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TheLead Salutes Okorie, Great Ndigbo Messenger And The Pillar

Okorie

Chief Chekwas Okorie is one of the shortlisted personalities for TheLead magazine Leadership Prestigious Award 2018.

The event will take place at Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) & Exhibition Centre. Bola Tinubu Way, Besides Marwa /MKO Gardens, Alausa-Ikeja on February 7, 2019.

Ladies and gentlemen we present to you, former presidential candidate of United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief (Dr) Chekwas Okorie, the Oje-Ozi of Ndigbo..

 

PROFILE OF CHIEF (DR.) CHEKWAS OKORIE

 

On December 11, 2014, Chief (Dr.) Chekwas Okorie was overwhelmingly chosen by the Delegates of the United Progressive Party (UPP) as the presidential candidate of the party for the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria. He accepted the honour and assignment with characteristic humility, from a party he founded and in which he also serves as the National Chairman.

A Prince of Alayi, Chekwas, as he is fondly called, was born on the 19th of March, 1953, at Amaeke Alayi in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria. He is the eldest surviving son of the late HRH Eze Edward Okorie Emerih, the Igboji of Alayi who reigned from 1960-1978.

Chekwas attended St. Michael’s Primary School, Umuahia and St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Alayi. For his secondary education, he attended Annunciation Secondary School Isuikwuato in 1967 and graduated in 1973 due to the three-year disruption of education during the Nigeria-Biafra War.

In 1974 Chekwas proceeded to the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus, where he studied Management. His Bachelor of Science degree with Honours was earned in 1978.

As a student activist, Chekwas had an early tutelage in human rights and civil rights as a member of the Igbo Forum, starting in 1976. The organization later metamorphosed into what is now known as Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Chief Chekwas Okorie is happily married to Chief Mrs. Chinelo Clara Chekwas-Okorie. Our children are Engr. Okorie Christopher Okorie, Agwu Emmanuel Okorie, Mrs. Rosemary Ugomma Anaba (Nee Okorie) and Daniel Okezie Okorie.

Chekwas had a brief teaching experience as a Lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Niger State in the course of his National Youth Service. He also had a stint as an Assistant Manager with the Nigerian Reinsurance Corporation in 1979 and worked for about four years with the West African Water Drilling and Allied Co. Ltd., where he rose from Commercial Manager to General Manager in 1982. In 1982, Chekwas floated Chel Water Nigeria Ltd. which has given birth to other subsidiary companies.
As an employer of fellow citizens in his own companies, Chekwas Okorie had the latitude to launch back into his natural calling of promoting human rights.

Chief Okorie (middle) raising the hands of late Ikemba, Odumegwu Ojukwu as presidential candidate of APGA in 2003

He did this through the many organizations that he either founded and/or served in leading positions, namely: Nzuko Abia na Imo, ­President General; Igboezue Cultural Association – Founder and National Leader; Member of the Elders Council and Ime Obi of Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Member, Governing Council of Abia State University 1992 – ­1996; Member, Board of Trustees Centre for Igbo Studies, Abia State University 1997 – 2000. He holds a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Humanities and Leadership from the University of America, Murrieta, California, U.S.A.

Chief Chekwas Okorie has been recognized and honoured with several awards from several communities, organizations, religious bodies, institutions and associations, too numerous to be listed here. However, he cherishes his traditional title of Oje-Ozi Ndigbo (Messenger of Igbo People) because he considers the title to be a sufficiently humble title and a true reflection of his natural calling to stand up for Ndigbo and other similarly oppressed Nigerians.

In politics Oje-Ozi Ndigbo has been a prominent and vocal member of all the political parties and associations he has belonged to, viz.: Secretary, National Finance Committee, United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP); Chief Returning Officer, First ever National Convention of the UNCP; Founder and Secretary General, Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC) 1996 and 1998; Member, National Caucus of All Peoples Party (APP), which later became the ANPP and now part of the APC; Member, Peoples Democratic Party National Initiative, Candidate for the Office of National Secretary PDP – November 1999 National convention.

In 2002, Chief Chekwas Okorie founded the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). This singular achievement placed the Oje-Ozi Ndigbo as the first Igbo person to become the Founder and National Chairman of a registered national political party in Nigeria.

He led APGA to a phenomenal feat in the much manipulated 2003 general election. APGA became one of the three biggest parties in Nigeria out of 30 at the time. The party was widely reckoned with as the foremost opposition party in Nigeria. In December 2004, APGA was hit by a debilitating internal crisis.

The crisis defied all conceivable solutions resulting in APGA derailing from the path of the vision of the founding fathers. Eight years after, in 2012, Chief Chekwas Okorie threw in the towel and promised his associates that a new political platform would be registered to resume pursuing the realization of the vision that prompted him to found APGA. On the 2nd of October, 2012 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered the United Progressive Party (UPP) with the head of the tiger as its symbol, founded by Chief Chekwas Okorie with the collaboration of his political associates. By this singular feat, Chief Okorie became the only surviving one of four eminent Nigerians who founded two political parties in their life time.

The other three were Chief Obafemi Awolowo who founded Action Group (AG) and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Mallam Aminu Kano founded Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim founded Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) and Great Nigeria Peoples Party.

Such was the Oje-Ozi’s vibrant, robust and consequential interventions in the polity that the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Abuja Chapter conferred on him on 7th May 2004, the award of CREDIBLE LEADER OF OPPOSITION in an impressive ceremony at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja. On the 12th of July, 2007, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in a historic ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos enrolled Chief Chekwas Okorie in Nigeria’s Democracy Hall of Fame. On 29th June, 2014 he was awarded the title of IDE NDIGBO (Pillar of Igbo People) by Ndigboamaka South-East Ndigbo Lagos (comprising 58 Major Market Associations and Igbo Professional Groups in Lagos).

On the 12th of December, 2014 at a special reception organized in honour of Chief Chekwas Okorie, he was given the coveted title of Olu Ndigbo (Voice of the Igbo People) by Enyi I of Aba Abia State, HRM Eze (Dr) I. A. Ikonne, in recognition of his unrelenting and sustained efforts for the defense of the rights of Ndigbo in Nigeria.

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