FOR HIS PHILANTHROPY, HE BAGGED AN AWARD
The proverb: Whatever a man soweth, same shall he reap, has been proved in the life of Chief Bill Chukwu Oteh. He was recently conferred with an honorary doctorate degree.
This honour did not come by accident. Oteh has, over the years, shown love, kindness and selfless service to humanity, not knowing that the eye of God and man were watching.
Born in Item on November 15, 1945, Oteh had a very humble beginning. He had his primary education at Central School, Amokwe Item, from 1953 to 1955 and came out in flying colours. He enrolled into Charles Commercial College, Awka road, Onitsha, in 1959, for his secondary education and graduated in 1963. He distinguished himself in type writing, shorthand and Accounts, even as the senior prefect of that school in that year.
With vast experience in accounting and commerce, Oteh ventured into transportation and real estate development. He also ventured into hospitality and tourism industry and made his brain child, Mankon Guest House, a big success.
In community service, Oteh had become the first chairman of Item Development Union, Umuahia branch and has held a lot of chieftaincy titles, such as Ugwunnaya of Amaokwe, Ikemba Amaba Ukwu, Item, Odiuko na mba of Ibeku. He is not found wanting in the service to the Lord, which is the reason why he trained his children in the ways of the Lord, to the point that one of them is a servant of God.
In recognition of his contributions to the growth of Christianity, he has been awarded certificate of honour by Methodist township church, Umuahia, certificate of honour for dedicated church service by Methodist Church Nigeria, patron of the Youths Fellowship of Methodist Church of Nigeria, elder of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Kingdom Pillar by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Justice of Peace, Abia State, Merit award certificate by the police community relation committee, in recognition of his security consciousness and many more.
Oteh's awards were recently capped with an honorary doctorate degree of Brethren College of Theology (BRECOTH).
Speaking to Saturday Sun on the issue, Oteh expressed happiness for being alive to be rewarded by a community of Christ.
'I am so happy that I am honored. I know actually that life changes from time to time , but I didn't know that this phase of life will come so soon. I am thanking God and as well thanking Professor Okocha, who made this possible. It happen that whatever anyone is doing in this world, both God and man are taking records. I only did a very little thing for them, which I didn't know they would value that much. They now went out to trace my records and discovered that I am worthy to be honored and here am I today being honored by the people of God. To God be the Glory.'
Oteh advised other Nigerians to help fellow human being, without attaching any strings.
'My advice to any one who desires something good is to do good to people, even those you don't know and don't attach any condition to it because it is God that lifts people up. While you are doing this, God is also watching. My message to the younger ones is to focus their interests in God and do what is right. Whatever good somebody does is by the grace of God and God will never forget that person. Let them continue to do good. Even if they are paid back with evil, they should not feel bad about it, rather they should focus their attention to God,' he said.
Telling the story of his life, Oteh said: 'I started life in 1953, after my primary school. After two years, I went to Onitsha to join my father's first son and was enrolled into Sacred Heart Primary School, from where I went to St Charles Commercial College. My father hadn't much money, which was the reason I attended commercial college, after which I went into business.
'It was my desire to attend university, but there was no money. I did not
stop. I continued to do business and combined it with personal studies. That was how I acquired much of my education. I thank God I did that. One remarkable thing that happened in my life was when I came back from Cameroun, in 1966. Then I did not know any place in Eastern Nigeria. And unfortunately the war broke out. The war met me at Onitsha and I joined people and kept moving wherever they were moving, without knowing my destination.
'A time came and I prayed to God to help me as well as sustain me. He did this till after the war, despite the fact that I lost all that I had. In fact, what was left with me was two Biafran pounds when the war ended. It is one experience that I will never forget.'
Oteh said nobody would become anything, except God makes it possible. He therefore advised Nigerians ' to have faith in God.'
On his family, he said: 'I brought up my children in the way of the Lord.
My second son is a pastor. He is a man of God.'