May 17, 2022

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My Grand Father’s Advice Prepared Me For Leadership Position -Senator Onor

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It is February 14, the birthday of Senator Sandy Onor. In this special commemorative interview, the senator who is now angling to become the next governor of Cross River State, speaks on lessons he has learnt for the past 56 years and also talks about people’s errors of perception about him.

Excerpts: 

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How does it feel to be 56?
Well, I feel young, and I feel mature. Like they say, from 50 you are a young old man. So, that’s exactly how I feel and I’m very thankful to God. My state of health is very good for somebody of my age, my burst of happiness is constant, my optimism has even graduated to higher levels and my faith in God rock solid. So, I’m generally glad, and happy and excited for what God has been able to do for me for this past 56 years.

What lessons have you learnt about life?
Do your best, put in your all, show yourself approved; physically, intellectually, morally, emotionally and spiritually.
Don’t be shy about what you want. Whatever you want, prayerfully seek the face of God and if you have the promptings, then for God’s sake dare. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I’ve also learnt to be open to the silent but very important voice of God, for guidance, for protection, because the hearts of men, like the Bible says, is desperately wicked and deceitful, So, you need God’s protection, you need that discernment from God to be able to go through the mind field that life represents.

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Treat men kindly, love your neighbour as you love yourself, be bold, be honest and if you are in politics, think of the good of the generality of the people.
Also, be humble because the Bible says that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. All those who have refused to acknowledge this fact, end up destroyed physically and spiritually. Above all, be generally kind to the society and fear God

Growing up, how was it like, and what were the things your father taught you that may have helped to change, shape your life?
I will first start with my grandfather. My grandfather, I used to go to the cocoa plantation to be with him. Our people in Idum are largely cocoa farmers, and they have cocoa plantations, they have houses there. So, I used to go stay with him and then one day, in fact, he started asking me to go sleep with him on the same bed, as he put it, ‘come sleep with me so that you will hear my smell.’ That’s how he put it, so that when I talk to you, you would know that I mean everything I say. So, one day he woke me up and said, there are a couple of things I would say to you. I will tell you two of them and leave one (laughs).

The one thing he said is, don’t chase money too much; money is good but it’s not everything. When you run after money too much, chances are that you will jump over money and just be running. So, even when you like money, money is good for everybody, be modest about the way you go after money. That’s the one thing.

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The second thing is, never you ever think of serving any god other than God himself. There is no power that is as massive as the power of God. Stay clean and true to God. For me, this second one was particularly intriguing because this my grandfather was an Mgbe Chief. Mgbe is what the Efik people call Ekpe and he never really used to go to church, but it was his brother who got converted to Christianity and became the first catechist of the catholic church in my community. This his other brother’s name is Daniel, he became converted and was baptized as Daniel. He talked to me and said that that God, that God that that his brother, that my grand uncle worshipped, that God, I should face only that God and nothing more. That was the second thing he said, the third thing is for my consumption, (laughs).

Okay, so, having reached 56 years, what more of you do you think society has not seen, that society would need to see?
Well, I think society has seen a chunk of who I am and that is why I am very confident asking for the governorship of my state and I believe that the governorship will put me in a pedestal where people, many more people, will know me for who I am: the essential Sandy, what I mean for our people, their unity as a people for which I’m very passionate, our endowments as a people and what governance should look like. I want to bequeath a school of governance by the time I leave because I like people not just to follow me and admire the qualities that I have. I want them to imbibe and I want these qualities to be universally broadcast in such a way that people will know that there are certain standards for leadership and if I’m able to do that, I will be very delighted.

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What is it that people don’t know about you at 56?
Some people, for their own selfish reasons, like to misrepresent who I am. They like to say for instance, that I am very arrogant, I am a proud person and I keep saying to people that there is a thin dividing line between supreme confidence and arrogance or pride. So if you are not with me for your own selfish political reasons, you are more likely to sell me to people as arrogant, because I say it as it is. I’m bold and my convictions are sure and strong and God has given me capacity to express same in a way and manner that is total, complete and thorough. So, people who don’t like me will like to say so. But as I said to you, pride is the last thing in my mind. It’s pride that drove archangel Micheal from Heaven, it’s pride that made Nebuchadnezzar transform and he did transmogrify from a proper human being, a king to an animal for seven years in the bush. God hates pride and I have made the point every time that I had to speak. He resists the proud. I don’t want God to resist me. He give grace to the humble. I love the grace of God. So, I’m not proud at all but you know some people, they also like you to appear timid and look timid and showcase yourself as unsure. That’s not me, The Bible says that we should be bold because our Lord himself is the lion of the tribe of Judah.

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