Bro. Chris Omusi
My life guiding principle: Be absolutely loyal to the LORD GOD of all creations and treat others the way you would like others to treat you and your loved ones.
I am an engineer by profession and was registered by the Engineers Registration Board of the British Council of Engineering Institutions. Courtesy of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in association with the Federal Government of Nigeria, I underwent a strategic and intensive post-graduate diploma programme in Industrial Management.
The purpose was to prepare me maximally to help with the drive of the country’s planned massive industrialization in the1980s. At that time,Nigeria had incredibly huge potentials to be come one of the foremost industrialized countries in the world with enormous potentials to make it well ahead of such countries like China and Brazil. I knew . I did the research. In addition, the United Nations and the Western world were very eager to give Nigeria their maximum support. In fact, they had begun to do so.I was so very enthusiastic about the whole idea. I was one of the few Nigerian officials on the frontline to pilot the actualisation of the industrialization plan.
But, very sadly, the Nigerian high and mighty of that era frustrated me. They side-lined me and, with inducements, they bought over some of those who tried with me to emphasise uncompromising zero-tolerance for corruption in the whole process. Today, the rest is history, sad history. (If the foundations are broken… Psalms 11:3). chose to forgo my practice as an engineer and opted for full-time humanitarian services as my chosen vocation-touching lives a bit more directly, which is where I derive more inner satisfaction.
In 1992, I was elected a fellow of world renowned Ashoka: Innovators For the Public in recognition of some world-class innovative ideas which, through ChariLove in1990, I brought into social work.
Before ChariLove, the practice of training and rehabilitation of persons living with disability was generally by sharp dichotomy every where. For example, it was generally centres solely for the blind, centres solely for the deaf, centres solely for the physically challenged, e.t.c. One of the ideas I came up with through ChariLove was the bringing of persons of diverse disabilities TOGETHER under a common umbrella, for training, rehabilitation and development purposes. I have always loved the idea of INCLUSIVENESS even in aloneness. It was my practical way of tapping into THE BEAUTY OF THE MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP of all of nature.
It was the ChariLove’s new all-inclusive concept, I believe, that gave rise to present day inclusive schools and the formation of various” joint associations.” Viewing the spirit of the Rotary 4-Way Test as one of the good tools we could promote and use to help address the Nigerian moral problem, I developed interest in the Rotary Club and initiated the formation of the Rotary Club of Benin King’s Square and was subsequently elected the Charter President.
We the founding members agreed that modest ChariLove Centre would be the club’s permanent meeting venue. We then set about putting our resources together and generating ideas that soon began to make the club unique and attractive.
The ultimate hope was that we would be able, in the best interest of Nigeria, to make the club into a role-model club that would serve as a light house for other social service clubs in Nigeria and beyond. A few years later, to my dismay ,the club was infiltrated, hijacked and distorted by some folks. I pray the club will regain the initial idea and vision.
I had robust opportunities to make real money and accumulate properties and thus, be celebrated in Nigeria if that was ever my ambition. But, because that is clearly not my ambition,I refuse to join the Nigerian insane rat-race for vanities-money and position.
(See more in my”Reflection on My Opportunities”).
I worked in Shell-BP, later Shell as a technical staff, and with the federal government of Nigeria where I headed one of its strategic Industrial Development Centres (IDC) or some while, before proceeding to the USA as a trainee Catholic missionary.I was almost overwhelmed with uncommon opportunities and wooing to stay and establish myself in the USA. The temptation was disturbing.
But, following my retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Centre in Wernersville, Pennsylvania,I yielded to a compelling inner voice or call to return to Nigeria to contribute my best with the prayers and hope to help build a Nigeria and Africa that would be as humane, as developed, and as beautiful and lovely as Europe and America, if not better with all the potentials.
ChariLove Foundation (aka Project ChariLove), even though incredibly unappreciated and stunted by Nigerians and the Nigeria’s horrible operating environment ,remains my expression of that inner call, response and commitment.
If ChariLove Foundation (aka Project ChariLove) had been” born and raised” outside Nigeria, with the quality of ideas behind it, and with the amount of passionate effort and commitment we so faithfully applied all these years,I am very convinced that ChariLove would today have become a globally celebrated Non-governmental organization. All the same, I will keep doing my best. I am celibate.
My down-to-earth simple lifestyle is totally my personal choice.It has entailed the giving of virtually not only all that I have, but all that I am as well to thank GOD for all the effort. I feel frustrated with the situation in Nigeria today.I think it’s because I seem to have an obsession for a better Nigeria,a better Africa,and a better humanity. May GOD, to Whom be all the glory,help us.