Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
History is replete with disgruntled elements who oppose the good works of visionary leaders. No matter how noble the works are, there are bounds to be men who will oppose it. But visionary leaders are not daunted by the antics of these men.
The case of Nehemiah is a classical case. It will be recalled that Jerusalem came under serious sieges in 606, 597, and 586 B.C and was conquered and destroyed by the great Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. The temple, palace, houses, and wall around the city were razed by fire. Many of the elite upper class of the Jewish people were taken captive to live in Babylon in 606 B.B, and most of the rest of the population were either killed or taken to Babylon in 597 and 586 B.C.
Nehemiah story had everything to do with his vision of a preferable future for his people and their beloved city of Jerusalem. Despite strong opposition he fulfilled the vision process, implementation, opposition, and completion.
Nehemiah was attached to the Persian court- he had been the king cupbearer. He was appointed governor of Judah and authorised to rebuild its fortifications. He demonstrated his organisational skills and had the walls of Jerusalem up in 52 days. He was greatly hampered by the opposition of Sanballat, governor of Samaria. Tobiah, governor of Ammon. He divided his forces into two shifts- one to stand at arms, the other to build. In the same vein, the laudable exploits of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu have been strongly opposed by some elements who would not see any good thing in what the governor has done.No wonder, his exploits were so much endeared to the Men Ministry of the Assemblies of God, Ukaegbu Road, Aba, that they conferred him with the award of “Nehemiah of Abia” some time in the recent past. Gov.Ikpeazu is a Philosopher King as conferred on him by a Catholic clergy.
Plato opined that a Philosopher king is a ruler who possesses both a love of knowledge, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life. Such are the rulers of his Utopian City, Kallipolis. For such a community to ever come into being, philosophers (must) become kings or those now called kings (must)genuinely and adequately philosophise (The Republic, 5.473d).
What these elements have forgotten is that history has not been fair to those who oppose the collective good wishes and aspirations of their people. Traitors have suffered the same fate. They are either eliminated or abandoned after their pay masters have used them.” A traitor to his people will be a traitor forever,” they told poor David Dion, as they shoved him into the gas chamber before the end of the second world war. David Dion, the renegade Jew, thought he could buy a lifesaving friendship into the German power caste by betraying his people.
The fate of David Dion may not be familiar, but we cannot easily forget Hughes Stanford. Stanford sought to appease the Christian mission which explored the Niger areas(later Nigeria). Stanford poured invectives on Africans only to be keenly avoided by the church leaders who rightly felt that they needed diplomats, committed missionaries and lovers of humanity, not raving racist and hate- monger who would ignite African resistance to their new values. He died without a job and without a penny in the world. But this was a time some more positive colonial agents were building their career in the emerging colonies.
Joseph Goebbel, the German Nazi Party member, paid dearly for supporting an unpopular cause. Goebbel became Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister in 1933 comes to mind. By exploiting mob emotions and by employing all modern methods of propaganda Goebbels helped Hitler to power.
His work as a propagandist materially aided Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. When Hitler seized power in 1933, Goebbels was appointed Reichsminister for propaganda and national enlightenment. From then until his death, Goebbels used all media of education and communications to further Nazi propagandistic aims, instilling in the Germans the concept of their leader as a veritable god and of their destiny as the rulers of the world.
In 1938 he became a member of the Hitler cabinet council. Late in World War II, in 1944, Hitler placed him in charge of total mobilization. Unfortunately, despite Goebbel’s propaganda wizardry, Germany lost the war. On May 1, 1945, as Soviet troops were storming Berlin, Goebbels committed suicide.
What of Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), the American hero of the Revolutionary War (1775-83) who later became one of the most infamous traitors in U.S. history after he switched sides and fought for the British. Arnold was involved in several landmark battles for the US such as the capture of the British garrison Fort of Ticonderoga in 175, warding off British invasion of New York at the Battle of Chaplain. Arnold also played a crucial role in bringing about the surrender of British General John Burgoyne’s (1722-92) army at Saratoga. Unfortunately, Arnold felt he was not adequately rewarded and became a turncoat.
He entered into secret negotiations with the British, agreeing to turn over the U.S. post at West Point in return for money and a command in the British army. The plot was discovered, but Arnold escaped to British lines.
After fleeing to the enemy side, Arnold received a commission with the British army and served in several minor engagements against the Americans. After the war, which ended in victory for the Americans with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Arnold resided in England. He died in London on June 14, 1801, at age 60. The British regarded him with ambivalence, while his former countrymen despised him.
Following his death, Arnold’s memory lived on in the land of his birth, where his name became synonymous with the word “traitor”.
Abians who have taken up these negative antics by opposing the laudable efforts of Gov. Ikpeazu by incessant criticisms, even when not necessary; striving so hard to reduce the approval rate of the governor, among others, have no other option than to align with the collective efforts of Abians by supporting the good works of Gov. Ikpeazu. They should learn not to swim against the tide , lest they will be placed on the flip side of history.