ALL HAIL THE NUJ MAN OF THE YEAR 2023, HIS ROYAL MAJESTY IGWE ALEXANDER UZODINMA ONYIDO

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By Dr. Njide Ezeonyejiaku, a Media Consultant

Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Anambra State Council led by Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu (PhD, JP) has lived up to expectations. Since ascension into office, the Odogwu-led executive has initiated different programmes and events targeted at impacting lives and society. Dr Odogwu, in fact, has proven the saying that truly there is something in a name.

In its first year, the NUJ Anambra State led by Comrade Odogwu executed over 35 remarkable activities targeting different aspects of the society, mobilized critical stakeholders to support government efforts and championed humanitarian gestures like the paying of school fees for hundreds of pupils in Awka North Local Government to the tune of one million naira. The scholarship initiative was carried out in partnership with Odimma Awka North led by Chief Shedrack Anakwue and A & D Tabansi Foundation led by Ambassador Aloysius Tabansi, the President General of Urum Development Union. Already items worth several millions of naira have been gathered by members of NUJ in Anambra state for outreach programmes in our rural communities. With these flurry of activities, Dr Odogwu is restoring the union to its glory as the leading affiliate union of NLC in Anambra State.

Remarkably, among these events is the annual NUJ Press Week which has become a ritual. Under the Odogwu-led administration, this programme has also been retooled to achieve better results. This year’s edition which has since commenced will once again up the ante. There was a press conference with National Chairman of APGA, Hon Barr Sly Ezeokenwa. There will be novelty match between NUJ team and Judiciary workers team. The union visited Sickle Cell community Home Agulu and Faith community home Awka to identify with the inmates. There will be a facility visit to Tiger Foods Industries Ltd, Onitsha and Sunday service to thank God among other activities.

Tomorrow, All roads will lead to the Godwin Ezeemo International Press Center, NUJ Secretariat Complex, Awka for the grand finale of 2023 Press Week and NUJ Anambra Man of the Year Award. The Traditional Ruler of Ogidi, His Royal Majesty Igwe Pharm. Alexander Uzodinma Onyido, (Ezechuamagha of Ogidi) had earlier emerged after a rigorous process as the award recipient. Igwe Onyido is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Pal Pharmaceutical Industry Limited; Chief Executive Officer, Alben Healthcare Industry Limited; and, Pal Oil and Gas Ltd.among other top industries.

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Dame Dr. Adaora Umeoji, the Deputy Managing Director, Zenith Bank ( Agubataofia) was the 2022 recipient of the NUJ Anambra Man of the year award which speaks volumes about the calibre of the personalities that are honoured with the award.

Igwe Onyido was born on 24th November, 1956 in the ancient city of Kano in the present day Kano State, North West, Nigeria, to the family of late Chief Dennis Nwafor Onyido (Okaka Ogidi) and his wife, Victoria of Uruezealor Village, Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State. The young Alex had a decent childhood under the tutelage of his parents. He enjoyed much love and was well brought up in the fear of God and respect for others.

He started his primary education at Ibo Union Primary School, Kano in 1962, but was disrupted by the Nigeria Civil War in 1967. Hence, he relocated to the East with his parents. By 1971, he completed his primary education at Ogbor Primary School, Ogidi and proceeded to Oraukwu Grammar School, Oraukwu in 1971 for his secondary education ,where his traits were strengthened. He earned his West African School Certificate in 1976 with flying colours. Due to his strong desire for higher education, he enrolled into the School of Preliminary Studies, Kano and graduated with an Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB), an equivalent of the Ordinary National Diploma (OND), which facilitated his direct entry admission to study Pharmacy at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria in 1978. He graduated in 1982. After his one year internship and one year National Youth Service, NYSC, he gained employment in the Kano State Ministry of Health.

By 1991, the upwardly mobile Pharmacist Alex Onyido who had risen to the position of Assistant Chief Pharmacist, and Member, Health Services Management Board, Kano State voluntarily resigned his appointment with the State Ministry of Health and joined the private sector.

