By Benjamin Omoike
He is a household name in the entire oil-rich Niger Delta region as a result of his deep commitment to the betterment of the Region and its people. Chief Dennis Burutu Otuaro is no stranger to activities in the oil-rich, but neglected Niger Delta Region. He has a tall dream for the region, hence, he has been doing everything possible to ensure that due attention is given to the area.
He was in the creeks at the peak of the crisis in the region to get a better deal for the people and so Chief Dennis Burutu Otuaro can be described as a man with a clear knowledge of the Niger Delta Region.
Otuaro, who is the Ibe -Uyadonwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State is a critical stakeholder in the Niger Delta struggle. He knows the pains of the people.The struggle for a better deal for the region is incomplete without the sacrifice of Otuaro who has the map of the creeks in his palms. He is a man that has paid his dues in the Niger Delta question.
A grassroots man with intimidating credentials, he is a man of the people and deeply committed to the resolution of the army of challenges facing the region.
He ia a goal-driven, educated professional with solid foundation in political administration and progressive experience that is highly applicable to Executive Director position. Doctorate Degree (PhD), Comparative Politics and Development Studies, University of Benin, 2016-2019 (In View).
He has a Master of Public Administration, University of Benin, 2008-2009, an MSc: International Relations, University of Benin, 2007-2008. He also possesses a Bachelor of Science in Political Science Education, Delta State University, 2001-2009.
AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER.
He successfully negotiated political climate to secure support from Division and outside stakeholders to ensure successful execution. He cultivated relations with leaders at all levels to develop and maintain support for effective system implementation
He successfully initiated corporate strategy and implementation. The chief has understanding in managing people having lead several academic and social groups. He has been involved in setting strategic goals and making sure they are measurable and describable. He is a stakeholders engagement strategist.
Otuaro has over 14 years of general management experience from being a member of Presidential Council on the Socio Economic Development of the Costal States of the Niger Delta, member United States Institute of Peace (Usip), Fellow Alternative to Dispute Resolution in Africa, National President National Union of Izon-Ibe (Ijaw) (Nuis) World Wide, Chief Protocol at the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (Desopadec) and currently the Principal Consultant of Owelle Global currently focusing on Logistics and consultancy sector of the Nigerian Business Environment.
In 2006, Owelle Global Resources came into existence as a logistics and consultancy company and has given birth to other subsidiary companies across the country.
As the Chief Protocol to The Chairman Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (Desopadec), he supported the Chief Executive in his day to day operations of the program (an intervention set up to attain largely three main goals; improve infrastructure in the crude oil-bearing areas of Delta State, create employment and, by so doing, help ease the huge insecurity-related incidence in those parts of the state).
Owelle Global was established to help organizations improve their efficiency in operations directly impacting their profitability. They have consulted for several organisations in the nations MDA’s and SME sectors.
According to him, in the next five years, Owelle Global hopes to focus more on Government MDA’s and seek way and means for collaborations to improve operational efficiency and process optimization. It’s been identified that the Civil Service in Nigeria needs an urgent shift in the way things are done. We will be looking at improving service delivery and process re-engineering/automation based on the specific needs of the organization we shall be working with.
Personally, Chief Dennis Burutu Otuaro finds fulfilment in helping young people align or realign their goals and find clarity.
“Your long-term happiness and fulfillment depend on your ability to fulfill your soul’s unique purpose and to fill the place in the world that only you can fill, making the contribution that only you can make.” Rod Stryker
Roy Stryker’s quote above strikes the very cord that aptly describes the person of Chief Dennis Burutu Otuaro.
It’s not uncommon to see people from significantly humble backgrounds become successful, but this mostly happens with people who believe in their dreams and muster the tenacity and courage to make them reality.
History has proven how true this is by the practical examples of the life of successful people, all over the world; some riding on the back of already established wealth and relationships that became subservient to their goals or destiny, while for others, success was achieved through sheer doggedness, determination, resilience and passion in the face of daunting odds.
Chief Dennis Otuaro’s story is an inspiration that young people everywhere can take a cue from, as it teaches how focus, resilience, hard work, taking advantage of opportunities at the right time as well as trust in God are important pillars for success and fulfilment, despite where one may find themselves in life.
In his pre-teen age, Dennis Burutu Otuaro was but only a young man with dreams, a great passion for success and a lot of resilience.
