Mr Ken Ayere | Former National President of Nigeria in Diaspora and Former Beareu Chief News Agency of Nigeria South Africa Chapter

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A vote from the Community

Posted on May 27, 2015

Vote from the Nigerian Community. Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR: A Natural Born Leader.

The late Nigerian writer and  world renowned scholar, Prof. Chinua Achebe, expressed similar sentiments in his book, The Trouble with Nigeria, where he observed as follows, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land, climate, water, air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which is the hallmarks of true leadership.”

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It is worthy to support and give endorsement to those who have and know what it takes to provide good leadership, as they come forward to vie for elective offices.  The South African Nigerian community was thrilled the day it was made public that Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR, the immediate past Consul General at the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, declared his interest to vie for the governorship of Abia State.  With joy and exhilaration the knowingness is celebrated that a good man has offered to serve his people, a man with great wisdom, courage and love for his people. 

As the Consul-General at the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, one of his responsibilities was to cater to the welfare of the Nigerian communities in most Southern African countries like South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and the Kingdom of Lesotho.  Before his arrival in South Africa, the Nigerian community was faced with many serious challenges. There was a general assumption that every Nigerian was a criminal and most Nigerians were painted with the same brush. In effect, Nigerians were exposed to the most brutal xenophobic attacks and ill-treatment at the hands of the locals, as well as the security forces and police. The life of an average Nigerian was worth nothing as it was evident in the number of Nigerians gunned down or stabbed to death on the streets of South Africa. It therefore did not come as a surprise when during the court trial over the murder of the legendary South African reggae maestro, Lucky Dube, one of the suspects confessed that they thought that their victim was a Nigerian.

Before the coming of Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR to South Africa, the normal response from the Nigerian Embassy and Consulate officials to cases of ill-treatment had the stamp of flippancy and nonchalance. He brought with him a totally new approach of strategic intervention and planning when he arrived in South Africa. A new energy was infused into dealing with the myriad challenges facing our Nigerian community in South Africa. As a truly great visionary diplomat, Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR rose to the occasion. He responded energetically to every case of maltreatment and in most cases traveled to the particular town or province where the incident took place. He established in every province of South Africa a direct link between the leadership of the Nigerian Union and the Provincial Police Commissioner, creating a channel through which Nigerians could take their issues to the highest authority. His diplomatic finesse and panache to defend the dignity of Nigerians came to the fore in 2012, with the mass deportation of Nigerians in regard to the matter of fake Yellow Fever Certification. Nigeria had no yellow fever epidemic which came as a surprise to South Africa, a country benefitting from engagement with Nigeria.  It is on record that Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR played a central role that ranged from revenge deportation to a friendly resolution of the crisis at round table. 

The Nigerian community will continue to remember and celebrate Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR as an effective leader who abhors corruption. Before his intervention the Nigerian Consulate was notorious for being a veritable trading place for touts and had been hijacked by visa and passports agents with their offices embedded within the premises. Touting was such an integral part of the system that Nigerians in South Africa never received any service without obnoxious agents involved or bogus officers posing at the Consulate building extorting money from Nigerians and other nationalities. Instead of partaking, Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR, proceeded to sanitize the entire Consulate and restored it to a status that is befitting the greatness of Nigeria. In order to further reduce the high cost incurred by Nigerians outside Johannesburg and the Gauteng Province, the Consulate started sending its staff to other provinces where they provided direct consular services to Nigerians. Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR is not only against corruption, he is also a courageous leader who does not tremble to do what is necessary in order to improve the welfare of citizens.

He courageously took other actions that confirmed him as not only as a man with a knack for problem solving, but also as a true man of peace. Before and in the early days of his assumption of duty, the Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) was riddled by various crisis and factional fighting on most levels and in such a way that some took recourse to the court of law.  Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR always insisted on brotherly resolution of differences.  Even when he had cause to differ, he never tried to use his exalted position to victimize other Nigerians for their views. This showed to the Nigerian community Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR as a fair, broad-minded and large-hearted leader who is not vindictive. He eventually succeeded in transforming NUSA from its previous caricature state to a strong Union, becoming an organization that is relevant to Nigerians in South Africa. 

His good nature and love for Nigerians made him very popular among people. In the Western Cape Province, he was hailed as the People’s Consul General. The community hall of the Western Cape Nigerian Union secretariat in Cape Town was named the Okey Emuchay Hall, in his honour. His legacy and records stands tall like a colossus and the Federal Government of Nigeria has attested to this by conferring him with the national award of Member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR) for his service to the nation.

There is no doubt from the Nigerian community that his declaration for the governorship of Abia State is motivated by a desire for the good of the majority of the people. The man, Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR, is not a Nigerian politician whose mouth drips with false promises and platitudes. His is dedicated to his noble cause to change the lives of the people for the better. He never promises what he cannot deliver on, like his late father, Sir Dr Dick Emuchay MFR, who showed exemplary leadership and excellence when he served as the Chairman of Civil Service Commission in the defunct Eastern region. 

The Nigerian community in South Africa is honoured to have met him and call on the people of Abia State to elevate meritocracy above mediocrity by giving their support to Ambassador Okey Emuchay MFR as the Executive Governor come 2015.


Nigerian community and organization in South Africa united by Okey Emuchay MFR

Nigerian Union Western Cape Offices | Initiated and supported by Consul General Okey Emuchay MFR

NUWC | Head Office Kensington

Nigerian Consulate Building | Initiated and motivated by Consul General Okey Emuchay MFR (Nr 16, Rivonia Road, Illovo, Sandton, Johannesburg)

Consul General’s Residence Houghton Estate, Johannesburg | Initiated by Consul General Okey Emuchay MFR with open door policy to visitors

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