BY EBRIKU JOHN FRIDAY
The Chairman/CEO of Odecyn Contractors Nigeria Limited, Engr Cosmas Oloko Ekawu has been named the Chairman of Yema Yala Development Initiative after scaling through a well organized electoral process of the organization. He will be working with nine others elected to fill the various offices in the 10-member officials.
He was declared winner and returned as the elected chairman by the secretary of the constituted Independent Electoral Committee, Prince George Ogonyi after a rigorous electoral process, which has been adjudged as transparent, free and fair. He polled a total of 75 votes with one voided vote to emerge. With this victory on Sunday, he becomes the undisputed leader of indigenes of Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State residing in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
While declaring the winners of the election, Mr Ogonyi said, “Having satisfied the requirement of the law and scoring the highest votes you are hereby announced as winners and here returned as elected officials of Yema Yala Development Initiative.”
Soon after, the winners took their oath of office, which was administered by the IEC Director of Organisation, Barr Godwin Offiono. The newly inaugurated officials have two years per term in office and can seek reelection after the conclusion of their tenure in December 2022.
In his acceptance speech on behalf of other elected officials, Engr Cosmas while commending the electoral committee for what he described as a fantastic job and thanking members who supported and stood firm with them through the electoral process said, “Having communicated with other elected officials, I accept on their behalf the various offices we have been voted into. Thank you.”
Elected alongside the chairman is, Mrs Christabel Obagu, who polled 67 votes with 8 voided votes to emerge as Deputy Chairman. Mr Austin Akpa was elected as Secretary General after he garnered 68 votes and 7 voided votes cast in his favour. The Assistant Secretary General goes to Mr Emma Ogbaji, who polled 67 votes and 6 voided votes.
Others elected include, the CEO/publisher of Solomonislandblog.com.ng, Mr Ogar Solomon Ogar, who emerged as Director of Publicity after polling 71 votes and 8 voided votes. Mr Christopher Eguma was elected as Treasurer with 69 votes and 7 voided votes.
Also the Supervisory Councilor for Environment, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon Gabriel Bravo Oluohu was overwhelmingly elected as Financial Secretary of the organization with 73 votes and 4 voided votes. Mrs Akobi Cecilia Ebika and Mr Clement Alegu were elected Welfare Officer 1 and 2 after polling 71 and 63 votes respectively. The post of the Provost goes to Mr Emmanuel Odo Odama who polled 44 votes to defeat his rival Mr Julius Odiko, who got 26 votes in a keenly contested post.
In his first assignment as the new chairman, Mr Ekawu, who dissolved the IEC charged members to remain steadfast and committed to the ideals of the orgainsation and promised to lead a transparent, accountable and an all inclusive administration that would be attractive and beneficial to all Yala people.
He assured that he and his team would embark on an aggressive campaign for membership drive and collaborate with all Yala illustrious sons and daughters who are doing well in their various fields of endeavour to open the space for create job opportunities for our teeming jobless youths as well as attract developments back home.
He said, I want to thank you all once more for having taken pains to have been here since three o’clock up till this time. It is not easy. It is a sacrifice not to be forgotten quickly. I want to really thank everyone of you present here for your time and resources. Particularly I thank the members of the Independent Electoral Committee and the media for their passion and commitment to see the process through.
Having said all this, let me quickly reiterate that we are going to have our meetings as usual, every second Sunday of the month at the same venue for now. All of you who have participated in this process today and are not fully registered members should try and identify with this group. We have made it as our major responsibility that every Yala indigene resident in Abuja is carried along and everyone is going to be involved in driving this process to a success.
Yema Yala, which means ‘Sight’ of Yala is an umbrella body of the entire indigenes of Yala LGA resident in Abuja. The election on Sunday, which is the first assignment to be organized by the organization since inception eight years ago with interim leaders who have been piloting the affairs of the organization under the leadership of Hon Odey Ekawu. It is hoped that the new leadership will build on the foundation laid so far and take the organization to greater heights.
Congratulating the chairman and other newly elected exco members, the Chairman/CEO Santuscom Nigeria Investment Limited, producers of the popular Ogoja Rice, Chief Paul Santus Ofana, expressed confidence on the capacity of the chairman and urged him to extend his hand of fellowship to many Yala brothers and sisters resident in Abuja and bring them onboard to participate in helping one another and take Yala to the next level. He said it should not be an elitist organization but should be platform for all to come in, integrate, connect and strengthen one another
Also lending his voice while congratulating the newly elected exco, Engr Steve Akpaka, said, please carry all of us along with a progressive agenda that will better the lot of Yala people and be a platform to promote our sons and daughters doing exceptional well in all spheres of life.
On his part, Prince Ogonyi, said “I want to congratulate all of you for this painstaking campaign that needed today with this election, I will say something very important, that for Yema Yala to grow and achieve its set out aims and objectives, you must go back to our constitution, review that constitution because it is not modern enough to take us. I advocate for a new constitution for Yema Yala.
“Mr chairman I believe in your capacity and wealth of experience and I believe you can give us what Yala truly deserves. Yala in Abuja will prove to Yala in every part of the world that we are more united, that we can grow and take it home. As a matter of urgency, Mr Chairman give us a constitution that would unit Yala in Abuja, that will bring us into one umbrella and make us have one voice.”
After this reactions, Mr Kadiri Abraham moved for adjournment and was seconded by Mrs Martins Ochu and the closing prayer was said by Prince Faith Ogar. This marked the end of the eventful evening, which brought all some of Yala LGA from Ukelle, Igede, Yala, Gabu and Yeche together.