Chief (Dr) Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu, CFR, MFR, KSC, is a Nigerian that hardly needs an introduction. He is a colossus, not just in size, but in heart and in business; a humanitarian per-excellence, a renowned philanthropist, a detribalized Nigerian patriot, a family man and an elder statesman, who by dint of hard work, honesty and unalloyed faith in God, has attained an enviable height as a successful role model.
On Sunday, June 4, 2017, the 74-year-old Atta, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State born entrepreneur was honoured with Zik Prize for Humanitarian Service in an event that had in attendance the crème de la creme of the country’s business and political spheres, including former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; billionaire business man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Ebonyi State Governor, Engr Dave Umahi; Jim Ovia; Ahmed Joda, Senator Sam Anyanwu and many more. And there is a reason many say it is an award well deserved.
As far back as 1985, Iwuanyanwu had built, furnished and handed over a world class blood transfusion centre to the government of his home state, Imo. And perhaps, nothing explains his philosophy of life better than the speech he gave on Monday 11th November, 1985, the day he formally handed over the facility to the state government.
“I believe in the Supreme Being. He is omnipotent, omnipresent. He is all loving and all wise. He is the Almighty God. I believe that the highest fulfillment, the greatest happiness and the widest usefulness of the individual can only be realized in harmony with the divine will of the Almighty God.
“I believe in the supreme worth of the individual, in his right to life and liberty and pursuit of happiness. I believe in the sacredness of human life and human right. I believe that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation and every possession a duty.
“I believe in dignity of labour whether with the head or with the hand. I believe that the good God in his infinite mercy has bestowed mankind with sundry gifts and whatever gift bestowed on any man is given to him by the good Lord in sacred trust and man should use such gifts to promote love, happiness and peace among the people of all races and creed.
“I believe that the world owes no man a living but owes every man an opportunity to make a living. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world and it can overcome hate, greed and rancor. I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and the greatest happiness and peace of the human soul can be attained in rendering such services.
“I believe that truth, justice and equity are fundamental pre-requisites to an enduring social order and that right can and will always triumph over might. I believe in the sacredness of promise, that man’s word should be as good as a bond, that character not wealth or power or possession is of supreme worth.
“I believe that prudence is essential to well ordered living and that economy is a pre-requisite of a sound financial structure whether in government, business or personal affairs. And finally, I believe that law is made for man and not man for law and that government is the servant of the people and not the master and no individual can be greater than the society in which he lives.”
1985 is a long time ago, but looking back through the years, it is obvious that Iwuanyanwu never departed from this philosophy. He is a man who has dedicated his life to loving God, empowering youths, but most importantly, serving humanity as attested to by no other than Senator Sam Anyanwu, Chairman Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
“Chief, Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu OON, MFR, CFR is a man of many parts who believes in human development especially the youths. An uncommon philanthropist and political icon of our time that always believe in the unity of this country, even after participating actively in the Biafra war. A true Christian and good family man,” he told BusinessHallmark.
Indeed, Iwuanyanwu is a man who has many admirers. Those who have come in contact with Dr Felix Oragwu, Nigeria’s first nuclear physicist and a prominent member of the team of scientists that produced “Ogbunigwe” during the Biafra war knows that he is a man who is hard to impress, but sitting in his home in Lagos, the octogenarian who was Iwuanyanwu’s lecturer in UNN had only but kind words for the Imo politician.
“He was my student,” Oragwu said of Iwuanyanwu. “For a long time, I didn’t even remember, but he remembered. When I launched my book, he remembered, he sent a cash donation. I was impressed.”
Chief Iwuanyanwu is a meticulous and articulate investor who has established twenty-two business outfits within and outside Nigeria, spanning various industries including Construction, Insurance, Agriculture, Sports, Newspaper, Airline and Shipping. He was the Promoter of Iwuanyanwu National Football Club, (now Heartland FC), a club he bought over as Spartan FC from the state government.
Upon his graduation from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1971, shortly after the civil war, Iwuanyanwu worked with Hardel and Enic Construction Company. After working for a few years, he acquired the company from its foreign operators and developed the company into a conglomerate, including Secure Electronic Technology Plc. He is a registered engineer, a member of the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria; a Fellow of Nigeria Society of Engineers, fellow Institute of Civil Engineers, Fellow Institute of Science & Technology, Fellow Solar Energy Society of Nigeria and many more.
