Recently, HRH Appolus Chu, the Egbere Emere Okori I Eleme brought his community to limelight, as many traditional rulers from all the geo-political zones in the country converged at Okori in Eleme, Rivers State to deliberate on matters of national interest without bitterness, sentiment or rancour.
The occasion was the official opening of the palace of the Egbere-Eleme Okori Eleme Kingdom and the dedication of a new church building for the Commonwealth Covenant Church.
Although it was a historic event that could well be described as trailblazing, such noble gestures have become a hallmark of this traditional ruler, who is also a captain of industry and a philanthropist.
Since his ascension to the throne of the ancient kingdom of Okori in Eleme LGA of Rivers State, His Royal Highness Appolus Chu has embarked on several communal projects, aimed at elevating the lives of the less privileged in his community and beyond. Through his foundation, he has been providing scholarships, skill acquisition and other economically viable programmes to the needy. All these have contributed in no small measure to transforming the once sleepy Okori kingdom into a developed community.
A devoted Christian and writer, HRH Appolus Chu believes that a ruler should lead by example. So, at the dedication programme, the traditional rulers had not only gathered to celebrate one of their own, but to also appreciate his nobility of soul.
Describing the event as unprecedented, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon said: “The array of people here from all parts of the country, really gladdens my heart. I must thank you all, indeed, for coming to this unity forum and must say thank you to HRH Appolus Chu for this. And honestly, it has been long that I have been able to see all Nigerians gathered in one place to pronounce our love for the country and this is really what Appolus Chu has done.
“When you came to see me, you didn’t tell me that you are asking all Nigerians to be here. You are trying to sort of build the unity of this country. I must say I’m really impressed that all Nigerians are here. And to see you invite all your colleagues, the royalties, chiefs, etc. to be here and for me to be robed as a chief of Okori, I can assure you that I really appreciate it and I say well done your majesty.
“He was very convincing, when he came to see me, even though I didn’t quite understand what he was doing. He was so positive that I had no choice, but to accept his invitation there and then and now I see the reason. God bless you and bless the people you have served so well. You have done so well and from what we have heard, your faith is so paramount and you have done so much to promote your faith not only in this area but throughout Nigeria.”
To portray the fact that he is a true custodian of tradition, culture and custom, the host, HRH Chief Appolus Chu in his opening remarks saluted the people of Okori in his dialect after, which he addressed the congregation of people that gathered at the hall in a language that they all understand.
On what informed his decision to bring together Nigerians from all parts of the nation, HRH Appolus Chu said: “I have noticed that communication is one of the major problems of most of us that have gathered here today.
Even in our communities and the nation as a whole, communication has been our major problem. We have found it difficult to come together in unity to sit and address issues that are of interest to us as a nation.
We conceived our feelings and then hold onto them without expressing them, which come in form of grievances, bad feelings anger, ill-thoughts and so on. We then turn them into action, which comes in the form of blackmail, restiveness and killings, among others. I then asked myself, where I can come in one day to ensure that we come together and express our feelings without rancour or sentiments.”
“And so today as king and traditional ruler, as I flag open this one of a kind palace in my community, I could have invited just people in my community to celebrate with me, but I decided to bring people from all over Nigeria under one roof to celebrate with me, so that we would use that opportunity to integrate with our fellow brothers from different tribes and creeds in one mind and in unity despite our diversity.
“As a business tycoon, I have also come to learn that collaboration brings quick and timely success. That is why I have thought of applying same strategy with the traditional rulers in Nigeria by bringing them together from different tribes in the nation to fellowship together in unity. I also thought it will afford an opportunity where the Eastern man, Northern person, Southern and Western persons will sit together and express themselves in a peaceful manner.
There are many advantages in this and one that I know so well is that by the time we meet here and share our contacts, so that if any Eleme person finds his/her self in trouble in any part of the nation, I can easily call on the traditional ruler to address the situation. So, this is all about partnering and forming a synergy for us to be able to integrate and align ourselves with other kingdoms,” he said.
All the royal fathers that graced the occasion, who included the chairman of the day, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom and Chairman, Southsouth Monarchs Forum, HRM, Dr. Edmund Daukoru (Mingi XII), the Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Ruler, HRM, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul Rasheed Adewale Akanbi and the coordinator of Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers and Chairman, Abia State Council Of Traditional Rulers, His Eminence Eze (Dr.) Eberechi Dick, among others, were full of praises for HRH Appolus Chu for his foresight and leadership qualities.
The Coordinator, HRH Appolus Chu Foundation, Promise Ikharine, said: “Since 2011, the Foundation has been making a marked difference in the lives of indigent youths, women and men of Okori. Many have been trained in different skills, after which they received start-up packs to enable them begin their trades and crafts. The Foundation has given over 1000 computers, laptops and other office gadgets to such SME start-ups.”
Cash and other items were also presented to beneficiaries of the HRH Appolus Chu Foundation at the occasion.