Earlier this morning, the newly elected councilors for the third Motu Koitabu Assembly, led by its Chairman Dadi Toka Jnr, were sworn in at the Lakani Toi Memorial Church in Hanuabada.
A large crowd of just over 1,000 gathered at the Church grounds to witness their elected leaders officially take office.
Only about 25% of the seating councilors maintained their seats while the rest, with the exception of Rahe Rau who surprisingly unseated Turaho Morea, are “new kids on the block”.
The proceedings of this morning sounded out an air of excitement and promise as Toka Jnr assured Motu Koitabuans that “better things will come if we work hard and work together”. That was a very important and critical statement given the notable presence of National Capital District Governor, Powes Parkop, and Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko.
Many of those who have witnessed the performance of the first and second assembly will attest that much of the Assembly’s progress (or lack of it) has been attributed to the rigid and fractured relationship with the NCDC under Parkop. Without delving into the merits of either side, the bottom line is that the people have significantly suffered. And Motu Koitabuans have shown their displeasure in the ballot box by voting out approximately 70% of members.
People have had enough, people want change, Motu Koitabuans want progress. And in the words of Toka’s campaign slogan “Ita eda nega” or It’s our time.
The slogan exudes a sense of “youthfullness”, a sense of freshness, a sense of enthusiasm and a promise that sails of the Lagatoi are being maneuvered into an upright position for the journey to begin.
Approximately 80% of youths or young adults have backed Toka. Why, because the young generation believe that it’s time for a young vibrant leader to lead them through. And the young generation see Toka as someone they can relate to.
All throughout the elections that’s been, Toka not once was under threat at the opening of every ballot box. The more boxes opened the more dominant he became and that sent across a clear message to Motu Koitabu communities that it’s time for the young.
An old boy from the Anglican Church Grammar School, Toka Jnr is only 40 and the youngest ever Assembly Chairman and Deputy Governor of NCD. Whilst he still has many years ahead of him, it’s a role where the people will demand results more than an excuse of “learning the ropes”. And besides, Toka has full of confidence coming into his new job given his high profile roles as the head of the PNG branch of the Cancer Foundation, his prominent community roles as Chairman of Hagara Elementary School and not forgetting the Hanuabada Fire Appeal. He’s up for the challenge.
Unlike his predecessor, Toka Jnr is perhaps a little more diplomatic in his approach to dealing with community and political issues. That’s not such a bad thing under current circumstances given that the Motu Koitabu people have little to no choice but to work with the NCD for the greater good of the province. It’s going to be a case of “give and take” when dealing with the city authority and as much as it pains to think that we can’t have it all, that is just the harsh reality for the Motu Koitabuans.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll have to sell their soul. Far from it. It’s going to be a case of creating and maximizing the opportunities for Motu Koitabuans so that they can prosper in the community, social, political and economic sectors.
It was a positive sign to have the presence of the NCD Governor Powes Parkop this morning and even more positive to hear him reaffirm his commitment to Motu Koitabu and in particular his excitement in working with the new administration. That is indeed a promising step for all concerned.
Motu Koita’s new Chairman is a business graduate from the Queensland University of Technology. Qualified in business administration and marketing, Toka also has practical and successfull business experience in real estate and sports apparel businesses. Added to the CV is his active participation in both community and charitable work and Motu Koitabuans can find themselves a young vibrant leader with a network of contacts to draw from. Like the voters that ticked him to be their Chairman, Toka himself ticks the right boxes in his CV.
And he obviously has tremendous support from friends close to him like the charismatic Lohia Boe Samuel. Samuel has been there since day 1 and is one of the key figures credited for Toka’s success.
And on the personal front aside from his wife Megan and kids, there’s Toka Snr his “go to” man for words of wisdom in life, business, politics and of course how to live past 80 and still kick it!
Let the Lagatoi sail, Ita eda nega!