It was a night of elegance, enterprise and entertainment as Chike Okoli Foundation held its 15th Annual Heart & Soul Gala. The event was held at Kairos Hub, Lekki, Lagos on Sunday with the theme, “Rays of Hope, New Visions of Tomorrow” to celebrate the legacy of late Chike Edward Okoli. The 2021 edition of the event, which was held to mark the 16th year remembrance of the passage of Chike Edward Okoli and the 15th anniversary of the Foundation brought together thousands of families and friends who attended virtually.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Foundation, Dr. Stella Okoli, while thanking God for the grace to ensure that the short life of Chike Okoli is turned to an enduring legacy said; ” the event is about celebrating a Nigerian youth and a good example of an enterprising Nigerian.”
According to her; for the past fifteen years, Chike Okoli Foundation has been promoting a legacy of touching lives and building entrepreneurs. She further said; “the focus at Chike Okoli Foundation includes ensuing that every young Nigerian is 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 or her to set up and manage a profitable business of his or her choice. At the Chike Okoli Foundation, our aim is that every Nigerian youth shall be lifted in this great nation as a healthy individual to assist the nation to take the place it rightfully belongs.”
In the same vein, a Board member of the Foundation, Chief. Mrs Taiwo Taiwo said “It is over fifteen years that we lost a brilliant and enterprising youngster, but to the glory of God the legacy of the young man is renewed by the efforts of the Foundation through its commitment to raise young and healthy people as accomplished entrepreneurs.”
Meanwhile, it should be noted that since inception, Chike Okoli Foundation has successfully held programmes for youths and entrepreneurs in collaboration with leading corporate institutions in Nigeria. These programmes have enhanced the lives of over 12 million Nigerians especially youths. The Foundation has also reached over 10,000 aspiring entrepreneurs through its Brainchild, Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) situated at the main campus of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State. In turn, many of Chike Okoli Foundation’s beneficiaries have continued to spread the message of healthy living in their environments, while most graduates of COCES have initiated various small and medium scale projects.
In this regard, the Heart & Soul Gala is an annual fundraising event organized by the Foundation, aimed at raising awareness about the foundation’s core projects, as well as soliciting support for the sustainability of COF’s vision. The Foundation has published 24 booklets and five posters on healthy living. These materials are distributed freely at designated hospitals, Clinics, Banks and pharmacies.
Congratulating the Foundation at the event, the wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun said the Foundation had gone a long way to resourcefully lift Nigerian youths and educate the people through its initiatives. She said, ” the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) situated at the main campus of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State is a big testimony to what the foundation has done to help the Nigerian youths and its publications and communication materials have provided millions of Nigerians relevant information on how to live an healthy and prosperous live.”
Remarkably, the event which was anchored by the elegant Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi featured a night of entertainment, enterprise, and art where some highpoints of the events included great and electrifying performances by music stars, such as delectable Yinka Davis, Soloist Preye, Alternate Band, Gospel Force Band among others. A special rendition on the activities of the Foundation for the past fifteen years was also done by a veteran Nollywood actor, Francis Nwuche as well as a live painting auction in support of the
Foundation by a Nigerian paint artist, Ice Nweke.
The event also witnessed a health talk on common tips for keeping heart healthy by Dr. Ramon Moronkola, a Consultant Cardiologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, (LASUTH), Ikeja and a special session on entrepreneurship by an American based entrepreneur, Mr. Chika Nwobi.
The Chike Okoli Foundation (COF) is a non-profit organization established in May 2006, in memory of the young and vibrant Chike Edward Okoli, who passed away due to an undetected coronary artery disease, five days after his 25th birthday. A budding entrepreneur, Chike was until his death, the Founder/Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Carden Energy Services Ltd, an indigenous Oil Services Company in Lagos, Nigeria.