When Ezenna Shone in Owerri
~ By Ingram Osigwe
The Imo state capital, Owerri came alive on Saturday, April 7, 2018 when Nigerians from all walks of life poured into the serene and beautiful city for the 30th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The highpoint of the convocation ceremony was the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree of Management Technology (D.M.Tech) of the institution on the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Orange Drugs Group, Chief (Sir) Tony Ndubuisi Ezenna.
The FUTO award is an addition to the legion of such awards Tony had received from other institutions of higher learning, corporate organisations, religious bodies, social organisations among others in recognition of his philanthropic and community development efforts.
The D.M.Tech conferment on Tony, coming from one of the nation's prestigious federal universities, may not be unconnected with Orange Drug's numerous Corporate Social Responsibility, CRS, interventions thereby helping the government shed some governmental responsibilities, especially in the areas of provision and rehabilitation of infrastructures and social amenities.
For example, the week leading to the conferment was full of activities for the Orange Drug boss.In his home town, Akokwa, his immediate community, Owerri- Akokwa and neighbouring Orlu town-all in the Eastern Heartland, Imo state-Tony, in consonance with Orange Drug's CRS, was busy with the commissioning and dedication of class room buildings he constructed for the famous Bishop Shannaham College, Orlu, St.Anthony High School Owerri-Akokwa and Akokwa High School.
Akokwa High School, formerly known as Ernest Games Grammer School, was founded by the late Professor Elechukwu Njaka.The late Njaka won Tony's heart by sacrificing his comfort in the United States to return home and establish the school.
At the convocation, Ezenna shone like a lone star. Robed with gown,hood and cap, he stood tall, in glamour and splendour yet in evident humility, as the Vice Chancellor, Professor Francis Eze, assisted by the Registrar, John Nnabuihe conferred the D.M.Tech Honoris Causa of FUTO on him.
As this happened, hands clapped and lips moved in estactic cheers and applause. Ealier when Tony's moving but inspiring citation was read, the entire convocation arena erupted in wild applause.Many who later spoke agreed that the conferment was a fitting and proper recognition for a man who in all ramifications has helped in reshaping Nigeria through industrialisation, creation of job, community development and philanthropy.
Among the high profile dignitaries who abandoned their busy schedules and emptied into Owerri to identify with,and celebrate with Tony were former Minister for Petroleum, Chief Don Etiebete, Hon.Austin Chukwukere,Hon. Jones Onyereri ,Tony Chukwu, Obi Akokwa, Eze Ikenna Okoli,Barr. Bill Ukachukw, Professor Theo Ndubuizu,Professor Ngozi Anyikwa,Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Archbishop Anthony Obinna,Professor Tony Anwuka, Who represented President Muhammadu Buhari,Imo Police Commissioner Chris Ezike,Professor Viola Adaku Onwuliri, Professor Chigozie C. Asiabaka, Chief Val Ozigbo and Chief Tony Obinagwu.
Later in the night, an appreciative Dr.Ezenna hosted his guests to a classy dinner.He was joined by former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.Hon.Emeka Ihedioha, Expatriate partners of ODL, Chief Charles Ahize,Barrister Chijioke Nzekwe, Chief P.Ngoka,Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, Prince M.O Nlemigbo. Eze Edie Anyanwu, Chief Jerry Chukwueke ,Chief Dan Ngerem ,Chief Lastborn Onwukaike,Chief Kennis Udokoro, Chief Ifeanyi Ojimba, Chief Joe Otiora, Hon. Obinna Okwara ,Chief Okey Dike,Betos Nwadike,Chief Chijioke Awalite, Chief Chineme Iheaku, Chief Ifeanyi Las Vegas Okafor, Chief Paulinus Anyikwa, Chief Pamela Anyikwa, Sir Chidi Chiege, Chief Willie Obi, Dr Chris Okafor, Chief Luke Okeke, Chief John Ihebighi among many others.
Speakers after another eulogised Dr.Ezenna and urged other industrialists and business moguls to tow his path.Evidently elated, the Orange Drugs Group Chairman said he was overwhelmed by the turn out of his friends, business partners and well wishers who defied all odds and journeyed to Owerri to stand with, and celebrate him .
Pledging not to relent in his humanitarian, industrialization and job creation efforts, Tony called on all well meaning Nigerians to join him in recreating a society where hunger, lack and joblessness have no stake.
Mr. Ingram Adichie Osigwe,arpa; is the MD/CEO of Fullpage International Communications Limited.