourt, River State and the event Chairman, Chief George Obiozor at the 16th Bishop Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture to mark the 70th Birthday of Bishop Mike Okonkwo held at Muson Centre, Lagos last week.

In the words of the chairman of the occasion, Professor George Obiozor, “Bishop Okonkwo is one the most inspiring Nigerians alive. He is a pan-Nigerian, pan-African nationalist, philanthropist, humanist; a role model and emblem of true love, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity.”

There was indeed an outpouring of encomium for the amiable cleric, who for over three decades has distinguished himself as an erudite, consistent and fiery preacher of the word of God.

“Bishop Okonkwo is a man whose heart is in the right place and has proven to be dependable, gracious and purpose-driven”, said the Guest Speaker at the occasion, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, former Governor of Lagos State.

The event also afforded the Mike Okonkwo Educational Youth Initiative (MOEYI) the opportunity to showcase the top three winners of the 16th edition of the annual essay competition, in which Chisom Emeto of Port Harcourt International School emerged overall winner while Asuquo Mirabel of Redeemer’s International School, Port Harcourt came second while Ihejirika Jonathan came third.

According to the chief examiner, Professor Akachi Ezeigbo, “the competition this year featured a total of two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-seven essays after the organizers used their internal control mechanism to filter out unsuitable entries.”

Indeed, the topic of this year’s essay competition “The Nigerian Political Class and the Citizen’s Quest for Good Governance” was quite intriguing and intellectually engaging.

In his capacity as Guest Speaker at the occasion, the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola delved extensively on the topic, stressing that the purpose for which government exist is to provide good governance and where they fail, they must be changed through the ballot.

While stressing that “good governance means different things to different people, Fashola emphasized that “the test weight for policies and programs of any government is whether or not they bring the greatest good to the greatest number. What represents common good is not a matter of easy agreement but rather what brings the greatest good to the generality of the people.”

“What is the primary purpose of government?” asked Fashola rhetorically. In answer to this, the legal icon said, “They are elected for the welfare and security of the people. Welfare includes water supply, healthcare, good education, food security, job etc.”

In order to measure good governance, he noted that both government and citizens must focus on the provision of:

•Education- not only formal education but also public enlightenment

•Participation- voting, accountability and taxation

•The rule of law

•The application of science- study of human behavior

“No government can go anywhere far without placing law and order as its guiding principle. Without these, life will be short and brutish” said Fashola, adding that “Citizens have duties, not just rights.”

“We all have responsibilities and must take them serious. All our institutions will be what we make of them. It is not enough to elect a political leader and expect them to do magic. We all have a role to play for us to enjoy good governance.”

While urging every Nigerian to be conversant with the content and application of the Constitution, he said, “Section 24 A-Z captures the essence of good and participatory government. It is a contract; a give and take contract.”

Said he: “We are the government. If more people participate, the burden will be lighter and the slice that each person will enjoy will be healthier. That is your side of the social contract. When you have performed it, then you can ask the government to give account. You cannot benefit from the social contract when you are abridged.”

It was indeed an auspicious event as many at home and abroad sent goodwill messages to express their love and heartfelt appreciation for the man that has impacted their lives, families, congregations and nation in many positive ways.

In his goodwill message, Pastor Mensa Otabil, a Ghanaian theologian, philanthropist, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and founder of International Central Gospel Church, Accra, Ghana described the celebrant as a man with cross-cultural appeal, love and integrity. Corroborating this, Rev. Wilson Badejo described him as a man that is reliable any day or time and one with undeniable landmarks and spotlights of great things done for God and mankind.

Rev. Moses Iloh upholds that Okonkwo is a completely detribalized Nigerian and charges him to see this season of his life as a time to do more for God, even as London-based Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo prayed that the “years coming increase his grace and anointing.”

World-acclaimed Pastor Enoch Adeboye prayed that God would keep the Bishop “safe, secure, alive and well, even as the years ahead bring him greater good.

Even the American Pentecostal evangelist, Morris Cerullo sent a special blessing and everlasting friendship to the amiable and forthright “Big Daddy” of TREM, as he is fondly called.