Compliments of the season dear readers. In this edition, we will be looking at a sports icon in Enugwu Abo Ufuma, Mr. Mike Ezechukwu Okeke. Mike Ezechukwu is a Director in Fidelity Bank who has sponsored his community in Football tournament for three years consecutively. He is also an Estate Surveyor and Valuer. He became the 4th child of a family of eight born on the 25th of October, 1969. He not only sponsors and promotes football but he sponsors youths in essay writing and Bible Quiz Competition. I hope you enjoy this piece.
While growing up, I have always believed that Christmas was not just a period of celebration but a period to touch lives positively. Mike Ezechukwu shares the same view. He believes in helping others and the spirit of sportsmanship in him brought out the vision of empowering the youths and making them reliable and meaningful in the society.
Between 26th- 31st of December, 2017, Mike Ezechukwu will be having another round of Football Tournament not only in his village but in Ufuma Community as a whole where cash prizes will be given to the winners. His think- home- philosophy is hinged on love for humanity, making people happy and cheerful and encouraging people around him to realize their full potentials.
After the telephone interview, I was strongly convinced that a spirit lives within his heart. He not only believes in sponsoring Religious activities like crusades and Bible Quizzes Competition but sees so much vision in the talents God has given to humanity and feels it should be used wisely. Little did I know he was a staunch believer in the teachings of Christ as evidenced in his knowledge in the proverbial aspect he always linked during my chat with him.
His sports life grew stronger especially when he became a member of Martial Arts at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus while pursuing his degree. This has also made his children to love Martial Arts. As an Arsenal Football Fan, he derives so much joy sponsoring football tournaments for his community.
Ezechukwu got married in 2007 and he is blessed with two children after challenges of miscarriages
Here is what Ezechukwu said about youth empowerment, ‘A Cup of tea comprises of cocoa, milk and sugar. If you add them without stirring them well, they may not get the right taste. Everybody has a special talent that could be used as a blessing to some other people. I have the gift to stir up these talents and gifts God deposited in the lives of these boys by buying football, organizing people and mobilizing them for the sports events. I do these, so that they will feel that people care about them.”
Not only that, Chief Ezechukwu sees sports as an avenue in unifying different people in their beliefs and values. Football has a way of sparking joy, fun and relaxation. He attended Enugwu Abo Ufuma Primary School in Orumba North Local Government and later went to Boys’ High School in Enugwuabo but finished in Secondary School at Community Secondary School, Uwani, Enugu State. He studied Estate Management at University of Nigeria, Nsukka and had his MBA at Metropolitan School of Business Studies in United Kingdom.
Chief Ezechukwu loves football so much and sees football as a way to keep the youth busy and away from juvenile delinquency and social menace.
“Football is very lucrative because it helps to reduce social menace like kidnapping, stealing, armed robbery which does not glorify God. Also, it is a way of creating employment within and outside the community. By doing this, a club can buy a player and make him successful. This not only brings victory for the individual but also brings fame to the community, state and country”
When I asked him about what else he would like to do to uplift his community, he said that he would want to move into the line of sponsoring small scale business and gifted people who want to become entrepreneurs. Most times people who engage in promoting sport and other welfare aides are seen to be fighting for political positions in their community or local constituency. Although, Chief Ezechukwu is presently the Chairman of his village Association in Abuja, he strongly focused in his career and work rather than political positions.
He finds fulfillment whenever he sees talented people bring home victory to their villages, states and countries and that is why his watchword is honesty, hardwork and cheerfulness. One thing that is so special about him is his cheerfulness. He is happy about people around him and also loves making people happy too. Organising people and Coordinating them are part of his challenges because of his busy schedules.
His other hobbies are music like Afro beat music and music that have proverbial meanings. Chief Okeke loves creating fun and that is why he is often called a Comedian.
He advises youth to make use of their youthful age and guide it judiciously. He wishes everyone Merry Christmas and invites all for his village tournament that will be taking place from 26th- 31st December at Enugu Abor Ufuma.