13By Jude Atupulazi
The chairman, Chief Executive Officer of JOCARO Nig Ltd, Engr Dom Okafor, has reiterated the need to celebrate good people in society as a way of encouraging others.
Okafor stated this while celebrating the 80th Birthday of a retired bank executive, Chief Anthony Obi Umeh of Igbo Ukwu. Ochikota, as Chief Umeh is fondly called, retired as a Deputy General Manager of Union Bank where he was the Chief Inspector of the bank nationwide for years.
Okafor described Umeh as a very dedicated, honest and disciplined man who mentored many people to have good careers in the banking industry, as well as assisted many business men to access bank loans without asking for returns.
‘Interestingly, a lot of such people still remember and always pay him homage. Ochikota likes associating with his people. During the peak of his career in Union Bank, his official residence in Queen’s Drive used to be a second home to his relatives and his village people. Every year, he would usually do new yam party for them in his Ikoyi Home killing cows and all of them would come with their families.
‘After he left Union Bank, he was made the MD of CCB to resuscitate the bank but I think he resigned after sometime due to rut in the place.
‘In the village, every Christmas Day is a party in his palatial village home for his family and extended families. After eating and drinking, the children and grandchildren will entertain and he will share monies to the students and wrappers to all the women. He enjoys doing this. After his retirement, he re relocated to Enugu though always in Umudege Village every other weekend. He single handedly key tarred a road in the village shortly after his retirement,’ Okafor disclosed.
He also recalled how Umeh assisted to bring Union Bank to Igbo Ukwu and also spear headed the founding of Igbo Ukwu Micro Finance Ltd with his friends from Igbo Ukwu which he nurtured, noting that the bank was today giving micro credit to a lot of rural people.
‘I remember his days at 131 Broad Street. Each time I went to see him, the security man would say, ”Chief Ume’s son?” and I would say, ”yes” and I would enter the elevator to go to his office without any pre information that I was coming.
‘As a 2nd year engineering student at UNN, he got me a vacation job at Union Bank, Market Road, Aba, during the long vacation. My 4 months industrial training with Texaco Nig Plc in Lagos was courtesy of his contacts. Ochikota, is a Father to his children and to all his nephews and nieces and many others too,’ Okafor said.
He recalled that last year, Umeh celebrated his Golden Jubilee Wedding Anniversary. He further described him as a blessing to humanity, noting that God had blessed Umeh with a good wife and ‘wonderful children who are all happily married with children’.