He established Pal Pharmaceutical Industry Ltd, which quickly became a foremost pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Nigeria and Africa. His think home philosophy and immense love for his community prompted him to establish a subsidiary pharmaceutical company in his hometown, Ogidi, Anambra State, known as Alben Healthcare Industry Ltd, where he has over 3000 workers, many of whom are from Ogidi.

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Pharm. Onyido in his quest for expansion ventured into the Oil and Gas sector where he established an oil company known as Pal Oil & Gas Industry Ltd which has placed him among the league of major oil marketers in Nigeria.

As a community man and a detribalised Nigerian, Ezechuamagha speaks Igbo, Fulani, Hausa, and English Languages fluently. He is a decent family man and his marriage to Lolo Nneka Patricia Onyido is blessed with four children who are doing well in their various chosen careers.

Igwe Onyido is a philanthropist to the core. His large heart is manifested in his care for the poor, the aged, and the indigent. He pays monthly salaries to elderly persons in Ogidi, pays school fees for indigent youths of Ogidi; and fetes widows annually in addition to take home edibles and wrappers with funds to sew the clothes. Through the employment opportunities he created in Ogidi, he has empowered many people and rescued them from poverty.

No wonder he unanimously ascended the throne of Ogidi Kingdom on 27th August, 2016 as Ezeoranyelu, meaning a king chosen by all.

Today, Igwe Onyido has made Ogidi community the envy of other communities in Anambra State. Igwe Onyido adopts a transformational leadership style. With his participatory and inclusive approach to leadership, he ushered in a new dawn in Ogidi. The various arms of government in Ogidi from the Age Grades, to the Village Heads, the Cabinet Chiefs, and Ogidi Union, Nigeria are working in unity with a sense of belonging.

Igwe Onyido recently built and donated a huge complex to the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University and co-sponsored Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Conference (DABO 2000) in Kano. He spearheaded the installation of ICT facility in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and provides industrial training opportunities to students of Pharmaceutical Sciences from ABU, Zaria.

For all he has done for humanity, Igwe Onyido has earned numerous awards and recognitions both at home and beyond. These include: a Merit Award by Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kano-Jigawa State; Merit Award by National Unity and Peace Corps of Nigeria, as an Arbiter of Peace and Unity in Nigeria; Vocational Service/Excellence Award by Rotary Club of Nigeria, Nasarawa District, Kano; Mayor of Peace (MP) by UN Peace Committee in September, 2022, among others.

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Igwe Pharm. Onyido has equally won several laurels in his chosen profession. He is the Winner of the Award for the West African Pharmaceutical Products Marketing Company, 2005 organised by the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria; a Merit Award of Excellent Contribution to Pharmacy Education in Nigeria by the Nigerian Association of Academic Pharmacists (NAAP) 2006; and Icon of Industrial Pharmacists by Nigerian Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP) among others.

Most recently, the Anambra State government recognised the invaluable contributions of Igwe Onyido in the State and honoured him for building education in Anambra State in March, 2022. Igwe Onyido for years is sponsoring the enlightenment campaign debate against drug and substance abuse organized by NDLEA amongst students in Anambra state.

Evidently, the choice of Igwe Alex Uzo Onyido of Ogidi as the NUJ Anambra MAN OF THE YEAR 2023 among many other contenders can simply be described as a round peg in a round hole.

The NUJ Press Week and Man of the Year Award holds tomorrow, Thursday, 2nd November, 2023, at the Godwin Ezeemo International Press Center, NUJ Secretariat Complex, behind CBN, Awka. Time: 11am. Dignitaries expected at the event include Governor Chukwuma Soludo; the Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Somtochukwu Udeze; the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Hon. Justice Onochie Anyachebelu, and the National President of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo. The event will be chaired by the matriarch of NUJ, and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Paul University, Awka, Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, while the National Chairman of APGA, Barr. Sly Ezeokenwa is the keynote Speaker. He will speak on the theme: “Pragmatic Media Practice as an antidote to Sustainable Development in a Distressed Economy: A Focus on Anambra State”.

The event will also feature the presentation of Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna Award for Ethical Journalism 2023 and the naming a project after the 2023 NUJ Anambra State Man of the Year awardee.

Come and join us in this important event.

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