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Elvis Akpobi with Hilary Ibegbulem

The Arena

Hilary Ibegbulem, Equipping Young Nigerians With Tools To Achieve Their Dreams – Akpobi

In the Bible, Jesus Christ admonished teachers and preachers that anywhere the scripture is being preached, the good deeds of the woman with the “Alabaster bottle”, who poured expensive ointment on his feet in Like 13:3, should be talked about.

This clearly is the drive behind the action of the Special Assistant (SA), to the Delta state governor, on Youth Development, Elvis Akpobi, who goes about telling the story of the transformation in his life through a Public Relations PR agent, the Principal Secretary to the State governor, Mr. Hilary Obi Ibegbulem.

Comrade Akpobi, who is currently the Executive Director and Founder, Not Too Young To Lead Initiative, a group focused on building youth capacity, rebranding, remodeling and giving hope to the hopeless, used his personal life to portray what Hilary stands for.

Hilary’s philanthropic gestures located him at the darkest moment of his life, in the midst of hopelessness and lack of assurances in life rather faced with derogatory comments just as Nathaniel said to Philip, ‘Can there be any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, come and see, John 1:46.

In his words while describing how God used Mr. Hilary, to turn his story around, Akpobi, said: “I am a product of God’s grace and mercies. I am an example of when grass is consistently watered, it becomes grace. I am an example of the unlikest of dreams turning into a reality.

“Am an only son from a humble family. The Elvis you see today once lived in the slums of Igbi Street. There was a time I was told that I cannot be anything but I have parents who make sure I had the best Education despite the sting of unequal opportunity. Courtesy of an agent of change, a champion of hope, a man who did not look into the fact that I am not from his ethnic nationality. A man who did not look into my weaknesses but discovered me when I have not even discovered myself.

Comrade Elvis who has not seized preaching the gospel of his transformation to others especially youths across the globe, has waded through the storm in the face of criticism.

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He Said: “You see, I use my story to inspire people that if I can get here despite the fact that I am still under construction, anybody can get there, just do the right thing, pray to God. I have heard so many murmurings; why Elvis? And I asked myself, why not Elvis?

“The Bible says God created us in his own image and his grace is sufficient for us all and there is a part of the Bible that says the heart of a king is in the Lord’s hands. When you pray to God for your dreams to become a reality, God will not come down, God will use somebody and God has used somebody to change my story.

“Today, I am like a model to other persons. I am like a bridge to other persons. Sorry, I might be sounding somehow but the feelings I have gotten working under Hilary as his boy, as his protege, it is only me that can explain that feelings.

“If you have tasted the feelings of being called a nobody. If you felt it, you will now value when people give you that sense of being a somebody. When people give you that sense that you can be anything in this life. It is not really about the money because when some people see me, they say give me money. Oga, has filled your bank account with money, give me money. I just smile.

Akpobi, who acknowledged the financial support he has eminently enjoyed while working with his boss, has not failed to whisper to those who have ears, to equip themselves of skills and academic qualification that would give them the opportunity of been helped and coming in contact with the right source(s) of living brook.

Hear him: “He takes care of me financially. I told a friend of mine the other day that why not ask of something sustainable. If I give you money today, it will finish. Why not ask, I want to learn this or I read this, how can you help me tell Oga to do this for me?

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“I am not the first boy to be introduced to my boss but grace found me and I brought in values. Each time I sit down and think, I ask myself; what do I do to become more useful to him? Because it is only in your usefulness, you will be given regards, the values you bring in is what will make you go higher.

The elated SA on Youth Development who could not hide his feelings but full of appreciation to a man who made him have a feeling of belonging, said he might have missed it in life if God has not arranged Hilary Ibegbulem on the way for him.

“Why I mine saying this? If not for Mr. Hilary, maybe I would have been somewhere looking for job, maybe I would have thought of getting a visa and leaving the shores of this country not knowing what is ahead of me in other countries. Maybe I would have found myself in the midst of people who ordinarily I shouldn’t walk with.

Armed with a B. Tech in Geophysics, from Federal University of Technology, OND and HND in Petroleum and Natural Gas from Petroleum Training Institute and certified in Pipeline Engineering from UNILAG, yet, life was not friendly with him

It was tough when he left school. As a man he knows he needed to fend for his family, his parents, his siblings but nothing was forthcoming, “I passed through a process and I trusted that process. Today, Mr. Hilary, isn’t the first person that I worked with politically but the experience I had working with him, is what I use in thriving through.

“His touch in my life has had a ripple effect in my community, my friends, my family; my parents are comfortable now, courtesy of his touch in my life. Some of my friends are comfortable. I can’t reach out to all of them but some of them are comfortable. Courtesy of his touch in my life. And sometimes I sit down and I ask myself; how are mine going to repay this man?

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For the changes Hilary’s philanthropic gestures has brought to his life, has led him making a resounding and resolute promises to his boss to remain undoubtedly loyal to his course of raising the bar for youths across the globe especially the less privileged.

“I may not have a lot of money to repay. But the best way I believe I have to repay this man for his gestures is undiluted loyalty and humility which he stands for. Then raising people, mirroring excellence and giving hope to people which is what he is known for.

“Over the state today, there are a lot of youths who are beneficiaries of his benevolence and empathy. Sometimes, we find ourselves in an environment where you get scared of talking to your boss. He gives me that enabling environment to always whisper. When the whisper is wrong he tells you no. This is not right and I will do the right thing. Sometimes, you find yourself in the midst of leaders. Sometimes you wrong them, we all make mistakes”.

While paying glowing cheeks to his boss, Akpobi said: “Gossip comes but he does not listen to gossip. He talks less but if he gives you his words; it comes to pass. I have countless persons that I have affected through him and am still affecting.

“And I believe he drew this character from his direct boss, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, he is calm, he is receptive, he has empathy for the common man and I believe for me, I am an example of someone being given the tools to access my dreams. It’s not about the money, it’s the platform and that is what he has given to me as young person”.

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