He lost his parents at the very tender age of eight but even at that young age, he knew he didn’t want to end up like most people who took such a disadvantage as an excuse to wallow in penury; he resolved nothing was going to stop him from making it in life; not the rigors of the hard life, not the emptiness of being devoid of parental warmth and care, not peer pressure or any other factor. As he put it, “Having lost my parents at the age of eight, I started living on my own. When you are surviving at that young age on your own, the situation does not necessarily drive you into criminality but makes you focus on what you can achieve. It’s not like nowadays that everybody gives excuses for criminal acts on hard life or the devil. ”
He went through the hard times with grit and determination; he walked through the desert of his dreams for many years building the very foundation that would propel him to the planes he envisioned for himself. Indeed, commitment shakes the very foundation of this universe.
Dennis Otuaro began the journey to his academic excellence in Warri, Delta State where he had his primary education. After his primary education, he attended the Ogbe-Ijoh Grammar School, Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri West Local Government Area of Delta State where he completed his secondary school education.
He got admitted into the Delta State University and pursued a Bachelors Degree program in Political Science, graduating with Second Class Honors in 2005.
His leadership traits began to manifest while in the university, as he was involved in student activism, charting ways in which students’ interest would be better served while studying. He was Secretary General, Delta State University, Abraka Chapter, Delta State between 2002 and 2003 before taking over as the National President, National Union of Izon-Ibe (Ijaw) students (NUIS), 2003 to 2004.
After the completion of his National Youth Service Corps mandatory one year program in Kebbi State, he embarked on a further course of study at the University of Benin, bagging a Master’s Degree in International Relations in 2008. Apparently a lover of academics, Dennis would pursue another Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the same university, finishing in 2009. Determined to go the whole hog, Chief Otuaro, applied for his doctorate degree program at the University of Benin, where he is currently rounding up on Comparative Politics and Developmental Studies.
Being someone with patriotic fervor, service to fatherland is something Chief Dennis Otuaro finds consumate delight and fulfilment in, as it gives him the opportunity to give back to the society and help impact the lives of people.
With his education and experience, he has brought this to bear in his various engagements of service which cuts across his state’s government, the Federal Government, other social bodies and international agencies.
Now involved in developmental activism, Chief Otuaro has served as Chief Protocol Officer to the Chairman, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) from 2007 to 2010; a commission created to improve infrastructure in the oil-bearing areas of Delta State, generate employment, which would potentially ebb and subsequently put to rest the high level of insecurity-related incidents in those parts. He was also a member of the Delta State Waterways Security Council, as well as Chairman of the sub-committee on security of the council from 2007 to 2015.
As a stakeholder in the Niger Delta, these experiences gave him the opportunity to help in bridging the communication gap between communities and oil producing companies in the region with the government. “I was able to bring the youths to understand the projects government and the relevance of these programmes for them.”
Chief Otuaro has been a clarion voice for the provision of infrastructure and restoration of the natural environment of the Niger Delta, given the danger of oil spillage and other activities of multinational oil companies affecting the region’s ecosystem. In 2004, during the regime of late President Umar Yar’adua, he was appointed a member of the Presidential Committee on the Environment on the Niger Delta, which helped the government of the day understand the environmental challenges of the Niger Delta region and proffered possible solutions to them.
According to the Gbaramatu Kingdom Chief, “We will not stop speaking, we’ll not stop struggling, and we will not stop fighting, until the oil companies and the governments see the need to take appropriate steps to protect our environment so that our natural life, the ecosystem is restored, because the environment is deteriorating everyday.”
Between 2003 and 2004, Chief Otuaro served as a member of the Presidential Council on the Socio-Economic Development of the Coastal States of the Niger Delta; areas he believes are neglected but critical to the economic development of, not just the region but the country at large.
“Development is from the coast. In other climes the coastal states are the most developed, but in Nigeria, the wealth is being collected from the coast to the hinterland. Development of the Region is critical. When you develop the Niger Delta, it will reflect on the country.
He was awarded a professional certificate on Leadership Challenge in the Contemporary Workplace in 2014 by PROT Consulting.
A diplomatic liaison with extensive history of collaborating with a wide variety of stakeholder groups on substantial public issues, Chief Otuaro has successfully navigated the political terrain and secured support from divisions and outside stakeholders to ensure successful execution of projects or initiatives.
