BY ROGERS EDOR OCHELA
A lot have been said and written about the National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Dr Dickson A. O. Akoh. While a high preponderance of Nigerians are in harmony or better still, on the same page in their opinion about his pedigree as an indefatigable youth ambassador and renowned apostle of Peace, a few others may hold a contrary view basically for less than altruistic reason (s).
However, from whatever angle one views Akoh, the immutable fact is that a careful perusal of the entire script of his life will succinctly reveal that he is indeed an engaging personality, who has devoted the better part of his adult life to serving the cause of humanity through the instrumentality of humanitarian services.
Dr Akoh’s journey to the present enviable position was not paved with gold, but with spikes and thorns. But with determination and focus, he was able to breast the tape of success. When at a relatively young age of 25 years, he conceived the idea of setting up the youth-based organization, Peace Corps of Nigeria, concretized it and eventually gave birth to it on 10th July 1998 in Kaduna, little did he know that the seed he planted would one day grow into a mighty tree few years down the line!
All his life, Akoh has never hidden his disdain for anything that is not in the national interest, which explains why he expects the best from his subordinates in all circumstances without equivocation, especially where it concerns the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria.
As a matter of fact, one might not be too far from the truth to conclude that the idea of the formation of the octopoidal institution that is today known as Peace Corps of Nigeria, emanated from the enviable roles he played as a Troop Leader with the Boys Scout Movement and his stint with the military in Kaduna.
As a fearless and blunt speaker, who relishes in logic and common sense, Akoh’s tenacity for hardwork and self-esteem are well known. His analyses of issues are usually done with intellectual vigor. He does not argue just for the sake of it. He argues to prove that good argument like good wine will usually be embraced any day. He combines sagacity with fearlessness, a major reason why he has endured all manner of indignities and countless deprivations in the tiresome journey to ensure that PCN triumphs over the will of its detractors. Unlike several other Nigerians who will rather prefer to call a spade a shovel in order to satisfy their selfish interests, Dr. Akoh, a man who is not given to equivocation, stands out from the motley crowd, preferring instead to be counted amongst those whose words are their bonds.
Unlike some of his contemporaries whose lives have been defined by mindless opportunism and pursuit of hedonistic ventures, Akoh chose to toe the nobler path by giving back to the society in several folds.
On this note, I intend to unveil some of his landmark legacies for the sake of posterity. Apart from Peace Corps which have provided employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians, Akoh’s humanitarian cum community-driven gestures are legion. The under-listed are some of his worthy legacies:
• Provision of electrification projects for several communities, including Okpanchenyi and Ogoli etc
• Renovation of Och’Idoma’s Palace, Otukpo
• Building of Police Stations at Ogoli and Ogobia communities
• Donation of 500KVA transformer to Ogoli Ugboju
• Donation of electricity poles to Okwudu Community
• Execution of projects at Catholic Church, Ugboju
• Rendering of medical assistance to some needy families
• Provision of Hall at Ugboju Community Secondary
• Hosting of annual parties for children and people of other ethnic groups
• Execution of several rural development projects in several communities both in Ugboju and the neighboring Adoka Districts
• Renovation of Ochi-Ugboju Palace
• Renovation and upgrading of Ugboju Public Square
• Tarring of 7 major roads spanning several communities, thereby enhancing free movement of farm produce to city centres
• Tarring of 10km road network within Ugboju District
• Forging synergy between Muslim community and Fulani herdsmen in Ugboju, thereby paving way for peace and harmony in the entire Ugboju District
• Provision of scholarship for indigent students in tertiary institutions
• During the heat of the political crisis that claimed hundreds of lives in Ugboju District, it took the intervention of Dr Akoh and the efforts of Benue State Government to restore normalcy to the troubled district
• It also took the intervention of Akoh to restore peace between Igbagidi Community and Fulani herdsmen
• Above all, in a move never known or seen before in the annals of Nigerian history, Dr Akoh has gifted scores of officers and several other Nigerians with private cars; donated cash running into millions of naira to several other officers to enable their wives start off trade, to mention just a few.
On a parting note esteemed readers, take or leave it; believe it or not, Dr Dickson Akoh has tattooed his name on the consciousness of Nigerians with his signature achievements which members of this Indomie generation (no pun intended) and generations yet-unborn will continue to remember with nostalgia.
Ochela, media consultant to Peace Corps of Nigeria resides in Abuja and is reachable via email@example.com –090-94411666 (text only)