Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor

ABOUT Mr. Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor Muofunanya

Ifedioramma Okafor 1Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor (1939 to 2016)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.

Ifedioramma Okafor with fellow pupils at Nsugbe, 1950
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.

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.

Ifedioramma Okafor: Kaduna, Nigeria (early 1960s)Ifedioramma Okafor (Mid 1970s)Ifedioramma isaac Okafor (1990s)

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.
Ifedioramma Okafor, with the then Nigeria's Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Just after the Nigerian Civil War; Early 1970s)Ifedioramma Okafor, with the then Nigeria's Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Just after the Nigerian Civil War; Early 1970s)Ifedioramma Okafor (Just after joining the Civil Service; 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).

Comrade Ifedioramma with Comrade John Okolonta (the then President of the Trade Union); Mid 1980sComrade Ifedioramma with colleagues; 1970s

Ifedioramma Okafor in Jerusalem, Israel (1983)Ifedioramma Okafor in Moscow, Russia (1985)Ifedioramma Okafor presenting in a seminar (Russia, 1986)Ifedioramma Okafor (England, 1980s)

He also had brief visits to England and Australia, the latter visit being from 2011 to 2012, when he visited his children and grandchidren.
Ifedioramma Okafor (Sydney, Australia, 2012)Ifedioramma Okafor with son (Dr. Chris Ifediora), granddaughter and sister (Gold Coast, Australia, 2011)Ifedioramma Okafor with daughter, Ifeyinwa Maryann (Sydney, Australia, 2012)

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.

Mr. Ifedioramma Okafor (1939 - 2016) and wife, Lady Udemezue Okafor (1952 - 1984); Early 1980sIfedioramma Okafor in full Ifedioramma Okafor with wife at the baptism of first son, Chinedu Chiatula (1970s)

Educational and other Legacies
His belief that Education is the key to a successful life saw him, against all odds, single-handedly train all his children to university levels, despite the fact that the at the time his wife passed away, the oldest was still in Primary School.

He would always tell his children that they can become successful and rich with “the pen” as their only weapon. He believed that he would have a lot more successful had he been opportuned to get through his Senior School Education, and he vowed that none of his children would ever face such a similar fate. He went to great extents, made great sacrifices, and denied himself lots of things to actualize his dreams for his children and others in the larger family. 

His dreams came to fruition, as all his five children became went on to earn university degrees, including a medical practitioner and a legal practitioner.
Apart from his educational commitments, Mr. Ifedioramma Isaac Okafor will also be remembered for his penchant for peaceful co-existence, respect for elders, and hard work. He would always say: “respect takes nothing away, but adds more”.  He called his family house in Nigeria, the Shalom House.

The Ifedioramma Okafor Memorial Senior School Academic Awards (IFOMSSA Awards):

In perpetuation of the lessons learnt from his father, Mr.
Ifedioramma’s his second son, an Australian-based medical practitioner, Dr. Chris Onyebuchi Ifediora, was working to help ensure that his community is not left out in educational benefits, having seen how education transformed his own life. He was already working on a project to actualize this, and had set up the OCI Foundation to pursue this aim along with others.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ifedioramma passed away suddenly on July 10th 2016, before his son’s plans could be put into actions. In appreciation to the legacies of his father, Dr. Chris Ifediora and the rest of the Ifedioramma Family decided to sustain their father’s legacy by naming the award in his memory.

He was given a befitting burial and a resounding farewell by his grateful children, and a video documentary of this can be seen HERE, while pictures of these in slideshow are available HERE(Both videos can be seen below):

A video slideshow of his lifetime pictures can be seen HERE  (or on the link below):

This is the story of the IFOMSSA Awards, which, with time, is expected to reach out to as many people as possible, not just in Anambra State of Nigeria, but the entire Nigerian Nation. aThe very first of such awards was presented to the recipients in an event held on Thursday, the 9th day of March 2017. For more on this, along with audio-visual images of the events, please click HERE.