TONY EZENNA: GREATNESS THROUGH GRACE AND EFFORT

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Fr George Adimike

Nowadays, it is easy for religion-bashers to generously blame African backwardness on religion and praise the developed nations for their reliance on knowledge (science). While religion is a factor for human development or social backwardness, a culture of religion seldom impedes progress. No human society experiences true greatness without a profound religious grounding. The value of super-nature must be considered in the enterprise of human existence. Any person or society that achieves the right nature and super-nature balance, grace, and work integration excels and flourishes beyond measure. Indeed, achieving this balance measures true greatness, and the life of Sir Dr Anthony Ifeanyichukwu Ezenna, OFR, KSS, Ijele Akokwa runs on the integration of the God-factor and diligent human co-operation. His life registers him in the people’s consciousness as a man of grace and capacity.

The grace and gravity quotient in the life of Sir Ezenna, the pride of Ideato, possesses exemplary value for aspiring young people, especially those in haste to ‘make it’. There cannot be true wealth without smart and diligent work, and there cannot be good business without the proper ethics. Unfortunately, contemporary society places so much confidence in unfounded voodoo economics that it does nothing other than destroy the moral fabric of society. It is not only that it idolises capital, but it disconnects it from the delivery of value. Instead, it falls prey to a displacement of labour with favour. As expected, this mindset prioritises achieving success and becoming great, whether by fair means or foul. Many men and women of today, thus, worship at the altar of the goddess of money with all its attendant supernatural or natural rituals that corrupt morals, offend God, and harm human dignity.

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Sir Ezenna has, for decades, proved a shining light and inspiration to many. His success demonstrates that it takes smart and hard work imbued with the grace of God to excel. Right from his early days in business, he never played with the opportunity of learning the skills necessary to be a producer of value, marketer of solutions, entrepreneur of business ideas, and creator of wealth. He allowed himself to be taught by his experiences and those of others. He learnt from a hands-on engagement with the practicals of service delivery, marketing, provision and production of services and solutions. He learnt from teachers and books―in short, from schools (formal and informal) and grew in knowledge, expertise, and ideas daily. As he grew, so did his business. His business grew as he grew in knowledge, experience and management skills, which helped him invest, divest and diversify into many sectors. He succeeded by applying the grace factor to the work factor and achieved greatness in wealth creation.

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From the entrepreneurship of goods, he ventured into an entrepreneurship of goodness. His greatness shines out not just in making money, but by applying this money to create a society that is fit for God’s children (a free and just society). He is deploying this wealth to fight poverty and hunger by empowering thousands of families directly or indirectly and providing food and relief materials for the poorest of families. The periodic distribution of food, money and medicine to thousands of families across Igboland has become his trademark. Without prejudice, his companies offer jobs to several thousands of persons, thereby uplifting thousands from poverty. Since this piece is not a chronicle of his good deeds, suffice it to say that he has taken charity to the next level of depth by building a church, a monastery, a rectory, schools, health institutions, and houses and community social centres. Additionally, he has offered many scholarships, organised public lectures for the good of society and sponsored community social activities, all in a bid to help create a healthy, loving, happy society to prepare people for a happy heaven. Indeed, his life is spent on business entrepreneurship, goodness entrepreneurship, and socio-spiritual entrepreneurship.

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As such, he is solidly grounded in the political, economic, religious and socio-cultural aspects of life, which are well integrated. He lives in the world by the principles of Christianity. For there to be an exemplary manifestation of this healthy integration, one’s life has to be well disciplined, cultivated, groomed and, above all, rooted in God. Sir Tony Ezenna’s life has demonstrated that the success we see outside is only a sign of the tremendous inner work he has done. It is the fruit of a great internal job. Without self-discipline, no one can sustain success, and no one can be genuinely great. Through personal discipline and a measured life, Tony Ezenna shows that he has grown up through effort and hard work as much as he has grown his roots down in God. And he celebrates his birthday, may I join family, friends, and fans in wishing him many more healthy and fruitful years ahead.

Ad multos annos, Ijele nwoke oma!

Happy birthday, Sir Dr Tony Ezenna, OFR, KSS.

Fr George Adimike
[email protected]

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