Amby Uneze in Owerri
The two-week long activities heralding the 55th birthday of Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha got to a climax weekend with the awards of honours and launching of a book, where Presidents Muhammadu Buhari, Nana Addo Akufo of Ghana, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice-President, Chief Alex Ekwueme jointly commended Okorochaâ€™s philanthropic gestures.
They described Okorocha as not only a wonderful man with a large heart to assist the children of the poor and less privileged to access education through his Foundation not only in Nigeria but in the African continent, but also a notable personality that fights for the unity of the country.
They stated this yesterday in Owerri, the Imo state capital during the official unveiling of a book written on the Imo Governor by Dr. Wale Okediran with the title â€˜Rochas Revealedâ€™ as part of his 55th birthday celebration.
President Buhari noted that Okorocha is a man with a passion for education and had been using his foundation to provide free education, not only for the less privileged in Nigeria but has also extended it to the entire African continent and therefore remains daring.
Buhari, represented at the event by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema, said, â€œOkorocha has passion for education and he has been using his foundation to ensure that the children of the poor who could not go to school are now doing so because of the Rochas Foundation and I think that others should indeed emulate him.â€
Also, the president of Ghana said he was visiting Imo State for the second time because he shares the same passion with Okorocha for education especially the children of the poor.
He said most of the advanced economies had achieved that feat because of their investment in the education of their youths especially the less privileged in the society.
According to him, â€œeducation is the equalizer of opportunity. I am president today because of education and as a result we must continue to invest in education if Africa must develop beyond what it is today. That is exactly what the advanced countries like USA, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, UK and all the others in Europe have done to get to where they are todayâ€.
He added, â€œI have continued to associate with Governor Okorocha because he shares the same vision with me which is to ensure that even the less privileged in the society have access to quality education, and in Ghana I have made it a policy that every child must have access to at least secondary education.â€
Former President Obasanjo described Okorocha as a man with many parts who always thinks of how to achieve success even from the difficult terrain. According to him, Okorocha is a subject to be studied and revealed.
Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, who unveiled the book said Okorocha is a man of courage and that he has done well as a governor, noting that whoever is taking over from him in 2019 will be measured with what he has already.
According to the former Minister of Culture and Tourism, â€œOkorocha is a man of audacity and not everybody is born at 12pm at a market square. This book on Okorocha should be read by everybody who wants unity and progressâ€.
Former Vice President, Dr. Ekwueme said Okorocha never allowed his early political setbacks to deter him from his dreams of contributing positively to the society.
â€œToday, Okorocha is now very famous not only as a politician but as an international philanthropist and only a man with courage can possibly do what he is doing today.
The impact of his foundation is not only felt here in Nigeria but in the entire African continent, having taken the bold step of adopting five children from each country in the 55 countries of Africa is commendableâ€.
Speaking earlier, Governor Okorocha said he is the most misunderstood person, but that he has been doing things in his own way and not to copy others or pretend to be what he is not.
â€œI am the most misunderstood person because I have always tried to be myself. Here in Africa you are regarded as a good man if you are pretending to be what you are not but I have always decided to be myself. This book has indeed revealed to me what others think of me which I have never known. But, my real joy is to spread happiness to the less privileged with the wealth that God has blessed me with and I will continue to do thatâ€, he stated.