With a respectable antecedent as a highly organized and creative leader, quite adept on multi-tasking and successfully accomplishing set targets, he has initiated corporate strategies and implementation, set strategic goals and made sure they were measureable and implementable.
With his vast experience leading several academic and social groups, he has garnered an in-depth understanding of managing people and cultivated worthwhile relations with leaders at all levels to develop and maintain support for effective system implementation.
Presently, a doctorate degree student of Comparative Politics and Developmental studies at the University of Benin, Chief Otuaro has built a solid foundation in political administration required at the highest echelons of political administration.
A man of vision, with entrepreneurial savvy, focused and goal-driven, Chief Dennis Otuaro has established and successfully runs a few companies while also on the board of several companies.
In 2008, he established the Owelle Global Resources, basically to help increase the profitability of companies by enhancing operational efficiency, a feat the company has successfully sustained over the past 12 years, across a wide spectrum of sectors, including MDA’s and SME’s.
The company has thrived in the Logistics and Consultancy business terrain, with a string of excellent records in efficient execution of programmes and projects, as well as the provision of support for its subsidiary companies and projects across the country.
An active player in the country’s agricultural sector, one of his companies, Ibuden Tonye Agric Farm has been vibrant in the sector, adding value to the economy.
Chief Otuaro also manages two security outfits and has other businesses he runs with his wife.
When one is dedicated and goal-getting, it only requires the all-important trait of consistency to break grounds or set new records; a trait which reflects in every endeavor of Chief Otuaro. It is not surprising then that on September 10, 2008, Otuaro was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Ibe-Uyadonwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri, Delta State at the young age of 30.
In his words ; “Hard life gave some of us the strength to survive and try to achieve something. In such a situation, people observe, especially when you keep succeeding at what you do. When you are steadfast, the society will see you and will reward you.”
“I was conferred a chieftaincy title in my village at a very young age as the ‘Ibe-Uyadonwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom’ in Warri Southwest. The meaning of the title is ‘patriot of Gbaramatu kingdom’. It is very challenging but one thing I believe in is service. My desire is always centered on service to my community, service to my state and service to the government. Over the years much of the work I have done are in the area of service. It doesn’t have to be all about appointments. I believe the greatest thing that could happen to anybody is having the opportunity to serve the society.”
THE NIGER DELTA STRUGGLE
Chief Dennis Otuaro’s voice with respect to the struggle of the Niger Delta is stentorian. The Niger Delta remains a region of underdevelopment, lack of basic infrastructure, environmental degradation stemming from oil spillage, gas flaring and other activities, especially of the oil companies operating in the oil rich region, which destroy the ecosystem and foster low quality living among other disadvantages.
“I am a product of the Niger Delta struggle; I started facing those challenges at a very early age. Since the age of 18, I have been in the struggle.”
“All we are asking for is a fair share. You cannot be producing these resources and stay neglected. The oil accounts for 90 percent of the country’s export. Yet what we see is a kind of coastal case of underdevelopment. Underdevelopment of the Niger Delta is very pronounced. It is something that is notorious. It doesn’t need any investigation. Question is, are we going to remain like that”, “We will not relent in the struggle to make this place a better place.”
It is a popular saying that behind every successful man there is a woman. Chief Otuaro puts that fact succinctly, attributing the successes in his endeavors to his wife, of whom he speaks eloquently.
“My wife, Mrs Ebimoboere Otuaro is someone that I see as a mother; kind, dependable, resourceful and more. We were relatively young when we met and at that very young age, when you don’t have parents and you come across a woman that becomes close to you and gives you meaningful advice, nothing can separate you from someone like that. It is by the grace of God that you find a woman like that.
With diligence, honesty and a belief in God as core values, Chief Dennis Burutu Otuaro looks ahead to the dawn when the Niger Delta region will be accorded its deserved place in the Nigerian project. He hopes to continue adding value to the business space improving service delivery, process re-engineering and automation based on the specific needs of different organizations.
“I have a dream that one day, we will have bridges linking our Creeks in the entire oil-rich Niger Delta Region, railway stations in the region, good roads, industries, good schools, well equipped hospitals and all good things of life that we are supposed to enjoy as oil-rich Region.”