Former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and the General Overseer of Omega Power Ministries (OPM), Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, have expressed happiness over the awards bestowed on them by The Sun Publishing Limited.
Ezeife won the Lifetime Achievement Award 2022, while Apostle Chinyere won the Humanitarian Service Icon Award 2022. They are among 26 Nigerian who will be honoured at The Sun Awards ceremony on January 28, 2023 at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Onuoha Ukeh, led a delegation to present the letters notifying them of their nomination, Ezeife and Apostle Chinyere expressed gratitude to the Management of The Sun for recognising their contributions to nation building.
Ezeife comended The Sun Board of Editors for its research work regarding his contributions, especially the November 6, 2021 election in Anambra State.
Ezeife said: “I didn’t know that you observed what happened. That gave me a very great assurance that our God answers prayers. I thank you very much for the recognition.”
The former Anambra governor recalled an incident that happened while he was in his office discussing the election when two people in white entered.
He said: “I never knew them. The tallest one among them was introduced to me as the President of Igbo Traders. The other one was a lawyer. I had no idea they had any link with IPOB.
After we talked a bit, I told them what we were discussing and called on the president of the traders to talk to us on it. All of a sudden, he started crying. I asked why he was crying? It took very long to stop him.
“He was saying that many people lost their dear ones. And when the society wants them to do something like stop sit at home, stop threatening election, it was difficult to achieve. He promised us that they would do their best to address the problem. Then they went to the East.”
Ezeife, while expressing gratitude to God, further said that he was really grateful to God for what is going on in the country.
The former governor said the greatest thing that has happened to Nigeria was loss of conscience, emphasising: “Our politicians lost conscience and were just pleasing themselves. We should be very grateful to God for giving us Buhari. We should be very grateful to God for bringing Buhari as president of Nigeria because he opened our eyes. His failure has opened our eyes.”
He, however, said that the hand of God was in what is happening in the country, adding that “unless we make very bad mistake, we are going to have Peter Obi as our next president.”
Also speaking, Apostle Chinyere said that he was humbled by The Sun Humanitarian Service Icon Award 2022 bestowed on him, stating that the honour would move him to do more in uplifting humanity with social services.
He said: “I am highly elated with this recognition by The Sun Newspapers. I never expected this. So, this honour will propel me to even do more to humanity.
“I didn’t ask for the recognition. I have received many awards, but, this award has humbled me. I will really do more to humanity. I thank you for this honour.”
The Sun MD, in his remarks, described Ezeife as one of the respected statesmen Nigeria has produced in its 62 years of independence.
Reeling out the former governor’s history he said: “In the beginning, you qualified for university education without attending a conventional secondary school. Instead, you took yourself through the tough route of correspondence courses, leading to your obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University College, Ibadan before proceeding to the Harvard University on a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship. You later obtained a Master’s degree and then, a PhD in 1972.
“You became a teacher and later, a school headmaster from where you rose to a lecturer at the Makarare University College, Kampala in Uganda. You became a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, and a Consultant with Arthur D. Little in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“You joined the civil service as an Administrative Officer and rose to the position of Permanent Secretary.
“As a Harvard trained economist, teacher and politician you became notable for your eloquence, courage and candor. At all times, you speak truth to power. Your numerous achievements came by dint of hard work; and the never-give up spirit you developed early in life.
“You became governor of Anambra State at the most critical time in the history of the state. You assumed office on January 2, 1992, on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), barely four months after the creation of the state on August 27, 1991. You had the enormous responsibility of laying the foundation for the development of the young state with an old name.
“To give the state a lift, you launched the ‘Think Home Initiative’ that encouraged wealthy sons and daughters of Anambra origin to invest in the state. That initiative became a success because it marked the beginning of the transformation of Awka, the state capital, from the quiet town it was in 1991 to the capital city it is today.
“Since leaving public office, you have remained active as a mentor and an activist in defense of democracy and good governance.”
On Apostle Chinyere, Ukeh said that the awardee was selected for the award based on merit because of his outstanding record of uplifting the needy and the less privileged in the society.
He highlighted some of the soul-lifting projects the OPM General Overseer had executed, which included free computer training centre, free nursery and primary schools in Abia and Rivers States; and free hospitals in both states.
He said: “We note that your Port Harcourt-based church; the Omega Power Ministries, has become a reference point for sharing the gospel and humanitarian services. You founded OPM four years after leaving the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries; and created the OPM Foundation to cater for humanitarian services.
“From rehabilitation of destitute and the needy, OPM Foundation thrives on empowerment, training and almsgiving. Since the Foundation created the Free Computer Training Centre at Elele Prisons in Rivers State, many prisoners and warders have graduated from the scheme. Besides, thousands of Nigerians have benefitted from its computer centres set up all over the country.
“From establishing a free nursery and primary school at Ohanku in Abia State, where children of the less privileged, are given the opportunity to have basic education, the OPM free education initiative is also running at four locations in Port Harcourt with free four sets of uniform, sandals, lunch, computer training, text and exercise books, fully air conditioned class rooms and equipped laboratories. At the last count, you had built 21 state-of-the-arts free Nursery and Primary Schools for the poor and less privileged. In all, no fewer than 45,000 less privileged Nigerians have benefited and are still benefitting from the free schools.
“You have also built two free specialist hospitals in Rivers and Abia states for the poor and less privileged pregnant women. This has reduced the maternal mortality in the country as registration, antenatal services, drugs, scan, operation, and delivery are offered free.”
Ukeh said that the OPM Foundation has also built 18 free estates where the poor, the less privileged and repentant armed robbers, kidnappers; militants who laid down their arms are living while undergoing rehabilitation.
The OPM Foundation has also reconstructed and equipped Ikuorie Comprehensive Secondary School in Ohanku, Ukwa East LGA of Abia State with computers and electricity. Hundreds of couples have benefitted from the foundation’s sponsorship of wedding ceremonies, from payment of bride prices, wedding gowns and suits for the couples as well as refreshments for guests.”
Apart from Dr Ezeife and Apostle Chinyere, others who will also receive awards at the ceremony are: Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (Man of the Year); Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa (Governor of the Year); Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (Courage in Leadership); Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State (Political Icon) and Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu (First Lady of the Year).
Other award winners are: Chief James Chijioke Ume, Chairman, Unubiko Foundation (Humanitarian Service Icon); Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, Chairman, Shanghai Engineering Works Limited, Lady Ada Chukwudozie of Dozzy Group (Industrialist of the Year); Barr Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoma, Managing Director, Nepal Energies Limited, Chief Benjamin Igwe (Entrepreneur of the Year) as well as Dr. Stanley Uzochukwu, Chairman of Stanel Group and Prof John-KennedyOpara, Chairman, CSS Group of Companies (Investor of the Year).
Also to receive awards are: Chief Kelvin Jumbo Onumah, Chairman of Sublime Group Limited (Hospitality Personality), Mercy Johnson-Okojie (Nollywood Personality); Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Esama of Benin Kingdom; Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, ex-Lagos Deputy Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, former Jigawa State governor (Lifetime Achievement).
Others are: Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, Executive Vice Chairman, National Agency for Science, Engineering Infrastructure; Dr. George Moghalu, MD, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA); Dr. Richard Okoye, Chief Medical Director, Save A Mission Hospital Group, Port Harcourt (Public Service) and Mr. Olukayode Pitan, MD, Bank of Industry (Banker of the Year).