For men as old as 58 and even 65 years old to run 10km, perspiring heartily and garnering approving cheers from their younger counterparts, who, it must be noted, were quite unable to keep up with their pace, there is a spirit of leadership afoot.
First, as a Governor, Obaseki could have doled out state funds to care for the orphanage. But no. He upped, kitted himself in sporting habiliments, displayed enviable gallantry for the course of 10km, and put even me to shame for thinking he would run only 6km or so.
He ran for a charitable cause — We Care Trust Fund. He did it because he genuinely cared about people, who were vulnerable and he meant to help them.
Additionally, the quintessential comrade and former governor could have chosen to enjoy the relative peace and comfort that accompanies 8 years of humble servitude to the people of that state of many ancient kingdoms, Edo State.
Rest is most enriching and delightful only after hard labour. When rest is delightful, he who has worked to deserve such rest will be empowered with the courage to make public appearances in simplicity to mingle with the people they have served and the people will gratifyingly cheer them.
In the Afemai hills of Okpekpe, they slugged it out, the one a fresh comrade and well-meaning, wise governor, the other, a seasoned comrade and accomplished, gallant former governor. Kilometre after Kilometre, they ran, forging bonds of dedication with their people in sweat.
Both men, who, yesterday, raced as one, are, of disposition and history, denizens of two different worlds. The former governor was an astute politician, climbing the rungs of governance’s arduous ladder through open struggle. He was not born with a silver spoon, but he worked extremely hard to get to where he is now in life. It was no surprise he was strong enough to finish the 10km Okpekpe Road Race.
The incumbent governor, however, is of a more different breed. He came from a relatively comfortable background. He is a technocrat, who avoids politics as much as possible.
However, of governance, both are equally progressive-minded, and yesterday, despite their differences every athlete that ran forgot their differences, which could have easily polarized them.
This was the initial aim of the Olympics games; to unite people of different tribes and backgrounds, and that is what the 10km Okpekpe race did on May 13.; that race, which two governors ran, telling a story from two different worlds.