By Kenneth Jukpor
Despite the COVID-19 scare maritime stakeholders trooped in numbers to celebrate the former Acting Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Chief Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa on her 70th birthday celebration, on Thursday.
Christened ‘Mama 70’ by the Revered Father who delivered the sermon at the celebration, Ezenwa displayed dancing styles and charming looks of a lady in her thirties instead of a septuagenarian.
Although the Reverend had dished out a captivating sermon about the many deeds of Ezenwa and covert good deeds only known by the parish scribes, the toga ‘Mama 70’ wasn’t welcomed by most party guests who argued that Ezenwa’s mum who sat next to her barely looked ‘70’.
The age 70 is seen as special as pointed out by the Reverend who quoted Psalm 90 vs 10 which says “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”
While this shows that it’s seen scripturally for one to have lived long at 70, the Reverend stressed that good deeds and commitment to church growth by people like Ezenwa means that everyone wishes her to celebrate four scores (80 years), five scores (100 years) and more.
Speaking with MMS Plus at the event, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Morbod Group, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi described Ezenwa as brilliant, humble and graceful.
“Ezenwa is brilliant, humble and graceful. You can see the way she comports herself. She is a friend to all, both young and old. She always has something nice to say or do for somebody. You can see the crowd here despite the COVID-19 fears and restrictions. She is one of the superstars we have in the maritime sector, yet she is very humble. She has headed a maritime agency but she remains very humble. Ezenwa is a shining example and role model for the women in the industry.”
“She is a virtuous woman and anyone who listened to the praises by the priests will be convinced about this. Even in retirement, you can see the empire she is building with the Lelook brand which is known everywhere in the world. We are proud of her and that’s why we are here to rejoice with her,” Orakwusi said.
Meanwhile, a former President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Eugene Nweke commended Ezenwa for the valuable advice she provided during the take-off of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“Chief Ezenwa is part of the success story when we talk about CRFFN. At several instances she gave valuable advice at the inaugural stage of CRFFN. She is an astute administrator who has continued to care and give direction to the maritime industry despite her retirement and despite having her private business,” Nweke said.
The veteran freight forwarder also commended Ezenwa for establishing Ocean Serve, a company which avails capacity building programmes for officials of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), NIWA and several private and public organizations.
“Those close to her know that she is also a God-fearing person and after listening to the things she has done without people knowing about it for the good of the church and mankind; she is so many things to several people depending on what point in time you met her. The sure things are that she is jovial, kind, result-driven and we are looking forward to celebrating her again at 80, 90, 100 and more,” he added.
On her part, the President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke described Ezenwa as an iconic lady.
“Her humility, dedication, transparency and doggedness is unparalleled. She is one of the WISTA icons and we cherish her a lot. She always has a listening ear and comes down to relate with people at their various levels. She retired from NIWA but didn’t rest on her oars. She established Lelook which is an international business. Ezenwa is an entrepreneur extraordinaire. Her bags are exported to several countries in Africa, Europe and America and the quality is at par with the very best brands,” Ezeoke said.
The WISTA-Nigeria President also commended Ezenwa on the establishment of her new bag making Academy for girls which is located in Abuja.
Earlier, the celebrant, Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa thanked the guests who trooped out in numbers to celebrate her despite the fears of COVID-19.
According to her, it is a season of celebration even as she noted that she was thankful that she recovered from COVID-19 in December 2020.
Other maritime bigwigs who graced the occasion were; the President of African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA), Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN), Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, President, National Association of Stevedoring Companies, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola, Director, Regulatory Services, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Ms. Ifeoma Ezedinma, Director, among others.