Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe


“The Individual, in the isolation imposed on him by his freedom, must make his moral choices and accept responsibility for them”-Jean Paul Sartre           


The war against polio in the world rages on. In Nigeria, as one of the 3 remaining endemic countries apart from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the siege is real and Sir Emeka Offor, the first Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria is in the center of it.




In mid-2012, Sir Offor charged into the ring of the ongoing Global contention against Polio under the umbrella of Rotary International. With a donation of $250,000 to each of the Rotary International cardinal programs, Sir Offor began the journey of fulfilling one of his life's dreams; to curb his childhood community, hence his world, of the disease of polio.




Poliovirus has stolen many untold dreams and aspirations from Nigeria. It has crippled and twisted limbs and minds of millions of once vibrant and ambitious Nigerian toddlers; the future of the nation in its twilight of Renaissance. Yet, there had been many more undocumented casualties of this dreaded preventable disease. The economic burden to the state is unquestionably enormous. The Government of Nigeria, Rotary International and Sir Emeka Offor has waded in and hence are not resting, in spite of the security challenges that often impede immunization exercises, particularly in the Northern part of the State.




Two years since 2012, with a total contribution of 3.3M dollars donated to Rotary International towards Global Polio Eradication Initiative, polio cases are down to 5 in Nigeria, from 53 in 2013.  As a Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria and a member of Arch C. Klumph Society, Sir Offor remains vigilant and committed to the cause of eradicating polio here and in the world.




 What about Polio survivors? The challenges they face are easily visible in our cities and communities. Too often, their plight attracts very little attention to our conscience. Sir Offor has a different stance when it comes to relating with PWDs. He believes in not only stamping out polio from the world, but he also believes in doing something about survivors. He believes the streets are not the place for them. "Begging for alms on the streets is not an acceptable option for the Disabled. They are Differently Able and should be encouraged. We have the choice to help and we should," he said.




Sir Offor is, therefore, taking bold steps towards empowerment of people with disability. This August, he sponsored a team of Paralympians from Paralympic Committee Of Nigeria to participate in the 10th international Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS), which held in Stoke Mandeville, UK. The lone Nigerian Paralympian, Emmanuel Godwin, who Sir Offor sponsored brought home a gold medal, making the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation and Nigeria proud.This would mark the first time a private sector entity has risen to the challenge of supporting people with disability to represent Nigeria on the world stage; a gesture, which the Paralympian Team expressly shared their gratefulness.




Speaking at the closing dinner during the IWAS World Junior Games, he reaffirmed his commitment to introduce the Differently Able campaign in his philanthropic agenda and to promote social integration of PWDs.


“Like all of you, I believe that we have a tremendous ability even in our disability and that we are "Differently Able,” he said. Echoing the voices of many Paralympians, he said, “Disability is a matter of the heart.”