Enrolls five underprivileged children from 55 African countries including Liberia, in honor of his 55th birthday this year.
The Executive Governor of Imo State and founding president of the Rochas Foundation College for Africa, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, has welcomed several dignitaries to the formal opening of his foundation.
A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria said the President of Ghana, Nana Afuko-Addo, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President of Nigeria, Chief Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Isah Mustapha-Agwai and the Governors of Oyo, Niger, Kebbi and Awka Ibom States graced the all-day activity in the Imo State capital last Friday.
The Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh, represented President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Also, several other ambassadors accredited to Abuja from the Republics of Guinea, Ethiopia and Ghana were present at the event, the dispatch added.
During a visit to the newly built, modern headquarters of the Rochas Foundation College, Governor Okorocha and his beneficiary students gave an outstanding welcome to their guests. Among the dozens of students are five Liberian children who arrived there a few days ago to benefit from the free education at the Foundation.
“I have invited you all here to show what we are doing with the African children,” Governor Okorocha said, prior to taking his guests on a guided tour of the new facilities.
Former President Obasanjo, who chairs the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, offered a few words of counsel to the children.
“You are the African leaders of tomorrow. Take every advantage of this free education. Rochas and I have agreed that we will have 5 children from each of the 55 African countries every year,” he added.
Governor Okorocha, under a special project styled ‘55-5-55’, is taking five underprivileged children from 55 African countries in honor of his 55th birthday. The Imo State Governor turned 55 on September 22.
A joint graduation program of the Rochas Foundation Colleges across Nigeria climaxed the day.
The event took place at the Imo International Convention Center in Owerri where over 3,000 students from five Nigerian states completed high school, according to the dispatch.
Governor Okorocha spoke about his passion for education and his plan to make free education available for all children: “I won’t live forever. When I die, I want the beneficiaries of my free education to keep the candle burning.” he said during the program.
Former President Obasanjo was full of praise for the Governor: “Okorocha has never stopped to surprise me. He is a man of vision and ideas. He is a thinking man. And when he explained to me his ideas about education, what he has done, I was marveled. I doff my hat to you, Okorocha.”
He continued, “And with what I have seen today, I have no regret at all to accept his offer for me to be part of this wonderful program and wonderful development agenda to our country and for our continent.”
The President of Ghana, Nana Akuffo Ado, serving as the guest of honor, said Governor Okorocha is a gift to humanity for his dedication to providing a good education for children: “I am President of Ghana today because of education.
The three-day festivities ended on Saturday with a book launch and the maiden edition of the Imo State Merits award.
A book titled, ‘Rochas Revealed’, was unveiled at a well-attended event before the Governor and his guests proceeded for the Merit Awards.
Governor Okorocha conferred on President Akuffo-Ado of Ghana, and former Nigerian Vice President, Chief Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme the highest awards, Grand Chancellor of Imo State, in accordance with Law 18 of the state. The colorful ceremony took place at the Ikemba Ojukwu Center.