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Article 19

A TESTIMONIAL GIVEN BY THE WESTERN REGIONAL HEAD, GERALD AZONOBO TO ENUMERATE THE LEADERSHIP ACCOUNTABILITY OF A COMPASSIONATE, SERVANT AND SELFLESS LEADER, HON. ORITSEBEMIGHO EYEOYIBO (OLUAYE 1), THE
IMMEDIATE PAST NATIONAL HEAD, NBM OF AFRICA (WORLDWIDE), AT THE AWARD DINNER ORGANIZED BY LAGOS ZONE-NBM OF AFRICA ON SATURDAY JUNE 25, 2016 @ROSEVIEW HOTEL, AKUTE, OGUN STATE.

 Greetings to the Distinguished Brotherhood:

It is no surprise to any NBM brother that we’re here today celebrating one of our leaders who has made a mark in the anals of  history within our fraternity over the past four years, you will also agree with me that this  brother, father, leader and mentor did reform our great fraternity into  what it has become today through his 360 degree turn around agenda under his administration as the National Head of NBM of Africa.  I write you today earnestly to share this epilogue and enumeration of a man well deserving of all honour and why.  It is without hesitation that we deemed it fit and worthy to celebrate a man that has invested himself immensely towards the growth and advancement of this great brotherhood fraternity.

While serving as Zonal Head, I have had the privilege of working directly alongside Bro. Bemigho to represent the brothers of the Western Region and the brothers beyond on the National Council of Elders.  During this time, I  witnessed his commitment to excellence in this Fraternity.During same time, I learned first-hand, the detailed nature by which he approaches his work and his emphasis on transparent and regular communication with the Brotherhood. He engages each and every task with the strategic mindset you would expect from the leader of a 20,000-member organization and particularly one to which you pay dues.

What I have found to be most revered about Bro. Bemigho is his diligence and the provocative thought offered when it comes to addressing the many pressing matters that are presented to this Fraternity.  I believe that an imperative part of leadership is about having the audacity to lead authentically, and Bro. Bemigho has proven he is about just that.  He has modeled the appropriate leadership behavior which has fostered trust, and when you look at the roadmap Bro. Bemigho has already trotted down in this fraternity, you can see that he has not jeopardized this in any way.  He continuously dedicated his time, commitment, and heart to the fraternity,it's  betterment and overall good of this very  brotherhood. We as brothers have reaped the fruits of his labour.  Let us not judge a brother by what he says, but judge him by what he does.

Bro. Bemigho is heavily invested in the renewed lifeline of this Fraternity – the college brothers.  In our unique dual college/alumni leadership position, he gave me the freedom to lead in our region and voice my concerns.  He was open to hearing my viewpoint and allowed me to execute my plans alongside his.  That is the foundation of our fraternal ideal – equipping young men with the developmental leadership qualities by providing an outlet where they can build themselves into better men to be able to go out and better this world.  Bro. Bemigho understands this philosophy – he preaches it, practices it, and ensures we prepare college brothers for it.

I once said, “We are quick to identify a paper brother, but we play blind to paper leadership.”  For the latter part of that quote, I can attest to the fact that when it comes to leadership Bro. Bemigho has not fainted or faltered, and knowing the man and brother he is, i  do not expect him to do so even now that the power of national leadership has changed hands. He has led this House of NBM with excellence in these doubtful and troubling times – not only those facing NBM, but those facing this world at large, where the efforts of NBM men are needed and called.  The path we choose to embark on at this present position of this great fraternity will undoubtedly shape our unwritten and written legacy. We must make sure that such legacy is protected, preserved, and nurtured with the right investments in order to ensure that when we look back at this moment it will be unequivocally clear that we stood up for the principles and ideals envisioned, articulated, and personified by the jewels.

We must search deep in our hearts while using every ounce of energy in our minds to ask some serious questions regarding the present state of NBM as well as our near and distant future. Some may say that NBM has lost its soul. Others may say that this is just business as usual and that all is good in the House of NBM. Some may not even have an opinion. No matter what school-of-thought you belong to on this spectrum of perspectives, one-fact surfaces: NBM should and must remain “the college of friendship, the university of brotherly love, and the school for the better making men of men.”

As Western Regional Head, I call on all brothers of this great fraternity to practice NBM as aligned with our founding principles, ideals, and objectives. The right investment will be a step in the right direction. We must invest in our future by making a careful investment now just like Brother Bemigho. We must invest in NBM’s leadership. Can one man make NBM the greatest organization in the world? That’s a far-fetched fantasy. But most of us can agree that we all must be servant leaders with the adequate skill-sets to help stimulate the environment that will ultimately enable our success as an organization. We need leaders that can galvanize a balanced team of Brothers across all regions and demographics of NBM so that we can build a climate destined for success.

Here are some facts about Brother Bemigho  that I can attest to based upon first-hand experience working with him. All through his national leadership tenure of 2012-2016, it became clear that he is a steadfast leader, a visionary, and a Brother’s brother whose dedication to the ideals of NBM will never waver under any circumstance. He was an independent thinker on the Council and always stood up for what he believed was in NBM’s best interest. He never voted for something just because it was popular or politically expedient to do so. He always stood up for NBM’s best interest. Why is this important? We need to know where our leaders stood yesterday, stand today, and will stand tomorrow and the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Brother Bemigho’s core as a servant leader was not influenced by political tides and/or desires for personal gain.

There are a number of men who, since my initiation, have become Big Brothers in the truest sense and I count Brother Bemigho amongst them. He is the example we should follow in seeking to be good, committed and diligent servants in this organization of leaders. His is the example of a man who achieved that heavily sought balance between brotherhood and business and did so at the expense of neither. While capable, Brother Bemigho’s respect within this house is not rooted in his ability to give a stirring speech. While knowledgeable, it is not grounded in his ability to recite to us our own history. Brother Bemigho’s respect within the House of NBM is squarely founded on the years of sincere time and effort he has given to NBM and, more importantly, to the community that NBM serves. This is a Brother whom an army of gentlemen that endeavor to be servant leaders would be proud to have as their mentor.

These are the qualities we need to fortify the House of NBM. Sound practices, proven results and an ability to execute are hallmarks of Brother Bemigho’s leadership.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to discuss how Brother Bemigho carved an administrative ease passage through creation of Regional structure across the demographics of NBM, which has become a functional constitutional arm of government in our Fraternity. What a great feat he has achieved.

He has successfully served this great movement under different leadership capacity from Zonal to the National Level and he handed over the mantle of national leadership to Hon. Felix Kupa, National Head, NBM of Africa (Worldwide) on the 28th of May, 2015 at the just concluded 38th Annual National
[11:54 PM, 6/25/2016] Dagogo: Convention in Warri, Delta State, after serving under two administrations and having learned the legacies of those that preceded them, I can fully understand the significance of the National Head.

Hon. Bemigho Eyeoyibo, while he served as the National Head, was a steward who could  and would  ensure that your NBM Investment was constantly  protected.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Brother Gerald A. Azonobo
President, Western Region
NBM of Africa.⁠⁠⁠⁠