Our personality of the week is Rev. Philip Ifeanyichukwu Enyali, the first Ika/Anioma person who broke the record to attain the position, Secretary of the National Public Complaints Commission, Abuja.
CAN WE MEET YOU, SIR?
I am Rev. Philip Ifeanyichukwu Enyali from Okpe Quarters in Abavo Kingdom, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State. I was born on November 24, 1962, into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Uche Enyali and raised in Abavo.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PARENTAGE.
I am the second child and the first son of Mr. Jacob Uche Enyali and Mrs. Cecilia Etunim Enyali, nee Nwaide of blessed memories. My father was known for his intelligence and he was nicknamed Akowe (a prolific writer) because of his ability to read and write. Educationally, my father ended up a Standard Six holder because of the quest for him to get married as the only child. His schoolmates who went further in their education, ended up becoming school teachers. My father later became a provision merchant, a trade which took him as far as to Sapele to buy goods to sell. My mother, Mrs. Cecilia Etunim Enyali who gave up the ghost when we were too young, assisted my father in his farm work and both of them were successful farmers. Indeed, she was a tough woman whose struggles cannot easily be forgotten.
COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EARLY DAYS AND EDUCATION?
I began my elementary education at St. Patrick’s Catholic School, Azuowa in Abavo now Azuowa Primary School, Abavo from 1967-1972; thereafter I proceeded to the then Abavo Grammar School, now St. Charles College, Abavo between 1973 and1978. I followed my late father’s footsteps, and I did very well in my secondary education and graduated with Division 1. After, I secured a teaching appointment with the Orhionmwon Divisional Education Board, Abudu where I was posted to teach at Urhonigbe Grammar School, Urhonigbe in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
In my quest for more knowledge, in 1979, I gained admission into the University of Calabar to study Sociology and graduated in 1983 with a Second-Class Upper Division degree and I had my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Ogun State. Thereafter, I got another job appointment as a teacher, and I taught in Ondo State between 1985 and 1988.
It was in August 1988 that I got employed into the services of the Public Complaints Commission as an Investigation Officer grade II. Educationally, I never relented; I also studied to obtain the Graduate Certificate from the Chartered Institute of Personal Management of Nigeria. I also have a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Benin, Edo State. From the same University of Benin, I had my Master’s Degree (M.Sc.) in Public Administration in 1995.
I have enjoyed series of divine favor in life. I rose through the ranks from Investigation Officer Grade II level eight (8) of the Public Complaints Commission to become a Director of the investigation in grade level seventeen (17). Also, with the intervention of God, I attained the peak position as Secretary, National Public Complaints Commission, Abuja on the 2nd of November 2021. I served barley one year in that position, and according to the public service rules age was against me and I retired.
FROM WHAT YOU HAVE TOLD US, WHAT WOULD YOU ATTRIBUTE TO YOUR SUCCESS STORY AT THE PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION?
It was hard work, dedication, and uprightness; as a youth. I did not relent but continued to struggle to move to the top. By God’s mercy and favor, I have broken the record as the first Ika and Anioma man to have risen to attain the position Secretary of the Public Complaints Commission. Also, I am the first person from Delta State by rank to have risen to the position because the first Deltan who attained the position was by appointment during the Military rule.
COMING BACK TO YOUR DAYS AS A TEACHER, WOULD YOU CONSIDER EDUCATION A SCAM AS SOME MODERN-DAY YOUTHS BELIEVE?
Education is never a scam because it is what has made people like me to see the light the of day. Impatience in life is the worst syndrome facing the present day youths in their quest to make money quickly without struggle, thereby failing to understand that money is something we will continue to look for until death comes. Patience in life made me to undergo the educational career and that patience has brought me recognition (fame) and favor. The so-called internet fraud will not last forever. Also, many who made their money through frond have mismanaged and misused it for lack of education.
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE FALLING STANDARD OF EDUCATION WHEN COMPARED WITH YOUR TIME?
Unseriousness to academic work. In our time, we saw the need for education and that is the reason why a sound standard six holder of the old education is far better than many university graduates of today. Even though we went to school and returned to do farm work to assist our parents, we were very serious with our academic work, and our parents will always encourage us to read our book after the day’s activity.
But these days, distraction from television, telephone (GSM), and peer group influence has led to unseriousness in academic work its a major challenge despite cautions from parents.
