Imo State, Nigeria-Jan 1, 2013: Yesterday, the community of Amuzi (a small African town in Imo State, South Eastern Nigeria) was in celebratory mood as six of their sons and daughters were the lucky winners of this year’s scholarship award sponsored by ECUDOMEF. The rigorous selection process involved an initial screening of hundreds of applications, using criteria such as superior class ranking and financial need, and finally examination score. The successful scholarship winners were; Maryanne E.Ndugbu, Charles C. Ahamefule, Cynthia Chisorom Nwagwu, Valentine I. Nze, Odinakachi Njoku and Charity Chima Opara.
The awards were presented to the various recipients by selected members of the ECUDOMEF Board of Trustees namely Mrs Amaka Oparaoji, Engr. Kennamdi Onwuliri, Dr. Chinemerem Onwuliri and Mr. Emeka Oparaoji. Following the awards presentation Prof. Edward Oparaoji, the Founder of ECUDOMEF said ”…I commend the winners of the 2012 ECUDOMEF scholarship award, knowing how rigorous the selection process is and the amount of hard work you have put in. I want to also commend parents and guardians who have guided these students to attain this significant accomplishment…In keeping with the tradition of this award, our interest and commitment to these students extend beyond this moment. We will continue to monitor their progress, provide then guidance and counseling to ensure they become successful in their various chosen careers and become valuable contributors to the development of Amuzi and humanity”. Engr. Kennamdi Onwuliri, speaking on behalf of the Hon. Minister of State 1, for Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Prof. Viola Onwuliri, said “without education your pathway to success in life is limited, as well as your capacity to take advantage of resources around and available to you. With the path you are now on I am convinced that in due course you will not only be a beneficiary of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda, but also a contributor to actualizing them. I wish you luck and please don’t hesitate to contact my office if I can be of any help.” In his keynote address the parish Catechist and local ECUDOMEF program coordinator, Sir Isaac Izunwanne said “ permit me to observe that ECUDOMEF it is to be noted has for the past 20 plus years of its inauguration trained many youths of Amuzi, provided jobs for them and also cares for the widows and orphans in the community. We are eager to do more, we therefore appeal to other Amuzi sons and daughters to join the moving train. As we continue to thank you for your support so far, we humbly request your support towards carrying out effectively our set goals and projects”. Sir Izunwanne paid tribute to the late Chairman of ECUDOMEF board of trustees Prof. Celestine O.E. Onwuliri when he said “Distinguished guests, permit me at this juncture to inform you that the much talked about ECUDOMEF has been under the chairmanship of an illustrious son, a philanthropist, a humanitarian, an academic, and a holy man, Professor C.O.E. Onwuliri, who transitioned into eternal glory some six months ago. I crave your indulgence to stand up now and observe a minute of silence for the repose of the soul of this noble son of Amuzi. May his soul rest in peace, Amen! The death for sure dealt a very big blow to everything good in our community…. What an irreparable loss to our community. We have already started storming heaven with prayers and petitions at his graveside for God to confirm him a saint with visible signs. We know he is resting securely in the bosom of the Lord, but as humans, we pray God to dispel our doubts by showing us visible signs. Though we have seen some, we are hopeful more are coming.”
Sir Izunwanne also gave a brief historical overview of ECUDOMEF when he said “…. a brief history of the life and times of Eze Cletus Oparaoji will help us appreciate the uniqueness of this God given son and great traditional ruler of Amuzi. It might interest you to know that Eze Cletus Oparaoji, the only son of his family was not born with silver spoon, rather he achieve d greatness through hard work and he benevolently extended the greatness to his entire community and even beyond. We recall at this moment those occasions when in Lagos he fed any Igbo son or daughter who came his way and went severally to the police to bail those who were unjustly locked up. In fact to the Yoruba’s he was King of Igbos in Lagos at the time. In the religious life, he was not found wanting. It was the great son of Amuzi who initiated the rebuilding of the St. Jude’s Church. Thus, when Eze Cletus Oparaoji and wife Ugoeze Dorothy Oparaoji departed from this world, their son, Prof. Edward Oparaoji and Wife Dr. (Mrs) Ndidi Oparaoji, held tenaciously to the legacies of their parents and continued in the funding of ECUDOMEF.” Representing the point of view of a recent University graduate Mr. Emeka Oparaoji, a member of the board of trustees, who just received his BSc degree in Health Sciences from Drexel University, Philadelphia USA said to the recipients “the sky is the limit, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, of course there will be set backs, but don’t let those deter you, all you need is focus, hard work and dedication”
In conclusion, Professor Oparaoji, acknowledged some US based Amuzi sons, including Rev. Fr. Dr. Sebastine Ugochukwu and Dr. Onyema Nkwocha for their generous donation that made this year’s program a huge success. The very well attended program took place at the St. Jude Catholic Church in Amuzi, Ahiazu, Imo State, Nigeria. In attendance were family, friends, and supporters of the recipients and ECUDOMEF as well as representative of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency Prof. (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri. Others included Prof. and Prof. (Mrs) Ignatius and Franka Onyeocha, Engr John Chuckwu, Rev. Sr. Mary Colette Onyeocha,, traditional rulers and educational administrators Also present were the officiating priest Rev Fr. Simon Nwachukwu, the parish priest Rev. Fr. Paul Ohaeri, other clergy and volunteers.
