Chioma Ejikeme: A seasoned technocrat with the midas touch

Dr Chioma Ejikeme, the innovative Executive Secretary of the Pension Transition Arrangement Directorate (PTAD)’s reapportionment to a second term in office was unsurprising and reassuring to key stakeholders in the pension sector as she has striven diligently and tirelessly to ensure a better life for the over 250,000 pensioners being catered for by her agency through the numerous pension schemes in operation.

A medical professional, seasoned technocrat, and creative entrepreneur, Dr Chioma Ejikeme has positively brought all those qualities to bear in the seamless execution of her duties and functions thus earning her deserved plaudits and accolades from pension stakeholders, her staff and ministerial agencies, departments and parastatals engaged closely with pension administration in the country.

 For instance, the National Union of Pensioners, the umbrella body of pensioners nationwide led by their national president, Mr Godwin Abumisi, commended President Bola Tinubu for reappointing her as the executive secretary of the PTAD while denouncing a disgruntled minority that had opposed her for narrow, selfish and parochial ends. Indeed Dr Chioma Ejikeme’s self serving traducers have a lot to contend with as her iron clad commitment to the hallowed tenets of probity, sanity, transparency, accountability, due process and the rule of law has garnered her immense support from the Executive and Legislative Branch including Senators and House Members representing the numerous pensioners who are benefiting from the beneficial reforms and policies introduced by  PTAD under her dynamic leadership.

Those reforms include a thorough nationwide verification exercise which uncovered and deleted over 50,000 ghost pensioners from PTAT payrolls; the enrollment of pensioners under the National Health Insurance Scheme; the full implementation of the TSA which has ensured the sanctity of pension funds and enshrined transparency in pension payments. Regular monthly payments of pension without fail since inception as and when due. From January 2015 to December 2021, PTAD has paid N610 billion in monthly pensions; payments include long outstanding arrears to pensioners across all the pension departments, most significantly the huge arrears inherited from the defunct/privatised agencies. PTAD holds regular engagements with pensioners and other stakeholders across all the six geo-political zones, to update pensioners on activities of the Directorate.

PTAD  has maintained a high standard of integrity, accountability and efficiency in its contribution to the national economy through the regular payment of monthly pensions as and when due, transparent, and prudent settlement of inherited liabilities; the public outcry and complaints from pensioners have mellowed over the years and there is increased trust in the government’s commitment to the welfare of pensioners and its ability to professionally administer pension payments. The economic livelihood and welfare of thousands of pensioners under the DBS has improved as thousands of pensioners hitherto dropped from the payroll or who had never received payment are now being enrolled and have a regular means of sustenance. Crucially, pensioners now have the assurance that they will no longer be required to come out for field verification exercises, which are very costly to administer.

 Having notched up a considerable number of achievements under her belt as a technically competent and result-oriented PTAD helmsman, Dr Chioma Ejikeme who made waves during her trailblazing tenure as Commissioner of Health, Anambra State (1997- 1999) knows all too well that charity definitely begins at home and thus has ensured that staff salaries, allowances and emoluments are competitive with those in allied agencies as well as ensuring that they are paid as and when due.

Her leadership style is thorough, brisk, inclusive, accommodating and refreshingly open to all persons, opinions, ideas and perspectives irrespective of  ethnic, religious, linguistic or partisan affiliations as they are geared towards moving PTAD and the nation forward in the crucial scheme of things. Her pan-Nigerian, patriotic disposition is immutable (her motto is : ‘To Keep Nigeria One ls A Task That Must Be Done)  and owes a lot to her illustrous family background as the daughter of the late Chief Ukachi Ikemba, a renowned political titan and Chief of Staff to the legendary Premier of the Eastern Region, Dr Michael Okpara ( M.I. Power). During that glorious era, service to country was unvarnished and unfettered and loyalty, patriotism and selfless service to the nation was above board. It was under Dr Michael Okpara and his outstanding team of ministers, top aides and special advisers including Emmanuel Aguma, G. C. Mbanugo, Ukachi lkemba, Bob Ogbuagu, John Nwodo and other high performing technocrats that the Eastern Region was rated by the highly reputed World Bank and other global economic bodies as the fastest growing economy in the world with it’s agricultural, industrial and economic strongholds including the vast Oil Palm Plantations, the Trans-Amadi lndustrial Layout, the Obudu Cattle Ranch, the Nkalagu Cement Factory amongst others. Thus it is of no surprise that the altruistic and highly dedicated Dr Chioma Ejikeme with her filial bonds to that hallowed era is taking PTAD to glorious heights and crucially delivering on her mandate to the hundreds of thousands of teeming pensioners nationwide. To God be the Glory.