It was a day of thanksgiving to God Almighty at the Royal House of Grace International Church, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Sunday, 10th December, 2017,for Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma (BFA),who served two terms (a total of eight years), as the Executive Secretary/CEO of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Abuja-FCT.

At the church service, the former ES of NICO remarked that he was thanking God for his life and that of his family members, for keeping, leading and directing him all through his eight years in office, as the CEO of NICO,the leading Cultural Institute in Nigeria, adding that he was thanking God becausehis tenure would not have been exceptionally successful but for God.

At a thanksgiving reception, held at the Conference Hall of the Medical and Health Workers Union, Bayelsa State Chapter Secretariat, Professor Ayakoroma went throughmemory lane,disclosing that his life has been a fulfilling one because God has beentaking him from one level of glory to the other.

Recalling how God took him from the University of Port Harcourt, as a Lecturer; to Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, as the Executive Director; to NICO as the Executive Secretary/CEO; and now to Nasarawa State University for assessment as a professor; he added that, in his entire journey in life, God has never let him down even as he has written his name on marbles in all the places he has worked, particularly Bayelsa State Arts Council and NICO that he has brought to limelight and international recognition.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman on the occasion, Dr. Philips Okolo, a Senior Lecturer at Niger Delta University (NDU), Amassoma, Bayelsa State, who iscurrently on sabbatical leave at Edwin Clark University, Kiagbodo, Delta State, as Acting Head,Departmentof Political Science, recalled that he had known the celebrant for many years (as he was BFA’s former pupil) and that BFA had identified thanksgiving asa way of life, adding that there is no doubt that his progress in life could be linked to God’s hand of favour upon his life.

In his goodwill message at the occasion, Chief B.F. Amakiri, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa State Ministry of Science, Technology and Manpower Development, described Professor Ayakoroma as a unique personality, whose exploits in life are tied to his heart for God and habit of thanksgiving.

He stated that God has never forsaken men like BFA, because of their habit of showing gratitude to Him all the time; and therefore prayed God to continue with His love, protection, provision and preservation of Ayakoroma, wherever he goes.

The Executive Director of Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Payeboye Festus-Lukoh, who attended the event with the award-winning Bayelsa State Cultural Troupe, described BFA, her former boss at the Council, as a self-starter, workaholic, innovative and result-oriented person, who always goes about doing good to staff inevery organisation he has worked.

She disclosed that apart from his knack for excellence, BFA always encouraged his staff to further their education, so that they will not be stagnated because of lack of relevant qualificationsregarding promotion,, which had resulted in her doing postgraduate programmes; and that two of BFA’s former drivers at the Bayelsa Arts Council are today proud graduates because of his encouragement.

Also speaking, Sir B.B. Ballad, a retired Director from the Bayelsa State Ministry of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs,said he was a year ahead of BFAat the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Calabar; and that he later worked under BFA at the Bayelsa Arts Council, describing himas a professional, who had so much passion for the arts, theatre, film and culture.

Ballard added thatBFA is a man the younger generation should emulate,averring that he had always respected him for his thanksgiving lifestyle; and therefore, encouraged him to keepupsuch attitude.

On his part, Pastor Orlando Omobo-Dede of the Royal House of Grace International Church, Yenagoa, explained that thanksgiving to God is what guarantees a Christian to receive more from blessings Him; and admonished Christians to make thanksgiving part of their lifestyle even as he challenged guests to emulate BFA’s attitude of thanksgiving to God and see if God would not do more in their lives.

A group, called, “Let’s Celebrate Barclays”,comprisingstaffers of NICO, friends, relatives and well-wishers thatfelt BFAhad impacted positively ontheir lives, presented a meritorious award of excellence and a 3D printing portrait to him at the occasion, as a symbol of their appreciation.

Other dignitaries at the event included the Amananaowei of Toru-Angiama, HRH Frank Ayakoroma, who was the royal father of the day;Chief Registrar, Bayelsa State Judiciary, Barrister Enetimi Ozaka; Chief Accountant, Bayelsa State Judiciary, Mr. Paris Ayunku; one-time gubernatorial aspirant in Bayelsa State, Hon. & Mrs. Ebitimi Amgbare; retired Director from Directorate of Education Inspection of Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, Mr. Edward Ayunku; Staff of NICO from Abuja, zonal and state offices across the country.

The occasion was spiced withsongs, presented by the Ayakoroma family, led by BFA’s amiable wife, Hon. (Mrs.) Letty Ayakoroma; dance performances by Bayelsa State Cultural Troupe; and climaxing with a special dance performance by Professor Ayakoroma and his wife, where the Ayakoroma’s displayed their superlative dancing skills.

Clifford Ugwu

Corporate Affairs, NICO SSZ

Yenagoa, Bayelsa State