- Category: News and Events
- Published on 24 June 2014
The International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS) Federation will be staging the 10th Under-23 World Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville Sport Stadium in the United Kingdom from the 3rd through the 8th of August 2014. The Games give opportunity to the world’s best young athletes with disabilities to compete in diverse games which used to be the exclusive reserve of able-bodied men and women. Athletes from the Nigerian Paralympic Committee will however be part of this all important event.
It would be remembered that in the last Paralympics Games, Nigerian athletes won six (6) out of the twenty (20) gold medals up for grabs. Going by records, majority of the participants from Nigeria are Polio survivors.
The effects of Polio cannot be over emphasized as it does not only leave physical disability in those who have suffered it but physiologically effects too, both the victims and those around them for one is either infected or affected. For these people, their hopes to carry on with life are dampened because they are not only faced with the daily challenges that life presents but also have to cope facing them with disability. In developing countries like Nigeria where there are no structures in place to cater for their special needs, many are left to their not so bright fate.
With the encouragement of men like Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu - National President of Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria and Monday Emoghavwe – weight lifter & President Paralympic Committee of Nigeria, few people living with disability have taken their destiny in their own hands to make their lives worthwhile. These individuals have been trained in various sports and have been chosen to participate at the IWAS World Junior Games 2014 but due to lack of funds their hopes of being part of the Games appeared dim.
However, when the news of this great challenge got to the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), its Founder Sir Emeka Offor who is also Rotary International Polio Ambassador in Nigeria, the athletes were invited to the headquarters of the Chrome Group. Sir Offor in recent past has made relentless efforts in the fight to eradicate Polio from Nigeria and indeed the world by his generous donations of over 3million USD to Rotary Polio Plus and through his Foundation has organized massive Polio Immunization campaigns. Determined to put smiles on the faces of these athletes who are Polio survivors and ensure the fulfilment of their dreams, he donated a whooping sum of 2.6million Naira to support them to the Games.
Sir Offor addressing the delegation comprising of Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu, Monday Emoghavwe, Kingsley Ezeadim, David Ombugudu, Emmanuel Godwin and Emmanuel Nweke said “Our Foundation is interested in supporting good projects especially when it has to do with polio survivors and disabled people. We’ll do whatever we can to support you because your success will encourage other survivors to develop confidence in themselves and come to the understanding that there is ability in disability.”
He said they should use the platform of the Paralympics Committee to reach out to other disabled people in the society especially those that desire to be better. He encouraged them to win the gold medals and come back as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.
In his appreciation speech, Mr. Emoghavwe said “I thank Sir Emeka Offor Foundation for championing the cause of making people living with disability happy. Since I joined the Paralympic Committee, I have not seen or heard of any philanthropist or organization supporting persons with disability the way you are”. He asked for their visit to be publicized so that people will know what the Foundation is doing and others can join in the effort.
Sir Emeka Offor through his Foundation is not only going on to support the fight to eradicate Polio but has gone ahead to support Polio survivors to make living more meaningful.
- Category: News and Events
- Published on 11 June 2014
Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe
In August 2013, after surprising Rotarians and the world with a recent mega donation towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Sir Emeka was conferred the Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, the first ever.
Sir E as he is fondly called, the impetus for joining Rotary and committing his resources hinged on pure altruism. As a result, when he learned of Rotary's plan to offer him the role of an Ambassador, he humbly declined. "All I wanted to do is support immunization efforts so that my children and others may be protected from the debilitating disease." However, after much convincing, he agreed to accept the challenge.
Setting aside the daily grind of his massive business empire, Sir Emeka readied the rudder to steer the boat of polio machinery to the shores of END POLIO NOW in Nigeria. In Sir E’s proverbial parlance, “It is the hand that made the fish bend.” The implication is that Sir Emeka sought the intellectual wit of a dynamic Rotarian, the District Governor Nominee, from district 9140, Ijeoma Pearl Okoro
Sir E said, “Ijeoma helped me to gain understanding of the true role of a Polio Ambassador. She gave me the courage to embrace my new commission as the Polio Ambassador to Nigeria without any befuddlement. I am very thankful that our paths crossed in the shaping of a roadmap for Polio eradication in Nigeria.”
Flattered and humbled by Sir Emeka’s candid remark on her part, Ijeoma said, “I saw in Sir Emeka; the heart of a child, the courage of a lion and the stillness of a wise Igbo man. I knew then Providence has unveiled a new visionary. I, therefore, unclasped my hands to lend him the support he needed to advance the objectives of Rotary International towards Global Polio Eradication Initiatives.”
“Charity," they say begins at home or better yet, should begin at home. Therefore, Sir Emeka’s first port of call in his Ambassadorial role was no other place than the quiet and convivial paths of his quaint country home, Oraifite in Anambra State. Amidst the volcanic and epochal drumbeats of the Ogene and the Udu familiar to his people, old men and women, widows, young mothers with their newborns in their arms assembled at his Foundation’s headquarter in Oraifite to learn of the danger of polio and to have their children under 5 years old immunized. Over 150 infants and children were successfully immunized during the outing. The event became the springboard for a number of immunization drives, advocacy projects, culminating into the establishment of a Polio Ambassador Office dedicated to Rotary International at the instruction of Sir Emeka Offor and at no cost to Rotary.
At the convention in Sydney, Australia, where Sir Emeka donated another $1M to Polio-Plus End Game Strategy, he recognized that significant strides have been made by Rotary and its partners towards making the world ultimately polio free, but he expressed his continued determination to see the fight to a successful end.