For more photos of the 2012 ECUDOMEF Scholarship event click here
FBSN, FNSP, FCIDA, FNSBMB, Hon FNIBE, FAAS, FSEH, ASI.F, FSESN, DALA, ALOHA.
This is a tribute to a great one, Professor COE Onwuliri who died in the ill fated June 3rd, 2012 Dana Air crash, near Lagos, Nigeria.
Nature bestows greatness on many people in life. One of such great men of our time best described as a man of distinction and integrity, a first class scholar, researcher and administrator and a devoted, caring and consummate family man is Professor Celestine Onyemobi Elihe Onwuliri. Professor Onwuiliri was the first son of Mr Adolphus Elihe and Mrs Rosanna Ihemegbulem Onwuliri of blessed memory. A native of Umuokazi, Amuzi, Ahiara Mbaise, Professor Celestine Onwuliri was groomed from the Community Grammar school Amuzi where he was deputy senior prefect (1967) and later senior prefect(1970/71).
He attended the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka and obtained a Bachelors degree- BSc. (2nd class honors upper division) in Zoology in 1975 and a PhD in Parasitology (1980) after a year’s training at the University of Leeds United kingdom. His academic brilliance earned him the University of Nigeria Foundation AID scholarship (1972-75) and the Vice Chancellors prize as the best overall graduating post graduate student (1980). He thus became the first person to receive this honor from the University of Nigeria.
Professor Celestine Onwuliri had over 32yrs of teaching, research, administrative and community service experience in over 6 universities in Nigeria and many others abroad. He was twice Head, Dept of Zoology, 3 times Dean, Faculty of natural sciences, Sub-Dean, School of Post Graduate studies, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Acting Vice Chancellor, all at the University of Jos (1988-2006), Director Academic Planning, Imo State University Owerri (1992-1994), and Immediate past Vice-Chancellor 2006-2011. He served as alternate chairman of the committee of VCs (CVC) of Nigerian Universities (June 2010- Feb 2011) and briefly as Chairman of CVC (Feb 2011-June 2011). He is currently a visiting professor at the National Universities Commission, Abuja where he was Chairman Standing Committee on Private Universities (SCOPU).
An accomplished leader in helminthic parasitological research, Prof Celestine Onwuliri has made outstanding contributions on the ecology and epidemiology of parasitic helminthes responsible for many debilitating communicable diseases of significant public health and socio economic importance such as Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease), Onchocerciasis (River blindness), Filariasis, schistomiasis and other intestinal helminthosis. Through this endeavor he had successfully supervised 25 doctor of philosophy (PhD) candidates and more than 160 other candidates at MSc. and Bsc. levels for the advancement of science and technology education in Nigeria and overseas many of whom today are distinguished professors, administrators, politicians, businessmen and women etc. He published over 200 well researched articles in peer reviewed journals and delivered several invited papers nationally and internationally.
Prof Onwuliri had served the larger society in various capacities such as National President Nigerian Society of Parasitology (now Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria) 1993-1997, Honorable commissioner for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Imo state 1997-99; Hon commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources 1998, Member Board of Governors University of Jos, Demonstration Secondary school (1983-97), Member University Press (1993-2001, Chairman Board of Directors University of Jos Bookstore, Chairman board of director NYSC Imo state 1997-99, Chairman Imo Broadcasting Cooperation 1997-1999, Chairman Imo Sports Council 1997-99. He hosted the 11th National Sports Festival tagged “Imo 98” (1998-99), Member of Council University of Jos 1996-2006, was first Vice President, Supreme Subordinate Commandery Nigeria, KSJ international 2003-09, Member Committee of Assessors, Nigeria National Merit Award 2002-08, Member Federal Government official delegation 2005 Christian pilgrimage to the holy land (appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo, member of council Federal University of Technology Owerri (2006-2011).
