The Anambra State government has congratulated one of Nigeria’s leading civil and geotechnical engineers, Chris Okoye, on the attainment of 70 years, calling him a blessing to the Anambra people
Okoye, a member of the Anambra State Elders Council, became 70 years on Tuesday, December 21.
“His selfless contributions to the growth of our dear state are not just robust but indelible in the history of Anambra State”, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, said today in a statement in Awka, the state capital.
Though Okoye is not a politician, according to Adinuba, he played a critical role in the formation of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) due to his disenchantment with the main political parties at the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999, namely, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Peoples Party (APP) which, according to him, were not guided by any vision of development.
“He joined forces with other progressive Nigerians to form a development-driven party, hence APGA was born”, the statement said.
It explained: “They were inspired by the examples of Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea which have practically no mineral deposits, but through the development of their human resources have within 30 years risen to the pinnacle of global development.
“Even Dubai, an Arab and Muslim territory, has joined the league of fully developed places, with such nations as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand on the way”.
The commissioner said that Governor Willie Obiano appointed Okoye a member of the Anambra State Vision 2070 Committee on account of his acute development consciousness.
Set up in December, 2019, the Vision 2070 Committee is to develop a strategic plan for the transformation of Anambra State into a fully developed place in the next 50 years.
It is headed by an internationally recognized economist, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a former Central Bank of Nigeria governor who was last November 6 resoundingly elected the Anambra State governor on the APGA platform.
Adinuba expressed the government’s appreciation of Okoye’s key role in the development of both engineering education and practice in the country, recalling how he led the Local Content Committee of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) which helped develop the Nigerian Content Law in the Petroleum industry, creating unprecedented opportunities for indigenous businesses.
He also lauded Okoye’s contributions to the reopening in August, 2020, of Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
Commissioner Adinuba revealed that Okoye worked closely with the Ministry of Aviation to ensure that the airport was rehabilitated and upgraded on time and budget, despite the grave challenges posed by COVID-19.
The Information Commissioner observed how Okoye, as a young engineer in 1978, turned down an offer from a leading American engineering firm, Harding Lawson and Associates of Houston, to head its office in London and convinced it to rather open a Nigerian subsidiary which he managed successfully.
Okoye, a civil and geotechnical graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas, is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Metallurgical Society of Nigeria, and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
“He is truly deserving of these honours”, Adinuba noted.
Meanwhile, Governor Obiano has personally commended Okoye for his deep involvement in the development of his hometown, Enugwu Ukwu, in Njikoka Local Government Area.
In a conversation with Okoye to congratulate him on his 70th birthday, Governor Obiano acknowledged his effective leadership of the community’s development union and his pivotal role in the establishment of the Enugwu Ukwu Microfinance Bank.
Chief Obiano said that successful professionals and enterpreneurs like Okoye inspire generations of Anambra people to always think home and contribute to the development of the grassroots, regardless of their accomplishments in different parts of the world.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.