“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
For anyone to claim he is leader, critical traits that must be found in such a fellow are humility, selflessness and service. Anything short of this is heresy.
One young man that has caught my admiration is Ndianabasi Nana Udom, the SSA to the Governor on Grassroots Mobilization. I have followed his activities for a while and have come to the conclusion that he has a heart of gold. In the build up to the PDP House of Representatives Primaries in Akwa Ibom State, this young man put up a good fight to clinch the ticket and I must give it to him, Nana is good at what he does.
Though Mr. Unyime Idem got the ticket, my love for Nana has tripled especially given his conduct after the primaries. He displayed a rare leadership trait of conceding to the winner, collapsed his structure in support of Mr. Idem and asked his supporters to see Mr. Idem’s aspiration as his. He went on to fix a meeting of both camps and cemented the political union. As though that was not enough, Nana Udom has been going round the nook and cranny of Ukanafun selling the candidacy of Mr. Unyime Idem stressing the fact that Ukanafun must work again. He also goes about telling electorates that a vote for Mr. Idem is a vote for Nana Udom; a vote for development, prosperity so that Ukanafun will regain its lost glory.
I have personally seen Nana Udom lift the hands of Mr Idem as the one to represent Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency come June 2019. I have asked repeatedly if this is not the same Nana who contested the primaries with Mr. Idem. Others who contested for the same position have since defected to other political parties but Nana stayed on. He displayed maturity and politics without bitterness of no victor, no vanquished. What comes to my mind each time I remember Ndiana Abasi Udom are the words of Martin Lurther King Jnr who said, “It does not matter who wins an election; what is important to me is the promotion of the welfare of the people. We all cannot be leaders at the same time. While some will lead, others will follow. If I win, I lead other, if I loose, I follow the leader”
Nana Udom is the kind of youth leader our Governor Udom Emmanuel, should surround himself with; he is ready to sacrifice his all to ensure Udom succeeds. He has proven that by his open support for Unyime Idem, the PDP House of Representatives Candidates and by going about sowing acts kindness in the name of the Governor. Ndiana Abasi Nana has truly carved a niche for himself as a man for the future. His desire is to contribute his quota to the development of youths in Akwa Ibom and ensures he supports His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel returns to Hilltop Mansion come March 2 and by extension, other PDP candidates.
What marvels me the most about Nana Udom is the conviction, passion and patriotism with which he speak about Akwa Ibom state and Mr Udom Emmanuel.
Truly, this man has a heart of gold and he loves the state even more than he loves his own life. The way he speaks about Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and his administration points to one fact; Nana is one man whose loyalty and commitment to a course is never in doubt. If he stands by you in a fight; go to sleep because he has what it takes to stand by you till the very end.
His desire is to see Akwa Ibom an egalitarian state where there will be milk and honey for all inhabitants to share and be merry. His preference for state exigencies over private and parochial considerations has made very many refer to him as a leader for future. He left banking to join hands with Udom Emmanuel in making Akwa Ibom great. What a show of love and unbridled loyalty.
Prior to his appoint as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Grassroots Mobilization, Nana has displayed selflessness in all ramification. He has a large army of youths who believes in him given the fact that he has touched their lives one way or the other. I need not mention those he has paid school fees for, those he has established to start businesses of their own, those he has revived their businesses, and those he paid medical bills for, those he assisted to be gainfully employed. The list is endless. Truth be told, the governor does not need to be everywhere in Akwa Ibom but with people like Nana Udom in each local government area of the state, I am sure the level of complaints against government will be reduced to the barest minimum. Nana understands that the only politics that endures is the politics of connecting with the people, meeting their needs and providing a platform upon which their dreams and aspirations will be achieved.
Even while attending campaign events, Nana’s heart of gold is always on display.
