A popular adage, perhaps made more popular by Chinua Achebe of blessed memory, is that a chick that will grow into a cock is spotted the very day it is hatched. In 2013 when we met at Nicon Hotel in Abuja, I knew I had met someone I’d believe in.
We weren’t close then. We simply had a common ground , which is the emancipation of the MiddleBelt. I didn’t know that we were from the same place. Our meeting held at the instance of a very brilliant man, also of the MiddleBelt. We were young agitators then, boiling with the desire to free our region from the stronghold of underdevelopment.
I lived, and of course still live, in Lagos. Austin it was who spoke at the opening of the meeting which didn’t last more than 50 minutes. His speech made me have shivers down my spine. He said we all would be advanced one day to bring freedom to our people.
This is 2021. Barely 10 years from that historical statement, the youths of Kogi State’s East region comprising mainly of the Igala tribe, are all calling in him to represent the in the lower House of the National Assembly.
Austin is a man of few words. He is a man of plenty action. I have keenly kept tabs on his political journey and I know he is a material that has stood the test of time in the murky waters of Nigerian politics. A friend of the downtrodden, he has been at the forefront of youth activism in Kogi State and Nigeria. We have seen how, in consonance with others like Omoyele Sowore, DejiAdeyanju and others, his advocacy has galvanised the youths to focus on demanding for their rights.
In his native Kogi State, Okai I now a household name that evoke a cocktail of fear and envy in the mind of the dubious political mercenaries who have almost killed the state. For this cause he had been imprisoned many times, but the Nelson Mandela spirit in him won’t let him be broken.
In all of these, he has won many awards as an activist, a professional and an educationist, from home and abroad. Anytime you see his name on Facebook and suffixed with the three letters, CNA, it is not another name. It is an earned academic title. This is a man of many sides. An outstanding academic and political light.
In due course, we shall be jointly and officially marking the unveiling of Hon Okai, the icon of youthful political culture and an emblem of our struggle against internal colonialism.
I join the youths of Kogi East to call on you to come and represent us.
– Alex Agbo, a Human and Economic Development Researcher, writes from Lagos.