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Otti: Empathy as a mark of leadership

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The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power – Marcus Brutus, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

I couldn’t be a Machiavellian. I hated this statement and others by Niccolo Machiavelli: “A promise is the necessity of the situation and broken promise, the necessity of the after situation”. I am also not a student of Robert Greene. After reading and studying his 48 Laws of Power over and over again, I dropped it into the cesspit because it elevated treachery to a statecraft. I believe that a leader should be a man of remorse and empathy.

Give it to Governor Alex Otti. He has proven to be a man of remorse and empathy. Literary analysts identify “remorse” in Brutus’ statement as conveying a body of meanings like compassion, empathy, humane, kindness, love, benevolence, rapport. Or what we describe, in the local parlance, as “having a human feeling”. I have seen our Governor consistently display these attributes and take up the personality of a responsive leader.

A day after a part of the Timber Market in Ehere, Aba was gutted by fire in April, Otti came in person to sympathise with the victims of the fire disaster. He made a promise to offer some palliatives to cushion the effect of their loss. Few days after, exactly on 23 April, the governor fulfilled his promise and extended financial assistance to all the victims and set up a machinery for the rebuilding and upgrading of the market.

Again, when the news of the disappearance of three kids of one parents at Ikwuano Umuahia broke out, Otti inspired the security measures that went after the abductors and the search continued up to Ekwuluobia in Anambra and Warri in Delta State until the three siblings were rescued. He showed sympathy to the family as the search lasted and later received them and the community leaders at his Nvosi country home.

Asa Development Union, the apex socio-cultural organization in the Ukwa West Local Government recently passed a vote of confidence on Governor Otti and two of the impressive incidents cited by the Union related to the Governor’s show of empathy. The Asa people identified the Governor’s immediate response to an emergency call on him to intervene when a building collapsed in their Obingwu community, and the Governor’s show of empathy concerning the death of one miss Ochieze Ogbonna from Umuahala Village in Ukwa West at the Inner Galaxy Steel Company. The people say they received the necessary attention from the Governor when these incidents were brought to his attention.

Kudos must also go to the Governor over the way he has managed the 30 May dastardly killing of five soldiers at Obikabia junction in Aba. Through a genuine show of empathy, the Governor has been able to assuage the Army and control a volatile situation that would have escalated and generated into more tension. The Governor has also managed the wives and families of the victims through personal visitations, donations and scholarship awards. He also adopted them as “families of the government”.

There are several other cases where the Governor has applied himself to the feelings of the people and took actions to ameliorate their pains. He took up a human nature and put himself in their conditions. I believe that a leader should be a man of his words, a man of remorse and empathy. Empathy makes us better humans.

Otti has shown proof to be a man of empathy and this is a credit.

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