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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Chima Onyekwere: Father of Nigerian internet eyes Senate

Although unassuming, Chima Uzoma Onyekwere, OON, has a lot of caps that fits him and in fact facilitated and participated in most organizational enterprise; he dares where others refuse to set a foot. From technology pioneering to core business, Chima Onyekwere cannot be missed in the midst of industry players.

Elder (Chief) Chima Uzoma Onyekwere, hails from Amachara in Umuahia South Local Government of Abia State and was born in 1961 in London. He obtained a degree from University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University. A Masters in Information Technology- Information Assurance from University of Maryland University College (UMUC) in United States. A post graduate professional management education for Chief Executives from Lagos Business School Lagos State and Harvard Business School, Boston USA.

He started his working career in Mobil in the Exploration Department. But driven by his quest to explore the emerging opportunities in the nascent Information Technology industry he established and ran SAAP-Tech Nigeria Limited in 1986. 

As a born innovator, Chima as fondly called by close allies, championed the internet revolution in Nigeria by establishing the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) company Linkserve Limited, which earned him the sobriquet “Father of Nigerian Internet” by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as cited during his conferment in 2008 as the Officer of the Order of Niger (OON). He also received the Pathfinder Award in ICT, ICT personality of the year, Titan of Technology and so many other industry awards over a 30-year career.

He has also funded other companies such as, Well Drill Limited and Parkhill Limited which has provided employment and stability to lots of Nigerians from across the Nigerian landscape. 

In 2007, he was nominated for the conferment of a National Award by the Presidency for his pioneering work in ICT. On February 14th 2008, then President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Musa Yar’Adua honoured Chief Onyekwere with the prestigious ‘Officer of the Order of Niger (OON).’

Chima has served and is still serving Nigeria in so many high-profile capacities such as the chairman Internet eXchange Point of Nigeria and chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA). Even as a pioneer board member of FATE Foundation; a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded by Fola Adeola, Chief Onyekwere was involved in the development of entrepreneurs focusing on younger generation, as well as a former President-General of his elite school Federal Government College Kano Old Students Association.

Chief Onyekwere moved back to Amachara, Umuahia in 2011, to continue engagement in community development from his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos. A move that saw him experience, first hand, the poor level of all developmental milestones in the lives of our people. Haunted by the observance of lack of basic infrastructure, frightening figures of unemployment, lack of primary skill sets, abysmal education and rampaging hunger amongst his people, Chima chose to cast his lot in service to the people at the most primary level by accepting the honor of community service to his village, Amachara as President-General (PG), a position he has held for 5 years running and which has served as a platform for better understanding the most needful requirements of his people.

With his team, Onyekwere resolved several nagging communal disputes: land, commerce, agricultural practices and other major matters of interest. He championed the now acclaimed Amachara Day which is in its 5th year and waxing stronger, and currently stands as an annual unification event for Amachara citizens in Nigeria and the diaspora and also a veritable tool for community development.

In alliance with other community leaders, Chief Onyekwere started a daily free clinic for children and the elderly, located and optimally functional within the precincts of the Amachara community Civic center; caring for society's most vulnerable population. He went on to partner and endowed several empowerment programmes, where skill set acquisition is key, taking to heart the Chinese adage that says "it is better to teach a man to catch fish than to give him fish".

He also assisted in acquisition of tools and machinery for trainees and various others to enable them have a head start, just as he helped several young and aspiring business men through funding and logistics, in addition to engaged others to help with business incubation requisites, and provided scholarship schemes to the indigent and financial succor to the widows.

ITRealms gathered reliably, that it was in the course of his role as community leader that he suffered gunshot attacks as a result of his resolve to defend the oppressed, but was never deterred on a course he was determined to pursue in the service of humanity.

Chief Onyekwere is an active member of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), a political party deeply rooted in the South-East and Abia State particularly, whereas serving as the Deputy State Chairman of the party.

An ordained Elder and a Qualified Lay Preacher in Methodist Church, Chief Onyekwere is presently serving as the church Steward for English Service at the St Stephen Cathedral Amachara in Umuahia South LGA of Abia State.

Chima Onyekwere was on December 26th 2017, within the hallowed grounds of Ama-Ukwu, Amachara, conferred with the traditional chieftaincy title of Iyi Udo Amachara (River of Peace), by Amachara Elders Council, for his sterling qualities of remarkable leadership. This is the first time ever of such a conferment with all the elders in the community endorsing. His citation acknowledged his love for peace, leadership competency and ability to draw development and transformation to his community.

ITRealms also gathered that Iyi Udo Amachara is an amazing family man, husband and father to five accomplished now independent children one of whom is Nigeria's representative in shot-put and discuss. He's a celebrated business man, a role model, a proven community servant and leader, an outstanding trailblazer whose skills, courage, depth, vision and reach are needful for these times.

Today, May 19, as you mark another divine year of service to humanity; a desire you wish to take to the Nigerian Senate towards bringing the required reform into the public service and stimulating entrepreneurship in the country. We join other lovers of positive change to say may this love for public service be a stepping stone of good omen that you offers.

Happy birthday Iyi Udo, Chima Onyekwere and may the stream from river of peace continue to flourish as the Iyi-Udo 2019 project kicks-off.

Remmy Nweke/GEE

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

1 comment:

Dr. Kenneth Okereafor said...

Happy birthday Chief Onyekwere