01 Jan 2022 Goodwill Message: Video and Text from the OCI Foundation’s President (01/01/2022)
TEXT OF THE GOODWILL MESSAGE FROM THE OCI FOUNDATION (JAN 2022)
Happy 2022, everyone. This year, the OCI Foundation promises exciting initiatives for Nigerians and the world at large, as we join the fight against Mkpuru Mmiri (or Methamphetamine or “Ice”) drug addiction that has ravaged parts of Nigeria in the year-gone, 2021. This year, through our ever-expanding national and international collaborations, our innovative, game-changing, and technology-driven health initiative, is set to reach millions of Nigerian youths, at no costs to them. This year, our existing half a dozen scholarships, will be expanded to benefit many more Nigerians.
Ladies and gentlemen, spare your next 20 minutes, and enjoy this exciting “2022 Goodwill message” from the warm stables of the OCI Foundation. This speech has now become an annual ritual, delivered on the new year day of every year, with no exception since we came into existence in 2016/2017. This speech sets the tone on what Nigerians and the world at large, will expect from the OCI Foundation within the 12 months of 2022.
Ladies and gentlemen, the next 20 minutes may be the most informative and life-saving for Nigerians this year, as we summarise what we have done, what we are doing, and what we intend to do, at the OCI Foundation.
I am Assoc. Prof. Chris Ifediora, the President and Founder of the Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora (OCI) Foundation.
As most of our associates already know, the OCI Foundation is an international (Nigerian-Australian) NGO established in 2016 to serve Nigerians through a tripod of well-tailored activities that are centred on the Advancement of Health, the Promotion of Education and the Promotion of Public and Social Welfare.
The year 2021 has been a great year for us. We cemented a number of our partnerships in Nigeria, including those with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Sweet Home Africa Humanitarian Foundation, the National Orientation Agency, the Innoson Group, and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. We also established new partnerships, like the ones with the Nigerian Presidency, the Nigerian Cancer Society, the First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC), the Federal Ministries of Health, Education and the FCT, as well as the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and traditional rulers across Nigeria, including those in Nnewi (Anambra State) and Abuja (the FCT). We also reached out to the governments of Lagos State, Plateau State and Ebonyi State, among others.
As we have said repeatedly, Ladies and gentlemen, at the OCI Foundation, we do not just dream. We make our dreams happen. We are pleased to say that, in 2021, we lived most of our dreams. While we have the courage to consolidate on, or modify our existing dreams, we also have the flexibility and audacity to discard unviable dreams. Now, we invite you all, to join us in re-living the dreams we executed in 2021, and how we expect them to play out in 2022.
Our signature program is the Arm Our Youths (ArOY) Health Campaign, which is a first-of-its-kind, evidence-based initiative that is endorsed by the Harvard Medical School and the WHO Country Office in Nigeria, among other national and international organisations. It primarily seeks to introduce anti-breast and anti-cervical cancer programs into the NYSCs orientation activities across Nigeria. On this, we have made giant strides, having successfully completed a one-day seminar for NYSC staff delegates from all of Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT. Come February 3, 2022, the program will be flagged off at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria, in a ceremony that is expected to attract the very top members from the Nigerian Presidency and the National Assembly, plus, at least four Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, half a dozen serving Governors, about 10 first ladies. Also expected are top business executives, distinguished members of the academia and celebrated Nollywood stars, as well as the OCI Foundation’s associates from Australia, Sweden, Canada, and the United States of America.
The ArOY Health Campaign also aims to include preventive breast and cervical cancer teachings into the academic curriculum of all senior secondary schools in Nigeria’s 36 states (and FCT). This is a project which we are currently working on, with Nigerian First Ladies (at the state levels), and NERDC (at the national level). Already fully functional in Anambra State, the OCI Foundation is firmly committed to completing a nationwide roll out of the ArOY Health Campaign, before the end of 2025.
For those who may not know, the ArOY Campaign is much more than the activities with the NYSC and the Nigerian secondary schools. It also has two additional components. One is the CerviBreast Mobile Phone Application, an innovative and interactive anti-cancer App, that is freely available on the Google and Android play stores. If you have not already done so, please pause this video now, and download it. It is useful to everyone of adult age, be you male or female. It is a life-saver, which, apart from being configured to give regular reminders on breast and cervical cancer screening, can also help every Nigerian locate breast or cervical cancer service providers that are close to his/her location, anywhere in Nigeria. If you are a service provider, ensure that your service is listed on the CerviBreast App. This is for free. Just go to our website and search for the “CerviBreast Subscription Questionnaire”, complete the form, and submit. You will be listed, for free.
