Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Chief Uzodinma Okpara, the son of the late Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr Michael Okpara, has lamented the failure of successive administrations in the region to sustain his father’s legacies and exemplary leadership particularly his agricultural revolution.
This is as the Michael Okpara Foundation established in honour of the late patriot, has announced plan to build a befitting Mausoleum also in his honour.
Speaking at a memorial service in honour of his father who died on December 17, 1984, the former governorship candidate, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Abia State, said time had come for a research to be conducted to know why successful administrations in the South-East had failed to run with the vision of his father.
He regretted that his father’s era which made Eastern Region of Nigeria the fastest growing economy in the world according to Harvard Review, had suddenly nosedived into a struggling economy in the country.
Born on 25th December, 1920, Dr Okpara whose agricultural revolution was responsible for the boom in the economy of the defunct Eastern Region, died at the age of 64 years.
He was the Premier of the Eastern Region comprising all five South Eastern states and four in South South namely: Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Bayelsa from 1959-1966.
According to Okpara’s son, the Foundation which has Mr Christian Igodo, the author of late Dr Okpara’s Biography, as Executive Secretary and Projects Coordinator, will in its quest to revive the Late Okpara’s vision engage experts to “promote researches and knowledge in agriculture and industrial development towards replicating the developmental revolution associated with the late Premier.”
He said: “This Foundation is a very crucial, critical and timely platform to ponder deeply to appreciate the magnitude of Dr Micheal Okpara’s accomplishments in jobs creation, eradication of poverty and misery through massive industrial and agricultural revolution, and replicate these now to halt the impending social economic stagnation and state of doldrum facing Nigeria.”
“The Foundation is therefore instituting two endowments in Agricultural Research and Industrial Development and seeking collaboration with Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State and one other university, to re- orientate the young generation and posterity to enable them know how these legacies positively impacted the region with the view to finding when, where and what went wrong.”
Chief Uzodinma said the research results would show “why succeeding governments have failed or found it difficult to continue with those policies and vision and what can be done to revive them.”
The special service marking the 39th anniversary of Okpara’s exit, held at his Umuegeu Okpuala Ohuhu compound in Umuahia North.
During the service, prayers were said for the continued peaceful repose of the soul of the elder statesman in paradise.
Ministering during the service, the Methodist Church Bishop, Umuahia East Dr Ikechukwu Emezi Nkulo who was represented by Rev. Chukwuemeka Emesie, prayed God to give the region and Nigeria more leaders in the mould of late Dr Okpara.
The cleric said that the late Okpara served humanity selflessly and with utmost dedication.
He charged Leaders in the country to key into the laudable vision of the late Premier and his contemporaries for a a better society with strong economy.