Ori Martins (Owerri)
Measure it from any standard or view it from every prism, Dr (High Chief) TOE Ekechi, is a man of class. He loves glamour and he cherishes excellence.
What marks TOE out is, he is a businessman in politics. He is not a politician – politician!!! He is not in politics to steal but to add value.
His means of income as a professional is traceable as his internationally acclaimed offices in Lagos, Abuja and Owerri even annex in Enugu and Port Harcourt have addresses. His claims to local, national and international businesses are not mirages: they are verifiable.
Therefore, his call to politics is to serve, redeem and ameliorate. His is comparable to Abiola, Iwuanyanwu and Nzeribe – men who were milonaire in multiple currencies before delving into politics.
Again, TOE, it must be repeated here for those who may not have known, shares striking similarities with global established great men and women who are easily identified by their initials.
Just take an observatory note on this and keep a tab on it: MCK, RBK, JOJ, MKO, IBB, FAN, KOK, TOE., Zik and Awo were not initials but they equally belonged to this exclusive assemblage of noble men and women.
Remarkably, TOE, a distinguished scion of Umuoye, Imerienwe in Ngor Okpala LGA of Imo State, is the South East representative/ commissioner in the North East Development Commission, NEDC. Therefore he is a politician of repute, nationally inclined.
ThIs recognition did not come to TOE in a platter – he worked for it and walked towards it. When the opportunity came, TOE who is not known to miss opportunities, grabbed it with both hands.
We must recall that it was TOE that convened the well timed and roundly strategic Imerienwe Accord that served as a pivot which ultimately challenged then Governor Rochas Okorocha’s audacity of putting his son – in – law forward as his successor.
He didn’t stop there, TOE galvanize the political class, the elite, traditional rulers, democracy groups, civil societies, rights activists, lawyers, journalists, religious leaders, elders and the masses even the Imo leaders and frontally explained to them the evils of allowing then Governor Okorocha to accomplishing his 2019 ambition.
That was how the fight against Uche Nwosu commenced and the Okorocha Political Family never survived it, though it lives to tell the tale. ThIs is TOE’s high flying political tentacles, muscles and visions at work.
Back home, TOE has assured his industrious Ngor Okpala people that it could never be worse.
What he actually meant is that, though the LGA, one of the biggest councils – in landmass and population – in Imo State, may not have produced a governor, deputy governor, senator, speaker, ambassador or even minister, there is huge hope as things are taking shape.
TOE understands the practical importance of Ngor Okpala’s strategic location as the only LGA in Imo State bounded by two states (Abia and Rivers).
As a matter of fact, the high chief remembers it quite historically and symbolically the significant contributions made by Ngor Okpala sons and daughters towards the growth and development of Imo State and Nigeria.
For instance, an Ngor Okpala ward, the late Nnanna Ukegbu was a parliamentarian in the First Republic. He contested for old Imo governorship alongside the equally late Sam Mbakwe in the Second Republic.
He was the first to start a private university in the country just as he was a strong member of the G34 that moved against the late General Sani Abacha in 1998.
Ngor Okpala hosts the magnificent and people’s pride project, the Sam Mbakwe Airport, regarded as the first airport in world’s history to be built by communal efforts.
You see now. This why TOE, a man of honour and integrity, is keeping the flag flying. In 2000, TOE came up with the idea of celebrating sons and daughters of Ngor Okpala who have characteristically distinguished themselves in their respective duty posts.
According to him, he was looking at those not yet celebrated, recognized or who are little known.
Therefore, on Wednesday, December 23, 2020, TOE, alongside his beautiful, elegant and affectionate wife, Chief (Mrs) Tata TOE Ekechi, organized a colourful and glamorous dinner in honour of His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Enyinnaya Okorafor, the Anglican Bishop of Egbu Diocese, Church of Nigeria.
The occasion turned out to be a meeting and melting point of who is who in Ngor Okpala. It served as a familiarization event of Nde Ngor Okpala who had not set thier eyes on one another for years. Or who did you even know that the other were of the same descent with them. Banters and pleasantries were exchanged.
The Ngor Okpala Diaspora who had been communicating on phones and social media platforms were brought together for a one – on – interaction.
The home based Ngor Okpala and those based overseas sat together for brotherly interaction. It was Ngor Okpala’s finest moment.
Such an occasion had never before taken place in Ngor Okpala. The irrepressible TOE made it happen. That memorable event took place at TOE’s expansive country home.
Again, on the last day of December, 2021, TOE, buoyed by the success of the previous occasion, reasonably and graciously, organized a banquet, also a dinner, in honour of two daughters of the soil – Dr (Mrs) Bernardine Ukegbu Anyadike, Psychiatric Provider, Washington States Department of Corrections., and Mrs E. C Ejiogu, Assistant Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Services.
It was another carnival of a sort as Ngor Okpala men and women rolled out drums to celebrate two of their best. It was the second edition of what has become a ritual in Ngor Okpala: recognition of a people’s signature performers.
Those two events of 2020 and 2021 were quite fantastic in all ramifications. They are TOE’s sincere and honest contributions towards building, growing and developing the area. With those two epoch making events, Ngor Okpala youths now know that there is someone who cares for them. The adults frankly recognize that they can be branded and honoured if they take their jobs more seriously.
It is now recorded in their minds that if they excell, people or the community, even if it is one person like TOE, or any other individual, will celebrate them. This is how to direct or redirect the youths for better tomorrow.
All eyes are therefore on TOE to make public who is/ who are the person/ people to be recognized, honoured and celebrated this year, leading to 2023 New Year.
TOE, we salute you your vision, forthrightness and focus. Ori Martins Writes from Owerri Imo state.
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