In all, the standard of education has not fallen but our pattern of learning has fallen. In our time, we learn to remember and not just to pass examinations. Examination malpractice is another major syndrome that has compelled students to lose reading interest and many parents have contributed to it by encouraging their children to leave their present school to go to another school tagged “miracle examinational center”. This category of parents backs up their children with exam malpractice to pass.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT IN REVIVING THE STANDARD OF EDUCATION?
Sincerely, our government is neither short of eggheads nor have good plans to succeed, but implementation is a big problem especially when it is not favorable to the powers that be. The education we received in our time was tailored towards government employment; a mentality that has made many children and parents lose interest because of the alarming unemployment rate of university graduates.
However, these days about nowadays education is the introduction of skill acquisition knowledge which when taken with all seriousness can establish the beneficiaries and the quest for government jobs will become optional.
The early we realize that government is not the driver of the economy, the better for us. Government’s responsibility is to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The skill acquisition education is something we missed in our time and many of us are now engaging in different skills to add to our salaries to feed well and meet every other expenses.
The POS business is becoming a pole-to-pole establishment in Orogodo metropolis and I wonder if people are forgetting that there are other lucrative businesses that one can still engage in to do well. There is no doubt that laziness has made some to engage in one-line of business
Also, it will interest you to know that unemployment is not only peculiar to Nigeria. The ongoing recession is affecting every economy of the world. Without mincing words, what is paramount to Nigerians is the search for greener pastures for livelihood. The unemployment rate is very noticeable and alarming in Nigeria because the government lacks the plan (Social Security) to cater for the unemployed people which is the reverse is in other countries including the USA where we think that they do not have unemployed people. The monthly social security benefit has been made enough to provide for the citizens with their basic needs.
I will say that Nigeria has not had a good government (leaders) that is responsible for the needs of its people. Government leadership in Nigeria is seen as an opportunity to help myself first, myself second, my family third, and every other concerned relative.
For me, leadership is a call for service. A leader should be someone prepared to take poison first before giving it to someone else. A leader is equally someone prepared to give milk to their people to their satisfaction before remembering himself. These attributes of a good leader are the reverse in the Nigerian system of government.
Government political leadership, power intoxication in the name of Honourable, or whatever, have made many to lose their sense of moral and reasoning of the good and bad.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION STANDS FOR?
Public Complaints Commission is the Nigeria variant of the International Ombudsman Institution. Simply put, it is a body appointed to speak for the aggrieved or the voiceless, especially those whose rights have been trampled upon by the government, non-governmental organizations, or individuals to get the required justice no matter how long it will take.
It is an impartial body and the last hope for the common man who has been unfairly treated. With the Public Complaints Commission, justice is assured.
ARE YOU A POLITICIAN?
For now, I am not a politician because I am not a card-carrying member of any political party, but only watching from afar and studying the political parties to know the one to belong to. The fact that we are all political animals with the interest of choice of a political party to incline. Sincerely, I wonder if I can fit into politicking because I cannot see white and call it black.
HOW CAN YOU ASSESS THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT BUHARI?
The parable of the blind men and the elephant is a clear assessment of President Buhari’s administration. Those favored by the administration will say it is the best thing to have happened to Nigerians. But to those at the receiving end, whose interest has been jeopardized by the policies of the present administration, will say it is zero and the worst government ever.
But generally, Nigerians complaints a lot without action for correction. It is important to note that the prevailing hardship is not also peculiar to Nigerians. An oil-producing country sometime late last year was protesting its increase in fuel pump price which is three times what we buy in Nigeria.
One thing is that we are not patriotic because of the politics of bitterness over power tussle of which political party to head the country, and the refusal of the rival party that loses to support the winning party to succeed. By this, the non-ruling party will continue to encourage the Pull Him Down syndrome. This is the simple reason why Nigeria is not moving forward as it ought to be. Pull Him Down syndrome, the bane of Nigerian politics.
The deceit among Nigerian leaders is uncalled for because those criticizing one party or the other were once members of the same political party. But once they are not favored, the Pull-Down syndrome becomes their next option.
In all, I want to thank God that I have worked with the government and successfully retired, President Buhari has not done badly because I have not been owed my salary. What we need is for all to be patriotic Nigerians irrespective of politics, to grow to forgo our selfish interest.
