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NPM President’s Awards For Patriotism

A few distinguished Nsukka personalities recently received the NPM President's Award for Patriotism. Below are excerpts from their citations...


Hyacinth Ugwu Ezema's citation


Mr Ambrose Okoyeuzu's citation


Citation on Mr. Hyacinth Ugwu Ezema

Some people are born with silver spoons in their mouths, others hold onto wooden spoons, yet others are not lucky to be born with any spoon at all. Yet even with no spoon in their mouths at birth, some people propelled by their antecedents, rise to the top by dint of hard work, perseverance, discipline, focus and enterprise. Such is the story of the life of this man, our distinguished awardee for Patriotism.


Born on 5th December 1936 to the humble family of Mr and Mrs Ezema, he hails from Ozi, Edem in Nsukka LGA of Enugu State. The apple of his parents’ eyes, he grew up in Edem Nsukka, Iwollo and Lagos. His love for education as he grew up as a child knew no bound. He attended Louredes Training College Iwollo and Wosley Tuition House between 1956 and 1962 where he obtained his Teachers Grade 2 Certificate as well as his GCE “O” and “A” levels respectively. Thereafter from 1963 to 1966 he studied Business Administration at University of Lagos, Lagos Nigeria graduating with an Honorary Bachelor’s degree in 1966. He also qualified as a chartered stockbroker in 1997. He is married with children. As a young man of those good old days, he started work as a teacher from 1960 – 1963 when he played his part in helping to mould the characters of the young ones.


Like most people in the then Eastern Nigeria, his career march was temporarily suspended by the civil war during the period 1967-1970 when the battle to stay alive was of more significance than the drive for a life career. Upon cessation of hostilities in 1970, he commenced work in Afribank as an Officer Trainee rising through the ranks to the positions of Branch Accountant in 1971, Aba Branch Manager in 1975, Benin Area Manager in 1981 and Area Manager North and later North East in 1982. He was promoted to the positions of AGM Foreign Operations in 1984, SAGM Branches network in 1986 and Deputy General Manager Corporate and Lagos in 1988. He was subsequently elevated to become the General Manager Corporate and Lagos Branches in 1991. His is a story of one success after another as he left his footprint anywhere he went prompting his fast and unimpeded promotion in one of the major and most successful banks in Nigeria.


This awardee is widely traveled and has attended many international (and local) seminars and workshops in Zurich Switzerland, India and Liberia in banking, agricultural credit and strategic planning in course of his work. Notwithstanding the catalogue of his achievements, he could not suppress the desire for independence and entrepreneurship, which started burning in him as he was to establish Dependable Finance Ltd in April 1991 and became its 1st Managing Director. In the same vein and consequent upon the success story of Dependable Finance, he established Dependable Securities Ltd in 1996 and became its 1st Managing Director. These two (2) financial institutions quickly made their marks in the financial sector drawing from his vast experience and expertise as an astute banker and administrator built over the years in the industry. In course of his years, he has made a mark as a true patriot recognising the need to serve the people and humanity rooted in a strong Christian upbringing. With all the bank failures in Nigeria in the recent past and the roles played by the executives, our man has been extolled severally for his part in keeping the financial system healthy, demonstrated in a number of ways. During his time, he led the strategic planning team of the Afribank Branches Operation, which put the bank as the most profitable bank in the country at the time. A pioneer of many sorts, he pioneered rural banking programme, a policy he initiated in 1978 and from which Nsukka and its people hugely benefited. He put Afribank Aba Branch on a permanent profit footing in 1975 and followed up with the East and North East Area Branches, which were put on sound profitability within 6 months of his assignment. He reorganised the foreign operations Department of Afribank and cleared the backlog of bills for collection outstanding with the CBN amounting to hundreds of millions of Naira in those days. He has published a book “Treasury Management” in 1994 while “Practice and Finance of International Trade” is currently awaiting publication. These achievements no doubt as well as the recognition was because this awardee as a true patriot exhibited the sterling qualities of honesty, transparency, hard work and focused on excellence for the benefit of the larger society and to the glory of Nsukka, his main constituency.


On several occasions, he has sponsored a number of Nsukka people on a number of projects not because he benefited directly or indirectly in any way but only because those people are engaged in projects that will bring honour and pride to Nsukka. A champion of Nsukka development, he is believed to be directly or indirectly responsible for attracting the many banks and other financial institutions developed in Nsukka which has not only provided a front for the financial and economic base of the people but has also provided employment for the people. A confirmed philanthropist, he is a member of the Rotary Club and has attended many international conventions eg in San Francisco and Chicago in 1977 and 1980 and uses any such opportunity to join forces with other renowned philanthropists in other parts of the world to give practical expression to philanthropic programmes. In his philosophy that charity begins at home, he has also pioneered many philanthropic endeavours for Nsukka in his belief and support for the good people of Nsukka. Mr. President, the Award Committee has appraised and recommended the award of Patriotism to a man whose achievements in industry and enterprise speak louder than our voices can, a man who genuinely contributes to improvement of the larger society in a wholly patriotic way, a man who believes that Nsukka needs to be better in every respect, a man who draws inspiration from his antecedents to help create a place where we all can be proud of, a man who is a glowing example to the youths of Nsukka, Enugu State and Nigeria, yet this man is still so humane and humble in every respect – a reminder of the quintessential and sterling qualities which God has endowed an average Nsukka man and for which we shall all encourage our youths to fully imbibe. Mr President I present to you a recipient of the 2004 NPM President’s Award for Patriotism, Mr. Hyacinth Ugwu Ezema.