A devout Roman Catholic, Prof Celestine Onwuliri had contributed significantly to the growth of the church in Nigeria and abroad. He had been conferred with many awards in the church including the pontifical honors by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Ezinna Chimereze by the St. Judes catholic parish Amuzi, the St. Josephs’ the Worker distinguished merit award by Imo State University, Ambassador of Mary by the Ahiara Dioscesan CWO, Ambassador General of St. Jude, Provincial patron, Owerri Arch diocese Laity Council, Youth Ambassador, Catholic Ambassador Award, Patron CWO Umuahia diocese, and Grand Patron Federal University of Technology Owerri chaplaincy where he midwifed the building, the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chaplaincy etc. He was the first Vice-President Supreme Subordinate Commandery, KSJ International Nigeria and currently Major General and Supreme Subordinate President (National President), of the same organization.
He was a proud recipient of several fellowships, honors and awards including; Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences (FAS), Fellow Nigerian Society for Parasitology (FNSP- now Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria), Fellow Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (FBSN), Fellow Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration (FCIDA), Fellow, Nigerian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (FNSBMB), Fellow the Association of Aquatic Sciences (FAAS), Honorary Fellow Nigerian Institute of Biomedical Engineering (HonFNIBE), Fellow, Society for Environmental Health (FSEH), Fellow African Scientific Institute (ASIF), Fellow Solar Energy Society of Nigeria (FSESN). Distinguished Academic Leadership Award (DALA) by COFICON etc. He had also served as consultant to several national and international agencies including World Health Organization, Japanese, International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Carter Center/Global 2000, African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), Federal Ministry of Health.
Prof. Celestine Onwuliri had been honored with several chieftaincy titles including Okanmuta Nwachinemere of Amuzi Autonomous community, Ezi -nwanwa 1 of Amaimo,the Ugo Mmuta of Okpuhu Nkpa autonomous community in Abia State, the Ezi- nwanwa 1 of Ikeduru clan, Ugo Nmuta of Mbaise, Nwa chimere eze of Amuzi.
A consummate and noble family man, Prof Celestine Onwuliri was happily married to Ezinne Noble lady Professor Viola Onwuliri who served the nation as Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State for Education. Together they built a model family of 5 children, 2 grand children and many adopted children. He enjoyed reading, writing, analytical discussion, table tennis, soccer and boxing.
Imo State, Nigeria, 12/31/2011: Almost 400 patients were evaluated, screened, counselled, dewormed and/or minor ailments treated during a medical outreach program sponsored by ECUDOMEF and Women Development and Community Health Projects (WDCHP), in an African village- Mbaise, Imo State in Nigeria. Based on assessment, patients were either prescribed and dispensed drugs/glasses to, and/or referred to local physician for follow up. The program which is consistent with the organizations objectives of bridging unmet medical needs and enhancing access to quality affordable health care, in underserved communities, were ably manned by competent healthcare personnel. They included 2 doctors, 2 nurse practitioners, one pharmacist, one laboratory technician, one optometrist, and a host of community healthcare workers. In her opening statement, the Executive Director of WDCHP, Prof. (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri said “…..We are witnessing a small step towards solving a global problem of inequality in healthcare delivery and its devastating outcomes, especially in poor rural communities…we are committed to providing comprehensive health services to prevent HIV/AIDS, reduce infant mortality, elevate the living standards and status of people, especially women, widows, orphans, vulnerable children and others….we and our partners always look forward to this event where we can improve health.” Speaking at the occasion, the founder of ECUDOMEF, Prof. Edward Oparaoji said “…I am tireless when it comes to improving quality of life by bridging unmet medical needs, particularly in poor communities. I live and breathe it. My parents died from non-communicable diseases, which are responsible for over 80% mortality in communities like this. These realities have further motivated me to rededicate my life to ameliorating ill health especially in underserved communities. I derive the most joy and satisfaction when I know that my effort, either through ECUDOMEF or my day job has improved a life.” One of the attending doctors at the event Dr (Mrs) Ijeoma Dozie, of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri said “…I participated in this program last year but didn’t see anything like this. It’s just over 3:00 PM and I anticipate seeing over 100 patients by the end of the day, even as we triage among the physicians and nurses here. We are very busy, but it is satisfying that we are able to help. Some of the patients I saw have not been to a doctor for over 15 years and so don’t know their correct health status. I have written a lot of referrals for those with elevated blood pressure and/or blood glucose levels to see a local physician. I have also written medications which were dispensed by our pharmacist, who has two health workers assisting in her section and has done a fantastic job given the volume of patients. I would appeal to all people of goodwill to continue to support ECUDOMEF because of the great work they are doing bringing healthcare to rural communities like this.” Also commenting about the program a patient Mr. Kirian Okwu said “I have been virtually blind and unable to read anything for a long time, but today the eye doctor examined my eyes and gave me these glasses. I can now see and read very well. I am grateful and pray that God reward this organization.”