CYNTHIA CHIDINMA IGBOKWE writes that it was joy amidst encomiums as Prof Fidelis Uzochukwu Okafor, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) Igbariam, Anambra State, received a distinguished man of the year award from ECOWAS Youth council.
Prof Okafor also was recipient of Nelson Mandela Leadership award of Education Development even as he was decorated with the paraphernalia by Leadership of ECOWAS Youth Council by the ECOWAS Youth council representatives from Cote d’Ivoire led by the Chairperson, Ambassador Emmanuel William from Cape Verde flanked by Ambassador Epah Pablo, Deputy Secretary General and Ambassador MamMam Sowe from Gambia, Speaker GYP.
According to ECOWAS youths, Prof Okafor is a passionate father, an apostle of education and development, a success to many, a Professor of high repute , have been nominated by Anambra youth forum, National Association of Nigerian students and West African youth forum, as an educationist with track record known all over Africa and across the world and have contributed immensely to youth growth and empowerment.
As well, the International Association of World Peace Advocate (IAWPA) under the auspices of United Nations Peace Volunteers scheme, decorated Prof Okafor with certificate of appointment as an Eminent Ambassador.
The award on Prof Okafor read in part: ‘’ Distinguished man of the year in recognition of your unsurpassed performance in your leadership style as a seasoned Academics who has advanced Education and discipline beyond doubts, a Philanthropist , passionate about the growth of a workable Nigeria., supporter of youth Development , and unprecedented action plan for the progress of Education in Nigeria’’.
Prof Okafor was also presented an International I.D card ,special plate number ,peace advocate medal and a broch by the National Director , Prof Chidi Ehiriodo represented by a peace volunteer and seasoned journalist , Comrade Larry Nwaiwu. The award is the highest to eminent personalities.
Prof Ehiriodo said Prof Okafor got the recognition for bringing peace back to Nwafor Orizu college of Education Nsugbe and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu university Uli at their period of havoc, and therefore deserves an accolade as an Eminent peace ambassador to United Nations.
This is coming three years after Prof Okafor was named the Commonwealth Vice-Chancellor of the Year.
Prof Okafor, was named the Commonwealth Vice-Chancellor of the year 2015 by the Commonwealth Students’ Parliament (CSP). The award of excellence was presented to Okafor at the COOU Auditorium by the CSP Speaker, Peter Mugisa.
He was honoured for his strides in academic upgrade, infrastructure development and providing a congenial learning atmosphere for students.
Mugisa had said: “A man that has and is still contributing his quota to nation building, humanity and the promotion of qualitative education which remain the best legacy that can be bequeathed on the children of the common man in any society”.
The former VC had as well received Sir Ahmadu Bello award of ‘’Garukuwa Matasan Arewa’’ by the Northern Nigeria Youth Council among so many other awards.
The decoration of the ECOWAS award took place at Best Western Meloch Hotel Awka during the fifth Professor Fidelis Uzochukwu Okafor Annual international lecture series entitled ‘’Humanities and Sciences: in the search for new perspectives in confronting emerging global issues’’, organized by Literati Philosophia in conjunction with Eastern Nigeria Writers Forum. The event as well featured unveiling of the journal of the illitrati philisophia, Literati awards and honours.
Prof Okafor stood out as encomiums were poured on him from all walks of life for his contributions of his quota to nation building, humanity and the promotion of youth development and education system.
Professor Okafor in his speech maintained that the lecture was designed to provide a forum for men and women who are committed to research to discuss issues pertaining humanity in Nigeria, and diaspora. He said he has devoted all his life to the development of youths, hence he has received life membership honour from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
The Convener, Prof Ngozi Chuma-Udeh described the theme as apt , commending Prof Okafor for his humility in service always even as he asked God to continue to bless him for all his services to humanity.
The keynote speaker and the traditional ruler of Obosi kingdom in Idemmili council area, Igwe Chidubem Iweka , pointed out some emerging global issues to include climate change, poverty and hunger, religious crisis, genocide and mass killings among others and urged the government at all levels to mitigate such devastating and ravaging issues destroying the growth and development of some undeveloped countries across the globe.
Igwe Iweka assured that quality education and awareness are vital and have a role in confronting global issues.
In his lead presentation, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Of Anambra Broadcasting Service, Nze Uche Nworah represented by Mr Tobenna Obiano, said that the rate of unemployment especially in Nigeria is a major trait to global issues, even as he added that endemic corruption and waste of national resources by political leaders who appear superficial and obviously directionless in their policies are another dotted woes in the development of this great nation.
Another lead presenter, from the department of English Language Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Professor Ifeyinwa Ogbazi represented by Dr Christopher Kalu, the chairman of the occasion, Barrister George Orji, the State Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Corp, Mr. Sunday Ajayi, all collaborated the stand of the keynote speaker. They said all hands must be on deck to combat global issues affecting humanity.
FRSC Boss in Anambra state, Corps Commander Michael Sunday Ajayi pointed out high speed as the one of the causes of accident, adding that, ” the faster a car drives the higher risk of mortalities”, even as he cautioned the public on the need to attach a speedometer to their vehicles to aid in reducing environmental pollution in our society and road hazards. He advises that road safety is an issue everybody should campaign about it.
The APGA flag bearer for Ogbaru Federal constituency, Hon Chinwe Nwaebili who was awarded with an award of service to humanity by the literati philosophia, advised Ndi Anambra to vote with their conscience not because of peanuts from politicians.
Prof Okafor worked as Lecturer II, Lecturer I , Senior Lecturer before he rose to the post of a professor in 1997 at University of Nigeria. He was Acting Vice Chancellor and later the Vice chancellor of Anambra State University and later Vice Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu when it changed name. He has also served as provost in Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe.
He has written books and articles which include New Strategies for curbing Ethnic and Religious conflicts in Nigeria, Legal Positivism and the African Legal Tradition and Right and Law in Hobbes’ Ethical and Political Theory. He won the Japan Foundation best report award in 1994.