Apostle Zilly Aggrey who made the declaration on Friday, when he etched his name on the marble of statesmanship following his investiture with the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Servant Leadership Award by the West African Students Union Parliament (WASUP), said that African leaders were still wallowing in colonial bondage, when the rest of the world are advancing in all fronts of development.
The brief but colorful ceremony which held at the headquarters of the church along Graceland Avenue, Port Harcourt, brought students from tertiary institutions in the 16-member countries of the West African sub-region.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker of the WASU Parliament, Comrade Saint Solomon of University of Legon, Ghana, who led other executive officers, including Majority Leader, Culibally Ahmed (University D Coco Di Abidjan), Clerk, Haman Cunaji (University D Yaounde, Cameroun) and Nigeria Coordinator, Comrade Daniel Ikechukwu (FUT, Minna) in his address, said WASUP, an umbrella body for Students Unions in West Africa had the core objectives of encouraging corporation and harmonious coexistence among member states students, for the purpose of exchange programmes that will enhance and transform good leadership of West Africa.
The Speaker said the emergence of the Bayelsa State-born cleric for the prestigious award was the product of sound judgment reached by a 10-man committee in Kigali, Rwanda on the 28th of July, 2018, after a rigorous process which perused and evaluated Aggrey's antecedents in social and religious circles, and deemed it fit that he deserved the award.
He noted that WASUP had always been in the vanguard of promoting excellence to show to the rest of the world that Africans possessed the requisite, human and leadership sagacity to do Africans proud.
“In doing this, we seek to find ourselves role models, outstanding institutions and mentors in life as we have found in Apostle Prince David Aggrey. He is a thorough-bred manager of men and resources, an administrator/technocrat with unquantifiable wealth of experience in teaching, management and leadership best practice. He is a patriotic Nigerian, a distinguished personality, a benevolent Nigerian who provides an avenue for tutelage of young African youths irrespective of where they come from, the faith they profess or their social status. He is indeed a man of integrity and an outstanding nation builder per-excellence!” he declared.
The WASUP Speaker further described Apostle Zilley Aggrey as a man who has touched many lives with his philanthropic natures not just in Rivers but in Nigeria as a whole, having successfully trained, employed and graduated many youths into the society thereby making them better people for a better Nigeria.
He however reminded the cleric that the award imposed a responsibility and urged him to take up the gauntlet, as, according to him, West African students are bedecked with the multifaceted evils of cultism, examination malpractice and drug-abuse. “As a man imbued with the anointing of God, we want you to come and talk to African students with power and inspiration from above”, he pleaded.
Responding in an emotion-laden voice, Apostle Zilley Aggrey thanked the students for the honour, saying the award marked a new dawn in his quest to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I succumbed to emotions when I heard of the level of drug abuse in Kaduna alone where it is reported that over 20,000 bottles of codeine is consumed each day. You have given me award today at 56. I will be 57 next year. I cried for so many reasons. I wish there was a way for me to relive my life all over again.
“Who imports tramadol and codeine and which sea port does it pass? Which Customs officer clears the containers? Who owns the Pharmacy where these things are sold. When there is no seller, there will be no buyer”, he said .
The Apostle who also attended the ceremony with his wife, Lady Apostle Gladys Aggrey and son, Pastor Michael Aggrey as well as Arch Bishop Eddy Ogbondah, said the award had triggered fond memories of his respect and reverence for Kwame Nkrumah who, 61 years ago mobilized African leaders on Pan-Africanism and told them “Lets come together and free Africa”, regretting that more than six decades after those lofty dreams, Africa was still wallowing in bondage.
“How many politicians from London, Paris, Germany or the USA comes to the International Center in Lagos to present a paper because he wants to run for the Presidency of his country? But for an African man who wants to contest for the presidency of his country, you must go to Chatham House and sign to speak if they must value you. If you must qualify to govern your country, you will go and present a paper written for you by your Personal Assistant.
“I want to ask you future leaders, when you get there, will you also disappoint Africa? The reason is that so many people who are occupying very important positions in Africa today were once like you, they spoke like you but when they got there, they forgot about this beautiful continent.
“Many of them have become the destroyers of Africa and not the butterflies and caterpillars. Every green thing they see in Africa, they eat it up. When will this generation rise and feel the pains for rural Africa where the people still defecate on water and drink the same untreated water?” he cried.
He described the case of Nigeria as particularly pathetic. Hear him: “Nigeria Airways was having more airplanes than Emirates as at 1979. Today, Emirates have the best airlines in the world whilst Nigeria Airways does not have a single plane”.
He also lamented that by 1979, Nigeria had over 27 ships belonging to Nigerian National Shipping Line, but that today, the country does not have a single ship in its fleet.
The story of Rwanda, he also reminisced, is a very challenging one because only less than 20 years after they experience genocide, they have rebuilt their nation, adding, “Rwanda is now a destination for tourists all over the world”.
Apostle Zilly Aggrey announced that the church would in the near future give the WASUP a proper reception in Port Harcourt, even as he announced a collaboration with the parliamentarians to send five youths of the church to Kigali, Rwanda to explore the potentials in that country.