But he is not just member of these professional bodies for formality sake; he has made tremendous impact in the engineering field. In Hydraulic Engineering he designed an Ocean Berge with composite section of empty oil drums which was able to carry a pile driver used for constructing pile foundation in deep sea. This Berge was able to stand the static load and the dynamic load of the pile driver.
“He built the Enugu Airport as a young Civil Engineer. During that period he carried out experiments on flexible pavements and produced a flexible pavement made of asphaltic concrete based on Asho Standard. This was approved by the Federal Ministry of Works and thereafter was conventionally used. Before that most flexible pavements were constructed with Macadam based on BS Standard.
“He took part in the design and production of the first rocket missiles produced in Nigeria which carried war head up-to 8 miles. The rockets and war head were made completely from local materials.
“He also has carried out a lot of study and production of various explosive armaments. He introduced a new bridge design which eliminated pile foundations and hand rail, an example of this is the Azaraegbelu Bridge in Owerri-Umuahia road. Before the present design and construction which was done by Engr. Dr. E. C. Iwuanyanwu, the Arazaraegbelu bridge was a scene of many fatal accidents where many lives were lost.”
In the field of politics, he has been a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he has stuck with, and has pledged to stick with through thick and thin. Presently, he is a member of the PDP Board of Trustees. For some years, he flew the flag of Ndigbo as a frontline presidential aspirant of Igbo extraction.
He has served as Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo State Creation Committee, Chairman Ohanaeze Ndigbo Planning and Strategy Committee, Chairman Ohaneze Political Committee, Board Chairman Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Board Chairman Nigerian Investment Promotion, Founding Chairman Raw Materials Research and Development Council of Nigeria, Chairman National Productivity Merit Award, Chairman Nigerian Sports Development Council, Founding Chairman Nigerian National Lottery, Chairman National Orthopedic Hospital Igbobi, Lagos and presently Pro-Chancellor University of Calabar.
Iwuanyanwu is a member of numerous prestigious institutions and a recipient of numerous National Honours and titles, including Member Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR), Officer Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR), Commander Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR) and many others.
He is the “Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo,” an award conferred on him by Chairmen of Traditional Rulers representing Ndigbo in the seven states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Imo and Rivers states. He is the Balogun Babaguwa of Ibadan Land, an honour bestowed on him by Olubadan of Ibadan Land. The Obong of Calabar had equally honoured him with the title of Eburutu of Effik Kingdom.
He has been honoured by the Women of Nigeria through the National Council of Women Society, and is a Grand Patron of African Students Union who in appreciation of his contributions has placed his name in its Hall of Fame in Adis-Ababa. He was also honoured by the African Youths Parliament with Nelson Mandela Leadership Award for the year 2016.
In the field of education, Iwuanyanwu easily one of the best educated Nigerians. His qualifications include: B.Sc Hons Civil Engineering University of Nigeria Nsukka; D.Sc. Engineering Morgan State University Baltimore, Maryland, USA; L.Ld (Hon) Shaw University Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; DBA Hon University of Nigeria Nsukka; D.Sc Hon University of Jos; D.Sc Hon University of Calabar; D.Tech Federal University of Technology Owerri; DBA Hon Edo State University and D.Sc (Hon) Engineering, Imo State University.
Iwuanyanwu is a dedicated family man. On August 28, 2011, tragedy struck. His wife of more than 40 years, Lady Eudora Nnenna Ozinyereaku Iwuanyanwu, with whom he had three sons and five daughters died, aged 63. She was described as “a critical success factor for her husband.”
Announcing her death, Chief Iwuanyanwu said: “As a Patron of Cancer Society, she had recently expressed great concern over the large number of deaths due to prostate cancer and all other kinds of cancer. At a recent family meeting, she convinced me to build and donate to Nigeria Ten (10) Cancer Screening and Treatment Centres, one in each of the Six Geo-Political Zones, and one in each of the 5 South-Eastern States. This was scheduled to be announced on the 4th of September, 2011. She died a week before.”
After two years of mourning, in 2013, he took a new wife, Frances Chinonyerem Enwerem with whom he lives happily with along with his older children.