The concept of servant-leadership was first proposed by Robert Greenleaf, as a theoretical framework that advocates a leader’s primary motivational role as service to others. Greenleaf was the founder of the modern Servant leadership movement and the Greenleaf Centre for Servant Leadership. According to the US born scholar, a GREAT LEADER is first seen as a SERVANT and that simple fact is the key to greatness. Thus, true leadership should emerge out of a deep- seated desire to help others first. Elder Patrick Albert, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council, on assumption of office, adopted this model of leadership and however, inculcated it into his ‘Rebirth’ administration as a means to deliver on his mandate to members of the fourth estate of the realm in Akwa Ibom.
30 months later, members of the Union in the State, can candidly confirm that Albert’s selfless concept of leadership, no doubt, has helped shape the union and little wonder his era has brought gargantuan development, such that never existed in the history of the union in the State.
It is irrefutable that the Elder Albert’s ability to transmute whatever he touched into gold would not have been possible if he was antagonistic with the powers that be. As the elders say, “if a child washes his hands he could eat with kings”, Patrick Albert, has shown through his actions and deeds that his hands are clean, little wonder the Akwa Ibom number one journalist, Patrick, is given the “VIP ticket” into any Government House in the country, with no iota of hiccup.
I was having a tete-a-tete with a top ranking public servant in the State, who however, attended last Sunday’s thanksgiving service by the NUJ and in our discussion he said what fascinated me: “That your NUJ Chairman knows his onions. What surprises me, though, is his ability to bulldoze all hiccups and presents his matter before the governor. He is always close to every government in the State beginning from the Tunde Ogbeha’s era. I think he is one Chairman of your union that has the maneuvering grace to mix with all the governors in this State since 1987”.
I decided to embark on a painstaking investigation about this enigma and why he keeps succeeding in any position he found himself. To my staggering, I discovered the secret is God. The Mount Zion Church elder preaches and practices the word of God. I observed that the verse that guides his daily activities is the book of Romans 13: 1, 2, which says; “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves”.
As a record of his respect to the powers that be, Albert has succeeded in building extraordinary legacies that cannot be ignored in the sands of time. Any good thinker could testify of the miraculous blessings the Uyo born journalist has brought to the NUJ in the State. Already, the construction of Information Drive, which before now was an eye-sore, thereby, becoming the Union’s anthem, each time journalists had an opportunity to chat with a government officials, since 1987, has now become stale, courtesy of Elder Patrick Albert’s Midas touch. This does not however, mean that other chairmen of the union were not doing anything; I can assure that they all tried in their capacities and of course, their best was all we saw.
A fortnight ago when the State Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang, visited the said road, he expressed satisfaction with the quality of job done and assured the road users; mainly journalists, that their Information Drive; will be completed weeks from now.
Frankly, time will not permit me to perfectly x-ray the superlative performance of Elder Albert, in just 30 Months in office. But, on the whole, the NUJ Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council, which has made what, seemed impossible to become possible. It would rather shock my dear readers that, at least 90 per cent of journalists in Akwa Ibom, who would be reading this piece in a laptop computer, got the said laptop free of charge from the very hands of their NUJ Chairman; Elder Patrick Albert. Again, any journalist in the State that has the GOTV decoder also got if free of charge, courtesy of the Elder Albert administration.
Till this moment, no fewer than five Chapels, who received five different brand new Toyota Hiace Buses, from the State Government, courtesy of the State NUJ boss, are still ‘firing’ prayers to God to bless Elder Patrick Albert, for ameliorating their hitherto years of mobility challenges. I am told the prayers of the five chapels has moved the Chairman to swing into action and see how he can get more buses to the remaining chapels, as well as laptops and IPads for members who are yet to have one. Now, let’s take a walk to the press centre which was completed and inaugurated in 2005, by the then State Chairman of the Union, Comrade Israel Umoh. The reality on ground at the moment is that the heavily-built-yet-soft-spoken Patrick, upon assumption of office, had embarked on an aggressive renovation, and re-equipping of offices with modern facilities. In fact, where there was no office at all, he made one and where the existing office was an eyesore, he refurbished. Within two months in office, Elder Albert had fenced round the entire 1.409 hectres of land in the NUJ Press centre, built a unique twin gate house with modern facilities and completed it with painting as well as good lighting system.
Also, within his 60 days in office, the Press Centre which was quiet and lonely like the ‘cemetery’ could boast of two gigantic sound proof generating sets 60KVA and a 150KVA. Till date, those sets are used daily to power the centre in the absence of public power supply. Journalists in the State could also recall that since the Press Centre was constructed, up until two years ago, there was no conducive office space for the State Secretary of the Union, whose duties include (but not limited to) keeping vital documents of the Union. Today, a visit to that office, which was created by Elder Albert, depicts one of the offices in Government House. The Chairman did not stop there, he also equipped his office with modern gadgets such as split unit air conditioner, LED Television, refrigerator, new and modern sets of executive chairs and tables including multiple set of visitors’ chairs, tilling along other equipment. Similar things are also duplicated in the office of the State Secretary. The mini conference hall on the first floor of the Press Centre and the main conference hall on the ground floor, all have been given face lift as assorted chairs, round-table arrangement for conferences and meetings, split unit air conditioners to their capacities are all mounted with corresponding lights installed and other facilities to meet the 21st century use.
Another stroke of genius of Elder Patrick Albert is “the Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem NUJ ICT centre”, which has become a media resource hub for members and other members of the society to access information. The ICT centre which is fully equipped with modern equipment also has WIFI network for anyone who is within the ambience of the Press Centre.
To the credit of the can-do Chairman is a Viewing Centre which has two giant size television screens, well-equipped rooms with about one hundred (100) sitting capacity. The wonders performing Albert had also within these 30 months gave to Akwa Ibom journalists, a state-of-the-art relaxation spur, called “The Mini Club House”. This edifice has about 300 sitting capacity (both internal and external) sitting arrangement, and had since been put to use by members who have events like birthdays and other important meetings. Work at the yet to be inaugurated “Godswill Akpabio International Press Centre”; a gigantic two-storey building, has reached the roofing stage. On completion, all NUJ offices would be relocated there and will house about 300 sitting capacity ICT Centre, including other affiliate bodies of the NUJ such as NAWOJ (Nigeria Association of Women Journalists); SWAN (Sports Writers Association of Nigeria), among others.
What’s more! But, in all these, yours truly is not trying to paint Elder Patrick Albert as a saint without any flaws. Just like you, saint reader, Patrick has his own shortcomings too; after all to err is only human.
But, juxtaposing the over two decade achievements of previous administrations as well as the gargantuan, unmatched and superlative feats recorded by Elder Patrick Albert Okon in less than three years as the Chairman, NUJ, Akwa Ibom State council, any good thinker would however, align with a known ‘devil’, than any self-tagged ‘angel’ who may be power drunk once he/she gets into office. It is however, true that tears and water might look alike but the difference is in their taste. My boss’ and mentors, stakeholders and Gentlemen, now, that God has given us water, may we not seek tears. Oh yes, the choice is yours!
NYONG writes from Uyo. SMS: 0802-287-8104.