Edward Onoja; A Man and Half 

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Some weeks back, when the door for purchase of the All Progressive Congress (APC) nomination and expression of interest forms for the Kogi State Gubernatorial election was opened —a lot of people were eager to see a particular outstanding public servant pick up the form. Many people were thrown into suspense, including those in the ruling party and the opposition.  

This situation gave me a reason to ask myself some puzzling questions —why is everyone interested in this man? What is special about him picking up the form? Are the people not satisfied with the set of people that have shown interest already? So many questions were running through my mind as many people across Kogi state keeps calling my phone to share their concerns. 

I was forced to evaluate Chief Edward David Onoja’s political activities and leadership style which made him outstanding amongst the rest and also the most misunderstood. I think the leadership approach he has adopted over the years makes him the centre of attraction for all kogites and also his unique brand as a person. 

Chief Edward Onoja’s leadership style is built on love, a forgiving heart, and above all, an unflinching loyalty to his principal, Governor Yahaya Bello. You will agree with me, these are essential qualities needed in a genuine leader with a strong purpose of intention.

CEDO is indeed a man and a half —A friend once told me how he spent years attacking Chief Edward David on social media because of the long face-off between ASUU and Kogi state government as at then. One day he was in dire need. He had just gained admission into the Nigerian school of law and needed to pay his school fees before the deadline. There was no hope in sight, having exhausted all avenues at his disposal.  He reluctantly picked up his phone and messaged CEDO on WhatsApp telling him about his predicament. He said he was shocked to receive a reply from him asking for his bank account details and paid for his school fees afterward. This singular act of kindness and forgiveness changed the young man’s mindset about life. He said learned a great lesson of forgiveness from him. 

Everyone I have met, irrespective of whatever impression they were given to understand about him always has some unique attribute of him they often admit they love. One thing has remained constant in all the stories I’ve heard about him —he always has a way of disabusing the mind of his haters with love. 

This piece is not meant to shower unnecessary accolades on him but to holistically analyze the brand called CEDO and why he is the center of attraction. CEDO makes things work with his go-getter mindset. He has remained consistent with his loyalty to the Governor, he is one of the people I have seen demonstrate loyalty effortlessly. When the governor gives an assignment, he doesn’t rest until it gets done and seen to the end. If you want to know what CEDO wants —ask what GYB wants. That’s how much he keyed into the aspiration of his principal. Indeed, a man like Chief Edward David Onoja deserves to be given a chance to replicate his loyalty to his boss to kogites by allowing him to lead the Kogi state. I am more than convinced he will strive to please kogites and not betray the trust his boss bestowed on him.

– Aliyu Mahmud Amoto writes from Lokoja.

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