Government College Ughelli old boys association has proven over the years to be a global force to reckon with. It is a body with subunits such as classes (members from a specific enrolment year), branches (usually at the State level) and the national/global unit. They have members from all works of life, leaders, inventors, politicians, entertainers and many more. They have shown so much benevolence in charitable works globally and especially developmental works associated with their alma mater.
Prior to the call for leadership nomination, the Gulder Ultimate Search 2 star Von Apochi had shown reluctance to compete for any executive position though he has always been a remarkable figure amongst his peers and a faithful financial member. One of his fortes is to promote membership welfare and empowerment for all members.
The calls for new executive positions were imminent, so, progressive members of the GCU Class of 92 set amongst whom were the nephew of the current Deputy Senate President of Nigeria Mr Progress Omo-Agege who happens to be a former student union leader and an astute politician, others are Mr Otegor Olomu, a Minnesota based businessman, Nigerian foremost comedian Ejovwoke Umukoro and many others had beckoned on the Nollywood star to vie for the number one position in the group.
The ineluctable moment will surely see a member become the new chairman so they pressured the TV star, Dr Von Apochi to accept the nomination of leadership and that they would be more proud to call him their chairman considering his character and renowned reputation spanning from entertainment to academics and philanthropy, they further stressed that they needed a change that will reflect equality and more fairness amongst other things that were alleged by other members to be lacking in the current regime.
Von benevolently appreciates the current executives for helping to hold the group together; he was also instrumental in the formation of the current executives that were not elected in an open democratic fashion due to the fact that the group’s leadership was still in its formative stage. Having selected some quality members to steer the ship for a period of two years as stipulated by the constitution of the body, they were highly accepted by the general house of the 92 set because leadership was needed at the time. The term of the passing executive was coming to an end and according to the constitution and bylaws, a new set of leaders would be elected.
Prior to the eve of the election, the incumbent chairman had fielded his choice candidate for succession, who would have become unopposed but as the Latin Maxim says, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei (The voice of the people is the voice of God)”, The Ultimate hero, Von Apochi then joined the race in other to hearken to his people’s call. There was a little tension in the air and of course, the chairman’s prospective successor had just met a formidable match. The whole process started with the publishing of candidates’ profiles and manifestos then a debate followed. The debate was centred on a clash of profiles, character, commitment and popularity, all of these poised to determine the next chairman.
Financial members were advised to get ready for an election “D-day” and a compilation of eligible voter’s names was made and posted on the open platform by the Election Committee headed by a man of high integrity and fascinating character, Mr David Akpolome who happens to be the senior prefect of the GCU 92 set many years ago in their secondary school days. The debate prior to the election was an interesting revelation of talents, character and quality.
Dr Von Apochi’s opponent, Dr Akpodiete Olotu is a very strong opponent considering his vast philanthropic profile and political connections in Nigeria. For Dr Akpodiete Olotu, though highly qualified for the chairmanship position, the Nollywood actor was presumed to be a better qualified candidate as shown in the election polls. Von had edged Olotu with his vast contributions in the building of the union, his prompt financial contributions to the body, private support to members, his moral support to the current administration and more benevolent deeds that stood him out.
The “Black General” as Von is often also referred to, was born on June 20, 1981, in Warri into the humble Apochi family. He is from the great Orogun Kingdom and currently lives in the United States of America with other residences in Lagos and Ughelli Delta State.
Von is the president and CEO of SabiWaka Natural a vitamin and supplement manufacturing company and major retailer of many natural supplements in Nigeria. He is the founder and president of the Sweet Pikin Foundation poised with the goal of helping people that cannot afford medical care in Nigeria.
Von Apochi is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria from the department of Genetics and has a master’s degree from the same university in public and international affairs. Von is a product of much international training and he is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Medical Analytics. He is generally called Dr Von not just because of his doctorate degree in-view but for his profound studies and research in embryology, haematology and focusing on natural medicine as an alternative cure to ailments.
