New-look CPC and the exemplary leadership of Mrs. Obioma Okafor

Before Governor Hope Uzodimma appointed Mrs. Obioma Okafor as the Acting Director General of the Imo State Chapter of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) on April 24, 2020, that agency was actually nothing to reckon with. Located at an obscure, dilapidated building infested with rodents and other reptiles as well as decomposing foodstuffs and other stuffs with foul smell, many of which had been there for four years, most Imolites hardly knew nor ever visited the Consumer Protection Council at the old Orlu road secretariat. In fact, that very important government agency was abandoned and left to die and the benefits inherent in it were lost to the people. Nobody cared. Morale of the workers was at an all time low.
Many of the staff who ever came to work were always loitering about the premises and in the town due to the obvious fact of having nothing to do.
In all these, Imolites were the main losers as dealers on consumer products-producers and retailers-had a field day as no one was there to protect the consumers against many of their unscrupulous activities. Only God knows how many of our people have died so far as a result of the prevalence and consumption of fake products, adulterated and expired products, and other unscrupulous activities of dealers and manufacturers of consumer goods. The suffering of Imolites in this respect was much. One of the reasons for all these is that public corporations and agencies are traditionally set up to fail.
The bosses of these agencies, up till now, have the mindset of what they can get out of the agency instead of what they can do to move the agency forward. God, in his infinite mercy, turned things around for Imolites and on April 24, 2020, He used Governor Hope Uzodinma to visit them by having Mrs. Obioma Okafor appointed the Acting Director General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Imo State.
A true daughter of Imo State, Mrs. Obioma Okafor, on assuming office, immediately realized the enormity of the task of “exhuming” the dead agency and making it live up to its mandate of protecting the consumers against the unscrupulous activities of some depraved producers and traders who are only profit-driven. A practicing Christian, mother/grandmother, qualified teacher with an NCE, Mrs. Okafor, among other qualifications, holds a Masters degree certificate in Public Administration, a Diploma in Theology and is currently studying Law at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). Describing the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) as a spiritual parastatal, Mrs. Okafor also realized that the CPC is the stomach infrastructure of Imolites. As an administrator with a track record of result delivery wherever she has been, Mrs. Okafor unleashed the full weight of her background, education and experience and went to work in the task of transforming and re-positioning the Consumer Protection Council (CPC). The first thing she did was to move the CPC operational office from the old Orlu road secretariat to a very befitting operational office complex at Area B, opposite ISOPADEC office complex. Mrs. Okafor did this because she realized that no one would take CPC seriously if it continued operating from the old office. She finally evacuated CPC from there and got all those old, expired, adulterated products destroyed in an event witnessed by the press, some government officials and the staff of CPC .This act marked the end of the old and moribund CPC.
As a pro- active, focused, result-driven turn-around specialist, Mrs. Obioma Okafor did not waste time waiting for government funds, but rather through personal sacrifice, went about renovating the new office complex. Today, the CPC operational headquarters is fully fitted with ICT facilities, borehole, modern office tables/chairs, fans and all that make an office environment a good place to be. The Director General had also realized that employee morale at CPC was very low. She was also aware of the negative narrative associated with CPC and its enforcement personnel. To change these, Mrs. Obioma Okafor, as a trained teacher, has organized seminars for her staff, focused on morale boosting and carrying out enforcement in a humane, socially acceptable manner and through her own personal exemplary leadership. The staff of CPC now have high morale, motivated and ready to protect Imo consumers from the unscrupulous activities of some manufacturers and dealers on fake, expired and adulterated goods. Providers of services to consumers have also been warned to desist from acts that are fraudulent and affect the well being of Imolites. Since Mrs. Obioma Okafor succeeded in re-branding Imo CPC, the message that she actually means business has gone out to the stakeholders in the consumption industry. The Director General has initiated several meetings with master bakers, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Department of Petroleum Resources, the police and others. She has told them that it would not be business as usual and that CPC under her watch would do everything under its power to protect Imo consumers from all unscrupulous activities of unconscionable dealers on consumption goods and services. In return, all that met with the new-look CPC have pledged to cooperate with the Imo consumption watch dog in all aspects. The new orientation is still on going, both of CPC staff and stakeholders. Just talk to any CPC staff today and what you have are praises for their boss- Mrs. Obioma Okafor. Their prayer is that the governor will not bring in some one else. They are energized to work. Mrs. Okafor has also informed of the plan to open CPC offices in all the 27 LGAs of the state. This will help protect all consumers in the state, create jobs and improve the overall quality of lives across the state.
How did Mrs. Obioma Okafor achieve so much within such a short time? How did she revive a moribund agency so quickly? The answer to these questions lies in the need to acquire leadership skills, be a person of character and one that fears God. Mrs. Okafor lives above material things. The Consumers Protection Council (CPC), Imo State used to be a place of dullness. Today, the office at Area B is thriving with visitors and various activities. Governor Hope Uzodinma had faith in the Director General and she has done well. Mrs. Obioma Okafor knows what was expected of her and CPC. She started by defining reality before taking any step. Finally, she developed her strategy. And today Imo CPC has been repositioned for mandate fulfillment. Like the entire staff of Imo CPC, my prayer is that God may bring more leaders like Mrs. Obioma Okafor in the public service of our dear state. She is a role model, understanding, caring, a technocrat and a God-fearing woman with a cheerful disposition to life. Imo CPC has been recovered, rehabilitated and reconstructed in line with the current administration’s 3R policy trust.


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