Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor

ABOUT Mr. Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor Muofunanya

This is the story of the man, Obi  Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor (1939 to 2016), in whose memory the IFOMSSA Award was established. He is the father of the OCI Foundation Founder, Dr. Chris Ifediora.

 

His lifetime images in slideshow can be viewed HERE.
His burial video-documentary can be viewed HERE, while a picture slideshow of the same burial is available HERE.

Early life

Mr. Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor (popularly referred to as “I.I.”) was born on November the 11th, 1939 in Amumu Village, Nsugbe, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.

 

In 1950, he started his primary education at St. John the Baptist Catholic Primary School, Nsugbe, but, despite his academic excellence, he was forced to quit school due to the early demise of his parents.

 

In 1951, however, he was taken from Nsugbe to Zaria, in the Kaduna Province of Northern Nigeria, from where he was able to complete his primary education in 1955, passing out with flying colours.

Career

After his Primary School education, he was forced to start fending for himself, as there was no one to help him through secondary education. Luckily for him, he got employed as a Junior Store Clerk in 1957 with John Holt Company Ltd. But his perseverance and brilliance caught the attention of Mr. Church, the then Manager of John Holt Company, who transferred him to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he worked and quickly became successful.

 

Unfortunately, the Northern Nigeria civil uprising of the mid-1960s forced Mr. Ifedoramma to leave his home, friends and property in Northern Nigeria, and to flee for his life in 1966. This was just before the Nigerian Civil War broke out in 1967. As Mr. Okafor would tell on many occasions, his loyalty, peaceful dispositions, and warmth saved him from certain death in the unfortunate killings that pervaded Northern Nigeria in those days.

Always the optimist and a goal-getter, Mr. Ifedioramma took up an appointment with the Ministry of Information and Culture of the East Central State of Nigeria.
Again, his humility and diligent services earned him the recognition of Major General Yakubu Gowon, the then Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria, who promoted him quickly through the ranks to become the Chief Cinema Projectionist, Ministry of Information, East Central State of Nigeria in the early 1970s.

Trade Unionism and Travels

Apart from being an outstanding public servant, Mr. Okafor was also a key member of the Trade Union Congress (Civil Service Technical Workers’ Union) of the Old Anambra State in the 1970s and 1980s, and represented Nigeria in a number of national and international conferences and seminars. Notable among his trips were to conferences in Israel (where he was appointed the head of the small African team at the conference in 1983) and Russia (1985).

He also had brief visits to England and Australia, the latter visit being from 2011 to 2012, when he visited his children and grandchidren.

Community and Family Life

The late Obi Isaac Ifedioramma Okafor is a member of the prestigious Eze Title holders of Nsugbe. The Eze Title holders (equivalent to Nze na Ozo in other parts of Igboland) are only held by principled and distinguished men in the society, and constitute the highest decision-making group of elders in his home town of Nsugbe. His full regalia in Ndi Eze traditional attire can  be seen in the picture.

 

He is known and called Eze Chinyeluaku (A leader whose wealth is from God Almighty) and Ogbuefi Ezeocha (a White Leader, a name he earned due to his very light complexion).

 

Mr. Ifedioramma retired from active service in 1999 as the head of the Film Unit, Ministry of Information and Culture, Anambra State, Nigeria.

 

Mr. I. I. Okafor, as he was popularly called, was married to the Late Mrs. Udemezue Christiana Okafor, who passed away in an unfortunate accident in 1984 (both pictured above). Their marriage was blessed with 5 children, among whom are a Clergy, a Medical Practitioner and a Legal Practitioner. His love for his wife, and his desire to ensure a united and peaceful home for his children made him vow never to remarry, a vow he kept to till his dying day.

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