- Category: News and Events
- Published on 12 March 2016
Abuja-On Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Sir Emeka Offor, the founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, a non-governmental, not for profit organization was honored by the Rotary International with an award as the 2015/16 International Service Award for a Polio-Free World in recognition of his non-financial contribution to Polio eradication throughout the region.
The current Rotary International President, K.R. Ravindran was present in Abuja with his wife Vanathy, to personally hand over the award to Sir Emeka Offor at a lunch held in the latter’s honor. The International Service Award for a Polio-Free World, according to a top Rotarian is the first of its kind for a recipient from the African country.
President Ravindran commended Sir Emeka for his tireless commitment both in financial and non-financial terms to see an end to polio in Nigeria and the world. “Sir Emeka, you are a Gift to the world,” he said to him during his brief remarks.
He praised Nigerian Rotarians for their service to humanity. He acknowledged that the collective efforts of Rotarians, the health workers, the federal government of Nigeria and major donors, both locally and internationally, have helped to rid the country of this dreaded disease, having been removed from the list of polio-endemic countries since August 2015.
He, however, cautioned that while the country waits for a polio-free certification from the World Health Organization in 2017, that ‘we should not relent in continuing advocacy, immunization drives, and scaling up surveillance measures to ensure that resurgence does not occur.’
While accepting the award, Sir Emeka Offor, who is also the Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, thanked Rotarians and President Ravindran for selecting him as the recipient. “I am humbled by this award, and I pledge to do everything in my power to protect every child in our society from contracting polio.” “Polio is a deadly disease, and it must be stopped wherever it exists,” he stated.
Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the Managing Director of Capital Oil, who was among the personal guests of Sir Emeka Offor, thanked Rotarians for the care they give to the world. He appreciated Sir Emeka for all his contributions to Rotary and applauded him for having a “big heart” and that he is determined to emulate Sir Emeka’s exemplary philanthropy. To support the effort of Sir Emeka Offor and Rotary, Dr. Ubah asked to be admitted into the Rotary Club as a member of the Arch Klump Society (AKS), to which he committed with a contribution of $250,000.
The wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, who was a distinguished guest of Sir Emeka Offor at the lunch, commended him for receiving the International Service Award. She encouraged Rotarians to not only support the core objectives of the organization but to consider also rising to support her efforts in combating the challenges of midwifery in the country, which she said was ‘in a deplorable state.’
The former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Howard F. Jeter (Ret.) was present at the lunch. In his brief comment, he gave a broader insight in Sir Emeka other humanitarian projects. Speaking as a board member of SEOF, he highlighted the foundation’s partnership with Books For Africa (BFA), a U.S. based organization. Ambassador Jeter disclosed that SEOF’s partnership with BFA had facilitated the delivery of over “2 million books and reading materials” to over 18 African countries including Nigeria. He also spoke of an ongoing collaboration with The Carter Center, another U.S. based organization founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter. The partnership according to Amb. Jeter is targeted at ridding the five states of the southeast (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo) and two states of the south-south (Delta and Edo) of River Blindness.
Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe