BY ROGERS EDOR OCHELA

The famed serenity of Ogoli, a sleepy community in Ugboju District of Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State was recently punctured when officers of Peace Corps of Nigeria from the National Headquarters and the 36 State Commandants invaded it for a 2-Day National Retreat.
The retreat, which held between Wednesday, 11th and Thursday, 12th September, 2019 at the cavernous Och’Idoma Multipurpose Hall of Ambassadors Garden and Resort had the theme, ‘’REJUVENATING THE CONSCIOUSNESS AND ALERTNESS OF OFFICERS FOR EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY’’.
In his opening remarks, the National Commandant, Dr Dickson A. O. Akoh, said that the retreat was intended to ‘’foster deeper acquaintanceship and a more profound spirit of oneness and solidarity’’ amongst officers, further averring that the theme for the retreat was carefully chosen with a strong resolve to advance the cause of ‘’National Creativity, Peace and Youth Development’.
While imploring the participating officers to be prepared to offer themselves as sacrificial lambs towards the evolution of the much desired Peace Corps, Dr Akoh said that such sacrifices would entail committing their time, energy, comfort and even their financial resources in the project.
Dr Akoh, who stressed that in achieving the ultimate goals of the Corps, the importance of teamwork cannot be over-emphasized, enjoined officers to see effective communication and synergy as the fulcrum of teamwork and the major factor that ensures team cooperation.
On the challenges confronting the Organization, the National Commandant listed the continued illegal closure of the new corporate Headquarters situated opposite Jabi Lake since Tuesday, 28th February 2017, despite two subsisting Court Judgments/Orders in the favour of the Corps; paucity of funds arising from the stoppage of the activities of the Organization and the issue of Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill currently pending before the National Assembly etc.
According to him, the officers would come out of the retreat ‘’more refined, repositioned and re-energized to chart a better trajectory for the growth and progress of our Organization’’, just as he also said that the retreat was part of the overall process of preparing the officers for the gargantuan tasks ahead.
In all, five resource persons in carefully selected fields were on hand to do justice to five different topics namely: Strict Discipline: Command and Control in a Regimental Organization, delivered by Maj. Ogli (rtd), who stood in for Col. John Ngbede (rtd); Administrative Etiquette in a Modern Organization, which was delivered by Comrade A. J. Musa, Academic Secretary, Nasarawa State Polytechnic; The Role of the Media in Fostering Organizational Growth and Sustainability, delivered by yours sincerely, Deacon Rogers Edor Ochela, the Media Consultant to Peace Corps.
Other topics included: The Import of Litigations and Legal Victories by the Peace Corps of Nigeria, taken by Deputy National Commandant, Administration, Patriot Yerima; Peace and Conflict Resolution: The Role of Peace Corps of Nigeria, delivered by Deputy National Commandant, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Patriot Edet Ekpeyong; Emotional Intelligence in a Working Environment, delivered by Deputy National Commandant, Intelligence and General Duties, Patriot Oyemike and finally, Planning and Creative Implementation of Programmes and Projects in Peace Corps of Nigeria, which was delivered by Deputy National Commandant, Planning Research and Statistics, Patriot Badamasi Kabir.
For the two days that the retreat lasted, the cool ambience of Ambassadors Resort and Garden, the venue of the boisterous event was a beehive of activities. The atmosphere was suffused with air of conviviality and camaraderie.
At this juncture and before drawing the curtain, I crave the indulgence of my esteemed readers to permit me to recap the cardinal objectives of the National Retreat. They include: to educate officers on the current level of expansion in the Organization; to intimate them on the administrative etiquette in a modern day Organization; to re-orientate the commandants on the strategic role of Peace Corps of Nigeria in Nation-Building; to foster deeper acquaintanceship and a more profound spirit of oneness and solidarity amongst state commands.
Other objectives include: to expose the commandants to the importance of media in fostering development; to come out refined and re-energized to chart a better course for growth and progress of the Pace Corps of Nigeria; to provide commandants with the enabling content and further orientate, enlighten and inspire them better to handle the tasks as individual officer and a cohesive team and finally, to educate them on how to operate synonymously and indentify different patterns to plan and execute nationwide programmes and projects.

The highlights of the highly enriching nay rewarding just-concluded national retreat included free medical programme for officers and members of the host community; group photographs and fun-filled social activities. The retreat may have come and gone, but its positive effect will continue to linger in the minds of officers of the Corps for years to come.

Ochela, the Media Consultant to Peace Corps of Nigeria and one of the Resource Persons at the Retreat lives in Abuja (090-94411666).