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THE DAY OHAKIM WAS HONOURED

By NBF News
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Dallas went agog for the former governor, Chief Ikedi G. Ohakim on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation (PNF-USA,) and a political conference. The theme of this high profile event was: 'Building Capacity and Repositioning Ndi Igbo for Collective Relevance in Nigerian Body Polity'.

PNF-USA used the opportunity to bestow on Ohakim the prestigious 2012 Platinum Leadership Award, the highest award by the Foundation on April 7, 2012. Ohakim, who could not attend the event due to extenuating circumstances, delegated his representative in the United States to receive the award on his behalf.

In a press release sent prior to the event, the organization's National Chairman, Chief Geoffrey Nzeadibe commented, 'Ndi-Igbo in the Diaspora under the aegis of Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation USA, Inc. (PNF USA) announced with highest esteem the winner of the most coveted award, the 2012 Platinum Leadership Award. Chief Ikedi G. Ohakim, a trailblazer, bold and transformational leader, was the executive governor of Imo State where he demonstrated an unparallel leadership and innovative ideas under an intense scrutiny.

The scrutiny did not deter his bold ideas and the implementation of those bold ideas. He took on the godfathers in Imo State and eradicated the concept in order to empower credible people who wanted to serve their state. Ohakim, who used his position and his wealth of knowledge to inspire, uplift and touch the lives of so many people around Nigeria, particularly in Imo State is our choice for the 2012 Platinum Leadership Award.'

He continued, 'This award is given to someone who has exemplified him/herself in various works of life with ardent commitment to serving humanity, particularly in an executive role. An individual, who advocates for human rights, compassion, honest leadership, and empowerment of all citizenry, Ohakim, a renowned leader, a technocrat, a manager, and a man of the people, excelled the criteria set for the coveted award.'

According to Nzeadibe, Ohakim, a towering personality, expressed how elated he was about the news. He happily and wholeheartedly accepted to receive the award on April 7, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. In a subsequent letter of acceptance, Ohakim said, 'I received your letter inviting me to attend and receive the 2012 Platinum Leadership Award during the Pan Ndigbo Political Conference scheduled to take place in Dallas, Texas and I am delighted to accept.' 'I will be looking forward to participating in the conference,' he added.

Nzeadibe further stated, 'A political pressure group, the Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation is a national organization with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, United States. PNF USA, Incorporated, founded 10 years ago, is a platform for the articulation, development, promotion, and protection of the common/political interests of Ndi-Igbo in particular and Nigeria in general.' 'It is truly our honor to confer this award to Chief Ikedi Ohakim,' he asserted.

In his welcome address, the Naitional Chairman, Chief Geoffrey Nzeadibe said, 'PNF-USA, Inc. is a political pressure group focused on championing the course of Ndi Igbo in the Nigerian body polity.

This is the only organization that has dedicated her major operations for the common interest of all with emphasis to good governance. PNF-USA, Inc. is the only group in the Diaspora that has and is still providing the platform for the articulation, development, promotion and protection of the common/ political interests of Ndi Igbo in particular and Nigeria in general. We have many times recognized some credible, dynamic and progressive leaders in Nigeria and have spoken out against special interests policies/politics that undercut democratic underpinnings and impede the upward mobility of the nation Nigeria. I want you to know that PNF-USA will continue to fill these needs and even add more so long as Providence would lead.'

Nzeadibe continued, 'As we focus on the theme of this year's event: 'Building Capacity and Repositioning Ndi Igbo for the Collective Relevance in Nigerian Body Polity', PNF-USA is at the same time charging Ndi Igbo and the Igbo leaders to accentuate the old adage 'Charity begins at home.' Leaders, do not tell your subjects how little your allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria is, rather show how much you have accomplished with the little you are given. Ndi-Igbo, hold your leaders to transparent accountability. We urge the leaders to remember that the rising tide raises all ships. The serendipities that will accrue if Ndi-Igbo will reposition herself into a relevant position in the Nigerian body polity will be very rewarding to all.'

In his remarks, Dr. Ambi Nzeakor began, 'I am a teacher by profession, and as you know, a teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary according to Thomas Caruthers. Tonight, I shall be unnecessary to the extent that I will not fail to compliment the tenacity and patriotism of the pillars of this great Foundation. I stand here to witness the fact that the founder of this Foundation, Dr. Acho Orabuchi has taken and given bruises to see that Ndigbo in Nigeria and Diaspora are politically relevant in the today's Nigerian body polity.'

'PNF-USA, unlike many other Igbo Associations, does not focus on social and/or economic gains of its individual members; rather, it occupies itself with the general political relevance of NdiIgbo in Nigeria and beyond. PNF-USA is the Igbo political watchdog, the vocal mouthpiece of Ndigbo, and the political counselor of Igbo leaders of thought,' Nzeakor continued.

'I personally thank Dr. Acho Orabuchi, the founder and political juggernaut of PNF-USA, the timber and caliber of Nigerian and Igbo politics. I thank Mr. Geofery Nzeadibe, the National Chairman and quiet strategist, Mazi Felix Okereke, the backbone and political muscle of PNF-USA. Mr. Ngozi Echebelam, that likeable technocrat and financial powerhouse of PNF. Mr. Jerry Ike, the hidden energy and human calculator of PNF. I must not fail to commend Mr. Damion Ogoke, an indefatigable recruiter and PNF's Igbo community human resource person,' Dr. Nzeakor concluded.

Also Philip Odoemena opined, 'On April 7, 2012, Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation (PNF-USA) concluded a conference that marked its 10th anniversary in Dallas, Texas. An event that was relatively well organized and complimented by the theme of the event: 'Building Capacity and Repositioning Ndi Igbo for Collective Relevance in Nigerian Body Polity' Ten years ago, I was present at the PNF's inauguration here in Dallas, Texas. At the inaugural function, PNF announced that the organization was not a political party, but a pressure group. At the time of that announcement, it was well received by Nigerians, especially, Ndi-Igbo in Diaspora. After ten years, I hope PNF-USA have not relented in their promises to seek to influence Nigerian government policies and legislations.'

'Due to current conditions in Nigeria, (Boko Haram, unemployment, road conditions, power failure, etc.) the society is dissatisfied with the three levels of government. As a pressure group, we pray that PNF-USA will put more emphasis in influencing change within the socio-political structures by exerting pressure on public officials, political parties and sometimes the general public rather than conveying awards and honors to politicians, some of which do not care very much about ordinary Nigerian citizens,' Odoemena concluded.

Igwe Sabinus Akas received 2012 Humanitarian Award for his generosity and humanitarian activities in various Igbo communities in the United States. Also Nnanta Uwadineke received an award for his Igbo radio programme and his work in promoting Igbo culture in Arkansas.

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