Von is highly successful with his sickle cell support community where they provide support for sickle cell warriors. His co-founder of their foundation, Noella Etoma Apochi is a brilliant botanist and a naturalist, they both manage and have supported the treatment of 100s of sickle cell warriors and many other members within and outside their community.
His contribution to the formation of the GCU 92 Alumni Set
He was an integral part of the formation of the honourable union many years ago. He was part of the interim leadership of the union in the early stages; they were driven by hope, persistence and progressive mindsets. Their goal was to achieve a union driven by collaboration, empathy and oneness. The then interim position was headed by a fine progressive leader Chinaenyem Nwabueze popularly called Coach. After a while, Von was highly instrumental as part of those that led to the formation and selection of the passing executives with a clear intention for stability and progress.
Leadership Journey, Career and Programs:
Von has a noticeable personality though humble and focused he is always dedicated to the success of any organization, unit or group he is leading. He was a leader in the debating club at Government College Ughelli, an executive member of the mathematics club, Conservative club, and he was the zonal president of the JET club. His remarkable personality led him to become a class captain in his university days and he became a parliamentarian at the University of Lagos before the dissolution of student union politics in Unilag.
The ultimate hero was also the Head of the military police in the University of Lagos military cadet. He is the president of the AV Entertainment group and became the first Deltan to represent the state on an African foremost reality TV show, “The Gladiators” in 2001. He became remarkable in the Gulder Ultimate Search 2 in 2005 and was featured in many Nollywood movies. This gave him a platform, recognition and connections in Nigeria and overseas.
The incoming Chairman has inaugurated a secondary school debate and quiz contest that will be hosted in Delta State amongst many other empowerment projects. His love for youth empowerment led him to organize the first Delta State street basketball competition, hosted in his alma mater, Government College Ughelli in 2003, he pioneered the face of Delta State competition in 2004 and many more programs that were geared towards youth empowerment in Nigeria. He has hosted several local and international programs.
He was a genetic consultant at the Fune LGA General hospital during his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and supported teaching local students in the same local government in all of the science courses. Von temporarily worked with SoundVille UK and IMS Limited as director of talent and account director managing brands like Dangote corporate, Nigerian Breweries, Feyrouz, Climax drinks, Legend, NLG, Domalong and more respectively in the space from 2004 to 2011.
In August 2011, he started a career with the biggest global insurance company then guaranteed trust Assurance that later became AXA Mansard, He rose through the career paths. He currently consults as a global business analyst and a genetic analyst.
Aspiration for the Union
Excerpts from his manifesto:
• We will run an all-inclusive GCU 92 set where all voices will be heard, a leadership style that is fair just and transparent.
• We will implement programs that will expose members to global opportunities where members will enjoy exchange programs in the US, UK and other parts of the world.
• We will initiate a training program where brilliant minds amongst us will train and coach students of our alma mater in relative courses through annual conferences and workshops.
• We will collaborate with established programs and organizations to create a secondary school debate contest and quiz contests to promote our class as a leader in student development.
• We will establish a transparent, fair and formidable welfare team.
• There will be freedom of expression and sanity amongst all members and we will all be treated equally irrespective of our financial status, social class or background.
• We will push to incorporate more members into this brotherhood, members in other smaller groups will be encouraged to join us so that we will ensure we have a working team that includes both day students and boarding students.
• We will work with all members, all resourceful members including opponents for a better class of 92 set.
After a very tough campaign, eligible voters were made to vote electronically via a google form created by the electoral committee. The result was published and Von Apochi became victorious in a landslide.
We wish him all the best with his new position as the chairman of GCU Class of 92.
The list of elected members are:
• Von Apochi- Chairman
• Oke Ajeje-Vice Chairman
• Blessing Ukodie- Secretary
• Chiwendum Nwabueze- Treasurer
• Victor Ubieghan- Financial Secretary
• Chinaenyem Nwabueze-PRO
- Edmund O. Osibi- Director of Welfare
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.