From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Dr. Daniel Chukwudozie, chairman, chief executive officer of Dozzy Group of Companies, is an easy-going man. In spite of his wealth and influence, the down-to-earth businessman and philanthropist spends time associating with members of the upper, middle and lower classes of society on equal basis.
Recently, Paul University, Awka, Anambra State, honoured the oil and gas magnate with a Doctor of Business Management degree at the institution’s third convocation.
At the event, Chukwudozie noted that: “The role of education in the socio-economic and overall development of any nation cannot be overemphasized. This has made it imperative for government at all levels, organised private sector, individuals and groups to rally round to give necessary support to private and faith-based higher institutions across Nigeria for the benefit of the ever-increasing student population.”
A celebrated philanthropist, Chukwudozie was described as one of the major benefactors of the faith-based institution. He said the institution should continue to count on his support, and he would ensure that the institution’s desired standard is achieved. He later issued a cheque for the development of the higher institution.
“I want to appreciate the Paul University for the great honour done me. May the God of Daniel reward you accordingly. I must thank the pioneer Bishop of Awka Diocese, Archbishop, Province of the Niger and Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria, Most Revd. Maxwell Samuel Anikwenwa, an outstanding figure of this institution and my spiritual mentor. I always respond whenever he calls me.
“This is the only Anglican university East of the Niger. It must not be neglected. We have great sons and daughters who can move this university to a higher level. What are we waiting for? The Bishops can attract donors. If the right things are done, I foresee that, in the next four or five years, this great institution would have been transformed to a better place.
“I’m not only here to receive an award, but I’m also to do the work of God. I give generously because it comes back bountifully. My mother taught me how to be a cheerful and generous giver. It is done to appreciate God’s mercy and blessings. I make myself available for the university, even though the economy is bad, generally. Call me, I will answer,” the philanthropist said.
Chukwudozie is also the recipient of a honorary degree awarded by the University of Calabar. At other times, he had received other awards, including the Authority Icon of The Authority Newspapers, Industrialist of the Year by the Grassroots Newspapers Publishers Association, and the Most Respected Chief Executive Officer award by This Day Newspapers.
Those who know him insist that Chukwudozie’s success story could be attributed to his good relationship with his creator as well as humility, honesty and hard work.
“It was a humble beginning for a humble man. The interplay of factors that would establish him as one of Nigeria’s reputable captains of industry shaped Chukwudozie’s principle and philosophy of life and business, humility, honesty and hard work. His unassuming nature and infectious humility explain why he does not trumpet his numerous philanthropic gestures. One of these philanthropic acts was the construction and handover of a magnificent three-storey school building to St. James Anglican Church, Awada, Onitsha,” a report said.
Other awardees at the event were the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Oko; the pioneer Bishop of Awka Diocese Archbishop, Province of the Niger and Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Maxwell Samuel Anikwenwa, among others. Vice chancellor of the university, Professor Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, said the honorary graduates were carefully chosen based on their invaluable contributions to Paul University, the Anglican Church and the Nigerian state.
“These are men of impeccable character, exemplary qualities and role models to the church and society, and to our staff and students. By virtue of this award, they today become special graduates of Paul University, and noble ambassadors of the institution. As special alumni of Paul University, we will highly appreciate and welcome your support, goodwill and counsel anytime,” the VC said.
Isiugo-Abanihe lamented what he described as the unfortunate dichotomy in the Nigerian university system: “Nigeria has, at the last count, some 155 universities; 40 federal-owned, 40 state-owned and 69 private/faith-based universities. The federal and state owned-universities get a large chunk of the education budget, and private universities get nothing whatsoever.
“This is unfortunate, unfair and discriminatory. Private universities are partners in progress with the government in providing employment and tertiary education to a large population in their catchment areas. The staff of private universities do pay taxes and the university community has tremendous impact on the economy and social life of the host city. Why then should private universities be denied government support?” he queried.