By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Prophets they say, are not recognised in their community. But, this was not the case of a retired Director, Ministry of Internal Affairs (Interior),Chief Fidelis Ike Ndeokwelu, KSM, as the 130 established individuals, who through him, secured job opportunities in various Federal establishments in Nigeria, celebrated him at an award ceremony and get-together, organised in his honour.
The beneficiaries from across Nigeria, known as Chief F. Ike Ndeokwelu Legacy Group, at the well-attended Award Ceremony and Get-together, held at Chief Ike Ndeokwelu’s Country Home, Umuoru Uga, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State, on Sunday, August 18, 2019, honoured Ndeokwelu with an Award of Excellence (Pacesetter, Pathfinder & Trailblazer), in recognition of his human capital development legacy.
Presenting the award plaque to the benefactor, the group through its coordinator, Comrade Bonas Elo Umeasor, described the event, in honour of the philanthropist, as an expression of genuine appreciation as well as recognition of hard-work and excellence.
According to Umeasor, who is a staff of the Public Complaints Commission, ‘Ike Ndeokwelu healed the land, and empowered numerous individuals, who previously, roamed the labour market without prospects of employment and brighter future’.
On how he was able to bring the members together, the coordinator said the record of the beneficiaries which was provided by the benefactor helped. He thanked the 59 active members for their financial contributions with which they organized the event. Umeasor appreciated some of the members that gave their special supports, and friends of the Legacy Group, that supported the August event.
The Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Barr Linus Chizoba Umeh, through the address of welcome he wrote for the Legacy Group, described the Uga-born Ike Ndeokwelu as an icon, a pathfinder, a quintessential personality and an accomplished civil servant. He noted that Ndeokwelu had empowered many families through the number of people he secured jobs for, in the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
According to Barr Umeh, ‘Ndeokwelu had gone as far as sending the appointment letters of some of the beneficiaries, through one woman or the other that visited Lagos for omugwo, in those days. He observed that many of those that benefitted from Ndeokwelu’s job largesse, were staff of Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Services, Nigerian Prisons Service, Federal Ministry of Interior, Public Complaints Commission, Federal Ministry of Aviation, among others.
He called on other prominent individuals of Uga, Anambra State and Nigeria, to emulate the noble goodwill of Chief Ndeokwelu, so that history and posterity would also extol and reckon with them.
In his response, Chief Ike Ndeokwelu, commended the group for what he described as its unique show of appreciation. He charged the beneficiaries to be worthy ambassadors in their various places of work and do their best to extend the same goodwill they received from him to other individuals they could help, as well as their communities.
Ndeokwelu, who also enjoined the members of the group to make good friends in their places of work for possible growth and development, called on the government to listen to and proffer solutions to the needs of the masses they govern.
Chief Ike Ndeokwelu, KSM, fondly known as Ogbu Uzo of Uga, joined the Nigerian Federal Civil Service Commission as an Administrative Officer in 1972, and rose to a Director, before he retired with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Interior), in February, 1996. History had it that as an officer in the Federal Ministry of Communication in the late 1970s, Ndeokwelu was instrumental to the establishment of a post office in Uga, Anambra State. The post office was eventually built by Uga people resident in Lagos, while he secured the ministerial approval for it.
According to records made available to press, Ndeokwelu was said to have made many impacts in human and community developments through his giant strides. He was said to have attracted the tarring of Nkwo/Obizi Uga Road up to Uga-Akpulu boundary, when he was a Governing Board Member of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA).