UTAH, Eze Stephen Odizuru

Date of Birth: November 1924 State of Origin: Abia Local Government Area: Umuahia North Village/Town: Umuegwu Okpuala Afugiri HRH Eze Stephen Odizuru Utah is a respected Royal Father in Igbo land and a man who has through humble services to his people and the entire nation won the hearts of many. He is highly honoured by peopleand respected as an embodiment ol" honesty and justice. He vvas born to Mazi Utah Echebiri in November 1924. Became a teacher between 1945 and 1950. the voung Odizuru gained admission to the Okongwu Memorial Grammar School Nnewi only to have his elder brother and sponsor Mazi Timothy Ihemenandu Utah die four months after. This event was both devastating, disappointing and brought an abrupt end to the educational pursuit ofthe young Odizuru. The gauntlet was picked up by his uncle Dr M.I. Okpara and his wife, andthe young boycontinued his secondary school education. Education • Okongwu Memorial Grammar School Nnewi 1951. Expelled with some other students for leading arevolt against an obnoxious school rule. Took Cambridge School Cert and G.C EO-Level from outside. Work Experience • Employed by Eastern Nigeria Government 1954 1961 • Business Manager, Nigerian National Press Ltd 1961 1963 • Administrative Manager, Port Harcourt Sunray Flour Mills jointly owned by Eastern Nigerian Government and an Italian Industrialist ; Messers Materresa SPA of Rome, Italy, on transfer of service, 1963 • Became the General Managerin 1967whenthe Italians left the country on account ofthe war. • Moved to Lagos between 1972 1976 • Administrative Manager of a Russian Automobile Company involved in importation of all brands of Russian Vehicles. • Executive Director^ and share holder) Three Brothers Maritime Company Ltd 1976.The company was supplying mooring boats and service boats to GulfOil Company at Escravos. • Retired to a less strenuous business 1982 Courses attended • Many management andtraining courses during the33 years of working life. • These courses took him to different parts of Europe and Asia Community Efforts and Services • Has devoted a lot of time and expertise to the improvement of his Ohuhu Community • Grappled with the problem of helping to provide jobs for the young school leavers from Ohuhu in the early and mid 1960s. He used his connections and knowledge to look for openings forjobsand employment foryoung people from hiscommunity. • Provided education and vocational training for the young people in Ohuhu • Attheendofthe Civil War, Eze Utah shifted hisbaseto Lagos andacted asa shore of hope to shipwrecked sailors. Hisdoggedness offinding employment tomany people reminds one ofwhat Winston Churchill once said to Rosevelt inthe American House ofCommons ....' Itmust be said that had he not acted when he did in the wayhe did... a hideous fate might well have overwhelmed mankind and made its whole future centuries, sinkintoshame and ruin". Hefound succour to theteeming youths of Ohuhu people in Lagos. Heprovided hope forthem by finding most ofthem gainful employment. • He believes he has a commitment to serve his people always. • An embodiment of Peace and unity in the community. • Served as Secretary of Ohuhu Union in Enugu, as well as the Founding Father of Enugu Forum for Afugiri people. Awards and Honours • In hisactivities and vitality in both public and private lives, Eze Odizuru cherished and held good name and integrity to his credit. Neither position nor wealth, not power has ever been his preferred portion, but living and let others live, sharing and bringing hope to the needy, sometimes to his own detriment. • Precisely he detests double standard, general treachery of lies. These evil qualities distanced him from organisations and institutions that operate them no matter how high or low. • He has been openly and strongly opposed tooppression oftheless privileged, abhors exploitation and cheating in all their ramifications. • For his generation, good leadership qualities and sense ofdirection, he was made achief ONURUBE NWANNE 1ofOKAIGU NKWOEGBU by HRH Late Eze Ikechi Nwadinobi, Uga I ofNkwoegwu Autonomous Community • At a time when other communities were at each other's throat to slash over Eze Titles, Eze Odizuru was unanimously nominated by his people to be EZE and EgwuUkwu 1 of Egwu-UkuAfugiri AutonomousCommunity. • Formally presented with the Staffof Office bytheGovernor ofAbia State, onJuly 10,h 2002 HRH Eze Stephen Odizuru Utah was first married to Mrs Keziah Utah (nee Ekeledo), a school teacher, in 1962 and had three children with her. She joined the Lord in 1975.May her soul rest in peace. Years later, he married Mrs Susan Utah (nee Okafor) a School teacher aswell and now Principal ofSari Iganmu Junior Secondary School, Iganmu Lagos. This second marriage is blessed with three children too. This distinguished Peace Maker, Public Orator, astute Administrator, a crusader for Social Justice isan Icon ofHope and Progress.
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