Let’s strike the nail on the head. Most of us, if not all, think of paved roads, sky crappers, street lights, access roads connecting towns and streets, railways dotting the landscape, social beauties with bioluminescent pools, with hues that tickle our fancies at the hearing of development. How many of us factor in human beings as core to development? Have we ever paused to ask whether critical thinking or quality of thought is the greatest indicator of development? 

Hon. Ojema Ojotu

It was Guzman, in 2011, who defined development as “The accumulation of human capital and its effective investment in the progress of an economy.” 

The central thrust of this definition is “Human capital,” which leads us to the natural question of: What is human capital? Todaro seemed to have raised his hand to answer this question in advance when, in 1989, he viewed human capital to be: “Productive investments embodied in human beings.”  These investments could be knowledge or skills, and these enhance the quality of thinking, employability, good followership and leadership. In turn, the quality of human beings impacts the economy, spiralling into physical infrastructures. 

This is Ojema’s conception of development –to first of all, repair the traditional thinking that has held us down for years, arm us with the right knowledge and skills that would prepare us for the future, secure in the knowledge that the economy will be better for it. I cite instances.

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In an interview with Hon Ojotu Ojema, I posed a question: “Almost everyone holds that politics is a dirty game. How do you find a balance between your calling as a pastor and the murky waters of politics?”

Hon Ojema: “It is false to claim politics is a dirty game. It’s the people who are dirty. If a dirty person enters politics, he plays it in a dirty way. Similarly, if a clean person enters politics, he plays it in a clean way. It’s who we are that is reflected in politics. If more and more people with the right knowledge and integrity go into politics, the culture of politics will change.” 

Hon Ojema went further to recount stories of how he was able to maintain his integrity amidst a litany of options to compromise, and I must add immediately that his victory answered to his honesty, sense of purpose and integrity as granted by the Almighty God! How integrity was able to win over wealth should be the 8th wonder of the world. 

“One thing you can’t find me doing is to tell lies,” he submitted. 

What Hon Ojema seems to be telling the people he is privileged to lead is the relevance of honesty and integrity in inspiring the constituents, believing these virtues will impact other phases of life.  Too, this communicates, to me, the greatest message of politics without bloodshed as championed by Mao Tse Tung. It’s when we play the politics of ideas, not of division, that we can guarantee peace in our society.

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On his plans for the youth, Hon Ojotu Ojema had this to say: “I want the youth to, first and foremost, believe in themselves; that they’re the leaders of tomorrow and that tomorrow is now. With this mind frame, opportunities and skills will be provided to give expressions to their dreams. We will use lobbying and legislative business to place our youths in strategic positions.”

His recent appointment of Media Aide and Assistants give flesh to his claim, as the beneficiaries of the appointments are all youths.  His advocacy to enthrone youthful leaders for the 10th National Assembly adds teeth to this.

“Our leaders before, during and after independence were in their 20s and 30s, and they led the nation with knowledge and confidence. Why can’t the youth of this generation do so? It’s time to change that narrative,” Hon Ojema posited.

If the youth can be considered for any appointment, it presupposes that they should be ready, and continue to invest in themselves by studying and acquiring skills, for success results from the intercourse between preparation and opportunity. Our society will be better for it.

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On the 9th of July, 2023,  Hon Ojema attended the meeting of Agatu Development Association (ADA). He diagnosed internal division and hatred as clogs in the wheel of our development. He clearly demonstrated how pull-him-down syndrome has stifled the progress of the constituency in the politics of Benue South. His solutions were topnotch–let us unite for a common purpose.

To me, this is the kernel of leadership –mental restructuring, preparatory for a jet-like takeoff. 

Dear constituents, I invite us to share in Hon Ojema’s conception of development. While he lobbies to attract physical infrastructures to our constituency and uses his legislative instrument to amplify our voices in the Green Chamber, let’s watch his body language that seems to communicate that human capital, peace, integrity, honesty, politics of ideas and unity are key to our progress.

“The world needs leaders who can disrupt established thinking and spark a revolution of ideas and change.” – Elon Musk. Hon Ojotu Ojema fits into this league of leaders! We move! 

Ojila Yahaya Monday

Media Assistant to Hon Ojotu Ojema

Member Representing Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency

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