President Muhammadu Buhari has described the founder and Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2023 general elections, Chief Chekwas Okorie [Ojeozi Ndigbo] as “a rare statesman, who shares many values the founding fathers of Nigeria held dear including unity in diversity, peace and stability of the country.”
In a goodwill message signed personally by him and dispatched to Chief Okorie, to mark his birthday, President Buhari noted that as a community leader, a philanthropist and politician the APGA leader always placed the interests of the people foremost before other considerations.
“I recall the unwavering support of your party, the United Progressives Party [UPP] to my re-election in 2010 and I thank you for believing in the administration’s mission to build a better Nigeria,” the President said.
President Buhari concluded by praying that God should grant Chief Okorie strength, wisdom and the health to do more for humanity now that Ojeozi Ndigbo has become a septuagenarian.
Chief Okorie, who is a member of the Ohaneze-Ndigbo and one of the few members of the group’s inner caucus known as Ime-Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo was also honoured by the group, Ebonyi State Government and a large turnout of politicians from different political parties, including the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Edozie Njoku during a reception held at the BMO Event Centre, River Plate Park, Wuse 2, Abuja.
In a tribute titled “Chekwas, an Igbo quintessence,” Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide described Chief Chekwas Okorie as an “illustrious son, a silent achiever and a poster personality, who attained the seventh floor of life in solid accomplishments; stable health, mind and spirit.
Continuing, the Ohaneze chieftain said, “We are celebrating a man who exemplifies the Invictus by William Henley and remained unbowed in struggles, proved that he is the master of his fate and the captain of his soul. He distinguished himself as a resilient, resourceful and astute manager, cheerful in vicissitudes with an uncommon capacity to overcome challenges. With Chekwas, it becomes discernible that the problem is not in falling but in failing to rise after falling.
“We are celebrating a man who in his 30s founded the popular Nzuko Imo Na Abia in Enugu and served as the President-General; he founded the Igboezue Cultural Association which drew membership from all the nooks and crannies of Igboland; and in 1992 he was the youngest member of the Governing Council, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State.
“We are celebrating a man, who founded three national political parties; the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and lost it to the intrigues, brute machinations and bourgeois vagaries of Nigerian politics; founded the United Progressive Party (UPP) and was the presidential candidate of the party with Bello Umar as his running mate; founded the Peoples’ Democratic Congress and was the Secretary General of the party. We are celebrating a man who has contested and won some elections and where he lost votes, he won the deep emotional attachments of most men and women. .
“In business circles, Okorie was the founder and Chairman, Chel Water Nigeria Ltd; among others. Professor Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart states that when a child washes clean his hands, he can dine with elders. Chekwas was the youngest to be admitted into the Ime-Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; and he sat with the likes of late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Justice Eze Ozobu, Professor Godwin Odenigwe, Chief Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, among others.
“We are celebrating a poster personality, whose life trajectory serves as an inspiration to both the present day youths and the elderly. It was William Shakespeare who stated that some persons achieve greatness while some others have greatness thrust upon them.
“Chekwas Okorie remains an Igbo quintessence because he achieved greatness through a robust audacity, ingenuity, dispositional humility, political sagacity, generosity, character comeliness, physical prowess and socio-cultural etiquette.
“On behalf of all the organs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, we wish Ojeozi Ndigbo many more fruitful years in good health and prosperity,” the tribute concluded.
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