Edward Onoja; A Man and Half (3)

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Sometime in 2016, I met Chief Edward David Onoja (then Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello) in the company of some other student leaders. I was serving as the Acting President of the National Association of Kogi State Students (NAKOSS KSU chapter) in what was scheduled as a courtesy visit to establish a working relationship between the student community and the government which was just three months old in reign.

The first scheduled visit was in February of the same year, but that couldn’t hold because CEDO was away in Abuja appearing in court to serve as a witness in efforts to defend the mandate of his principal Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello as the duly elected governor of Kogi State. A notice of our visit was given a week earlier, but understandably he had quite a lot of concerns to attend to, and he couldn’t meet up with the appointment.

Fast forward to our later meeting with chief in April, of course, you know what is said about the first impressions, the manner with which we had a conversation and the areas he showed concern lives a forever impression that he is always interested in whatever that will ensure peaceful coexistence between the government and all interest groups. From seeking our opinion on how the government can attend to the yearnings of ASUU, to inquiring about the needs of the students, and finally to how the government can assist the various student representative bodies in the state in carrying out their administrative functions. All concerns as mentioned above were adequately deliberated upon and resolutions were given on the ones within his control, with the assurance that the ones above him shall be presented to his boss for consideration.

This particular meeting was what lead to the foundation of the various recognition and support that the students of Kogi State nationwide received viz a viz :

  1. Bursary Increment.
  2. Subvention to student unions and associations across campuses.
  3. Donation of vehicles and buses to indigenous associations in the state.
  4. Award of scholarship to students of proven academic excellence across the three Senatorial districts at various times.
  5. Strengthening of the office of the Special Adviser to the government of Kogi State on Youth Empowerment, Sports, and Students Affairs.

I feel glad sharing this story knowing that Chief Edward David Onoja despite his change of office is still prioritising these practices. Making firm his claim at various times about being intentional in providing visionary leadership to the state in any given capacity.

The exceptional display of Team Spirit by Chief Edward David Onoja and his keen interest in assisting his boss to build bridges has endeared him to me even though at various points we had to disagree on some issues in a bid to arrive at a mutual conclusion. His ability to engage people or groups in a very objective and far-reaching manner is second to none as long as the interest of his principal and the new direction government is concerned. And this can be attested through his constant choice to represent his boss in places of high intellectual discourse on issues of governance within and outside Kogi State.

Just like anyone meeting him for the first time is enough, you can always be assured that you have in him a leader who is always willing to listen because he is concerned about the overall well-being of all sections of the state in Senatorial Districts, Religion and Fields of Endeavor.

– Hadi Abdulmalik wrote from Lokoja.

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