By Michael Amadi
IT is one thing to deserve honour and not get it and another to get it without deserving it. But honour is given to whom honour is due, so says a hackneyed quotation. Whoever said that a woman has nothing to offer may be heading the wrong direction. Many women in the society today have been applauded and celebrated for their good works and philanthropic gestures.
Who is a successful woman, one may ask. A school of thought defines money as a parameter for measuring earthly success. To others, one is successful if one achieves what one passionately longs for. She dreamt to be adept in phytomedicine and God answered her prayers. That means that the definition of success is a function of subjectivity and self appraisal. Whether you succeed or not is not as important as whether you performed to the maximum of your inherited capacity.
There shouldn’t be a definitive or an all-embracing yardstick to measure success, just as Celsius for temperature, grams for weight, karat for gold, among others, but not so for success. Success should not be measured by the height attained by an individual. One should consider the obstacles and challenges overcome in the course of scaling the heights. He who has climbed the highest is one who has helped others to ascend.
It was on this premise that Uwelle-Ukehe community in association with Orinandu Old Students Association in Igbo-Eze Local Government Area of Enugu State rolled out drums as array of personalities from all walks of life converge on the premises of Orinandu Community Secondary School to honour and reaffirm the chieftaincy title conferred on a living legend, scientists, philanthropist, woman of substance and founder of the Centre for Psychic and Healing Administration (CPHA), Chief Dr Mrs Flora Ifeanyichukwu Nkemakonam Ilonzo (Orinandu 1 of Uwelle-Ukehe) in appreciation of her enviable achievements, development strides and humanitarian services, especially in their community.
Before performing the reaffirmation ritual, the eldest man of the community, Chief Owagu Olenyi said that their chieftaincy titles were not for sale but was only bestowed on merit to worthy individuals in appreciation of their achievements and contributions to the society at large.
Bishop Michael Amamieye, president of Aggressive Faith Ministries Port Harcourt, Rivers State, who said the opening prayer, emphasised the need for people to utilise their God’s given gifts and declared that it is one’s gift or talent that makes way for him or her, especially when utilised well to enhance humanity and God’s kingdom. While urging all to develop their talents or gifts to the glory of God, prayed God to give Flora Ilonzo the wisdom and enablement to continue to touch more lives in her sojourn on earth.
Appreciating the people of Uwelle-Ukehe for the confidence reposed in her over the years and in her lecturing habit, Ilonzo explained the health benefits of kolanuts, garden eggs, bitter kola and alligator pepper such as boosting of energy, improves fertility, reduces dizziness, anti-dote to poison, prevention of ulcers, cancer, among others, urging them to make them part of their daily consumptions and warned against excessiveness.
Speaking to newsmen informally at her residence in Awka after the ceremony, ‘Flora Ilonzo said she was excited and humbled by the honour done to her, adding that the reaffirmation was an indication of her brilliant display of philanthropic gestures, even as she said it would spur her to do more for humanity and God Almighty. “I will do my best to foster the relationship that has been re-established today, after 35 years,” she said.
On how she made the enviable record possible especially with the vicissitude of life, she said “from youth I am who God has made me to be despite all odds. Everything that I am in life today, I give God all the honour and glory.” She advised that people should do the much they can in life to exhibit honesty, integrity and compassion to fellow human beings, adding that “what you give is what you get”.
Ilonzo commended the press for being objective and balanced in their reportage, urging them to keep it up.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Secretary, Central Planning Committee, Amadi Aroh (Igirigi Ukehe) described Flora Ilonzo as a social crusader, leader and wonderful philanthropist whose contributions and influence brought remarkable development to their secondary school and the community at large, adding that her methodological approach to issues and her powerful influence led to the establishment of primary and secondary schools in the area, of which the secondary school was named after her.
Aroh maintained that many roads in and around the community were constructed by her, even as he said that she awarded scholarship to many students from secondary to university level, and revealed that she assisted in resolving the “Uka Monday” conflict between the Christian and Odo masquerade adherents which nearly consumed the entire town.
The secretary, described her as an epitome of charity and love judging by her poverty eradication programme, yearly Christmas bonanza and bursary awards, hence indigent people became successful on earth, adding that they are determined and committed to give her an unbiased statement of account for the period of 35 years of business.
He decried the dilapidated state of the schools, insufficient manpower, poor students enrolment and the deplorable state of the road leading to the school which makes it difficult and non-accessible to school by the staff and students, hence their withdrawal to other schools around, and solicited for assistance from all relevant quarters.
The citations show-cased her as a philanthropist per excellence who has touched many lives and received numerous awards of recognition both at home and in diaspora.
One of the chiefs of the community, Emmanuel Eze who spoke to the press, paid glowing tribute to the mother of all. He said having Flora Ilonzo among them was a symbolic honour to them and Ukehe community at large, explaining that the reaffirmation of her chieftaincy title (Orinandu 1 of Uwelle-Ukehe kingdom) was also unique because the community has benefitted in no small measure from her philanthropic measures.
He said the honour and reaffirmation was a call to more service, stressing that her tall profile explained the reason for the personalities present at the occasion and prayed God for protracted life and vigor to the title holder for their mutual benefits.
Prominent at the event include HRH Igwe Mike Odoh of Ojime-Ukehe autonomous community, member representing Igbo-Etiti and Uzouani Federal Constituency, Stella Ngwu, president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Jon Nnia Nwodo (Ike Ukehe), former Head of Service of Enugu State, Chief Nicholas Ojike, Chief Ignatius Campo, Chairman of Institute of Public Relations and former Managing Director of Anambra Broadcasting Service, Chief Chinwe Nnedum, Muslim Women Association Anambra State chapter led by Habiba Umar, among others.
Highpoint of the occasion were cultural displays by Chiweta dance group of Uwelle-Ukehe, Otu Ofuobi Uwelle-Ukehe, Odoh dance group Uwelle-Ukehe, among others.