By Michael Nnebife
An international non-governmental organization, known as the Youth Partnership for Africa’s Development, YOUPAD, has honoured the Chief Medical Director, Chukwuemeka Odumegu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, COOUTH, Amaku-Awka, Anambra State, Dr Josephat Chukwudi Akabuike, with the Thomas Sankara Prize for Leadership Excellence as Pan-African Icon of Healthcare Renaissance, in recognition of his hard work and contribution to the development of the health sector in Nigeria.
The YOUPAD is an umbrella body of African youths in 54 member countries, with a responsibility of building the youth in leadership and entrepreneurship with the purpose of providing the continent with intellectually equipped youths to take the mantle of leadership so as to build Africa with common dreams.
Speaking while presenting the award to the Chief Medical Director, at the board room of the institution, on Wednesday, the Secretary of the YOUPAD, Ghana, Kewul Suleh, gave insights into the recognition.
‘The Youth Partnership for Africa’s Development is aiming at positioning the youth towards the 2063 agenda which is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future…for inclusive and sustainable development.
‘To achieve our objective, we find for ourselves, individuals and leaders, who have distinguished themselves in various areas of endeavour, then appreciate them with our instrument of commendation as we also interact with them to enable us to tap from their wealth of experience for continuity and replication of their good work in all member countries.
‘It is on the foregoing that we are here today, to present this honour to your esteemed person, Dr Josephat Chukwudi Akabuike, because you have distinguished yourself as a selfless leader of astute erudition. You are one of the prominent Africans that are writing their names on the very heart of history as a matter of dedicated service to God and humanity which is in line with the Thomas Sankara Ideology,’ he said.
Extolling the sterling life and leadership styles of Dr Akabuike, Suleh encouraged him to uphold the qualities that earned him the honour, even as he urged Akabuike not to deviate from the man they came to celebrate for the sake of the African continent.
He also urged him not to allow his ‘high leadership prudence to end at this level’ but to soar higher.
The African youth leader thanked the management and the entire staff members of COOUTH that were also honoured along their boss, by the organization, for their cooperation and support to him, describing them as an army of lions, led by a lion.
In his remarks, the Nigeria Coordinator of the YOUPAD, Henry Nkem Nwankwo, recalled Dr Akabuike’s time as a commissioner for health in the state, noting that the professionalism Akabuike applied to handle the Ebola Pandemic in Anambra was among the best in Nigeria.
Responding, Akabuike expressed joy and gratitude to the YOUPAD for finding him worthy of the honour.
Emphasizing the need for selfless service, dedication, commitment, and hard work in any calling, Akabuike urged Africa’s youths to take up the leadership of the continent to avoid things deteriorating.
The COOUTH boss pledged to partner with the YOUPAD, noting that Africa needed the organization and its kind, for positive change.
In a vote of thanks, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, COOUTH, Dr Emmanuel Mbah, praised the organization, for coming up with the honour which he described, as a pacesetting for making Africa great.
The event, which attracted the presence of the top management of the institution, including Acting Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Dr Nnaemeka Umedum; the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Henrietta Agbai; the Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Anambra State, Comrade Edith Onwuka, among others, came to climax with the presentation of the award to the Chief Medical Director, Dr Akabuike, by the President, YOUPAD, Ivory Coast, Coulibally Bu Hammeed.