It was my friend Emmanuel Olayi a former speaker of the SUG parliament of University of Calabar who first mentioned the name” Odey Ochicha” to me.
He was telling me about an uncommon senior friend he came to know who works in NNPC and how he has assisted so many Bekwarra students in tertiary institutions with scholarship and bursaries and also hinted that he was a sympathizer of ACN and will want me to meet with him which I gladly accepted.
Some days later he called me to assist him in mobilizing some youths to meet with Ochicha in Ogoja and I hurriedly gathered about a hundred of them.
Before getting to the venue of the meeting Ochicha was already sitting and waiting for us. Three unique things made an impression in me that day, first considering who I learnt he was and where he works I was expecting to see a big car with so many security around but what I saw was just a Hilux with a driver, secondly it is very unusual for you to see a big man come to an event and sit comfortably and be waiting for his guests but Ochicha waited patiently for all of us (keeping African time) to arrive.
Thirdly, when we met and I was introduced both of us started chatting as people that had known each other for years a virtue of simplicity and love. During the meeting he never mentioned anything about his ambition but rather focused on inspiring the youths to help them succeed in their endeavor, if you were there then you will see passion practically flowing out of him, you will see a man that was interested in the welfare of the youths.
After our first meeting I decided to know more about this incredible man and it was then that I discovered that Odey Ochicha has done so many things that even my friend (Olayi) does not even know.
Odey Ochicha in the past five years has been giving scholarships to students in the northern senatorial district with more than 300 students as beneficiaries, his coordinator for Ogoja was Chris Abang the present Chief Press Secretary to the Ogoja LGA Council chairman.
Odey Ochicha has been organizing a football competition for secondary school children in the north and the last one was won by Government Secondary School Ishibori. Participating schools are given free footballs and jerseys with cash prizes.
Odey Ochicha has donated three (3) boreholes to his Buba community in Bekwarra to help ease their water challenges.
Odey Ochicha organizes yearly children inspiration forum where he inspires children on how to achieve success in life. These children also go home with free school bags and books.
Odey Ochicha pays five thousand monthly stipends to aged men and women in his Buba community.
At one point Odey Ochicha paid the school fees of all the primary school children in his community.
Odey Ochicha has donated fertilizer and chemicals to some communities in the North.
When I discovered all these things I was marveled and immediately called him to query why he doesn’t let the press to publicize all these things he has done.
He laughed and told me he didn’t do it to attract man’s attention but because he felt it was necessary for him to contribute back to society from the little God has blessed him with emphasizing what the Bible said about not allowing the right hand know what the left hand gives out.
In fact, confirming his refusal to publicize his modest contributions one of the NTA staff explained to me how they have severally pleaded with him to allow them publicize the things he has done especially his football competition but he refused unlike our politicians who will exaggerate any little thing they do with constituency funds given to them.
Very recently some friends on facebook challenged me to mention one thing Mr. Ochicha has done to assist the state and my response was that they should wait because we are still compiling and that is the truth. Even now we are still trying to gather information on all his modest contributions.
Odey Ochicha (until very recently) unlike his colleagues had one car which is the Hilux van when asked why he said “If I use my money to be buying big cars like my NNPC colleagues where will I have the money to be doing the things am doing? This one I have is ok for me”
Odey until very recently did not have a house in the village but had built for his family members to stay.
He is that selfless. Ochicha has a heart of gold and that is the kind of leader we should crave for.
Odey Ochicha is a veracious reader who has read dozens of books on leadership, he is very well inspired by the Dubai magic where a desert land was turned to the most beautiful city in the world and needs an opportunity to replicate this success in Cross River.
Despite his tight job schedule Ochicha still created time to write and has written two great books “Leading with Courage and Integrity” and “Pages and Sages.”
Odey Ochicha is an epitome of courage, even when he still has 5 years to be in NNPC, he abandoned the job to come and contest for governorship under APC in a state erroneously believed to be a PDP state.
How many Cross Riverians can take that risk?
In saner climes, Odey Ochicha will need little or no campaign to be elected because of his outstanding qualities.
His outstanding qualities earned him several names in NNPC, Obama, Professor, Peter Trucker and Registrar.
Odey Ochicha is an epitome of simplicity, humility and integrity.
Truly, he is a phenomenon whom it will take us more time to fully explain.
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