The final component of the ArOY Health Campaign is the Gynocular Project, which the OCI Foundation has introduced to facilitate free and/or highly-subsidized digital cervical cancer screenings for Nigerians. We have completed trainings for the OCI Foundation staff, and are set to extend trainings to include our partners. In 2022, we intend to establish 2 pilot screening centres. The first will be in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and is being delivered in partnership with the Primary Health Care Board of Nigeria’s FCT. Negotiations are now completed, and the centre will be commissioned on Tuesday, February the 1st, 2022. The second pilot centre will be in Anambra State. Talks are already ongoing for this centre, and a date for the commissioning will be publicized in due course. In addition to these pilot centres, every geo-political zone in Nigeria will get at least once centre, and decisions on these will be finalised in the coming months. Ultimately, in the years to come, we intend to have a Gynocular Centre in every State of Nigeria. We need your prayers and support, to make these happen.
Combined, the 4 afore-mentioned components of the ArOY Health Campaign provide novel, sustainable, cost-effective and wide-reaching ways of boosting anti-cancer services to Nigerians. The OCI Foundation conceived them, designed them, is championing them, and will deliver on them with the help of our partners and associates, first to Nigerians, and then also to the developing world at large.
In addition to the ArOY Health Campaign, we also had a few other activities on Health in 2021. On February 4th, we featured in the World Cancer Day in Makurdi, Benue State, while in August, we were in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with other stakeholders for the Women’s National Conference. We also introduced the “ArOY Health Campaign Schools Challenge”, a quiz contest designed to enhance engagement with the ArOY Health Campaign among senior secondary schools in Anambra State, Nigeria. The state-wide quiz challenge is currently being staged in conjunction with the Post Primary Schools Service Commission (PPSSC) of Anambra State. Already the zonal contests have been completed for all SIX Zones of the PPSSC. These zones include Aguata, Awka, Nnewi, Ogidi, Onitsha, and Otuocha zones. Two winners from each zone have emerged, and all 12 will compete during the Grand Finale, which will hold on the World Cancer Day, February the 4th, of 2022, in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, Nigeria. The timing of this event, which will now be a yearly activity, is strategic for this reason. As the ArOY Health Campaign spreads across all of Nigeria’s 36 states, this Schools’ Quiz Challenge will spread with it, until it becomes a regular part of school activities in every single Nigerian State. There will then be a regional contest across the 6 zones, followed by a national competition. As stated, the idea is to ensure that Nigerian youths get engaged with the life-saving principles encapsulated in OCI Foundation’s ArOY Health Campaign.
The OCI Foundation offers SIX different sets of scholarships. These scholarships are designed to sponsor brilliant but financially disadvantaged students, starting from junior and senior secondary schools, through to the completion of their tertiary studies. Five of these annual scholarships are unique, given that they are all inter-linked. They include the Ifedioramma Okafor Memorial Secondary School Academic (IFOMMSA) Awards. Both the Junior and Senior IFOMSSA awards were named after my beloved father, Obi Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor, who was an academic champion in his lifetime. The JAMB Awards, our 3rd scholarship scheme, allows beneficiaries to enrol for the University Matriculation Examinations (UME) and gain entry into Nigerian tertiary institutions, while the Cyfed Undergraduate Scholarships and the Cyfed-Bradley Hope Scholarships, both exist for eligible Nigerian undergraduates. The latter was introduced to honour the memory of a late Australian teenager, Bradley Hope, whose father, Troy, now partners with the OCI Foundation to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians. The sixth scholarship, called the Literary Award for Medical Students (LAMS), was introduced in 2020. In 2021, LAMS became available to all medical schools in Nigeria, with the aim being to improve the literary skills of Nigerian doctors-in-training.
Ladies and gentlemen, these scholarships are already having the desired impacts, having so far benefitted hundreds of Nigerians, with a number of eligible students gaining admissions into reputable Nigerian institutions through them. A few of the beneficiaries, we are pleased to say, have also graduated from different institutions.
In 2022, these schemes will continue, with the IFOMSSA selection exams and the subsequent awards ceremony, taking place between January and March. On its part, the Cyfed Scholarships’ applications and the subsequent interviews, will commence from February 22, 2022.
In addition to these scholarships, the OCI Foundation’s educational activities included the President’s speeches to various groups, including medical students across Nigeria (NiMSA) and Africa (FAMSA), global youth bodies, and other private bodies. There will be more talks to more bodies in 2022. Reach us, if you want a speech to your group.
PUBLIC AND SOCIAL WELFARE:
This final leg of the OCI Foundation’s activity tripod roared fully into life in 2021. We continued to sponsor a soccer outfit in Nsugbe, the hometown of the OCI Foundation’s President, and commenced the Empowerment Project, which sees beneficiaries trained in various skills acquisition programs. The first batch from the Empowerment Program graduated in October 2021. The program is bound to expand in 2022, with our eyes set on the Mkpuru Mmiri (Methamphetamine or “Ice”) drug addiction saga ravaging the Southeast of Nigeria.
