After many years of staying on the side-lines of politics and restricting himself to giving advice and financial support to other people to contest for various offices, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, the Ebonyi-born philanthropist and billionaire, has decided to throw his hat into the ring.
Within the political circles in Ebonyi State and at the national level, Dr. Odii has been active behind the scenes for many years. He had, however, chosen to carry on quietly, mostly concerning himself with encouraging those whom he identified as having the right attitude to go ahead to contest for positions of their choice. Many politicians who had won election into prominent political offices in Ebonyi had actually been sponsored either fully or substantially by the Isuachara-born Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, popularly known as Anyichuks.
On a personal level, he has concentrated on running his chains of businesses as well as establishing a philanthropic foundation to assist as many people in the society as possible. On the two fronts of his businesses and his charity work, Dr. Odii has recorded tremendous progress.
He testified that he has enjoyed tremendous favour from God, as his businesses have recorded consistent growth and success over the years, bringing him to the present point of reckoning in the business world. His business portfolio covers construction, agriculture, aviation services, haulage and logistics, oil and gas services and real estate among others.
Remarkably, while Dr. Odii was growing his business, he did not lose sight of the need to give back to the society that has in various ways supported him to become the business mogul he has become over time. He could not forget to give back to the society. He says that one of his success tips is to “win with people”. According to him, “good people, including family, friends, colleagues and employees have been some of my biggest motivations. I could not have succeeded without them”.
For Dr. Odii, who is the chairman/chief executive officer of Orient Group of Companies, Viamor Healthcare, as well as president of Ultimus Holdings, success in business did not come without a gestation period and numerous initial drawbacks. Hear him, “My life has been a super tale of a man who, like many successful entrepreneurs, failed multiple times at business before success was recorded. I have had my fair share of rejections and disappointments, but one thing I never did was give up. Every time I fell or got knocked down, I found a way to struggle to my feet and every experience I have garnered has helped shape me.”
Interestingly, it is in his charity work and provision of welfare assistance to various segments of society that Anyichuks has found tremendous public acclaim. Having recorded success in his businesses, Dr. Odii and his wife, Mrs. Ebele Chukwuma Odii, in 2004, established a foundation known as Ebele & Anyichuks Foundation, with the primary objective of carrying out philanthropic work in a society where many people need help badly. The foundation did not waste time to begin to touch peoples lives. In 18 years of its existence, the Foundation and its founders have become house hold names in Ebonyi State, even as their activities have extended beyond Ebonyi State.
The mass housing intervention scheme of the foundation is clearly one of its outstanding ambitious philanthropic interventions. Building and giving out houses to individuals selected as qualified for the assistance has been a source of life-changing transformation for the beneficiaries of the houses. During the end of year 2021, the foundation constructed and gave out 130 well designed and solidly executed houses.
A former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Lazarus Ogbee, who represented Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency, expressed tremendous appreciation to Dr. Odii and Ebele & Anyichuks Foundation for the huge assistance to the family of Chinagorom Nweke, an amputee from Ameke in his constituency, as well as other beneficiaries of the mass housing scheme, medical support, scholarship and business empowerment programmes. Chief Ogbee extoled the life-saving assistance of Anyichuks philanthropic work in Ebonyi State, which are unparalleled.
Also speaking on the great impact of Ebele and Anyichuks Foundation’s charity intervention in the state, Barrister Patrick Mbam commended Dr. Odii on behalf of the many families from the Izzi Local Government Area of the state, whose lives have been touched in various ways by his philanthropy. He said the assistance from the foundation has been a source of succour to many people in need.
Having tasted for a long time from the large-heartedness and empathy of Dr.Odii and his foundation, the people of Ebonyi State have been clamouring for more of his involvement in their affairs. For long, too, Dr. Odii has resisted getting involved in direct public office, until recently. He said the call has refused to go away and people have continued to give him reasons to seek major political office that will enable him steer the state to a more welfarist direction.
What has finally contributed in getting him to consider running for public office is the increased division and lack of unity in Ebony State. According to Dr. Odii, it has not always been like that in Ebonyi State. For him, what is needed to lift the state is to bring together the people and to try to remove all things that divide the people of the state through initiating policies that will show no discrimination between one section and another. That, he says, is the way he has carried on in his private affairs. There is no distinction between one Ebonyi man/woman and another based on the location they are coming from. His broad-mindedness has received recognition in the chieftaincy titles and community honours bestowed on him in the state. The last was the title of Odozi Obodo I recently conferred on him by the Ekpelu community of Ikwo Local Government Area. Dr. Odii is also a two-term member of the Governing Council of the Lagos State University, Ojo.
According to Anyichuks, who marked his 45th birthday yesterday, Sunday, April 17, the call by many people for him to contest for governor of the state has become a challenge and he has decided to accept the challenge with an open mind. He has, therefore, openly declared an interest to run for governor. Indeed, only last weekend, he returned his nomination form to the national secretariat of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Although it took him a long time to accept to seek party nomination for governor, Dr. Odii says he will go about the aspiration with decoum and a free spirit. He believes that the numerous people who on their own have been using various forums and opportunities to ask him to run for governor know him and know what he represents. He is coming into the political arena with an expectation that the people know what is in their best interest and their preference will prevail in electing who they want as their next governor.
What makes Dr. Odii’s entry into the governorship race very interesting is that he had sponsored various people to political offices across various political parties. He had not restricted his assistance to people on any political platform. As a result of his broad-mindedness and non-partisan role until now, he has followership and goodwill across all parties and across all the local government areas of the state.
His entry into the governorship contest in Ebonyi State will surely change permutations and alignments in the politics of the state. For Anyichuks, it is surely a great advantage that he does not need to introduce himself to the ordinary people and the elite of the state. The challenge now is for him to reassure the people that political office will not change the philanthropist they used to rely on for various welfare interventions.
According to Dr. (Mrs.) Rosemary Nwakaego Emmanuel, president-general of Ebonyi Market Women Traders Association, Dr. Odii has been a blessing to Ebonyi State and his Ebele & Anyichuks Foundation has touched so many lives that people will always pray for the founder of the foundation.