IN YOUR EFFORT, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO AFFECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF ABAVO?
I have served not only for the interest of my Abavo people but to many I have met. Indeed, it was fantastic working at the Public Complaints Commission. Being able to resolve individual complaint brought before me and to put a smile on the person’s face gives me endless joy because that it is only the complainant that is suffering from it. For example, a breadwinner who is unjustly sacked from his job and with our efforts his job is reinstated will not only be happy but many depending on him for their survival will also be happy.
I have nothing to regret about working with the Public Complaints Commission. With my efforts, many have gained employment and if the opportunity comes again, I will help someone to get a job. In no small measure, with my wealth of experience, I am instrumental to many in decision-making, even from my Abavo community.
WHAT MESSAGE WILL YOU BE SENDING TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION?
With the Public Complaints Commission, many are getting justice. One thing about Nigerians is that we are always too much in hurry for everything. With the Public Complaints Commission, the complainant needs to be patient enough for the commission to critically examine the matter for justice. Also, bear in mind that if you are coming to the commission, you must come with a clean hand because we equally have an act that punishes the complainant that lies. We go to any length to get justice even if it means taking the defendant to the court.
HAVING RISEN TO THE PINNACLE OF YOUR CARIA BEFORE RETIREMENT, SIR, WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE FULFILLED?
I am a fulfilled man who will forever remain grateful to God for his blessings upon me and my household. Just as I said earlier, I have no regret in life because God has favoured me so much. I am happily married to my beloved and wonderful wife, Mrs. Juliet Enyali with children. They have been a source of joy to me, and thanks to God for their lives.
So, what is the secret of your success story that many who worked under you who attended your thanksgiving wish that you could be reappointed to head them over again, most importantly because of your exceptional humility?
One greatest thing in life is to learn to treat your fellow human beings the way it will please God and mankind. It will interest you to know that I served as a leader and not a boss. I see God first in everything I do and I like to do things that will please Him.
If given another opportunity to serve, I will remain who I am by leading rightly.
HAVE YOU BEEN HONOURED IN APPRECIATION OF YOUR GOOD WORKS?
Many who appreciate my good work unknown to me have continued to honor me with awards. Recently the Frontliners Club of Umunede honored me with an award.
DO YOU HAVE ROLE MODEL (S)?
My first role model is Jesus Christ who has continued to direct my path. I admire people who pass through society and make an impact leaving their footprint in the sands of time for positive things. I look up to the Pioneer Chief Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission of blessed memory, Maitama Sule from Kano State, my pastor with Assemblies of God Church, Abuja, Rev. Emeka Eze, and many whose lives have challenged me.
SEE ALSO: DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY IN IKA CULTURE BY ONYEKPEZE
DO YOU HAVE BEST AND WORST MOMENTS?
I have lived never to regret any action I took even if it backfires. So, therefore, I can never record having any worst moment because I take life the way it is. But my best moments have always been my ability to give complainants while in service the required vindication.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE IKA FOOD?
As a traditional Ika man, my wife knows that I have love for Pounded yam with either Egusi or Ujuju soup prepared with cow, goat, or chicken meat and stockfish. In all, I am mindful of what I eat to maintain good health condition.
HOW DO YOU RELAX?
Reading old newspapers to refresh my memory and being abreast of happenings around and taking a walk.
WHAT ARE YOUR LIKES AND DISLIKES?
I dislike dishonest persons who continue to propagate falsehood, be it my parents or children. If you must be my friend, you must maintain integrity.
WHAT LEGACIES WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEAVE BEHIND?
Legacy of uprightness.
FINALLY, WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO IKA YOUTHS?
That hard work pays. They should flee from what I called the evil of get-rich-quick syndrome to say I have arrived. Riding the most expensive car and having a fat bank account are never signs of arrival in life. While growing up as a child and a youth, Ika people were known for working hard. So, every Ika youth must think twice about the alarming quest to get rich quickly without struggle. I will also want to encourage them to embrace skills to become somebody in life. It is so painful that many Nigerians abroad are seen as fraudsters because of the evil Nigerian youths commit to make money, hence they are now rejecting Nigerians for visas and some of our youths have to travel to Ghana to claim Ghanaian citizenship to be able to travel their country of choice.