A triumph of hope over fear: President Abdi Omar’s vision for developing Ethiopian Somali Region

abdi omar

A triumph of hope over fear: President Abdi Omar’s vision for developing Ethiopian Somali Region

To begin with, for those of you who think I might have ulterior motive for writing this article, please note that I’m apolitical –an entrepreneur who aspires no back scratching or spoils of office – whose only interest is to see my regional state achieve tangible progress in the areas of infrastructure development, economic wellbeing, and health and educational institutions.

Even though I have never met President Abdi Omar, I have always been in fond of his ability to laser-focus on task-at-hand and his courage to move forward with issues that he believes are important to the development of the region, even when the naysayers portray them as impractical.

My personal observations of President Abdi’s achievements are not based on collection of data from various self-serving websites, but rather from an objective analysis and review of what has been accomplished under his leadership. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to observe and accept the realities on the ground. His cynics would have you believe that he is a warmonger, while the undeniable facts suggest otherwise: we have enjoyed the most tranquil period of our history since the Ginbot revolution. As a native son of this region, I am more interested in seeing paved roads, building of schools, hospitals and creation of commercial opportunities for communities in need. Unequivocally, President Abdi has achieved that. Under his leadership, a formidable -strong all-Somali national force has been formed. These forces are tasked with maintaining state-wide security and fending off border transgressions from terrorist organizations.

Testament to his commitment to the communities he serves is the recent announcements of the formation of new districts. The intent of the formation of the new districts is to decentralize administration and to deliver services in the most cost-effective and efficient way to those in need. Furthermore, the President has challenged the diaspora communities to contribute to building the required infrastructure in the newly formed districts. This concept, while not new, is admirable as it creates a sense of ownership on the part of the stakeholders of the newly formed districts. When I received a call from Wiil-waal, a cousin, encouraging me to contribute to the building of infrastructure at Shebeeley, one of the new districts, I was too happy to oblige, not only because I believe in delivering necessary services to the masses, but at a personal level it is my father’s namesake.

Some of the President’s cynics might argue that the president’s achievements are “time-tested” processes put in place by the federal government and given the opportunity, anyone could have succeeded. To those, I simply suggest to review the history of the region for the last two decades. Unless you are blinded by ignorance or intellectual dishonesty, you will realize no one had the courage to build an infrastructure or organize a native army particularly designed to protect our state. Still, in dichotomy, other conspiracy theorists would suggest the federal government wouldn’t allow our “leadership” to flourish.

To them, I simply say this: the pre-Abdi “leadership” was a toothless tiger that was more interested in enriching themselves with public coffers than building roads or hospitals. At the height of the American civil war, frustrated by lack of progress in the field on the part of some of his generals, Abraham Lincoln said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Over twenty years, men of my region were given power at various times.

Most of them used to enrich themselves while others abused it to an irreparable extent. Only president Abdi has shown to have the character and the temperament to lead us. President Abdi promotes hope over fear, development over self-destruction, pride over submission, self-reliance over hand out. His outreach to diaspora communities in North America, Europe and Australia is indicative of his genuine commitment to his country and his sincerely attempt to attract investment to the region.

President Abdi’s projects are aptly named Samewade (good doer), Ileys (visionary), rajo-rumays (hopeful), Biyo-nolol (potable water), and the most recent one, roob-doon (rain seeker). This is in direct contrast with war-mongering project names like Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield, showing his attitude in dealing with issues of importance to the community’s wellbeing.

President Abdi’s instinctive ability to connect with people –elderly and the youth –to learn firsthand about their primary concerns is unparalleled. His constant communication with the business community to ensure that they have everything they need at their disposal to move the economy forward is testament to his leadership and concerted efforts to bring us all together for the good of our region.

We must show our unconditional support to our president for failure is not an option.

(Abdi Ahmed is an American entrepreneur of Ethiopian origin. Highly recognized for his business success, Abdi was awarded the California Small Business of the Year in 2006, and had received over 11 Congressional Awards and recognitions for his entrepreneurial spirit and for giving back to the community. In addition to running NetServe, a company he founded 20 years ago, Abdi is the Chairman of California Small Business Association (CSBA) and the Vice-President of Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC).)


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