According to Nelson Mandela “Men and Women of rare qualities are few and hard to come by, and when they depart; the sense of loss is much more profound and more difficult to manage.” Such deaths are usually extremely traumatic and devastating, not only to the immediate family, but to all mankind. Dr. Cornell Chikere was numbered among such rare breeds: humble, unassuming, he went through life, his only goal being to touch as many lives positively as he could. A quintessential husband and father, Dr. Cornell was a lover of his family. The value of life is not measured by its duration but by its donation. A person dies unfulfilled when his or her life does not impact positively on the lives of others.
Dr. Cornell wrestled death to a standstill and would have won in his characteristics style but for the undeniable fact that all humans must die. On that fateful day, the efforts of the nurses, medical doctors, prayers of the faithful and the weeping of brethren and loved ones could not help but to confirm that “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh”. In the words of George Fabricus, “Death comes to all. But great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.”
Dr. Cornell Chikpandu Chikere was born on 17th February, 1968 to the family of Engr. Herbert O. N. Chikere of Umukoto Village, Umudibia, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State. He was the second out of six children. He got married in April, 2001 to Barr. (Mrs.) Chimezie Chikere, the second child of Barrister Chris Oko Okpani of Evuma Village, Afikpo, Ebonyi State. The marriage is blessed with lovely children.
He started his primary school education at Raufu Williams Primary School Surulere, Lagos State from 1972 to 1978 and later attended Estate High School Mile 2, Lagos from 1980 to 1985 for his secondary school education.
Issues and activities bothering on tourism, hospitality, hotel management and catering have always brought out the best in Dr. Cornell which made him proceed to the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State from 1985 to 1987 and Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Kogi State from 1989 to 1991 where he obtained OND & HND in Hotel and Catering Management. He later proceeded to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt from 1998 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2003 where he obtained Post Graduate Diploma – PGD in Business Studies and Master of Business Administration – MBA (Management).
Being talented and a lover of education, he went on with his educational pursuit and obtained a Ph.D in Business Administration from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State in 2015. Being an embodiment of hospitality, tourism, hotel management and catering he went further in his academic pursuit to obtain a Master of Science degree (M.Sc.) in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Imo State University in 2016. Naturally, Dr. Cornell takes delight in research and knowledge transfer to the younger ones which made him to crave for more knowledge acquisition and obtained Post Graduate Diploma Education (PGDE) in Educational Foundation in 2017 from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
Besides the numerous academic qualifications, Dr. Cornell has several years of industrial working experience in various positions spanning over two decades. He participated in the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps scheme at St. John Bosco College, Ubiaja, Esan North, Edo State from 1991 to 1992. He worked in various organizations like the Catholic Social Centre (School of Catering) Benin City, Edo State from 1992 to 1993; Victory Group of Schools (Secondary School) Ikeja, Lagos from 1993 to 1997. He also served as a Manager and Consultant in various organizations like Ivy Homes Ltd., G.R.A. II, Port Harcourt from 1997 to 2001; Gasel Limited (Adamac Group), East/West Road, Port Harcourt from 2001 to 2003; Aldgate Congress Limited, Abacha Road, GRA III, Port Harcourt from 2005 to 2018. In addition, he held positions on the Board of several companies including Heritage Foods Limited, Port Harcourt, Befabel Resources Limited, Airport Road, Abuja and C–Cube Limited, Abacha Road, Port Harcourt.
Dr. Cornell has several publications to his credit both in national and international journals. There are also books of abstracts and books of proceedings published as authored by Dr. Cornell. He also co-authored more than a dozen of articles and publications which have been published in continental and international journals.
He attended several conferences and workshops with themes on Administration, Management, Hospitality and Tourism and presented papers in so many conferences and seminars.
Dr. Cornell was a Member of the Nigerian Hotel and Catering Institute (N.H.C.1.); Nigerian Institute of Management (N.I.M.) and The Academy of Management, Nigeria. (T.A.M.N.) He was also a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration (I.C.A.).
AWARDS AND HONOURS:
Dr. Cornell was a recipient of numerous honours and awards including an Ambassador of Peace etc. This was in recognition and appreciation of his efforts and contributions to the society.
Dr. Cornell was a devout Christian and had an unwavering love for God. He nurtured respect and loyalty to his religion with unmitigated zeal. He was an active member of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries the sustenance and growth of which he very much supported. He was a committed and active member of the Burden Bearers Group and Men of Valour of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Rumuola, Port Harcourt and Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Kubwa Regional Headquarters, Abuja.
He was tremendously involved in innumerable national and community service activities like Traffic Control at busy junctions in GRA Port Harcourt under Police Community Relations Commission (PCRC) Auspices and Environmental Sanitation activities in residence estate and environs – RIWAMA.
A very vibrant and genial gentleman, who always leaves a mark everywhere he goes, he was very much involved and active in the Estate Administration of where he lived.
His achievements in his life time are like an “open book” which cannot be hidden, thus earning him an enviable niche in the development of his community. He was very active in the affairs of his community and was a very active member of Dozie Owerri, Port Harcourt Branch, Umudibia Town Union and Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Rivers State Chapter.
In the social scene, Dr. Cornell lived a very vibrant social life. With him around, there was never a dull moment. A role model, a great achiever, a moralist, moving freely, always smiling and happy, friendly, hospitable, caring and accommodating to everyone. He derived so much joy, love and deep sense of inner peace and contentment whenever he was able to help anyone in need.
For extra curricula activities, Dr. Cornell loves swimming, table tennis playing, local voluntary work, researching and surfing the net for updates in literature, listening to music and reading.
Dr. Cornell Chikpandu Chikere died on the 15th of February, 2019 at the age of 50 after a protracted illness which took him to many hospitals including one in India.
His burial comes up on Friday, April 12, 2019 at his residence, Umukoto–Umudibia, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State.
A release signed by Larry Chikere on behalf of the family, stated that there would be a service of songs at his Abuja residence, Asher Drive, Kubwa Extension 111, Abuja on Thursday, April 4, 2019 by 5.pm.
The release also stated that there would be another service of songs at his Port Harcourt residence at Alhaji Estate, Rumuodomaya on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, by 5.pm.
The statement further explained that on Thursday,, April 11, 2019, the body will leave University Teaching Hospital Abuja (UTHA) for his home town in Nekede Imo state for lying in state. This will be followed by funeral service and internment at his residence, Umukoto-Umudibia, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State by 10am.
He left this world survived by:
Barr. (Mrs.) Chimezie Cornell-Chikere
Mrs. Cecilia Chimtua Chikere
Mrs. Chinyere Ikeanyi (Photojournalist with Champion newspapers)
Pastor (Mrs.) Osinachi Michael
Mr. Larry Chikere
Mrs. Ucheoma Nneji
…and in-laws and relatives too numerous to mention.
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