Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mission Accomplished In Chile And The Lessons

I am a living witness to the incredible, outstanding, remarkable, and unbelievable human story the whole world saw in Chile which lasted for 69 days. 33 miners, 32 Chileans and one Bolivian were trapped for 69 days 700 metres below the earth and on October 13 2010 all of them were rescued alive in a seamless but well planned and well executed operation that kept the world gripped with fear, emotions and sense of awe. Never has the world witnessed this kind of heart-broken but remarkable human story that shook the entire world and made it to pay attention. I guess that about 2 billion people watched the rescue operations all over the world.

I followed this miraculous story from the beginning to the end. I saw the President of Chile, Sebastine Piñera at work, being presidential in every sense and providing leadership. I saw the Mining Minister, Laurence Golborne at work and huge lessons were sent across the world that leaders can make the difference even in most difficult situations. The President of Chile did not blame anybody for the miners’ predicament. He accepted responsibility and went to work as the peoples’ President. He sought help all over the world to deal with the big problem. He looked for and searched for the best hands in the world in rescue operations. He brought the United States National Aeronautic Space Administration, (NASA) he brought in German Engineers to construct the lift, and imported experts from more than 10 countries to assist. He picked the bills also.

These experts went to work and for nearly two months they put their ingenuity to test and it paid off handsomely to the admiration of the world. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel. Solutions to the problems are all over the world. You just have to look and search for it.

I give credit to the Chilean President, the Mining Minister, their wives and other Government Officials for being humane and being there for the 33 Miners. I saw how determined they were, I saw the preparations, the execution, the encouragement, the support. They were there for the families of the trapped miners when the need was greatest. They were practical leaders, so natural, so patriotic, so sensible, so caring, and so committed. No wonder, the President approval rating moved from 30% to 80%. For the first time in history, Chile became the number one issue in the world, more in focus than they would have been even in a World Cup tournament. Chile became a destination via all the world’s television stations. I give a million thanks to CNN and others for bringing this unprecedented story to the world.

The huge lesson is that leadership goes with responsibility. I do not know how many days the President of Chile slept with 33 Miners, breadwinners, fathers 700metres under the earth. You do not bemoan problems, you address it. The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales was in Chile to give hope to the only Bolivian among the miners, Carlos Mamani. He was full of thanks to President Sebastine Piñera for rescuing one of his subjects.

Emotions, family reunions, jubilations and cries of joy reverberated all over the world and millions if not billions shed tears of joy. It was sweet victory for Chile and the world. What seems impossible may be possible after all with right thinking and careful planning. I believe that our leaders have one or two things to learn from this great Chilean story, a powerful, awesome, formidable and astonishing human story that will take time to clear from the minds and souls of billions all over the world. There were tears, there were cheers. God is wonderful!

Joe Igbokwe



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