Ogoli-Ugboju district area of Otukpo Local Government of Benue State, was over the weekend, 9th December 2017, a cynosure of National attention, as people thronged in, from far and near to defy the aged long maxim of “a prophet never being honour in his own town”.
Thus, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, Prof. Michael Umale Adikwu, the Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Armstrong Adejo, an erudite Historian Scholar of International repute, Comrade Abba Yaro, APC Chairman, Benue State chapter and others, eulogize Ambassador Dickson Akoh, National Commandant, Peace Corps of Nigeria for his role in community development for rural sustainability and nation building.
Delivering his welcome address, Amb. Akoh expressed his gratitude and appreciation to his guests who had come to attend the occasion, that was organized to mark the annual End of the year/award ceremony of the Corps. According to Akoh, this year’s “occasion will be used to give Awards and Commendations to eminent personalities in recognition of their contributions to society while encouraging them not to relent in giving more”.
Amb. Akoh further state that, the rationale for hosting the event in Ogoli, a rural area, informed the choice of the Theme for this year’s celebration; “Rural Sustainability and Nation Building : The Role of Social Organizations”. According to the Peace Ambassador, ” for ideal and even development to take place, we must critically re-examine the near absence of social infrastructures in the grassroots”. In his final submission, Akoh opined that, for rural sustainability to be guaranteed, not only the government but social organizations and Philanthropic individuals should endeavor to assist in this regard.
Remarking, Governor Samuel Ortom, who was ably represented by his Deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, expressed his delight and pleasure to witness this important event organized by the famous illustrious son of the Idoma nation/Benue , to revitalise the rural life that we use to know. According to Engr. Abounu, the young man (Akoh) has reconsidered our rural community and he has given it life. Abounu unequivocally state that, he is proud to be an Idoma man, for Akoh has put the Idoma name in the Map of Nigeria, which is the reason why the whole “World” is gathered in Ogoli to celebrate with him.
Engr. Abounu described Amb. Akoh as a courageous young man with a great mind and vision too fortified to be scuttled, a man who has weathered all manners of storm to place the youth at the highest pedestrian, and today, Peace Corps has the best organized and well structured youth organization in Nigeria, Abounu stated. Furthermore, the Deputy governor affirmed that Akoh has proven his name and his achievements are commendable and worthy of emulation. He (Abounu) encouraged everyone, particularly the entire Idoma nation to support Akoh, to him, Akoh’s success is not just the success of the Idoma nation or Benue but Nigeria as a whole. According Abounu, “when you see your stock rising, you will only be foolish to try to cut him short”.
While Prof. Armstrong Adejo commended the giant stride of Akoh towards rural development, which he described to be unprecedented in our contemporary time in Idoma land. According to Adejo, Community development for rural sustainability is a product of a quality mind, good neighbourliness and show of love for humanity but this has been slaughtered on the altar of zero tolerance for accountability, loss of all sense of dignity and sincerity towards the people ‘s welfare, which has occasioned the rural-urban drift. This according to Adejo will only fasten the extinction of our language, custom and tradition. But today, if anybody visit Ogoli, the person will be longing to come back, because Ogoli is representing a true rural sustainability.
Earlier, the keynote address by Prof. Adikwu, opened the discourse; Rural Sustainability and Nation Building :The Role of Social Organizations, the University Don centred his Thesis on the Challenges of Rural Sustainability in Nigeria and how Peace Corps with its Core Mandate has being standing in the gap across the breadth and length of Nigeria.
The occasion also, featured Awards to prominent personalities who have distinguished themselves in promoting Peace, whose (peace) absence, rural sustainability would have remain a mirage. Amongst the Awardees are; HRH Orchivirigh Prof. James Ayatse, Tor Tiv, HRH Agaba’idu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, CON, Ochi’doma iv, Chief (Mrs) Regina Akume, Chief Wanteregh Paul Unongo, Alhaji Usman Abubakar (Young Alhaji), Chief Bongos Ikwue, Zakki Azay etc. The event climaxed with the End of the year Banquet and a live band to entertain the guests.