Human rights and change activist, development consultant, author, pastor, and politician turned 60 today, September 5. It is with pride and gratitude I can conveniently say I’m privileged to have known him.
My path and Dr. Otive (we all call him by his first name) first crossed when he represented civil society as Honourable Commissioner in the Police Service Commission from 2008 – 2013.
As a staff of the Commission, I witnessed firsthand his cerebral and principled nature in debates and the discharge of his duties. This contributed immensely to the Commission witnessing its glorious era in oversight functions of the Nigeria Police Force as well as personnel and capital/infrastructural development.
The present corporate headquarters of the Commission was built during the DIG Parry Osayande-led Board, of which he was a member. It was another decade after the expiration of the tenure of their Board that the Commission finally moved in.
The Osayande-led Board also instituted institutional reforms and employed new staff to implement them. When the tenure of the Board elapsed, he was rightly reappointed.
However, the “powers that be” that could not come to terms with his principled nature saw to his non-confirmation by the National Assembly, robbing the Commission and the nation of his expertise.
Our relationship has continued long after he left the Commission, benefitting from his deep fountain of knowledge and expertise in some of my research, as well as serving as the Book Reviewer in the Public Presentation of two of my books after he has left the Commission.
Before serving as Honourable Commissioner in the Police Service Commission, was one-time International Head of Campaigns of ActionAid International and Country Director of ActionAid International, an international organisation working with people, communities, associates, and partners in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe to eradicate poverty.
Prior to joining ActionAid, he was Programme Coordinator of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Secretary of Citizens’ Forum for Constitutional Reforms (CFCR), and lecturer at Delta State University. He recently served as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy President of the Senate in the 9th Assembly. Dr. Otive is also the Founding Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD).
Anniversaries are times for remembrance, and on your 60th birthday, one question comes to mind: What makes you so special? Let me answer the question with those endearing qualities of yours that mean so much: “You are a principled, dedicated, hardworking, and honourable man – a humanist and gentleman without parallel.”
In conclusion, I can proudly affirm that, it has always been my pleasure that I have known you, and on this occasion of your birthday, wish you and your family the best life has to offer.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND BEST WISHES DR. OTIVE! Hope your wishes and dreams always come through.
- Okoi-Uyouyo is a writer and staff of the Police Service Commission