- 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
- Category: News and Events
- Published on 18 February 2016
On Thursday, February 11, 2016, Sir Emeka Offor, the founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), made a courtesy call to the office of the Honorable Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Folorunsho Adewole to commend him for his efforts in motion to stem the spread of Lassa Fever in the country.
In his introduction, Sir Emeka said, “we are profoundly appreciative of your timeous response to the health crisis that beset our nation and we are confident that your oversight will properly guide us through this period, and Lassa fever will be wiped out just as we defeated Ebola.”
Sir Emeka was accompanied by the former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Idi Hong, Country Representative for The Carter Center, Dr. Emmanuel Miri, Alhaji Kaula Aliu, Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Howard Jeter (Rtd), Head Communications for Chrome Group, Dr. Edwin Ndukwe.
The founder of SEOF, who is also the Rotary International Polio Ambassador, used the opportunity to intimate the Hon Minister of his continuing role on the road to a polio-free Nigeria and his commitment to the ongoing partnership with The Carter Center for the elimination of River Blindness by the year 2020.
Nigeria, as you may recall, has been delisted from the pack of polio-endemic nations since August of 2015, and now, awaits World Health Organization’s Certification, as being polio-free, which is anticipated by 2017.
The road to success recorded in the END POLIO campaign over the years was not an easy one, but nevertheless remarkable considering the episodal challenges of both culture and religion in creating access to immunization. By far, a cohesive Public-Private Partnership and the generous contributions from patriotic Nigerians like Sir Emeka Offor was in part contributory to the appreciated outcome.
On the fight against River Blindness (RB), Dr. Emmanuel Miri explained the scope of the ongoing partnership between The Carter Center and SEOF. In his presentation, Dr. Miri expressed optimism in Sir Emeka's financial commitment of ($10 million over a seven-year span) towards a complete elimination of the disease. He acknowledged that this was unprecedented and by far the largest grant from a single African donor in Carter Center’s history and that the funding would go towards Carter Center interventions against RB in the designated seven states within the South-East and South-South of the country. He prayed the Hon Minister to fast-track the adoption of a two-dose per year model for RB elimination instead of the current one dose per year. Implementing the two dose per year would shorten the treatment duration from 15 years to 7 years, according to Dr. Miri.
The Carter Center has been at the forefront of efforts, in collaboration with the Nigerian government, to rid our society of RB and other Neglected Tropical Diseases since 1988. The Center had a similar focus that led to the elimination of Guinea Worm from Nigeria. The impetus for guinea worm defeat inspired the campaign to see that the burden of RB (40% global disease burden) is erased from the country.
Prof Adewole while receiving Sir Emeka Offor expressed profound gratitude for the latter's contribution to ensuring that all Nigerian children are immunized with the polio vaccine. He commended Sir Emeka for being an exemplary Nigeria. According to the Hon Minister, Nigerians who are making significant contributions to the growth and welfare of the society should be celebrated. He expressed the government's determination to collaborate with well-meaning non-governmental agencies, like SEOF, to bring about the "change" aspirations of the new administration in the health sector.
Ambassador Howard Jeter, who gave the Hon Minister a broader scope of the Foundations's work in and around the continent, also used the opportunity to present, as a gift, a set of books written by former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, to the Hon. Minister. President Carter personally autographed the books for the Minister.
- Category: News and Events
- Published on 24 October 2015
Nigerian Rotarians joins Rotarians all over the world to commemorate the concerted effort to rid the face of the earth of polio disease on this special "World Polio Day", October 24th, 2015.
This year's celebration marks a special health milestone for Nigeria having registered zero case of polio for over a year since the last paralysis associated with wild poliovirus Type 1 was recorded on July 24th, 2014. The success of the anti-polio campaign in Nigeria is believed to be as a result of appreciable coordination of both the public and private sector participators along with the continued support from International and local donors.
Key donors who have played and are continuing to play a significant role in meeting the funding gap includes USAID, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and billionaire businessman, Sir Emeka Offor of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation. On this year's celebration, Sir Emeka Offor applauds the efforts of all Rotarians and health workers who navigate through treacherous high-risk zones of the north-eastern Nigeria to deliver the needed vaccines to immunize his country's young children.
At this year's celebration, Sir Emeka renewed his commitment to ending polio in Nigeria by donating N50 Million to Rotary Foundation. Addressing Rotarians and citizens of Port-Harcourt, in Rivers State at the commemorative World Polio Day event, he said,
"Today, we celebrate World Polio Day with a deep sense of accomplishment and appreciation for all our collective efforts to see an end to this dreaded disease in Nigeria.
Your financial contributions,
Your commitment to service,
Your belief in our shared humanity
The unflinching support of our local and International donors
And the dedication of health care workers across Nigeria
Have brought us to this major milestone.
Rotarians! I salute you.
While we celebrate, we must bear in mind that our work is not yet done.
We must forge ahead with all determination,
With all vigilance,
And with all perseverance
So that we can rejoice and celebrate in a grander arena when the World Health Organization hands over the final seal of “Polio-Free” Nigeria to us in 2017.
So, let us go out and continue to immunize every child under 5 years of age
Let us continue to pursue advocacy
Let us continue to donate our time and resources.
Until Polio is no longer a threat to our children
I know I will.
Thank you very much."
After his remark, Sir Emeka joined District Governors and Rotarians alike to immunize over five hundred (500) young children who had gathered at the Secretariat, near Presidential Hotel, Port-Harcourt.