Former national president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr. Simon Chukwuemeka Okolo is dead.
Family sources disclosed that Okolo died on Saturday April 6, during a brief illness.
He established the New Era Group of Companies Ltd made up of New Era Specialist Hospital Ltd Aba, with branches in Umuahia in Abia State, Nnewi in Anmabra State and other places and New Era Foods Ltd, an agro-allied industry located at Aba, which crushes palm kernel and refines its oil into edible vegetable oil.
A two-time president of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA), chairman, Abia State chapter of Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Dr. Okolo rose through the ranks of the chamber movement in Nigeria to become the 48th national president of NACCIMA on October 29, 2008.
Dr. Okolo, through ceaseless advocacy, intensified efforts to instil in the psyche of the ruling class that Nigeria can never industrialise if the rocky road to her industrialisation was not smoothened. He worked to galvanise government action towards rebuilding Nigeria’s decayed infrastructure and put in place investment favourable policies and programmes to midwife Nigeria’s industrial take off.
To engender adequate security infrastructure and stem the rising tide in violent crimes in Nigeria, especially kidnapping, he successfully nudged and got the Jonathan administration’s promise to commence SIM card registration across the country by communication companies.
Okolo, who presided over the activities of the D-8 organisation for Economic Co-operation made up of countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey was also inaugurated as a member of the President Advisory Council (PAC) from 2010 to 2011 by former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
A papal knight, Okolo, who belonged to several professional bodies; Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Institute of Corporate Chairman of Nigeria etc, also served as president, Association of Anambra State Development Unions, Aba for many years till his death.
He garnered several merit awards, among them are National Awards of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) from the former president, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua on February 14, 2008, Honours Awards of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Abia State in recognition of his significant and outstanding contribution to NMA, society and mankind in general, Papal Merit Award (2000) from His Holiness Pope, John Paul 11 for his generosity and concern for the poor and less privileged, Merit Award by the Nigerian Bar Association, in deep appreciation of his contribution to Aba community and Nigeria.