Mr Everight Okpara amid jubilation has been inaugurated and invested as the President of Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
The event, which held I Owerri, the Capital territory of Imo State witnessed a flood of Business moguls who graced the occasion, in acceptance and appreciation of Okpara’s emergence as the Chief Executive of the Apex chamber of Commerce in the State.
Inaugurating Okpara, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Innocent Chukwuma who was represented by Ide J.C Udeagbala, SECCIMA President/1st National Deputy President of NACCIMA, said that Okpara has proved himself beyond reasonable doubt, extolling his temperament as leader. He vowed the resolve of the NACCIMA family to support him.
“For time I have known Okpara I appreciate his humility, energy and temperament even before a strong task. We shall support him to succeed in our little. Chambers of Commerce are family and we work together”.
Udeagbala further called on the State government to work closely with the body of business community in the state led by Okpara to ensure progress and development of the state.
In response, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona, thanked OCCIMA for the honour of decorating Governor of Imo State as the Grand Patron of OCCIMA.
He further assured the business community at the occasion of the preparedness of the government to work with Okpara led OCCIMA to ensure a more progressive state and her people.
He vowed that Ihedioha led administration will live up to expectation and certainly rebuilt the state.
“We promised to rebuild and fix Imo of collective dream. It is Ihedioha’s candid opinion.
“We building an Imo where there will be rule of law, restoration of core values, protection of lives and property and accountability; we must invest in human capital development, and infrastructure, where industry, mines and agriculture will thrive. We shall give no excuses. We are prepared and determined to move Imo forward”; he stated.
For the ICT leading Chief Executive in Africa, Leo Stan Ekeh, he eulogised Okpara, describing him as a forward looking humble young man who has impressed him, otherwise he would not have invested his time for the occasion. He called on Owerri chamber to rally round him so as to move the Chamber forward.
His words: Everest Okpara is a young man I find very interesting. I appreciate his intellectual capacity. The greatest honour you could give anyone is to honour when he is alive and that is why I am here. I must also commend the organisers for the decorum and the orderliness I find here. That is what leadership and coordination can do”; he stated.
In her testimony, the immediate past President of NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawason, applauded the decision of the Owerri Chamber for a smooth transition and for choosing a youthful vibrant and innovative entrepreneur like Okpara. He however called for a United House, describing it as key to success.
“Chief Charles Okeke, the 1st Vice President and other executive members of the Council must work in unison with Okpara to ensure that you succeed. No in-fighting should be heard among you”; she stated.
In response, Chief Charles pledged to work harmoniously with President Okpara among others to ensure that OCCIMA is taken to greater height.
Others who spoke were drawn from the Lagos, Aba, umuahia, Onitsha, Enugu, Abuja Chambers and others who gave testimonies of how well Okpara has excellently pioneered the affairs of the Chamber for the short period he has been at the helm of affairs of the group.
In his acceptance speech, Okpara he regretted the unfortunate transition of the immediate past President of the Chamber, late Dr. Christian Nnadumije Igwe of Reagan Remedies Group under a painful circumstance. He prayed for the repose of his soul.
He paid glowing tributes to late Nnadumije and other past Presidents of Owerri Chamber for their roles and contributions that culminated in what OCCIMA has become since ints inception in 1970.
Accepting the tasks that go with the office, he simply said: “I accept the responsibilities that my election has entitled me.”
He expressed gratitude to NACCIMA, SECCIMA and OCCIMA for their dedication and support he has enjoyed so far.
He promised to work with members to tackle the challenges facing the Chamber and insist that they must chart a new course for the future of the Chamber by working closely with members and the government.
His statement: “Today affords another opportunity to reflect on where we are and to chart a better course for ourselves. We have gathered in the spirit of comradeship to reaffirm our belief in our mottor, which is: ‘together we shall succeed’… In the past few years, we were faced with a number of challenges, which included cold relationship between the Chamber and the and the previous state government, indifference of the previous state government to the activities of OCCIMA, lack of team spirit and cohesion, members’ apathy, misplaced strategy and priority, lack of resources amongst others.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that all these challenges deprived the Chamber several opportunities, which limited our capacity to make positive impact to our society”.
Speaking further, he said all the challenges that made them under achievers are being tackled with tack and pull of contributions made by the members who most of them he said are professionals and business men with unequal experiences in their differing areas of mastership.
The high point of the occasion shortly after his investiture and cutting of cake was the unveiling of his 8-point Agenda, which will also serve as a police framework, with which he would have to deal with within two years of his tenure.