A voice for polio eradication in Nigeria

Sir Emeka Offor likes to describe himself simply: He is the son of a policeman, born in the small town of Kafanchan, Nigeria. It is a way of reminding himself of his humble origins. Sir Emeka – who worked his way up to become executive vice chair of the Chrome Group, a multibillion-dollar oil and gas conglomerate, and who founded the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, whose mission is to create economic opportunities in Nigeria’s poor communities – prefers to let his work and philanthropy speak for him. And with his most recent gift of $1 million to PolioPlus, Sir Emeka adds another achievement to his story: He is Africa’s single largest donor to Rotary.

“My dad had to make many sacrifices,” says Sir Emeka, a member of the Rotary Club of Awka G.R.A. “I decided I must support the underprivileged in society – the people who are not able to afford three square meals, or the people who can’t go to school.”

The effects of polio are still evident in Sir Emeka's community: Nigeria is one of three remaining polio-endemic countries, and although it has made strides, the work of eradication has been challenging.

“At times the progress is slow,” Sir Emeka says. “But it is my deepest hope that we can inspire all Nigerians to work together to bring about the final, permanent, and irreversible eradication of polio.”

Read Why Polio? The story behind Rotary’s determination to end a cruel disease 

Adapted from a story in the January 2014 issue of The Rotarian