Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe


Barely weeks away from now, Sir Emeka Offor, Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, a businessman turned Philanthropist takes a team of Nigerian Paralympians to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, in Buckinghamshire, England, the venue for the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS) Junior Games.

The 2014 Junior Games will mark the 10th year feature of the IWAS since its inception in 2005. With over 250 registered athletes from 25 different countries including Nigeria, and seven distinct areas of competition (Archery, Athletics, Powerlifting, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Fencing), the 2014 Under 23 Game is expected to draw the largest attendees, a statement credited to the IWAS organizing committee.

Nigerian Paralympians, David Ombugudu, a Table Tennis player and Emmanuel Godwin, a weightlifter, both under 23 Gold Medalist and polio survivors will have a chance of a lifetime to compete at the World Junior Games, courtesy of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation. Addressing a group of Nigerian Paralympians from People With Disability, an NGO based in Abuja during their visit to claim a sponsorship check at the Corporate Headquarter of Chrome Group, Sir Offor said, “Our Foundation is interested in supporting good projects especially when it has to do with polio survivors and disabled people. We’ll do whatever we can to help you because your success will encourage other survivors to develop confidence in themselves and come to the understanding that there is the ability in disability.”

“The fight against Polio starts with vaccines but the real challenge is in supporting those already affected by Polio. We want to let Polio Survivors know they are not alone or forgotten. We are here to help them through their daily struggles," Rosaline Agiamoh, Polio Ambassador Representative stated. When asked about other philanthropic areas of interest for Sir Offor, she said, “ The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is becoming more robust in its project scope and will announce a number of new programs in the months ahead. What I can say is that we are currently focusing our efforts on health, education, and empowerment.

Disability has been described in the past, as “any restriction or lack (resulting from any impairment) of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”-WHO. While that definition is traditionally accurate, the paradigm has shifted from its narrow concept of physical impairment to an expansive concept of functionality and capacity. It is not just about Mr. A. with traditional disability but also about all people. In the adoption of a new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) system, it weighs performance against capacity. If capacity becomes greater than the performance, then removing barriers or obstacles as well as identifying facilitators must be employed to address that gap.

In Nigeria, like most developing countries, people with disability often face a lot of challenges including discrimination. In most situations, particularly with polio-associated disability, victims are often hindered from social integration because of superstition. But through the instruments of United Nations, the stories of people with disability, (like Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu, National President of Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria) are turning a new page and their rights are being affirmed (their fundamental freedom and the guarantee of full enjoyment without discrimination), albeit at a snail pace when compared to other developed countries in the world.

Ambassador Sir Emeka Offor, a leading voice to END POLIO NOW in the world has donated over $3.1M to Rotary International for efforts geared towards polio eradication. Now, he demonstrates his willingness to support those who have been afflicted by Poliovirus in Nigeria. In his appreciation speech, Mr. Monday Emoghavwe– weight lifter & President Paralympic Committee of Nigeria, said “I thank Sir Emeka Offor Foundation for championing the cause of making people living with disability happy. Since I joined the Paralympic Committee, I have not seen or heard of any philanthropist or organization supporting persons with disability the way you are." He hopes that other businessmen could join in the effort of empowering the disabled. Engr. Onwuamaegbu followed by saying, “In supporting us, Sir Emeka Offor has become one of the leading independent supporters of People With Disability (PWD) in Nigeria.