By: Fejiro Oliver
Any individual who possesses higher intellect than the general population, is meant to be at the forefront of service to humanity – Abhijit Naskar
“CY”, his age bracket folks call him. Ageless he looks with the mien of an academic professor written all over him. Men of power do not move me neither do people of influence excite me, especially if I met them already on the ladder of enormous political power. Cyril Agbele, the Accountant General of the oil rich Delta State had it all for him when we first met in October 2014. He moved me. His humility and unassuming candor of a common man moved me.
Still fresh in my memory, I recall meeting him in the evening in my first ever political sojourn to Asaba to see my friend, Hilary Ibegbulem and Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, who was then a Senator but gunning for the number one position of Delta State. He was the third person I met in Asaba after seeing Okowa.
Fresh fish pepper soup as well as varieties of food danced on his table, with wine to take it to its resting place were before me which I devoured without mercy. Oh Yes, Cyril loves wine, red wine that is recommended for the body and soul. It soothes his bone as he works out the financial mathematics of the State, balancing the accounts and seeing to it that every answer is given to questions raised by the Governor.
I still recall those beautiful memories like yesterday. With power such as the position of Accountant General comes its woes, unending troubles recycling unless nipped in the bud fast. Cyril had his own share of it. He came into state and national prominence when he was nowhere to be found by Ex Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan few days to the swearing in of Okowa as Governor Elect. Tongues wagged that he bolted to avoid being pressured by Uduaghan to sign away last minute money for him. Which accountant worth his salt won’t abscond knowing that he dare not say no to the governor, who appointed him? He knows that most Governors have their ways in dealing with anti graft agencies but not for a civil servant like him, who may not be able to proffer answer to an act committed on a governor’s directive.
I recall speaking to the AG under Ex Gov. Rochas Okorocha where he narrated to me the challenges faced by various AGs in States and how most of them end up becoming the scapegoats over actions committed by the governors. CY will have none of this.
By this time tomorrow being April 8th 2020, Cyril Agbele will be handing over the baton as the State Accountant General to a new person. History would have been made by him as the longest serving AG since Nigeria’s independence. It takes more than grace to serve in such capacity for over ten years without blemish. Only competence and high level of trust to deal with financial issues can make three governors to allow the same person be in charge of the state’s treasury.
As Cyril bows out tomorrow from the civil service, with head high, the State Governor will do well to keep him around him within the corridors of power. I do expect that in the next cabinet shuffle, he should be among the Executive Council members, taking critical financial decisions for the state.
The State owes him millions of gratitude for steering its finance out of crisis even during the recession period. They owe him a standing ovation for not denting the image of the state in the media while his colleagues visited the anti corruption agencies like their second home.
Delta is lucky to have Cyril Agbele who like a blazing light shines in the dark, combining resilience and hard work to remain relevant in the murky water of Delta politics. His life like a book should be studied and recommended for political and financial students on how to stay above board and relevant to every powers that be. The 48 laws of power should have a full chapter written by him to make it 49 laws of power and survival if a new edition is to be written.
Almost every man of power loves women, for it calms the nerves, beautiful ones at that, curvy on every side, with bottles of wines, sweet alcoholic ones to douse the tension of the huge work men like him carries out daily. But Cyril will have none of these twin devil, that has brought men to their feet and cause them to fall from the pinnacle of grace.
Calm like the breeze from summer, slow to talk but quick in action, a promise keeper, with empathy for humanity. The Cyril I know will go to any extent to help his friends once it’s within his power. The Cyril that people do not know is not truly a millionaire as they believe but just a soul who is ready to let go his own financial pleasures for another’s happiness.
For the six years that I have known him, it cannot be said that I benefitted from his office. As a matter of fact, I stayed far from him and even caused him some troubles in the line of my duties. As Accountant General, I didn’t take papers to him to help me pay my contractor friends. The only time I did, he made it clear to me to see the governor who is a father to me to give him instruction to pay and he will. “Tell Governor na. He’s your friend. If he tells me to pay, I will pay”, he told me. Not even for me will he bend the rules. He was that disciplined.
Truth is, those he has helped all the years will turn against him. Many people that he has done favor for and spoken well about to the governor in order for them to get paid by him will backstab him. He will begin to see his true friends from this month. His eyes will open to life outside power and realize that most persons who he thought were friends and allies were foes who were with his office not his person.
Irrelevant petitions will begin to fly, while those already written and forgotten by anti graft agencies will be revisited after pressure from the petitioners. His name will be dragged innocently, with allegations and bogus sum of money attached to his name, with media trials orchestrated but as usual, it will come to nothing.
For a good man like Cyril, we will be here for you. For a jolly good fellow like CY, I will be here to watch your back, knowing that you never stained your hands nor tainted your integrity. As you drop the pen that will no longer sign the state cheque books tomorrow, we will pick up the pen of defense for you against naysayers. The life of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan should be a lesson that your worst enemy could be your best friend. Almost everyone that he empowered has all left him, while those of us who never agreed with him and were against him are currently the ones standing tall with him. Brace up for the worst but be rest assured that we will be here for you when the chips are down.
I wish you rest, a well deserved one at that, yet call to serve the state in higher capacity. The journey just began for a new race. Relax and reflect on the journey so far. You deserve it all Sir Cyril Agbele.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY). He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG Handle @kingofqueendom