Thursday, September 26, 2019 was a day hard work, determination, innovation and leadership was celebrated. A day Mr Everest Okpara was formally invested as the President of Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.
It was a most colourful event that brought crème-de-la-crème of the business communities in Nigeria. From the seat of power to the economic capital of Nigeria, down to the Eastern bloc, it was a full house.
The Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was represented the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Geral Irona. The Chairman and CEO of Zinox Computers and Konga was present. The immediate past
It is said that no man should be underrated until he is faced with daunting challenges. Truly, Mr Okpara has proved his mettle in corporate governance, fiscal responsibility and true leadership in business, community development and human relations.
Okpara chose to keep it cool and focused. His humility is infectious. Challenges to him are the essence of living. Integrity and credibility should be worn as regalia should anyone want to succeed in any enterprise. When asked who he considers first in his dealings, he says: Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. If you understand God and the consequences of derailing from God’s standard in human relations, then it may appear slow, never mind, all I know is that you will surely go far because you are building trust”.
When the immediate past President of OCCIMA transited in a most painful circumstance, it was as though the Chamber had lost it all. Since nature abhors vacuum, a young man was crowned by the members of the chamber to steer the affairs in acting capacity. However, within the period of under review, he proved his mettle in leadership with a coordinated focused drive, which benefited members of the Chamber.
His investiture presented an opportunity for the unveiling of the true character of Okpara. Those in attendance were simply salts of the society. It shows acceptance and appreciation.
Flagging-off Presidential Inauguration ceremony of Mr Everest Okpara, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chief Executive of Innoson Auto manufacturing represented by Ide J.C Udeagbala, he testified that Okpara with few moments he has known him, it appears as though they have known for ages because of his humility and high sense of responsibility.
The inauguration also attracted virtually the world of Nigeria in the state. Iyalode Alaba Lawson, the immediate past President of NACCIMA was present to cheer the young man who has he is not just result oriented but cultured.
So it was not surprising having chambers from Abuja, Lagos and all the old eastern region members with their Presidents put in appearance. For Imo business community, it was proudly their show as everyone was in attendance, eulogising the young man and applauding the leadership character he has so far displayed to them.
Getting to crux of the matter, an entrepreneur has the presence of mind and environmentally sensitive.
Discovering the dearth of accuracy in medical diagnoses due to lack medical equipment of shortage of those with expertise to manage available equipment, Okpara saw it as a problem and immediately, he moved in to proffer solution.
Having developed the requisite knowledge in personnel and industrial relations as Bachelor of Science Degree holder in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management (IRPM) from Lagos State University, he certainly would know how to go about recruiting, training and getting the best out of his would be staff.
Again, believing in functional education and professionalism, while in the United States, he trained in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from John Hopkins University (Bloomberg School of Public Health), he took the narrow path to mobilise resources to establish Everight Diagnostics and Laboratory.
According to Okpara, it is like climbing through risky rope. “First thing was the ability to mobilise resources, which was a very difficult task. Getting started, you must be meticulous in character. Don’t ever play with your business money for any nefarious activities. Integrity and credibility must be uppermost.
Those who invested in your dream must not be taken for granted. You must maintain a strong relationship with both your patients and your workers. However, such relationship must have dos and dons so as not to betray trust, saying that trust is the only holding power for any business relationship, including personal relationships.
For Iyalode Alaba Lawson, her presence was assuaging even as she betrayed her mind in her kind wishes to see Okpara succeed with OCCIMA. She was also in the state earlier in the year to join Okpara during the inauguration of women business group and empowerment programme for them.
Already Okpara has rolled out his programmes for Owerri Chamber of Commerce as he said he is poised to help the interested youths to find their feats.
“We shall be going all out for membership drive. I believe that there are many gifted youths out there who only need mentoring. We must have our training centre to guide them to greatness”.
Accepting the challenge, he said: “…I understand the task ahead of me, and I am not unconscious of the confidence bestowed on me. I am very much prepared to live up to the expectations. As a servant leader, I will lead by example; I will continue to promulgate the values that unify us, ensure the realization of our quest for OCCIMA library and permanent office. The Council members and I shall continue to work together for the actualization of our goals”.