Rotary Ambassador Sir Emeka; Journey to End Polio Now



Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe


In August 2013, after surprising Rotarians and the world with a recent mega donation towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Sir Emeka was conferred the Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, the first ever.




Sir E as he is fondly called, the impetus for joining Rotary and committing his resources hinged on pure altruism. As a result, when he learned of Rotary's plan to offer him the role of an Ambassador, he humbly declined. "All I wanted to do is support immunization efforts so that my children and others may be protected from the debilitating disease." However, after much convincing, he agreed to accept the challenge.




Setting aside the daily grind of his massive business empire, Sir Emeka readied the rudder to steer the boat of polio machinery to the shores of END POLIO NOW in Nigeria. In Sir E’s proverbial parlance, “It is the hand that made the fish bend.” The implication is that Sir Emeka sought the intellectual wit of a dynamic Rotarian, the District Governor Nominee, from district 9140,  Ijeoma Pearl Okoro

 Sir E said, “Ijeoma helped me to gain understanding of the true role of a Polio Ambassador. She gave me the courage to embrace my new commission as the Polio Ambassador to Nigeria without any befuddlement. I am very thankful that our paths crossed in the shaping of a roadmap for Polio eradication in Nigeria.”




Flattered and humbled by Sir Emeka’s candid remark on her part, Ijeoma said, “I saw in Sir Emeka; the heart of a child, the courage of a lion and the stillness of a wise Igbo man. I knew then Providence has unveiled a new visionary. I, therefore, unclasped my hands to lend him the support he needed to advance the objectives of Rotary International towards Global Polio Eradication Initiatives.”




“Charity," they say begins at home or better yet, should begin at home. Therefore, Sir Emeka’s first port of call in his Ambassadorial role was no other place than the quiet and convivial paths of his quaint country home, Oraifite in Anambra State. Amidst the volcanic and epochal drumbeats of the Ogene and the Udu familiar to his people, old men and women, widows, young mothers with their newborns in their arms assembled at his Foundation’s headquarter in Oraifite to learn of the danger of polio and to have their children under 5 years old immunized. Over 150 infants and children were successfully immunized during the outing. The event became the springboard for a number of immunization drives, advocacy projects,   culminating into the establishment of a Polio Ambassador Office dedicated to Rotary International at the instruction of Sir Emeka Offor and at no cost to Rotary.




At the convention in Sydney, Australia, where Sir Emeka donated another $1M to Polio-Plus End Game Strategy, he recognized that significant strides have been made by Rotary and its partners towards making the world ultimately polio free, but he expressed his continued determination to see the fight to a successful end.


 “Rotary is proud to be working with business and humanitarian leader like Sir Emeka Offor,” said Past Rotary Vice President John Germ, who leads the organization’s fundraising efforts for polio eradication. “With Sir Emeka’s support, Nigeria has made significant progress and is closer than ever to eliminating polio within its borders. We are confident we will eliminate this disease from the world and ensure no child ever again has to suffer from its crippling effects. ”