Ejikeme Omenazu, Lagos
Chief Ochi Emmanuel Ode, the Chairman of the Middle Belt Traditional Council (MBTC) and the Oji Kpururu 1 of Ibilla in Benue State, has bagged the JAMESIBECHI.COM Person of the Year 2017 Award in the area of Excellence In Leadership.
Presenting the award in his office in Lagos, James Ibechi, Media Director of JAMESIBECHI.COM, a frontline online portal in the Middle Belt, said that Chief Ode was picked from among numerous candidates, based on his dedicated service to the common people in the region and Benue State in particular over the years.
Ibechi stressed that Chief Ode had continued to make selfless efforts to stand in the gap for the common people against draconian policies of those in authority, even as he had been offering patriotic services by helping the poor and downtrodden with his personal funds.
He also stressed that Chief Ode had been a strong voice against the poor governance in the Middle Belt in general and Benue State in particular, where he had continued to stress the need for the leaders to provide democracy dividends to the people instead of spending scarce resources on frivolities.
Ibechi stressed: “Chief Ode has been a strong voice in the Muddle Belt, whose views are highly respected by the people in government.
“He has been a voice against atrocities in the Middle Belt. His views have been very strong and meaningful, contributing immensely in influencing the news in the JAMESIBECHI.COM portal in 2017.
“The portal has been recognising people who have been working over the years to shape events in Benue State and the MIddle Belt or North Central geo-political zone. Chief Emmanuel Ode has been one of the strong voices in the region, who has been playing vital roles to ensure that the governments in the region fulfill their mandates by fearlessly calling the leaders to question.”
Morgan Adikwu, a member of the portal’s Editorial Board, in his brief remark, stated that the award presentation would have been held on January 3, 2018 in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, but was cancelled because of the recent killings by the Fulani herdsmen which threw the state into mourning.
He added that not to allow the vision to completely die down, the medium’s executives, decided to take the presentation to the individuals, promising that the next award coming up next year, would command the prestige it deserves.
He also described Chief Ode as a man of integrity, urging him to continue in his selfless service to humanity, although such efforts do not attract material rewards to him.
Chief Ode, a maritime expert and the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Dominion Global Logistics Limited, thanked the Board of Editors of JAMESIBECHI.COM, stressing that by the award, he had resolved to double his efforts in the service to humanity not minding whose ox is gored.
He said he was always pained when he saw human beings suffering, while he lamented that the governors in the middle Belt had been paying lip service to provision of dividends of democracy, while the workers had continued to suffer untold hardship due to the inability of the governments to pay salaries.
He also lamented the dearth of infrastructure in the region although the masses elected people into positions of authority to provide services, even as he lamented the misuse of scarce resources by public officials as well as lack of accountability in governance.