Uche Usim, Abuja
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Alumni Association, Abuja Chapter on Friday rolled out the drums to celebrate and honour Mr Isaac Okorafor, the Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for his meritorious service to the bank and Nigeria, as he bows out on October 1, after attaining the official retirement age of 60 years.
Okorafor, while receiving the award, described his stay at the CBN as service to the nation, assuring that he would continue to serve Nigeria, God and humanity all the days of his life.
The CBN Spokesman, whose birthday coincides with Nigeria’s independence, graduated from the Economics Department of UNN in 1984.
He said: “I look at my service years in the public sector from the point of view of national service. National service comes above every other thing after worshipping God. National service takes precedence over every other thing and it’s been like that for about 15 years plus. I came from the private sector and I told my people before I left Business Day that I was going on national service; and that I have done.
“Our country needs to be served whether we like it or not; whether we are happy or not, we must continue to do whatever we can to make sure that the people of Nigeria, especially the ordinary people, who do not have the opportunity some of us have; we must continue to work for the betterment of their lives.
“That is the greatest service anybody can give. As you serve the nation and ordinary people, you serve God. As for me, it is service to people that will lead me into service for God. I am very happy; I am much fulfilled that I am coming to the end of my service in the public service. But national service continues and I will continue to do that until all of us come out to serve this country”, he said.
On his experience as the CBN Spokesperson, Isaac likened it to being on the battle front on a daily basis.
“Running corporate communications is like being in a battle front every day. There is no weekend, no holiday. There is no vacation. If I traveled outside the country, my phones will be ringing and I must operate from there. It has been a whole lot of work; it denies one everything, even your private life, community life.
“At a time, my town union granted me leave, that I should come whenever I felt like coming because they understood what I was going through. Corporate communications management is a very tough battle. You must be strong physically, you must be strong and alive mentally; you must be somebody who must move on the go; to be able to keep up with the pace, especially social media. You have to also manage stakeholders. There are people who do not see well in what you are doing. Of course, there is contending interest, they are always there. It is your job to manage them and make everybody feel happy. You might not succeed in making everybody feel happy, but you strive to make most of the people understand your point of view so that they can buy into your policies and initiatives. You can make some progress. It has been a very exciting thing. I couldn’t have done all this without the gentlemen who have worked with me. We have established a pattern. No matter the time of the day or night, we worked, we issued press releases at times 2am in the night.
“We all know once a phone call goes, people don’t sleep. I will continue to pray for my colleagues that I leave behind.
“It has been a very resounding experience of team spirit working with them; and I continue to pray for them and stand by. Anytime there is a problem they think I can come in to help, I will be there”, he added.
Okorafor urged UNN Alumni to make it a duty to visit the school to determine its challenges and areas they could assist.
In her remarks, an Alumni of UNN, Dr Stella Maduka who is also the Director International Organizations Department (Secretary to the Government of the Federation) while handing the award to Okorafor commended him for his quality service both in the private sector and public sector .
She said: “Mr. Okorafor has challenged all of us as UNN alumni. He has challenged us with his frequent visit to his alma Mater. He is a man worthy of emulation”, she said.