By Tony Icheku 

The use of the word, 'Mayor', innocuously by   Abia State Governor Alex Otti  hinted of a departure from the old ways  in Abia's 17 LGAs. But it's the roll call of nominees as   Chairpersons for the Transition Committees for the LGAs that confirmed  the  paradigm shift.

Whether called Mayors or Chairmen, the emergence of  entrepreneurs, retired top military brass and technocrats as  heads of  the LG   Transition Committees, reveal a true picture of what the governor had in mind as the new Abia unfolds.

In times past, a former President of Nigeria Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, Chief John Udeagbala;  A retired Air Vice Marshal, AVM Chinwendu Onyike (rtd); Or  multi-millionaire businessmen like Comrade Osinachi Nwaka would not  be in the picture as  Chief Executive of a LG. The job was reserved for one of the boys. But today is a new dawn in Abia.

For  Ikwuano LGA, it's best era was when late Chief K C Ugboajah held sway as it's Executive Chairman. Elected in the General Elections of 1999, Ugboajah had the unbridled freedom granted in the 1999 Constitution to LG as autonomous, third tier in the Federal Government. Subsequent amendments to the Constitution, engineered by self-serving political class has placed all sorts of impediments and emasculated the smooth functioning of the LG.

From his body language and actions, Otti is obviously attempting to rebrand the neglected third tier of government as  driver of socio-economic development in the grassroots. Thus his choice of  tested men/women to head the LG Transition Committees is a deliberate departure from the practice of yesteryears when  run of the mill politicians,  who would see his/her appointment as settlement were  picked for the job.

From their profile, the  calibre of Otti's Mayors are pragmatists driven by results rather than business as usual show.   Perhaps, the tag:   'Otti's evangelists', captures one of their key functions - taking to the grassroots, the message of  a new LGA system that would be service-oriented, development focused,  accountable and transparent 

Seen in this light, Comrade Osinachi Nwaka's emergence as the Chairman of the Transition Committee for Ikwuano LGA continues to  elicit widespread excitement, celebration and high expectations, Comrade Nwaka, like other appointees, is  coming to the job armed with enviable professional and private sector experience and capacity.

In the old order, Nwaka would not be even be shortlisted for the job: His unwavering commitment for excellence and his dedication to prosperity for all would be a minus. That old order nourished men who were skillful in diverting the public treasury for the belly of a few. Osinachi Nwaka would not appear on the list of politicians in that old order, but today, he  probably tops the list  of the latter day saints rising to take charge of affairs in Abia

In Nigeria's contemporary political lexicon, Nwaka is an 'Obidient' - politically conscious Nigerians who yearns for a better country where there is rule of law, rather than reign of men. The Obidients   are willing to put in the necessary work to realize their dream Country.  Though the movement may have failed to enthrone Peter Obi at the Centre, but it's success in Abia was overwhelming;  Coming closer home, it's success in Ikwuano was indisputable, shooting Nwaka to the limelight as a powerbroker!

Nwaka maybe new on the partisan political turf, he remains a visionary, compassionate, focused and determined young man who has put his hands on the plow and is not looking back. He is a typical grass to grace story, whose   unyielding and resolute faith God made all the difference.

After the elections, while politicians were dismantling their so-called structures, he got busy anew knitting a structure he could use to  drive dividends of democracy through an partnership with the Gov Otti led-administration to the grassroots, thus was born the New Era Foundation, NEF - A civil society organisation to drive his philanthropy, youths  empowerment and  reach-out to the less privileged and vulnerable.

As Founder/President of NEF, Nwaka is lifting the youths, mentoring and  nurturing them to become contributing members of society. He is offering scholarships, skills acquisition opportunities, and assets for youths desiring to  establish self-sustaining livelihoods. His appointment therefore has only endorsed him for greater service!   Having already keyed into  Otti's visions and reforms, he is therefore a fitting person to drive same to the grassroots.

Nwaka, armed with an MSc in Marketing from Lagos State University, pursues  knowledge and personal development doggedly, preparing him for a day like this.  Beginning his banking career as a graduate trainee in the defunct FirstInland Bank, he quickly strode through several banking halls  excelling in  stints at Standard Chartered Bank, UBA, old Diamond Bank and rising to Branch Manager at Access Bank plc before venturing into the business world with ventures in logistics, real estate and manufacturing.

Many are the fears that Nwaka's elitist profile may not work to his advantage in the rural-agrarian Ikwuano LGA. Such fears have no roots. As a marketing guru, and entrepreneur, his  forte is proffering solutions to the knotty challenges, thus he must have a formula for resolving challenges. But the fact of the matter is that the incoming boss of Ikwuano LG is already living the rustic life through NEF.

The challenges awaiting the Mayor are multi-facted:  construction of rural markets, construction of rural roads, maternities and health centres,  youth development, community administration, community security, agricultural development, but expectations are high that he is more than a match for them all and would hit the ground running

Ikwuano LG's new chief executive is in his early forties, happily married and a devoted father to five lovely children