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NEXT-LEVEL TEAM: MAKING A CASE FOR CHIEF DON ETIEBET BY PETER EFFIONG

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Chief Don Etiebet
Chief Don Etiebet

Since the swearing in a President Mohammadu Buhari Next Level Administration on May 29, 2019, there has been palpable anxiety among the members of the ruling party and Nigerians as to when the Next Level team would be assembled and who and who should be in the team.

While some school of thoughts put up a strong case for men and women who worked assiduously for the success of the party at the poll, another school of thought makes a strong case for technocrats with long experience.

There is another school of thought who believe that those to be chosen must be those that have made solid contributions to the country in the past and are prepared to do same again if given the opportunity. While the last group, makes a case for people with good reputation and who are incorruptible to match the persona of the president

In picking the gaulent to make a case for the inclusion of Chief Don Etiebet, the writer sees the quintessential politician, technocrat, visionary leader and bridge builder satisfying the criteria of all the schools of thought providing guideline as to those to be appointed by the president, into his Next Level administration.

As for the school of thought that threw up issue of party men and women having the right of first refusal vis-a-vis political appointments, the man to embrace and lionise is Don Etiebet who was a foundation member in the former ANPP that became one of the party that merged to form APC. Chief Etiebet not only being as constant as the Northern star in the ruling party, has always thrown his weight to the success of the party.

Even when political appointments eluded the Anang High Chief in President Mohamadu Buhari’s first Democratic outing, his fidelity to the party was iron-clad, a political behaviour that is a rarity in our clime as politicians jump out of a political party as soon as their aspirations are not met in such a party.

As for the school of thought looking for those that have made contributions to the country in the past and are ready to replicate such, if given a chance in the next administration team, the man with the midas touch, Chief Etiebet should be the obvious choice.

For a man who established the first indigenous maintenance and training, as well as development of applications for hardware and software in the year 1992, who will dismiss such a contribution to national development? The company OBODEX also employed so many Nigerians, who would have ended up in the labour market.

A petroleum minister under general Sani Abacha military government, Chief Etiebet did excellently well and was able to see to the realization of the NLNG, the Liquidified gas company at Onne in Rivers state, that is helping our economy in terms of contributions. Chief Etiebet has also been involved in a lot of policy formulation and implementation in the country for a very long time. For the records he was a member of National Research Council of Nigeria 1974-1977, member of governing Council, College of Technology, Calabar, Cross Rivers State, 1976-1979, Chairman of the management Board of Inter-governmental Bureau of Informatics ( IBI), and member of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) 1993.

If the government is to be swayed by the logic of the school of thought looking for people with track record of performance in private and public life, which has rubbed-off on our national life, Chief Don Etiebet stands tall in both schools of thought.

As for those in search of people with impeccable reputation that synchronizes with the persona of the President, Chief Etiebet is the last bus-stop. For a man to be a one time Petroleum minister without an oil well to himself or any form of financial scandal associated with him, such a fellow deserves to be in the public space for more of such values.

The cherished values evinced by Chief Etiebet could be the reason why professor Pat Utomi, Centre for valued Leadership (CVL) had to organize a Colloquium on September 28, 2017 for this great mentor, business tycoon, politician and nation builder per excellence.

As Robert Green, the author of 48 laws of power opines “so much depends on reputation – guard it with your life”. The writer rests his case for Chief Etiebet by saying “let his reputation speak for him”, as the President picks his team.

Effiong is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.

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