By JOHNSON EBIGIDE
Among the Africans, the Iroko tree is revered, not because of its flourishing growth, but the mystery surrounding its existence. It is a tree sparsely seen in the most densed forests, including the evergreen rainforest.
Like the Phoenix that lives once in a life time, the Iroko has the quintessential, oracular command of some nativities in Africa, so much so that it is worshipped as a deity.
Such is also the awesome bearing of some humans, warranting them being metaphorically addressed as the Iroko because, like the mysterious ancient tree that shields every tree under it from shriveling, such humans are the armour against the impoverishment of those that come across them in life.
In Delta State, particularly in the sleepy Town of Otolokpo in Ika North East Local Government Area of the state, an Iroko sprouted in human form and has, like the tiny mustered seed, grown to recognition, so much so that Otolokpo has become a reference point in the political equation of not only the politics of the locality and the state, but in Nigeria as a nation.
The human Iroko is Eugene Azuka Uzum Esq. Uzum, not only appeared in the political landscape of the state with a humble beginning, but has grown in bounds as a leader with formidable followers of not only youths, but the elderly who have seen the radiating capacity in him.
A former Special Assistant (SA) to the then Minister of Mines and Steels, Professor Leslie Obiora, in the Obasanjo Administration, Uzum was first appointed as the SA on Orientation to Governor OKowa in 2015 and elevated to the position of the Executive Assistant to the governor on Orientation with the creation of the then Directorate of Orientation in the state. He was also appointed as the Director-General of the state Orientation Bureau by Governor OKowa upon securing a second term as the state governor. And only recently, Uzum’s quintessential glowed so much so that it be glaring to elevate him once more to a higher political pedestal in the state. He was appointed and sworn in as the Special Adviser to the governor on Orientation. It was a case of the golden fish not having a hiding place in a shallow river !
Apart from his intrinsic humanistic uplifting of many that fell under despondency, Uzum has positively turned around the fortune of most Deltans and residents in Delta State through inspirational mental reordering of the socio-political and cultural imbalances in the state, warranting his invitations from the neighbouring states and even from far away Sierra Leone to orchestrate his magic wand in mental reorientation of the people.
A lawyer by training with an indepth journalistic knowledge of information and communications management, Uzum is happily married with blosoming children.
As he marks his birth anniversary today, Wednesday, January 11, 2023, we wish him greater recognitions and uplifting. We pray God to continue to bless him with excellent health, financial breakthroughs and the enabling environment to enhance the actualisation of his burning desire to lift humanity from despondency.