*As all and sundry say kudos to Chief Alochu?
By James Ibechi
There is a rough rule of thumb that if the wrong kind of people criticize negatively what you are doing, then you must be on the right track.
By those lights, the negative criticisms by some people on hearing that, Chief Frank Ipobu Alochu, was setting out to cushion the biting effect of the Nigerian economic debacle that has pounced mostly on Benue rural poor and salary earners, through cash empowerment of widows, indicated that the Ukpa-born foreign-based philanthropist who is always full of milk of human kindness had hit the bull’s eye in the most satisfactory way.
For that singular gesture, Chief Alochu has now become a household name in the entire Igede nation and beyond, such that, from widows and less privileged, indigent students, youths, political and kingship aspirants and clerics to communities in Igedeland, everyone can now tell of Chief Alochu’s impact on their lives.
Where else then do a people look for a leader that they have lacked over time? I dare say – without prejudice to dissenting views – that a leader of Igede nation is naturally emerging in the person of Chief Alochu.
But, let’s not digress. How did they criticize the Alochu Foundation’s empowerment for the widows? Any curious reader would ask this question.
It would be brought to mind that before the idea of the cash empowerment was fully baked for the widows some mundane Igede politicians on getting wind of the move by Alochu Foundation had started kicking and dismissing it as having a political underpinning and that it was too early in the day to start politics of money. They actually said the empowerment was a show of war chest aimed at not only sending signals and shivers down the spines of likely political future rivals, but also a gimmick to curry the favour of the people so that after winning election the cash would be recouped.
Truly the air then was thick with lurid claim of ‘politics,’ ‘politics’, perhaps because no Igede man, let alone politician, had ever done what Alochu was doing and or is still doing out of pure generosity. For the true story of many an Igede politician is mired in selfishness. So the critics never believed Alochu even as he has for umpteenth time explained that what he was doing had no political undertone.
This has been the building story of an emerging Igede leader that has humbled some critics to such an extent that heaps of testimonies of the encounters that poor people and indigent students have had with him are increasing every day.
The latest of such just came in from the outgoing students of Ukpa Community Secondary School (UCSS), Ukpa Centre, Oju LGA of Benue State.
The passing students are thanking Chief Alochu on behalf of Alochu Foundation for facilitating their WAEC registration culminating in their coming out with flying colours as well as marking record massive passes in a school that had long been recording abysmal failure in WAEC performance in the preceding years.
The students emphasized that the gesture by Chief Alochu stopped them from going to labour in Yoruba cocoa plantations before raising WAEC fees contrary to what had become the norm before the succor came to them from Alochu. For that, they lauded Chief Alochu.
During this year’s WAEC registration exercise, Alochu Foundation undertook the registration of all the final year students of the school as part of the foundation scholarship scheme.
For all this, Chief Alochu certainly has been quietly rewriting the narrative of the Igede nation, inventing the wheel while earning for himself the honour of the leader of the Igede nation.