The Abuja branch of the University of Nigeria on Friday honored one of its own and the Director of Communications of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Isaac Okorafor, with an ‘Award of Excellence’ for his distinguished representation of the ideals of the University in his career.
The institution, famously known as University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), was founded in 1960.
The award ceremony, which held at the brand new office of the alumni association in Wuse II, Abuja, had in attendance other distinguished alumni of the university, including the Director of International Organisations, in the Presidency, Mrs. Stella Maduka.
There were also former Nigeria Police Force spokesman, Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu; former Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Alobi, as well as Mr. Sam Okogbue and Mr. Osita Nwanisiobi, both of the CBN, among others.
In his address, president of the Abuja branch of the alumni association, Comrade Uche Obasi, hailed Okorafor for living up to the motto of the university – ‘To Restore the Dignity of Man’ – and for identifying with the alumni association.
He said the award recipient had also lived up to the strength and courage associated with the Lion, which is the logo of the University of Nigeria.
Obasi explained that the choice of Okorafor for the award was made after meticulous consideration and robust debate by a panel of elders of the association.
He disclosed that a careful study of Okorafor’s career progression, achievements and character was done, so the award was meritoriously earned by the recipient.
According to Obasi: “I have never met Isaac Okorafor before until today, but you will agree that he is highly recommended.
“Our standard is high, and Isaac Okorafor represents it. He has persevered to become the Director of Communications of the apex bank in Nigeria.; and people who have worked with him have testified that he merits the several awards that have come to him.
In his acceptance speech, Okorafor profusely thanked the association for the recognition and expressed pride that he had worked with two CBN Governors – Chukwuma Soludo and Godwin Emefiele; and a Deputy CBN Governor, Tunde Lemo, who were also alumni of the University of Nigeria.
He confessed that the award came to him as a surprise; but now realised that he needed to do more for the alumni association. All the same, he expressed eternal gratitude to the University of Nigeria for “making me a man”.
He further canvassed for all-round support to resuscitate and improve the infrastructure and academic excellence at the University of Nigeria.
The 60 year-old Okoroafor, who retires from CBN next week, graduated from the department of Economics of the University of Nigeria in 1984, started a career in journalism as a reporter with New Agenda newspaper in 1990.
He later edited the Business Concord newspaper in 1997, and Business Day newspaper in 2001. Okorafor joined the CBN in 2004 as media assistant to the CBN Governor, a position from which he rose to become the Director of Communications.