THE maxim, “prestigious honours are made for men of integrity”, came true over the weekend, as a well known philanthropist and Rotarian, Dom Okafor, was decorated as a Patron of Awka Diocesan Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria.
The well-attended event, held on Saturday, at the Retreat Centre, Okpuno, Awka South LGA, where the honour was bestowed on the Aguata-born engineer.
In an interview with National Light, Chief Okafor described the honour as a surprise development which has also presented him as an icon for others to look up to.
When asked what have possibly spurred the honour or made him the chosen from many others, Mr. Okafor said he couldn’t explain but simply viewed the honour as a call for more work, even as he recounted some of the ways he has strove to make impact in the society through unreserved commitment to the things of God, noting the fact that he always tries his best to touch lives and make things happen wherever he finds himself.
But the honour may not be unconnected to the fact that the philanthropist and business mogul has track record of using resources, time and intellect to make impacts both in churches and the society. Some of which include renovation of church buildings, refurbishing of the gigantic power generator of the St. Patrick’s Church, Igboukwu (his home church), serving as Chairman of Harvest and Bazaar Committee in his home church and in St. Jude’s Parish, Rumuokoro, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he lives, among others.
He also renovated the General Post Office, Igboukwu, donated a gigantic generator to the Divisional Police Headquarter in Igboukwu, as well as gave a heavy duty power generator to the Obiuno Health Center, Igboukwu, while sponsoring a good number of students in their studies through his foundation, in recent time.
Expressing his joy for the honour, the businessman, who is making a foray into politics appreciated the leadership of the Awka Diocesan Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria for the wonderful recognition which he said represents a clarion call for him to do more.
Also in a related development, last Thursday, the Anambra State Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Ndidi Mezue, commissioned a 20kv Power Generator also donated by Chief Okafor to the Disability and Humanitarian Services Centre of Anambra State.
At the forum at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, there was a free reign of encomium, joy and prayer for the philanthropist’s charitable gestures to individuals and communities as he disclosed that his goals is to ensure steady power supply in the handicapped people’s centre.
Speaking at the event, Okafor, the Managing Director of the JOCARO Nig. Ltd. and an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) aspirant for Aguata Federal Constituency House of Representatives ticket said that the prime reason behind the kind gesture was to ensure a stable power supply in the center, thereby ameliorating the sufferings of the disabled who are being coached in the center. He gave a short touching narrative of how he visited the center sometime ago as he usually does. During the visit, there was a power outage which led to everybody in the center being drenched with sweat, thereby bringing an abrupt end to the center’s daily activities for the day, as the center had no generator.
According to him, the development touched him deeply, following which he promised a power generator to enable them switch over and carry on with their activities uninterruptedly any time there is power outage. The promise has finally come to fruition.
In his own speech, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor of Anambra State on Disability Matters, Chuks Ezewuzie, whose heart was filled with joy, described the gesture as quintessential philanthropy which is worth emulating. He appreciated the philanthropist’s benevolence, even as he recounted the growth recorded so far by the center from 2016 when it was commissioned by the wife of the Anambra State Governor, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, to date.
Commissioning the 20kv generator, Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs in the state, Mrs. Mezue, showered praise on Okafor for touching lives with his God-given wealth, which indeed proves him as a man with interest of people at heart. She described the gesture as being in line with the interest of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who has over time, manifested his concern for the disabled people in the state in diverse ways, including putting them in governmental positions, which made him the first in the entire West Africa to appoint a visually impaired person as a Permanent Secretary in a ministry.
She further charged the philanthropist to sustain the tempo of his kind gesture as there is indeed a great reward in being benevolent.
Others who spoke at the event included the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Dr. Azuka Oformata, the Special Assistant to the state governor on Sign Languages, Mr. Joseph Collins, among others.
Official Commissioning and turning on the 20KV power generator, as well as praying for the philanthropist by the disabled people in the center formed the climax of the event.