Interview with Honourable John Godson of the Polish Parliament.
Honourable John Godson of the Polish Parliament.
– Obiora Nweke
Before BBC and other news media focused their lenses on Honourable John Godson a Nigerian that made it to the highest legislative arm of Polish Government, the Abia state born man had achieved heights that are worthy of commendation. I piously followed this interesting development and after series of phone exchanges with the distinguished father of three children, he was able to create time from his busy schedule for an interview with me. Please read extracts of his inspiring journey from the shores of Nigeria to the glittering but engaging podium of Polish law making.
Nweke: Thank you for creating time for this interview
Hon. Godson: It is my pleasure!
Nweke: Can you tell us about your background up till your coming to Europe?
Hon. Godson: I graduated from theAbiaStateUniversity inNigeria in 1992 from theCollege ofAgriculture and Veterinary Medicine. After graduation I worked for a while as a research supervisor at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) inIbadanNigeria before coming toPoland.
Nweke: You have a heavy academic dossier including two doctorate degrees and according to your profile, you also attended a seminary school. Where you going to be a priest or and are you one?
Hon. Godson: I am a life-long-learner. I believe that leaders should be first of all, learners. That is why I invest time and resources to be on the cutting edge of developments. Yes I did a Masters degree at theTrinityCollege and Seminary. It wasn’t theology though. I studied Human Resource Management and Development there.
Nweke: What inspired your decision to stay in Poland?
Hon. Godson: When I came toPoland in 1993, I thought it was only for 2 years. But after 2 years I feel this is the place God has called me to be- that is my place on earth. I travel a lot all over the world- about 30 countries in 4 continents, but there is no place I have really felt at home as in Poland.
Nweke: Have you ever experienced discrimination to the point of reviewing your decision to stay in Poland?
Hon. Godson: At the beginning of my stay inPoland- yes. I was beaten twice. But over the yearsPoland has changed and I really feel accepted and resp
Hon. Godson: There are 4 areas of interest.
i. Lodz-my city. I would want to see my 7 priorities which I have forLodzaccomplished.
ii. Innovative technology- I initiated the project “Free internet access” inLodz. I would want this project to become a norm- that all public utility buildings- schools, train stations, airports etc would provide free access to the internet.
iii. Family and social issues- especially as related to mothers returning to their careers after maternity leave and also issues related to the elderly.
iv. Promoting cooperation betweenPolandandAfrica.
Nweke: Do you have contact with legislatures from the Nigerian House of Representative and Senate?
Hon Godson: No I don’t! I am in the process of forming a Polish Nigerian parliamentary bi-lateral group in the Polish parliament. We hope that this will be reciprocated by the Nigerian parliament. (He has formed the group and presently heads the committee)
Nweke: You are originally from Abia State and left Nigeria in 1993, what is your impression of governance in Abia and Nigeria generally?
Hon. Godson: I am totally uninformed as to what is happening inAbiaState. In the 18 years I have been inPoland, I have been toNigeria twice. The picture I saw when I visited last in 2007 was that of chaos and disorder. There were accidents everywhere. There was an ever present feeling of insecurity. On the way from the East to the airport inLagos, we were way-layed by armed robbers. The roads are awful. I visited the Immigrations to renew my Nigerian passport- but the immigrations officer wanted bribe. I went to his superiors, they also wanted bribe. I decided not to renew the passport. I now travel with my Polish passport. To visitNigeria, I need to get a visa. I am really sad at the situation inNigeria. It is one of the richest nations but we have problems with true, godly and servant leadership. We lack leaders who have vision for the nation and not just for their bank accounts. The picture is really depressing.
But I hope that a new generation of leaders will emerge and really work towards liftingNigeriato its well deserved position amongst theCommonwealth of Nations. I am praying about this and it is my hope that change will come.
Nweke: What would you want to see better in the way laws are made in Nigeria especially with you as an insider in a society that respects the rule of law?
The problem with laws inNigeriais not in their making, it is in their implementation. Law enforcement inNigeriais almost inexistent. That is the place to start. The law is the law and it should be obeyed by ALL.
Nweke: Do you know of the Nigerians in the politics of UK, and other European countries and do you for see more involvement of the Nigerian Diaspora in the politics of their adopted countries?
Yes I know of a few and I have heard or read about some.
Hon. Godson: Yes I have the full support of my wife and children. It has been God’s grace.
Nweke: What is your advice to Nigerians that aspire for political positions at home and in the Diaspora?
Hon Godson: There is much I can say but let just share just a few that are helpful. Here they are:
- Leadership is about serving others. Humble yourself and serve and you shall be exalted.
- Walk in integrity- and you shall be established.
- Be faithful in small things and great things will be committed into your hand.
- Have clear and achievable goals for your community.
- Start from the grassroots. Your immediate community will be your most faithful electorate.
- Inform. Send updates to your electorate. Let them know how you are faring. I send quarterly updates and annual reports.
- Be available- through consultations, website, social profiles (facebook etc). Meet with people, get to know what their expectations and needs are. Help fulfill them.
- Finally- Seek God everyday in prayer. Ask for wisdom and guidance. Spend quality time every morning seeking for God’s face and enablement. Daily quiet time is one of the most important things every leader should engage. For me, it is between 4am and 7am everyday.
One of the deepest lessons God taught me at the very onset of my political involvement was not to defend myself when attacked and God will Himself defend me. This a difficult lesson to follow especially in politics, but I have learnt that it is really worth following.
Nweke: Thank you honourable for making out time for this interview and accept my sincere congratulation and prayer that God would continue to bless you with wisdom in the discharge of your duties.
Hon. Godson: Thank you very much for having me.
Obiora Nweke is an Associate Publisher of African Heritage Magazine and heads our Politics and Policy Desk: