All You Need to Know About SEOF`s Fight Against Polio

Sir Emeka Offor- Rotary Polio Ambassador

On the 1st of March in Oraifite in Anambra State, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) in partnership with Rotary Club of Nigeria will mark National Immunization Plus day in their continued effort to eradicating Polio in Nigeria. Sir Emeka Offor is the largest African donor to Rotary club international in their effort to making sure that our world today is polio free. It will be recalled that he donated $1 million to Rotary’s polio plus program after initial $250,000 to the same club for the same purpose. However, he has continued to donate to rotary’s different aid programs like initiatives to enhance maternal and child health, education for literacy projects, peace and conflict resolution studies, etc. Offor has contributed a staggering total of more than $2.1 million making him the largest contributor from Africa throughout 108 years Rotary Club history.
Some people are wondering why donating so much money for these purposes especially on polio eradication which so many people have taken for granted. There are two perspectives that need to be straightened out for some people to have a clearer view on propelling passion why very few individuals like Sir Emeka Offor are lending hand of help to the weak and less privileged in our world from their hard earned fortune. The first being that whenever something is distributed free, somebody paid for it and we have just unmasked one of the very few individuals in the world today, who have sworn to see the irreversible end of polio. Bill and Melinda Gate foundation is another notable foundation in polio eradication and together with Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), and some few others are not sparing their time, leisure, and money so far that guarantees the everlasting end to polio. The Polio vaccine is free because of these few benefactors to millions of endangered children world over.
Polio is the common name for poliomyelitis, which comes from the Greek words for grey and marrow, referring to the spinal cord, and the suffix –itis, meaning inflammation. Poliomyelitis, shortened, became polio. For a time, polio was called infantile paralysis, though it did not affect only the young. It is caused by one of the three poliovirus of Abortive Polio, Non-paralytic polio and Paralytic polio which are members of the enterovirus genus. Polio is a highly infectious illness that spreads through contact between people, by nasal and oral secretions, and by contact with contaminated feces. Poliovirus enters the body through the mouth, multiplying along the way to the digestive tract, where it further multiplies. Up to this present world, polio has no cure, so prevention is the better option but eradication is the best option, and far less than one percent of global population are genuinely committed to its eradication which Offor happens to be at the forefront. Mortality of polio is not alarming but its effect on any infected child is "till death doeth part". Polio was eradicated in 1994 in the whole of the Western Hemisphere but is still endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Two polio vaccines are used throughout the world to combat polio. The first was developed by Jonas Salk and first tested in 1952. Announced to the world by Dr Thomas Francis Junior on April 12, 1955, it consists of an injected dose of inactivated (dead) poliovirus. An oral vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin using attenuated poliovirus. Human trials of Sabin's vaccine began in 1957 and it was licensed in 1962. United States used injected inactivated poliovirus while oral vaccine is mainly used in many parts of the world so that even none health workers canl help in this fight against polio.
The world has seen many polio victims and some have thrived in spite of it but at a huge cost. Many people are surprised to learn that U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt conducted his presidency from a wheelchair. Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 at the age of 39, and as a result, his legs were permanently paralyzed. It seemed that polio might end those political dreams of his, but Roosevelt maintained that he was getting better and pursued many experimental therapies. To maintain his public image, Roosevelt had a car with special hand controls so that he could drive, and he leaned on an aide to stand for speeches. So many others also achieved their life dreams but how many of polio victims have the will power to overcome or resources to manage the inhibitions. This is one of the main reasons SEOF was established and it is living up to its core aim.
The second reason this huge amount of money is sunk into polio eradication by these few individuals like Offor is passion. In the words of G.K Chesterton, ‘The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.’ In the case of Offor, his mind blowing donations towards helping others especially polio eradication is not because he hates those monies but because he likes the results they bring and the fact that they make others’ lives meaningful. Making a difference through passion driven commitment is the secret to a life of genuine happiness. What gladdens a heart more than knowing that your commitment to your desire has made sure polio is today eradicated in many parts of Nigeria and other parts of the world? Sir Emeka Offor has a lot in common with Bill Gates, the erstwhile richest man in the world, with common passion to see polio eradicated in the world at the core. Both were never polio victims nor do they have any polio victims either in their immediate families or communities, at least in the last 20 years. Apart from the fact that both are billionaires, they have common willingness to lend a helping hand where it is needed.

Written by Ebuka Macgodson
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Polio Eradication Exercise to Hold in Oraifite

Polio Immuniztion

“It is unacceptable that polio continues to infect our children and cause such suffering in Nigeria.” Sir Emeka Offor

There is no denying the fact that the polio scourge has become a challenge to many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Its effect continues to hunt us because of several reasons that have to do with culture, religion among others. In Nigeria for example, and according to polio Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Nigeria is believed to have one of the most entrenched reservoirs of wild poliovirus in the world. It is the only country with on-going transmission of all three serotypes: wild poliovirus type 1, wild poliovirus type 3, and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2. States in the north of the country are the main source of polio infections elsewhere in Nigeria and in neighbouring countries. In 2009, operational improvements in these northern states led to a 90% decline in cases of wild poliovirus type 1 and a 50% decline in overall cases compared with 2008.

Several efforts in the last couple of years have witnessed a level of reduction in polio cases across the country. Quite recently, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, noted that the Federal Government would partner with leading stakeholders in order to eradicate polio by the end of 2014. This was made known after Nigeria’s impressive performance on polio eradication in 2012 and 2013 provided a clear indicator that the country would end polio transmission at the end of this year. Despite the aggressive drive by the current government to see that polio is eradicated from our society, some individuals have taken up the challenge even more aggressively to fill the vacuum left. One of such individual is Sir Emeka Offor, the founder of The Chrome Group, one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous multinational businesses with subsidiaries operating in oil and gas exploration and production, oil and gas servicing, engineering, insurance, logistics and power industries.

Through the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), efforts are underway in partnership with Rotary Club to kick-off the National Immunization Day in Oraifite, Anambra State on March 1st 2014. The exercise, which is one of the myriads of philanthropic commitments of SEOF, is geared towards global efforts in polio eradication. The founder of SEOF, Sir Emeka Offor has over the years demonstrated compassion to all children, widows and to the welfare of the weak and poor in our society.

In July 2013, to boost the global efforts in polio eradication, he donated a total of $1M of his personal money to Rotary International. Such singular contribution earned him the title of First Polio Ambassador of Nigeria. His philanthropic gestures are not limited to cash donations. Sir Emeka Offor strongly speaks out in favor of polio eradication in Nigeria and the world. He believes that every child should have a “right to health”, esteeming the mantra of noble global humanitarian body like World Health Organization (WHO).

Where we are
Since the global polio eradication initiative began in 1988, WHO has recorded a 99% reduction in number of cases from about 353,000 down to 221 in 2012. The fight for total eradication of polio, particularly in the known 3 endemic regions (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) is in full swing; because no child is safe until polio has been completely eradicated. To add to the benevolent donation of $1M by Sir Emeka Offor, Rotary Club has in the month of February released about $36M towards the fight against Polio.

Where we are going
In February 2012, WHO removed India from the list of polio-endemic countries, making it a momentous medical achievement. This status was possible due to massive financial support, advocacy, relentless research and strong political will. Nigeria can therefore, join the league of polio free nations when we address low routine immunization rates and surveillance gaps in polio free areas, maintain funding and political commitment to implement the eradication strategies.

As a proud Nigerian and the First Polio Ambassador of Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor desires that every child should be immunized to protect against polio virus infection. He is committed to making Nigeria a polio free nation. On Saturday, March 1st 2014, he will be rolling up his sleeves to administer polio vaccine to a number of children gathering at SEOF Complex in Oraifite, Anambra State at 10:30am.

Sir Emeka Offor calls on all Nigerians, entrepreneurs, oil and gas icons, politicians and civil society leaders to join him in stepping up the fight against polio. He calls on all parents regardless of their religious orientation to embrace global efforts on polio eradication, abandon all unscientific and superstitious dogmas and ensure that every child is vaccinated.

In the words of Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization, “As an international community, we have few opportunities to do something that is unquestionably good for every country and every child, in perpetuity.”

Our children have every right to live a normal life and develop in ways that will give them satisfaction to achieve their life long ambitions and ideals. We must all come together to see that polio is not only fought and eradicated but also become a thing of the past in our respective societies and our dear country, Nigeria. We our children this favour and through the SEO Foundation, we can begin to beat our chest to say we have gotten there.

