Betta Edu, a trailblazer is at 35, Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. She was before then the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, the National Women Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), the feat she achieved by defeating her opponent by 2,662 to 117 votes at the APC National convention of March 2022. She then became the Special Adviser, Women Affairs, the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Committee and went on to mobilise women all across the country in their millions to vote for the ticket.
Of course by the nature of our party patronage system where politicians share spoils of war after victory, many Nigerians will readily conclude she secured her position in President Tinubu’s cabinet on account of her contributions. But such assumption is far-fetched. And it is not that Edu herself was any less confused. While she was convinced her appointment as a minister at 35, was a miracle from God, she was not sure as to who between her pastor, Bishop Oyedepo who placed his hand on her head and President Tinubu, the freewheeling talent hunter, laid the foundation for the miracle.
But listen to her. “On the last day of Shiloh, just as I was walking out, I saw Papa, Bishop David Oyedepo; I whispered to him, ‘Papa, I need you to pray for me. I have just one prayer request now’, ‘I want to come back to Shiloh 2023 as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. He put his hand on my head and he said, ‘It is done’. I stood up and I left.”
Last week, while appreciating God for what she genuinely believes was a miracle, Edu said, “I came today to return all glory to God that in spite of all odds, today I’m a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
But we must understand where she was coming from. As a woman of faith, she has been told by her Bible that “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong (Ecclesiastes 9:11) and that “except the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127 v1).
But Betta was also smart enough to understand that this only meant one cannot work independently of God. She therefore has no illusion as to anyone trying to win a race in which she is not a participant or securing a victory without first fighting a war. And because she instinctively knew every man/woman is the architect of his/her own fortune, she left every other thing to God who ‘does not share His glory with any man’, and chose to arm herself with intimidating credentials.
She was born in Lagos where she was raised by a disciplinarian Cross River father who ‘would not allow her go out visiting friends’, let alone going to nightclubs or wasting all evenings watching half naked girls exhibiting bad character in search of cheap money on Big Brother Africa Reality TV show.
For her education, she earned a first degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBBCh) from the University of Calabar, Cross River State, a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health for Developing Countries from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, a Doctor of Public Health from Texila American University; Certificate in Leadership and Management in Health from the University of Washington, United States of America; Certificate in Health in Humanitarian Crises from University of London, United Kingdom; Certificate in Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management, Daren school of Business, University of Virginia, United States of America and did a program on Advanced course on Health Financing for universal health coverage for low- and middle-income countries by World Health Organization.
And for her professional developments, she was Special Adviser to the Governor of Cross River state on Community Health in 2015 to 2016; the vice chairman, Forum of all CEOs of Primary Health Care Agencies and Boards in Nigeria in 2018; the first Director General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA); the Commissioner for Health, Cross River State from December 2019 through to March 2022. In 2020, she was appointed as the chairman, Cross River State COVID-19 Response Taskforce’.
Dr. Edu, according to the newsmen “is a goal-getter who is driven by her strong belief in excellence, integrity, hard work, resilience, diligence and effective execution”.
It was for the above reason that I think, that by attributing everything to God while downplaying her own intimidating credentials, Betta has done a great disservice to some of her fellow miracle seekers who have ignored Jesus’ admonition that “faith without work is a dead faith” (James 2:17) because a dead faith produces no tangible evidence in a person’s life’.
Unfortunately while Betta was piling up her intimidating credentials, by burning the midnight oil and engaging in humanitarian work across the creeks of her native Cross River State, most of her fellow miracle seekers spread within Pentecostal churches across Nigeria wasted valuable time on Sundays and on weekdays praying without forgetting their mid-week night vigils.
If only miracle seekers understand the nature of God that decreed ‘everyone reaps what he or she sows’, they would have known that no amount of their pastor’s anointment or placing of hands on their heads will make President Tinubu who is a mere pencil in the hand of God, to settle for an unprepared miracle seeker in place of resourceful Betta as a minister.