On Friday, February 9th, 2024, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Abraka, dignitaries and respected community members gathered to commemorate the 80th birthday of Sir Dr. Philip O. Itedjere (KSM) and the launch of the Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Scheme by the Itedjere family of Emonu-Orogun, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State. Chaired by Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Chief of Staff to the Immediate Past Deputy Senate President, the event was followed by a reception at the Cooperative Event Centre, Site III Delsu, Abraka.
In his welcome address, Dr. Igbuzor expressed his profound honor in overseeing the celebration, emphasizing the remarkable achievement of reaching 80 years in a country where life expectancy is considerably lower. He lauded Dr. Itedjere’s role as a pioneer within his family, being the first graduate and a devout Christian, as well as his influence as a guiding figure for many. Dr. Igbuzor highlighted Dr. Itedjere’s hospitality, wisdom, and peaceful nature, underscoring the valuable lessons he imparted on family relations and cooperation.
Additionally, the occasion saw heartfelt tributes from individuals such as Prof. Sunny Awhefeada, who described Dr. Itedjere as a mentor and community leader, commending his contributions to education and community development. Mr. Ochuko Wanogho expressed gratitude for Dr. Itedjere’s guidance and leadership, acknowledging his significant impact on their lives.
The reviewer of the book, Professor Sunny Awhefeada said, “The Awhefeadas have a lot in common with the Itedjeres. My grandfather was best friends with Dr. Itedjere’s father. By all standards, I can describe Papa Itedjere as my uncle and also as my father. This book is an inspiring story of the rise from austerity to visibility. The 10-chapter book has 45 pages. Papa Itedjere has attained global visibility through the liberating power of education, from primary school to modern school to teacher training to the university, culminating in obtaining a Ph.D. In Papa Itedjere, we celebrate hard work, sacrifice, integrity, and the placing of his family at the core of humanity. He is a teacher of teachers. It is difficult to rival his record in terms of community development and his rank as a general in the army. I recommend this book to all.”
“Special felicitations for our Octogenarian – Sir Dr. Philip Ogimagbo Itedjere. You’ve been our moral compass, our dependable guide, a knight in shining armor, a true mentor, a servant leader, a community leader, and an academician, an astute administrator of uncanny repute, father to all. We celebrate you, especially today and always. May Christ grant you many more blissful decades ahead. Happy Birthday, Father.”- Sir Ochuko Wanogho.
In an exclusive interview with Oghwoghwa Reporters at his Abraka residence the previous day, Sir Dr. Philip Itedjere shared insight into his motivation for the poverty alleviation scheme and his secret of longevity, “By tomorrow, I will be 80. I have decided to launch this welfare and poverty alleviation scheme. This is not the first time; I launched it in 2009 when I retired, but the program crashed in 2014. Since then, it has been weighing on my heart how to revive it, and this is a golden opportunity for me to do so. I was not involved in the operation of the first phase, but this time around, I am going to be fully involved in the operation so that it will not die before my death. I do exercise and watch what I take in.”
The event also featured the launch of a commemorative book celebrating Dr. Itedjere’s life and achievements, with contributions from esteemed individuals such as Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Prof. Sunny Awhefeada, and Prof. Andy Egwunyenga, among others. Generous donations were made towards the scheme’s endeavors by various supporters, showcasing the community’s commitment to positive change and social welfare.
The following individuals launched the book with varying sums of money: Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Prof. Andy Egwunyenga, Prof. Sunny Awhefeada, Dr. Ojumah, Prof. Eruotor, Sir Smith Ogoben, HRM Olarewaju, Prof. Awhefeada, Dr. F. Money, Prof. Temi Akporuno, Dr. Edeki Akporugo, Chief Hon. Henry Itedjere, Prince Ezekiel Oberhirhi, Mr. Wilfred Oliseneku, PG Emonu, Amb. Fidelis Onakpoma, Mr. Smith, Mr. Amos, Mr. Efetobor Innocent, Hon. Austin Oghenenyerhovwo, Mr. Christopher Denedo and many others.
As the celebrations concluded, attendees were reminded to emulate the exemplary qualities embodied by Dr. Itedjere and to continue supporting initiatives aimed at uplifting the less privileged. The event served as a poignant tribute to a man whose legacy of compassion, leadership, and service will continue to inspire generations to come.