Forum Laments Poor Development of Akoko Edo LG, Plans a Model

Forum Laments Poor Development of Akoko Edo LG, Plans a Model

…Adopts Blueprint for Charting Development in All Sectors …Fingers Herders Infiltration for Heightening Insecurity …Pleads with Edo State Government to Enact Anti-Open Grazing Law Akoko Edo Forum (AEF), a newly formed umbrella group of Akoko Edo sons and daughters in Nigeria and the diaspora, has lamented the abysmally poor state of development in Akoko Edo

…Adopts Blueprint for Charting Development in All Sectors

…Fingers Herders Infiltration for Heightening Insecurity

…Pleads with Edo State Government to Enact Anti-Open Grazing Law

Akoko Edo Forum (AEF), a newly formed umbrella group of Akoko Edo sons and daughters in Nigeria and the diaspora, has lamented the abysmally poor state of development in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State and resolved to actively intervene in all facets of its affairs to make it a model.

It also adopted a “Working Document” as the foundation for the formulation of Akoko Edo Development blueprint to be used in charting AEF development programmes in all sectors of the LGA.

Also worried by the high level of insecurity and kidnapping, blamed on infiltration of the LGA by armed herdsmen, it condemned the recent shooting of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Igarra, Mr Suleiman Muhammed by unknown gunmen along the Auchi-Igarra-Ibilo road. The Forum also resolved to immediately raise funds to assist the wounded DPO.

While urging the Edo State Government to enact the Anti-Open Grazing law in line with the resolve of the Southern Governors, the AEF also empowered its Security Committee to develop a sustainable security plan for the LGA and liaise with Akoko Edo Vigilantes in helping to curb the activities of kidnappers. It also called on the Edo State Government to urgently add Akoko Edo Vigilantes into the Edo Vigilante Security Network.

At its inaugural meeting held via zoom last weekend, the forum comprising notable Akoko Edo sons and daughters in the private and public sectors, including industry captains, professionals, academics, retired military officers, civil servants and political office holders, provided the opportunity to discuss its core objectives as a vehicle to support the developmental trajectory of the Akoko Edo Local Government Area (LGA), said to be the oldest local government in Nigeria but has the unenviable status as one of the least developed amongst the country’s 774 LGAs.

In his welcome address, Dr. Richard Bagudu, a US licensed legal expert, gave insights into the formation and the need for an umbrella Akoko Edo group like AEF to help change the underdevelopment narrative of the oldest LGA in Nigeria.

He emphasized that irrespective of whatever is responsible for the pathetic state of Akoko Edo, the forum believes it is high time it is checked because, as the saying goes, “all evil requires to succeed is for all good men to do nothing.” The “good people have woken up,” he further stated. Bagudu, who’s also the forum’s chief security adviser, solicited the support of all participants and other Akoko Edo sons and daughters wherever they might be to take the issue of changing Akoko Edo into a model LGA very seriously and urgently.

Founder of Benjamin Legacy Foundation, Mrs. Mary Opii, introduced the six member Select Committee working assiduously as the secretariat of AEF, considering the need to ensure active participation in the forum.

She said, “the Select Committee will moderate and collate suggestions in charting a path for developing Akoko-Edo and creating a platform for the people to hold their leaders across the board accountable.”

Introducing all members of the Select Committee, Opii whose nonprofit foundation focuses on youth and women empowerment, went further to name the nine committees earlier constituted to cover every sector of development, their chairmen and the secretaries.

Dr. Charles Jagun, a pharmaceutical and medical regulatory expert based in the US, moderated the interactive session, while Mr. Ifedayo Udiani , an IT consultant also based in the US, managed the virtual hosting for a hitch-free meeting.

Jagun, interim chairman of the forum’s board of trustees and member of the Select Committee, explained in detail the activities of each of the committees along with the identified challenges and suggested ways of working with other stakeholders to reverse the sad state of the LGA.

In a communique signed by Mrs Mary Opii and Ms Edith Aiyede, an estate management expert, on behalf of the Select Committee, AEF resolved that;

* Akoko Edo people through AEF have become active stakeholders in the affairs of the LGA and will no longer allow the neglect and underdevelopment of the LGA to continue.

* Affirmed the Select Committee to act as the body’s secretariat for the administration and external contacts with critical stakeholders with a functional operational office at Igarra.

* Adopted the “Working Document” as the foundation for the formulation of AEF while the Akoko Edo Development blueprint will be used in charting AEF development in all sectors of the LGA.

* Condemned the high level of insecurity, kidnapping, and infiltration of the LGA by herders and the recent shooting of Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Igarra. The Forum resolved to immediately raise funds to assist the wounded DPO.

* Empowered AEF Security Committee to develop a sustainable security plan for the LGA and liaise with Akoko Edo Vigilantes in helping to curb the activities of kidnappers and called on the Edo State Government to urgently add Akoko Edo Vigilantes into the Edo Vigilante Security Network. Also, AEF to key into Edo State’s recent announcement to employ 10,000 people as vigilantes and equip same.

* Called on Edo State Government to enact the Anti-open grazing law as agreed by the Southern Governors.