Only recently, he put smiles on the faces of his hometown, Idung Nneke by donating a borehole to serve his community. Few days back during the Divine Mandate Local Government Tour of Ukanafun, Nana changed the life of a widow with a swollen face. Her plight was brought to the attention of the Governor who approved that she be taken care of at government’s expense.
As I write this piece, the woman is being operated upon if not recuperating. Nana has since known that at the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done but by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in. He has come to the realization that Leadership is not about a title or a designation but about impact, influence, inspiration; knowing the way, going the way and showing the way.
Nana’s meaning of excellence is simply that whatever he tries to do in life, he does it with all his heart to do well; that whatever he devotes himself to do, he completely gives himself to it; that in great aims and in small, he has always been thoroughly earnest.
Knowing that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, Ndiana has buried himself in his new task of mobilizing the grassroots for Udom Emmanuel and the PDP. There could not have been a better choice for that position given the fact that Nana Udom lives among his people. He feels their pulse; knows when they are hungry, sick and when they are okay. Mahatma Gandhi had Nana Udom in mind when he said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it”
Nana has committed same zeal, vigour and commitment referred to by Mahatma Gandhi in his new job. He hit the ground running by securing a befitting office space for the new department. According to him, “our paramount duty at the Grassroots Mobilization Unit is to synergize with the core grass rooters to ensure the gospel of Udom Emmanuel is preached in every nook and cranny of Akwa Ibom State. We must ensure that the good deeds of the governor is published in every street, road, close and homes in Akwa Ibom”
Let me say that those with hearts of gold are geniuses who think and act differently; they are those who cannot be ignored in the scheme of things and those who help to push the human race forward. They are those who know how to translate the wishes and aspirations of their people into concrete development, provide quality standard of living and assist their people move to the next level of their lives without asking for anything in return; Nana falls within this category.
When asked to describe the essence of being a leader, Nana enthused, “Good leadership entails exercising influence and charisma over others to achieve a specific goal. It also involves holding the light for your followers to see the path to the Promised Land.”
Nana knows that taking responsibility of others means to be selfless. As a leader, his action has inspired others to dream more, do more, learn more and become more. He has chosen to put aside his own well-being and his desires are secondary. He thinks primarily of what is best for the persons who are looking up to him.
Nothing is ever said of a man who lay dead on the tomb except of the good deeds he wroth while alive. Even when family members render funeral oration of the departed, you often hear them say, “My father was a good man and he lived for others”. I said the same thing when I buried my late father few years gone (May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace). I paid glowing tribute to my Dad on how accommodating he was and was willing to share with others. This goes to underscore the importance of being kind to others no matter how small the kindness is. It speaks volume of the level of greed in us and the ability in us to share the little we have with others. J.R Miller it was who notes that, “The only thing that walks back from the tomb with the mourners and refuses to be buried is the character of a man. This is true. What a man is survives him for it can never be buried”.
Space will fail me to enumerate the many things his family has done to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
For sure, philanthropy runs in the Udom’s family. But take it from me. Ndiana Abasi Nana Udom is a good man and a leader with a heart of gold. He has displayed this severally and is not about giving up on it.
He has learnt to light a candle in the darkest moments of peoples’ lives and he has become the light that helps others see. He has helped others without any reason and gave without the expectation of receiving anything in return. Nana understands that we make a living by what we get while we make a life by what we give. He knows that his rise to fame is tied to lifting others up.
He wants Ukanafun and Akwa Ibom to be great. He has a mission to affect his generation by providing lifeline, support to the hopeless and home to the homeless. He knows that by becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, he also finds the answer to his own problems. He has a community heart; a philanthropic and humanitarian disposition who has always engaged himself in promoting the welfare of his people. The best is yet to come from the unassuming Nana. Where you are is just the starting point of your quest to greatness. Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria will hear you. Keep the philanthropic flag and heart of gold flying.
Deacon Aluu Vincent, an HR/Media/Business Development expert contributes this piece from Uyo. email@example.com 08036688375, 08089753734