“Rotary is proud to be working with business and humanitarian leader like Sir Emeka Offor,” said Past Rotary Vice President John Germ, who leads the organization’s fundraising efforts for polio eradication. “With Sir Emeka’s support, Nigeria has made significant progress and is closer than ever to eliminating polio within its borders. We are confident we will eliminate this disease from the world and ensure no child ever again has to suffer from its crippling effects. ”
- Category: News and Events
- Published on 04 June 2014
Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe
Sydney, Australia 2014- Polio Summit drew to a flamboyant and colorful end today, June 4th. The world and indeed Rotarians celebrated their friendship, their courage, and their determination to pull resources towards promoting peace and conflict management, prevention of maternal and child death, education and literacy, and certainly polio eradication. The central theme of the summit, the "END POLIO NOW" and the "END GAME strategy" are well alive in the hearts of Rotarians as was seen throughout the various activities organized at the AllPhones Arena and at each of the plenary sessions.
The highlights being the pledge of $100M towards polio eradication by the Australian government and the independent donation of $1M by Sir Emeka Offor sparked a new enthusiasm among Rotarians. More than ever, they believe and therefore are determined to rid Nigeria and the rest of the endemic countries of Polio disease.
In his outgoing message, the RI President Ron Burton said, "Together, we can dream big and we can achieve. We can change whole communities for the better, not for a day but for a lifetime." His message reverberated through the walls of the arena, drawing a vigorous applause and leaving attendees to reclaim their belief that in a healthy collaboration, a great success can be achieved towards the end game strategy.
Similarly, the incoming RI President Gary C.K. Huang believes in working together. He called on members to spread the awareness of Rotary in their various communities. Endorsing a new theme, "Light up Rotary" for his tenure, which will begin in July, he encouraged Rotarians to "Use your hand to help, use your head to make sure you are helping in the right place, and use your heart to make it sincere. Without your heart, nothing else matters."
"Without your heart, nothing else matters," is so true a statement. Sir Emeka Offor embodies all of that. For two consecutive years and in between, he has given his resources to Rotary International for Polio eradication. Beyond resource provision, Sir Emeka has put his booths on the ground, criss-crossing the country of Nigeria and using his gentle hands to administer polio vaccine to young infants. His heart is certainly in it.
Sir Emeka Offor announces another $1M dollar contribution to Rotary International for Polio eradication
- Category: News and Events
- Published on 04 June 2014
Press Release by Rotary International
Sydney, Australia June 3 2014-For the second consecutive year, Nigerian philanthropist and business leader Sir Emeka Offor (affectionately known as Sir Emeka) has donated US$1 million to Rotary’s PolioPlus program, which supports global efforts to eradicate the disease.
Sir Emeka announced his gift today at the organization’s annual convention, which is taking place this week in Sydney, Australia, and has drawn more than 18,000 Rotarians from 150 countries. Last year’s gift was also announced at Rotary’s convention, held in Lisbon.
The eradication effort is a personal commitment for Sir Emeka, who hails from one of the three countries where wild polio has never been stopped (the others are Afghanistan and Pakistan).
“Polio was common during my childhood in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, Nigeria,” explained Sir Emeka, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Chrome Group, a Nigerian oil and gas conglomerate. “My friends, classmates, and their siblings all fell victim to this terrible disease. As a young man, I vowed I would someday do something significant to end polio in Nigeria.”
Sir Emeka has made good on his promise. This new gift brings his total contributions to Rotary to $3.1 million; however, he has done far more than simply donate money to fight polio. Since last year’s contribution, he has been increasingly active as Rotary’s PolioPlus Ambassador in Nigeria. Sir Emeka works with a team of Rotary leaders to liaise with the Government of Nigeria through the federal and state health systems and primary health centers in local government areas where polio eradication efforts are most needed. They also work with religious and traditional leaders whose support is needed for successful immunization campaigns. Furthermore, two months ago, Sir Emeka opened a PolioPlus Ambassador’s Office at no cost to Rotary in Abuja, Nigeria. This office, which was commissioned by Rotary Trustee Chair Dong Kurn Lee, serves as a hub for Sir Emeka’s PolioPlus ambassadorial activities in Nigeria and supports the work of Rotary’s National PolioPlus Committee.
“Rotary is proud to be working with a business and humanitarian leader like Sir Emeka Offor,” said Past Rotary Vice President John Germ, who leads the organization’s fundraising efforts for polio eradication. “With Sir Emeka’s support, Nigeria has made significant progress and is closer than ever to eliminating polio within its borders. We are confident we will eliminate this disease from the world and ensure no child ever again has to suffer from its crippling effects. ”
Sir Emeka’s support comes at a critical time for global polio eradication efforts. Nigeria in particular has seen tremendous progress in recent years and is closer than ever to ending the disease. In 2013, the country had only 53 cases of polio, a record low for a nation that, as recently as 2012, was home to more than half the world’s cases. However, conflict and insecurity continue to pose challenges to polio eradication. Sir Emeka’s new gift will help Rotary fund critically-needed immunization activities to ensure the disease is stopped for good.
The $1 million gifts from both 2013 and 2014 are eligible for matching funds under the End Polio Now – Make History Today fundraising campaign, carried out in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Under the agreement, the Gates Foundation will match 2 for 1 every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication, up to $35 million per year. Thus, Sir Emeka’s $2 million in support of PolioPlus leverages $6 million toward polio eradication.
Beyond last year’s $1 million gift, Sir Emeka has previously supported Rotary’s polio eradication work through a $250,000 gift to celebrate World Polio Day, and has also generously contributed to Rotary’s maternal and child health, peace and conflict resolution and educational programs. His gifts make him the largest contributor from Africa in Rotary’s 109 year history.
In addition to his support for Rotary, he is the founder of the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, which focuses on poverty alleviation through literacy and education programs in West Africa’s poorest communities.