Keniebi Okoko hailed for inspirational Niger Delta leadership

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Keniebi Okoko, a highly successful Harvard-trained, Niger Delta businessman, and renowned philanthropist will be celebrated for his inspirational leadership and advocacy for sustainable development in the Niger Delta region in Nigeria, with a memorial microsite.

Until his death, Keniebi Okoko was a renowned philanthropist, an advocate for sustainable development in the region, who envisioned rapid industrialization for his home State, Bayelsa.

A memorial microsite, showcasing a legacy inspirational Leadership and philanthropy by the late Keniebi Okoko, a renowned Niger Delta Businessman and Philanthropist will be launched in October.

The region known as Niger delta in Nigeria comprises nine states with about 31 million people of more than 40 ethnic groups, the region has the highest deposit of mineral resources but has been entangled in conflicts, political violence and undulating leadership over the years.

Indeed it would have been refreshing to witness the emergence of a rare kind of leader from the most recent electoral opportunity in the region, precisely Bayelsa State, in the person of Late Keniebi Okoko, who took time to evaluate the needs of his people; groom himself; project innovative solutions and finally decided against all odds to vie for the seat of power, to enable him to bring about a transformation, that only a visionary can engineer.

Keniebi Okoko, a highly successful Harvard-trained business mogul, not only lost out in the primaries to politicians with more established bases, even though he proved to be a worthy opponent. He later bowed out of the biggest stage of all - life, when he took a chance on science to undergo a medical surgery in a Lagos hospital, which went sideways.

Keniebi inspired his supporters and opponents by his noble display of gallantry in defeat when he collapsed his campaign team into that of his opponent who picked the slot ahead of him in the party primary and eventually emerged governor. A man of peace, Keniebi understood the meaning of leadership for the benefit of the people, by not toeing the usual stance of two elephants fighting as long as only the grass suffers.

Until his death, Keniebi Okoko was a renowned philanthropist, an advocate for sustainable development in the region, who envisioned rapid industrialization for his home State, Bayelsa. Keniebi also had a clear understanding of the challenges of the education sector and was keen on repositioning the sector as part of his human capital development plan, according to him:

ā€œIā€™m a product of a scholarship, I had never been abroad up until 2003 when former governor, late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, thought it wise to sign my scholarship of N11 million and I went to Canada and it was like a dream, but for that opportunity given me, how would I have done it? My father could not afford that from his lecturer salary, so we should be able to give those opportunities to our younger ones too.ā€ he once said in an interview.

The Micro-site Project being put together by family and close friends of Keniebi is expected to inspire the next generation of Niger Deltans unto the greatness and attaining sustainable development for the region.

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Esther Opeyemi Aladejebi
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