The OCI Foundation also visited camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Abuja and Benue, as well as a Motherless Babies’ Home in Anambra, all in Nigeria. Alongside these, we condoled with our bereaved associates, and celebrated with those that of us, that got married.
As part of our commitment to the promotion of social activities, the OCI Foundation’s President participated in the programs of his alumni group, the Harvard Club of Australia, who are graduates of the prestigious Harvard University in the USA. He joined them in a guided tour of the Queensland’s State Parliament Complex, as well as the annual Thanksgiving Dinner in Brisbane, Australia.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS:
We are pleased to say that our impact on Nigerians have not gone unnoticed. In the past 18 months, we have received at least 20 awards from national and international institutions. Some of these include:
- An “Eminent Peace Ambassador” conferment from the International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA), a global NGO affiliated with the United Nations Global Compact.
- An “Outstanding NGO Health Convener” award by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
- A “Global Youth Humanitarian Award for Excellence” by the Global Youth Leaders Network (GYLeN).
- “The 2021 Humanitarian of the Year” at the “5th African Giant Awards.
- An “Award of Humanitarian Excellence” from the “Centre for Disability and Special Needs Research (CENDASNER)”.
- An “Award of Recognition” from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Students Association.
- An “Award of Honour” from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
- The “Humanitarian Service Award” by the Edo Legacy Foundation and the Bravins Magazine.
- A “Selfless Humanitarian Service to Humanity“, from the Global Youth Leaders Network (GYLeN).
- An “Award for Excellence in Humanitarian Service” by the Forum of Independent Media Practitioners of Nigeria (FIMPN).
- An “Outstanding Entrepreneur Person of Repute” by the Merit Time International of Nigeria.
- The “Unity Award of Excellence” by the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), Nigeria.
- “Best Humanitarian of the Year “, by the Jotex Confectioneries.
- A “Merit Award for Excellence” from the Luster Beam Entertainments
- The “Humanitarian Man of the Year Award” by the Fame Empire Awards.
- The “Most Innovative Humanitarian Service Provider in Benue State“, by the Ayatutu Family.
- Also in 2021, we received appreciation letters from the Nigerian Medical Students Association (NiMSA), and its subsidiary, the Auwal Shanano Foundation.
- Earlier, in 2020, we also received recognitions from Rotary International, the Nigerian Bar Association, Caverra World and the King David School of Creative and Performing Arts’.
- Towards the end of Year 2020, the OCI Foundation’s President was listed among the 6 passionate humanitarian leaders in Nigeria for 2020, by the Sweet Home Magazine.
- An exciting cap to all the awards, was that, in July 2021, the OCI Foundation officially became an AFFILIATE of the “International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA)“, a global NGO with ties to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact.
While the OCI Foundation’s activities are not designed or implemented simply to receive these recognitions, awards, and accolades, we do appreciate the honour from them. We remain open to receiving more, and will welcome them from reputable organizations, if they wish to recognize us. This, in our view, is how “We rise by lifting others”.
Ladies and gentlemen, kindly permit me to put it on record that the now-popular phrase, “We rise by lifting others”, was coined by the OCI Foundation’s President, Associate Professor Chris Ifediora, back in 2016, when the OCI Foundation was established. We know that it is now being popularised, given its usage by some Nigerian celebrities and politicians. Like everything from the OCI Foundation, we are happy to freely share this phrase with all and sundry. We also invite you all to live the phrase, not just to say it. We invite you all, as well, to partner with the OCI Foundation on our other projects, not just on these words. We are happy to share our other dreams too. As we do these, however, no one should forget the origins of the phrase. No one should forget that it is an intellectual creation of the OCI Foundation’s President. No one should forget that it has been on the OCI Foundation’s logo, publications, and correspondences, since 2016. Before 2016, that phrase was not in existence anywhere in the world. Not in that combination, at least. It was designed to match the lifting hand on our logo, which was crafted by a handsomely paid graphics designer, hired by the OCI Foundation on the Gold Coast, Australia. It was coined to reflect the underlying principles that inspired the establishment of the OCI Foundation ab initio. We have a copyright documentation to these claims. Any online content, with citations to anyone else, or supposed quotations from centuries ago, is questionable. As we said before, no one, directly or indirectly, has heard of that phrase, anywhere in the world, before 2016. We say these without equivocation. We say these with no fear. And we say these, with all due respect to everyone.
In closing this speech, Ladies and Gentlemen, we wish you all God’s continued blessings in this new year. Thank you all for listening to this message. We urge you all to, please, share it among your friends and associates, and in all your social media networks. By doing this, you would have all partnered with the OCI Foundation, as WE RISE, BY LIFTING OTHERS. Thank you.