It was a night of elegance and entertainment as Chike Okoli Foundation hosted the crème la crème of the society in its annual Heart and Soul Gala at the prestigious Lagos City Hall on the night of Friday, 1st of July 2017.
The Chike Okoli Foundation, established in furtherance of the ideals of Chike Edward Okoli who died five days after his 25th birthday on May 31, 2005 from undetected coronary artery disease who was until his death the Founder and managing Director of Carden Energy Services Limited, an Oil Servicing Company in Lagos, Nigeria is envisioned that every young Nigerian will be fully aware of the causes of cardiovascular diseases and equipped with entrepreneurial skills to support the building of a healthy and prosperous nation.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Board of Directors of Chike OKoli Foundation, Dr. Stella Okoli, OON, said the foundation has never derailed from the purpose which it was established.
“The purpose of the foundation has remained constant over the years; this is by using all proper and culturally acceptable media to draw attention to Cardio-Vascular Diseases, working closely with various youth development organisations and institutions. And also, by publication and distribution of health information materials on cardiovascular diseases for public enlightenment.” She stated.
According to her; the focus at the foundation includes ensuring that every young Nigerian will be fully knowledgeable about the dangers of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs), and the available preventive measures and treatment options, as well as adequately equipping every young Nigerian with entrepreneurial skills to enable him/her to set up and manage a profitable business of his/her choice.
“This is our own poverty reduction strategy to complement the efforts being made by the Governments at different levels.” She said.
In this regards, this noble agenda made the foundation to establish the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, COCES in 2011. The Centre, located at Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State, has been training young Nigerians in the skills and art of entrepreneurship.
“This is borne out of our belief that the way to abolish unemployment is to train our youths to be self-employed. This will have multiplier effect on growing the economy and promoting prosperity among our people.” Okoli declared.
Meanwhile, the Heart and Soul Gala, is an annual event by the foundation to reflect on its activities, celebrate the short but eventful life of Chike Obi as well as raise funds to continue to support the principle and ideals which he lived for.
Present at this year’s event, is the 11th in the series are notable Nigerians and eminent personalities, which include the wives of the governors of Lagos and Ondo States, Mrs Bolanle Ambode and Mrs Anyanwu Akeredolu respectively, former Minister of Finance, Idika Kalu, Chairman Associated Bus Company, PLC, Frank Nneji, Senior Special Assistance to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Princess Joke Orelope-Adefulire among others.
Commending the foundation for its efforts, the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Bolanle Ambode said it has touched the lives of the Nigerian in many positive ways.
“Eleven years on and Chike Obi Foundation has touched more than 10 million lives through various social intervention programmes. Even more remarkable is the impact of its training and vocational establishment, the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES).” Ambode said.
One of the main highlight of the event was the presentation of the winner of Chike Okoli Prize for Entrepreneurship Award Adosiobi Joseph Ugochukwu, a 400 level student of Nnamdi Azikwe University Akwa.