* Work with neighboring states and LGAs to address the security challenges and called on our Royal Fathers to ensure herdsmen do not use their domains as settlement and the profiling of youths in the LGA to address the increasing acts of criminality in the area.

* Called for setting up a process for the establishment of Akoko Edo Trust Fund or Akoko Security Trust Fund to address the insecurity and under development in the LGA.

* Constitute a finance and fundraising committee to develop and implement a fundraising strategy for the forum for sustainable funding of projects and operations.

* Work or partner with other groups, businesses, NGOs, agencies, and other stakeholders interested in developing the LGA.

* All elected and appointed political office holders should be asked to join the forum and engage all elected representatives on the representation of the LGA.

* A quarterly or half-yearly virtual townhall is to be held with all elected representatives from Akoko Edo. Arrangement and modalities of the townhall to be perfected by the Select Committee.

AEF’s Select Committee parades seasoned men and women who have proven their mettle in their chosen fields. They include Dr Charles who holds forte as interim chairman, Dr Richard Bagudu, Mrs Edith Aiyede, Mr Ifedayo Udiani, Dr Babatunde Agbi and Mrs Mary Opii.

Dr. Charles Jagun is a pharmaceutical/medical device regulatory expert based in the USA, with extensive global experience in drug/medical device regulation and an entrepreneur. Before proceeding to Kaduna for secondary education, Jagun, who’s from Igarra, had his elementary education in Lagos and Igarra. He then proceeded for tertiary education at Ilorin, Ibadan (awarded Postgraduate Federal Government Scholarship Award) Germany, UK and ending with a doctorate in Technology Entrepreneurship in the US.

He was president, Igarra Progressive Union, USA (2010-2015), secretary-general, Afenmai World Congress (AWC), USA (2014-2018), and a member of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA). . He is currently the interim chairman of the AEF board of trustees and a member of the Select Committee. Jagun is married with children.

Dr. Richard Bagudu, a partner with Bagudu, Uba & Associates, holds a doctorate in Commercial Law, a Master of Law degree in Corporate Management and Finance Law, and a Master of Intellectual Property. Bagudu has over 30 years of experience in legal practice. Before joining Bagudu, Uba & Associates, Bagudu was a solo practitioner engaged in the practice of personal injury and immigration law.

He was also a Staff Attorney at the Washington DC office of WilmerHale, an international law firm, and an in-house Counsel and Head, Legal and Insurance, at Elf Oil Nigeria Limited (now TotalFina Nigeria Limited). A beneficiary of the Chevron National Competitive Scholarship Award (1987–1990), Bagudu, was the Editor-in-Chief of the Lawyers’ Digest, a Bendel State University Law Journal, 1989-1990. Bagudu is licensed to practice law in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Nigeria. He’s a member of the board of trustees, the Select Committee, and the chief security adviser. He is married with children.

Ms. Edith Aiyede is a graduate of Estate Management and has traversed various sectors of the real estate profession. She has a cumulative 8 years of experience in the construction and real estate sector, having worked for reputable real estate companies. She is a graduate member of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV).

Aiyede is an alumnae of the School of Estate Management in Nigeria and Nexford University, United States where she earned her MBA. She is an art enthusiast, writer, and advocate for social change. She is a member of the AEF Select Committee, Media and Social Media Committee, and Health, Women and NGO Committee. Aiyede is also a member of the board of trustees, Select Committee, and administrative/publicity liaison of the forum.

Mr. Ifedayo Udiani was born and raised in Ososo in Akoko Edo, LGA. He attended Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, and Lagos State University and worked with the Nigeria Customs Service before moving to the United States where he lives in Washington DC. He is presently an IT Consultant specializing in Linux Administration, Cyber Security, and Amazon Web Services with the United States Patent and Trademarks Office. Udiani is a member of the board of trustees, Select Committee, and the ICT administrator of the forum. He is married with children.

Dr. Babatunde Agbi has over 25 years of cumulative experience as an active player in the oil & gas sector, management consultancy, academia, and research. He is a member of several professional bodies including, National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), The Academy of Management Nigeria (TAMN), and the International Professional Managers Association United Kingdom (IPMA-UK). Dr. Agbi is a member of the board of trustees, the Select Committee, and the forum’s management adviser.
He is happily married with children.

Mrs Mary Taiwo Opii attended St. Louis Grammar School, Akure, so do State before proceeding to study Law at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, where she bagged her LL.B. Opii also attended the Nigeria Law school, Bwari, Abuja, and was called to the Nigeria Bar in 2003. She has worked in various capacities; as legal counsel and secretary to the Board of Independent Newspapers Limited; Company Secretary and Business Development Manager to Acclaim Communication Limited, publisher of The Niche newspaper.

Opii later went into full time private legal practice in Lagos, Nigeria. She obtained a postgraduate diploma from Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom in 2015 and is currently studying with Africa Civic Engagement Academy, (ACEA), a course organised by the University of Georgia, USA to raise seasoned leaders from across all African countries. Opii is the Founder, Benjamin Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit organizations that focuses on youth and women empowerment. She is currently the interim secretary of the board of trustees of AEF, a member of the Select Committee and communication adviser of the forum. Opii is married with children.

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