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AKPOJENE’S RESIGNATION: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE LEADERSHIP?

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The recent purported resignation of Chief Dr Gregory Oke Akpojene(MON) as the President- General of the foremost socio- cultural organization known as Isoko Development Union(IDU) was a great shock to Isoko leadership. Barely a year ago when Chief Akpojene was sworn in as second time President- General of the union had which he served the union for consecutive years without qualms? He once a great politician and teacher of the great Isoko nation. He brought quality leadership into the union without any form of organizational corruption before finally retired into extensive farming in Isoko land. The Uloho cooperative society and IC Global Microfinance bank are parts of Dr Akpojene's achievements but owned by few intellectual persons that want economic growth of Isoko nation in all ramifications. Ever since the most Isoko farmer of the 21st century resumed his leadership which greeted with multiple attacks of the political enemies than when the so-called highly sophisticated kidnappers in Delta State kidnapped him and demanded huge ransom and finally paid the kidnappers the sum of #6million. Not long ago he was published as the most 50 credible Nigerians in the widely read newspaper called 'The Guardian'. Though the callous kidnappers threatened his life severely with strong mosquitoes bite in the forest which was unknown to him. Though the resignation generated huge controversies and criticisms from his political friends and the organization which many considered the resignation as immature and unethical but for security reasons best known to Chief Akpojene, the great industrialist of Isoko nation. The fear of assuming Isoko Development Union as the President- General is the beginning of wisdom in Isoko land.

It was creatively alleged that some certain persons in the union are not interested in building Isoko leadership rather using the platform to get contracts through the letter-head papers of union from oil companies and others without due process and constitutional principles while some no longer display leadership respect to the apex level and Chief Akpojene is not regarded as a leader in the union than mere a stooge or figure head. In one of the comprehensive interviews granted in both local and national media at when he was newly inaugurated into the office as the President- General then, he said he wanted everybody in the union to cooperate with his leadership for Isoko nation to grow to the apex point but some elements rather frustrated his good intention and agenda to march Isoko nation forward. Chief Akpojene is one of the Isoko people who has used his village creativeness to develop Isoko nation through extensive and mini- mechanism farming and created at least 35 percent jobs to jobless Isoko people and others in Nigeria. Though the Holy Bible said a prophet is not honored in his home town but he has received over 30 awards both local and international yet still demonstrating quality leadership with humility in IDU. IDU is totally relegated to the background which is not recognized by either the state or federal governments. As big as IDU in Isoko and Diaspora, there is no secretariat where the union holds meetings on regular basis rather using personal accommodation for such notable union. Even ordinary registered United Club of Isoko has edified secretariat which fully registered with Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria (CAC).The fact remains that IDU gathers crème da la crème of Isoko people yet unity is not abide rather than destructive criticism to pull the union down.

It is sad that the Isoko interactive session that was hosted in Lagos on December 8th, 2012, the former President- General, Chief Akpojene was not informed or invited as one of the key leaders in Isoko who has contributed to the developmental progress of Isoko nation, but his name was being mentioned at the event by Comrade Macaulay Ovuozourie, the present SSG to Delta State.IDU has suffered several political and economic setbacks over the years which the former President- General Elder Peter Erebi tried to build but was betrayed by some infamous elements who never wish Isoko nation well for selfish interests. To the cessation of his tenure when IDU was divided into two for leadership scuffle while the matter was taken to court which was won by the former President- General of the union. He tried to inject ingenious and colossal policies into the union but some elements never agreed with his great vision rather botched it. Political manipulation is more pronounced in IDU, yet our acclaimed personalities who claimed to know it all are all members of the union with no formidable vision to grow the union. The vision and mission statement set up IDU forefathers and doyen of Isoko politics have been totally betrayed by self-centered and loud-mouthed elements that are using IDU as a means to make ends meet. Both IDU men and women wing in national and international levels have not offered Isoko nation any tangible or vanguard of leadership in recent past years rather fighting over leadership of the union.

Again, the resignation of Chief Akpojene is not novel in the world, when Pope Benedict XVI resigned his plum position on his health reason; many world leaders applauded him while others saw it as sacrilege in the Catholic ministry. Even the Super Eagle Coach Stephen Keshi attempted to resign voluntarily after Nigeria won the African Cups of Nation (AFCON).Akpojene 's own now brewing internal and external criticisms in the leadership of Isokoland.If every Nigerian leader can follow Akpojene's style, then Nigeria would be a better place to live. Akpojene is a man with accountability, integrity and credibility at all levels of life in Isoko, national and international communities. Akpojene is one the great Isoko farmers that ever produced in the region while still appealing to federal government to set up University of Agriculture and Agro- Allied industry in his home town, called Otor- Igho formerly known as Otor-bio. He has duly served his father's land as a teacher before his voluntary retirement but still receiving his pension and as local government chairman when Isoko nation were still having one local government in Nigeria. He has invested massively in farming and granted over 100 interviews on the print and electronic media either local or international with a Doctorate degree award from a notable foreign university. He is one the farmers in Isoko nation who never borrowed from banks or government yet surviving the political terrain of the murky waters of Nigeria's politics. Resigning from IDU national leadership does not subtract anything from his humble life as a career farmer. The likes of Chief Oke Akpojene, Otunba Isaac Emiyede, Chief Edwin Ozah, Engr. Solomon Okpithe, Engr. Johnny Onozefe,Hon. Oghale Osiga, Hon. Raphael Okelezo, Hon. Benjamin Essien, Prof. Stephen Akpavie, Prof Ekoko, Hon. Fineboy Ebegbare, Prince Frank Egbodo, Chief John Okih,Arcbishop Apena, Primate Moses Ogodogbo and others are rare in Isoko land except few with quality leadership.2015 is not far again, IDU must wake up from slumber to unity Isoko nation rather fighting over leadership.Isoko nation only having 19 clans not recognized by the federal governments in spite of 35 percent

crude oil and gas that is coming from the region with over 100 oil wells but peace is not found in the region due to some selfish traditional and community leaders over the years. The likes of Isoko Ace musicians Arube and Evang Amos Ighaka would continue to sing for the truth without compromise. Isoko leadership must change for better now. IDU has big names that cannot contribute to the growth of Isoko nation. The problem of leadership marginalization of Isoko nation is being caused by Isoko self-centered leaders and nothing else. IDU must not concentrate on how to install interim President- General after Akpojene but how to overhaul the entire leadership process to avoid confusion in the union. Akpojene should be commended for taken such bold step to resign from such enviable position with no allegation of corruption. He deserved a great award from all media houses in Nigeria.

BY GODDAY ODIDI. PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST. 08058124798. 20 ORO Ajegunle Apapa Lagos

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Articles by Godday Odidi