Citation on Mr Ambrose Okoyeuzu

This awardee, our man, is a popular and household name in Nsukka. Most people have heard of him, heard of his good works, yet he neither grew up in Nsukka nor is he an Nsukka man, but remains a household name. He is one of those who will pass for any other gentleman on the street, the so-called common man, but indeed he is a lot more than the image of a very humble, gentle and soft-spoken man that you conjure up in your mind at your first encounter.


He is a man greatly influenced by the orthodox belief that things should be done properly and riches should be acquired not as an end in itself but a means to an end. He is an epitome of honesty, integrity, hard work, discipline, focus and enterprise. Born on 30th September 1942 to the humble family of Mr. and Mrs. Okoyeuzu, he hails from Nimo in Njikoka LGA of Anambra State. He grew up in Nimo, Alor all in Anambra State, Kaduna and Nsukka where he currently lives with his family. He attended St. Bonaventures School Nimo and St John’s Secondary School Alor between 1953 and 1963 for his primary and secondary education where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate and West African School Certificates respectively. Thereafter from 1963 to 1965 he attended the Airforce Tactical and Training School Erding, West Germany where he obtained the German Airforce Certificate on Store Management and Logistics in 1965. As a young man, his first real work was as a soldier when at 23 he became Officer Commanding Technical Supply Squad, Nigerian Air Force, Kaduna Airbase a position he held till 1968. He thereafter moved to private enterprise and became a dealer with Esso Standard Nig Ltd/Unipetrol Ltd in 1971, and subsequently Ocean and Ocean (OandO) Ltd from 2004. It was his operation as a petroleum products dealer from 1971 that he came to become popular in Nsukka.


His popularity stemmed from the fact that in the dark days of scarcity of petroleum products when people sold the products at exorbitant prices, he maintained his sales at the official approved pump prices to the envy of his competitors and the admiration of his customers. He has served in a number of Organisations some of which include membership of caretaker Committee UNN staff school (1991 – 2000), Membership of the Board of Governors Shanahan Hospital Nsukka (1996 – 2002) and membership of St. Theresa’s Catholic Development Committee Nsukka (1998 – 2002). He has been Chairman of a number of other Organisations some of which include St. Mary’s Nursey/Primary School Nsukka (1996 – 2001), Building Committee University Of Nigeria Nsukka Staff School (1996 – 2000), PTA Building Committee UNN Secondary School (1996 – 2000), St. Theresa’s Station Council (1990 – 1993) and St Theresa’s Station Catholic men Organisation (2000 – 2003). In his various interactions, he has always stood out as a good example and a study in transparency, honesty, patriotism, credibility, fairplay and social justice. For these qualities, he has bagged many awards from the appreciative public. Some of his key awards include Merit Award for Best Manager Esso Standard Ltd (1973), Merit Award Rotary Club of Nsukka District 912 (1985), Merit Award Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) (1988), Merit Award Rotary International Rotaract Club District 9145 (1993), Merit Award Nsukka Catholic Diocesan Laity Council for contributions to the Development and progress of the catholic church and philanthropism (1993).


Other merit awards include 40th Anniversary Celebration University Of Nigeria Nsukka for distinguished community service (2001), Unipetrol Nig Ltd for outstanding dealership performance and St Paul’s Cathedral Nsukka for service to society. This awardee has a long list of awards, which demonstrate how he is appreciated in the larger society by different Organisations for his works to the generality of the people. In 2004 alone, he has received 2 earlier awards by Christian Trumpet Newspaper and Nsukka Zonal Citizens Abuja. It is widely evident that our awardee has made a mark as a true patriot demonstrated in his love to serve the people and humanity, rooted in a strong belief that wealth alone is not an end in itself. With all the opportunities to become very rich through profiteering in the petroleum marketing business and all the glamour that would await him, he has chosen a lifestyle of moderation preferring rather to keep only the lawful margin due to his efforts and demonstrate his love for people and society in a very practical way. It is noteworthy that this demonstration is visited on the people of Nsukka who essentially were the beneficiaries of his largesse. He is indeed a principled man and perhaps the only petroleum marketer in Nsukka metropolis that sells petroleum products at the Government-approved pump prices. In an era of erratic and inconsistent supply of petroleum products, this man reduced substantially the pains and agonies of people looking for products.


A philanthropist, his integrity and sense of social order, justice and fair play is undoubtedly one that evokes admiration and envy. Yet he remains a very simple man and understands human feelings in a special way in a manner to underscore the point that honesty is still the best policy. Mr President, the Award Committee has appraised and recommended the award of Patriotism to a man whose honesty and integrity is an eloquent testimony of a true patriot, a man who genuinely contributes to improvement of the larger society in a wholly patriotic way, a man who believes that all people deserve to be treated in a just and fair manner without taking advantage of the weaknesses in our system, a man who believes that it is possible to create a just society and goes further to demonstrate this by example, a man who is a glowing example to the youths of Nsukka, Enugu State and Nigeria, yet this man is still so humane and humble in every respect – a reminder of the quintessential and sterling qualities which God has endowed our people and for which we shall all encourage our youths to fully imbibe. Mr President I present to you a recipient of the 2004 NPM President’s Award for Patriotism, Mr Ambrose Okoyeuzu.



This site was last updated Saturday February 11, 2006 16:06 -0000