ISTDAL, COASTING TO ORGANIZATIONAL PERFECTION UNDER EKEOCHA’S LEADERSHIP
By Mcanthony Onuoha
Leadership they say, is service. In the words of Napoleon Hill, “the best job goes to the person who can have it done without passing the buck or comes back with excuses.”
The score card of Imo State Towns Development Association Lagos (ISTDAL), led by its President, Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha aligns with the above quote.
The current President and his team have so far proven beyond reasonable doubts that their occupation of executive offices at ISTDAL is not for tea party but to deliver on their mandates.
The current Executive Committee of ISTDAL (2020-2023) under the distinguished leadership of Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha, was inaugurated on Sunday 26th of January,2020, and had only one general meeting that year owing to the menace of Covid-19 pandemic which ravaged the entire globe.
The Exco kicked off with step by step implementation of the promises made to ISTDAL as contained in the action plan of the inaugural speech of the president on the 26th of January,2020.
The President, who has not hidden his eagerness to provide quality leadership commenced with MANAGEMENT RETREAT targeted at improving and beefing up its administrative capability, the executive committee has so far conducted two successful management retreats, first in February/March 2020, chaired by former Treasurer of ISTDAL, Late Chief Agabus Anumudu, at Dew Point Hotel,Ikeja, Lagos. The first retreat, according to the president, was made possible by the magnanimity of the Second Vice President, Engr. Moses Iwuoha, who provided the venue and other logistics.
However, the second retreat chaired by Hon. Nicholas Okoro, in May 2020, at ISTDAL Secretariat, 5, Adelabu Close, along Okolawon Ajayi Street, Surulere, Lagos, was successfully conducted. The management retreats according to Chief Hon.Ekeocha, “were aimed at correcting and eliminating the perennial practice of impunity that posed a threat to the image and progress of the association years back”.
Today, the return of Due process, Discipline and Civility as standards of practice in ISTDAL is in progress and by God’s special grace, the association is coasting towards organizational perfection under the leadership of Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha.
Nevertheless, another significant achievement recorded by Ekeocha’s administration via the instrumentality of the management retreat was to foster better understanding and unity amongst ISTDAL members, especially, the Women’s wing as the women are now properly guided in what they do as true members of the noble association.
Another outstanding achievement of Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha’s administration, which was one of the promises contained in his inaugural speech is the acquisition of a functional Secretariat with relevant office equipment in a choice area of Lagos State, and manned by a qualified Admin Clark. The Secretariat is situated at 5, Adelabu Close, Along Okolawon Ajayi Street, Surulele, Lagos.
By this commendable achievement, the association’s administrative works have been made less strenuous as every documentation and correspondence are now better handled at the Secretariat . Besides, all ISTDAL meetings except the monthly Sunday general meetings, are held in the Secretariat which has given members a sense of belonging, and settlement needed for ease of doing ISTDAL jobs, hassles have been reduced to barest minimum. Today, the Secretariat opens daily from Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.
It is also pertinent to note, that the ISTDAL Secretariat was acquired and renovated at the time people could not come out of their homes because of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Chief Hon. Ekeocha, the acquisition of the Secretariat was partly financed with the funds realized during the 2020 inaugural ceremony, free will donations and voluntary repayment of soft loans sourced by the executive.
As it were, the Covid- 19 pandemic which ravaged countries of the world, halting activities in almost every field of human endeavor, interrupted the progression of the association for one year, March 2020 to March 2021; however, the administration was relentless in its efforts towards realization of its set goals.
Subsequently, after the lockdown, all ISTDAL administrative duties continued at the Secretariat, exco meetings were held, burial ceremonies/wakes of its fallen members, and burial rights of deceased members were all paid.
All ISTDAL activities resumed after the 1st quarter of 2021, the ISTDAL women August meeting was well attended in September 2021, followed by the Hall of Fame in October 2021 which was adjudged the best in fund raising. And finally, the cultural carnival was organized in November 2021, and that marked the end of activities for 2021. Despite Covid-19 set back the leadership made a significant progress, the funds spent during the period, according to the President, were sourced by the executive to avoid total collapse during the trying period.
Furthermore, Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha and his team, paid a courtesy visit to the principal officers of Imo State Government around March 12-16, 2020, before the management retreat. The essence of the visit was to interface with them on issues of beneficial interest. Principal State Officers met during the visit include: The Attorney General of Imo State, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, and other stakeholders. The trip’s funding, according to Chief Ekeocha, was made possible by the wonderful cooperation of the executive of ISTDAL.
Despite all the challenges, ISTDAL women election of 2021 was adjudged the most free and fair election conducted since the creation of the Women’s Wing.
However, the executive carried out a holistic check and repairs on ISTDAL bus after it was handed over by the former Women President. The bus is currently being used for ISTDAL to carry out ISTDAL official functions including joint visitations and other ISTDAL activities.
Another remarkable achievement of Chief Ekeocha led administration is institution of financial discipline, the current executive have established financial discipline and standard in ISTDAL financial process not excluding the women wing, as the administration strongly believes that transparency is an inalienable ingredient in quality leadership delivery. All association’s money (receipt and expenditure) is well accounted for.
Nevertheless, the association’s Secretariat is fully functional with the provision of requisite equipment, a feat that was achieved through the support of patriotic members of the association.
The administration also deemed it necessary to create new Committees while already existing ones were revived to optimize the performance of the administration .
As his second tenure is expected to commence in January 2023, having been reelected for a second term, Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha will be seizing the unique opportunity to complete all the projects his administration has initiated, and as a lover of peace, which informed the massive support he enjoys as President of Imo State Towns Development Association Lagos (ISTDAL), it is expected that the amiable Steward will continue to unify Imo indigenes in Lagos with lofty and commendable initiatives.
Apart from his exaulted position as President, Imo State Towns Development Association Lagos, Chief Hon. Chris Ekeocha is also Member, Contact and Mobilization Committee, Anya Ndigbo, Lagos State as well as Chairman Town Unions of Seven Igbo Speaking States, comprising Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers and Delta States.