Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
For his philanthropic gesture and service to humanity, the Chairman/CEO of Ejison Group of Companies, Chief Joseph Ukeji was recently honoured by the traditional ruler of Aguleri, Eze C.N Idigo (Ogalagidi 11) with the cheiftiancy title of Ukpaka na agbalu Ora I of Aguleri.
Eze Idigo while bestowing the title on Chief Ukeji said though a native Oraukwu, his philanthropic work spread across the breath of the state and beyond and has demonstrated it through his actions and dedication to humanitarian service to his dear state.
He said that Chief Ukeji teaches people how to catch fish instead of given them fish saying he has empowered a lot of people in the state and many of them were today doing well in their various businesses.
The monarch said the people of Aguleri love him because of his contribution towards the betterment of their community. He added that love for peace made him to ensure the enthronement of peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationship among his people.
The senator representing Anambra Central district Chief Victor Umeh thanked Aguleri monarch for honouring a gem and silent achiever who doesn’t make noise.
He described Cheif Ukeji as an epitome of humility and true Christian who abides by the biblical admonition of not allowing your left hand to know what your right hand is giving as an offering.
Umeh said: “It is said that when a child is doing well, he or she will be encouraged to keep it up. Chief Joseph Ukeji has done a lot for the betterment of the less privileged in our society and he deserves all the accolades and honours he received as a result of his kind gestures to people.”
The Secretary to Anambra State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu described Chief Ukeji as a great man in his community and the state at large who has helped many people to progress, saying that he deserved to be given a state honour or even national honour due to his contribution to the humanity.
“He is a lover of good governance and that is the reason why he gave Governor Obiano overwhelming support in the last governorship election. He is not a government contractor but supported the governor during the last governorship election because of the good works the governor is doing in the State.”
Chief Uche Ikedigwe, an associate said Chief Ukeji is fondly addressed as Chimalunzu by friends and well-wishers because he has empowered a lot of people in the society.
He said Ukeji is a silent achiever and one of the most successful businessmen in Igbo land who built his business foundation with truth and hard work.
According to Ikedigwe, “he is a reliable man whose words are his bonds. He does not abuse business opportunities rather he utilizes them very well. He is also not a trouble-maker hence the reason why he does not like treading on trouble paths.
“Ukeji as a businessman is always focused on doing the right thing for the progress of his business and he abhors anything that will soil his hard earned reputation. He has made giant strides in the business world. He obviously succeeded in a terrain where many failed because he put God first in everything he does.”
Chief Ukeji commended the people of Aguleri, the traditional ruler and the governor of the state for the honour, which he said would spur him to do more for humanity.
“I didn’t know that people were watching me closely and noticing my little contributions to the growth of the society,” he said.
On how he started in life, Chief Ukeji said he had his business tutelage under Chief Andrew, Ichie Diji I of Oraukwu, his maternal uncle after which he started his own business at Onitsha with N4,000 as a textile merchant.
He said his love for education made him to combine business and educational pursuit.
“We have built a successful business conglomerate in Nigeria popularly known as Ejison Group of Companies. We are into oil and gas, manufacturing and fast moving consumer goods,” he revealed.
His wife, Lady Loretta described him as great achiever who always put the less privileged first in whatever he does and always like to put smile on the faces of those around him and the downtrodden.
She listed the husband’s philanthropist gestures to include Construction of a road at his Oraukwu community in 2004, building a Catholic Church at his Ottah Village in Oraukwu, empowerment of not less than 100 people to start up their own business, among others.
“I can state without mincing words that his heart is overflowing with milk of kindness. If you go to him with problems, you will not go home the same, he will definitely offer you some help or proffer solution that will help you resolve that problem. He is a rare gem that does not joke with hardwork,” she stated.