SEOF 2013 Yuletide and New Year 2014 Celebrations

 

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation performed outstanding ceremonies to mark the 2013 Christmas and usher in the New Year (2014).
On the 20th December, 2013, a solemn assembly was organised for all the beneficiaries of the S.E.O.F. programmes viz; Widows’ Cooperatives, Education Services, Health Services and Youth Empowerment Scheme amongst others. The day was devoted to the Almighty God for His benevolence on S.E.O.F. towards successful implementation of all her 2013 activities. A special session was held for the Founder, Sir Emeka C. Offor and family, whose visions continue to expand the operations of S.E.O.F. in different spheres of life. The presiding Man of God at this occasion was Venerable Dr. E. C. Ezumezu. Testimonies were given by some of the S.E.O.F. beneficiaries on the positive things God had done for them since their involvement in S.E.O.F. programmes.
The Day’s ceremony was crowned with the distribution of rice to over two thousand (2000) widows of the S.E.O.F. Widows’ Cooperatives Societies Limited. This rice gift of one (1) bag to every widow served as their Christmas package. They were full of appreciation to the Founder of S.E.O.F., Sir Emeka Offor. 
On the 2nd of January, 2014, the S.E.O.F. Management organised an interactive session of all her beneficiaries with the Founder. This was a very grand day as dignitaries and friends of S.E.O.F. were marvelled on the successes of most of the beneficiaries. Instances were that of our students on S.E.O.F. Scholarship Scheme, graduants of the Skills Acquisition Programme, etc. Special features of the Day were the appreciation visit by the Iheakpu Obollo Community of Udenu L.G.A., Enugu State, whose daughter, Miss Stella Eze was fully sponsored for kidney transplant treatment to India by S.E.O.F. It was a joyous moment for all and sundry as the treatment was successful to the Glory of God.
To crown the Day’s activities, fourteen (14) youths were empowered with brand new motorcycles to assist them in rural transit venture and run ups for their small holding enterprises.

 

Oraifite Youths Association Honours Sir Emeka Offor

 

"Sir Emeka Offor being honoured

The Oraifite Youths Association (O.Y.A) on 29th December, 2013 organised a grand reception in honour of Sir Emeka Offor, the Founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF). Members of O.Y.A stated that the event was "to express the love and position of Oraifite Youths on the life and activities of a man who has in the past 20 years dedicated his life and wealth to the service of his people".
Notable dignitaries like Emeka Wogu - Minister of Labour & Productivity, Igwe Dr. Sir Chinedu Onyekwuluje - Igwe Ezenya 1 of Umunya, Chief Martins Agbaso - former gubernatorial aspirant in Imo state, Chief Eugene Ojukwu - MD/CEO Ekeson Motors Ltd, Frank Ejiofor - Deputy director, State Security Service (SSS), Barr. Okey Muo Aroh - former Idemili North LGA Chairman and a host of others were present at the ceremony.
In an address delivered by the National President of the Association, Mr Chinedu Odumegwu, Oraifite youths acknowledged that many sons and daughters of the community have contributed in building and keeping the people as one but Sir Offor has distinguished himself, by his unparalleled positive programmes. These include the Education, Youth Empowerment, Widows Cooperatives, Health Care Services and Infrastructural Development; which in one way or the other has impacted the life of every Oraifite indigene (home and abroad), the entire Igbo race and beyond. Mr. Odumegwu described Sir Offor as "THE HERO OF HIS PEOPLE". The reception was the best way they could recognize and appreciate Sir Emeka Offor, who has in the past 2 decades carried the burdens of others.
The event was not devoid of entertainment, the Ijele masquerade of HRH Eze Nya 1 of Umunya, Ajo Ofia Irefi masquerade, Egbelu Oba dance group from Ibolo, Adamma Ugochinyere dance group from Amakon, Irefi and many more, added glamour to the reception.
The high point of the day was the presentation of a trophy to Sir Emeka Offor by the Igwe of Umunya on behalf of Oraifite Youths Association, recognizing him as "THE HERO OF HIS PEOPLE". The Oraifite Improvement Union (O.I.U) Onitsha branch also presented a souvenir to Sir Offor.
Sir Offor in his speech thanked the Oraifite Youths Association and the entire Oraifite community for the rare honour. He made a promise to do more by the special grace of God.

 

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