*Fr George Adimike*
In the race towards success, the balance of grace and effort is easily missed by many in their haste and impatience. One of the ramifications is the clipping of the wings with which humans are supposed to soar to success. Because of a misguided or misunderstood reading of sociological facts, many blame religion for the backwardness and poverty in society. Arguably, nations fail to develop because of many factors, including poor policy formulation and implementation, corruption and policy somersaults, lack of access to capital and bio-geographical factors, among others. But on the other hand, some embrace religion in such an irrational manner that it is seen as opposed to progress, constituting a constraint to development. In other words, some persons delink effort from grace, which impoverishes and distorts them both. This sort of attitude that neglects their composite nature radicalises each to a fundamentalist degree. A distortion of this kind reigns in the world of human affairs. Chief Dr Tony Ifeanyichukwu Ndubisi Ezenna OFR KSS (Ijele) is one of the happy exceptions to the malaise. He has distinguished himself well as a wonderful demonstration of the impact of the grace of God and of dedicated hard work. He has built a colossal business empire, thereby positively touching and transforming countless lives and families through absolute openness to the grace of God and sheer dint of effort. He is an entrepreneurial giant rooted in God.
Every chapter of Chief Ezenna’s life is a fascinating and alluring tribute to the intercourse of grace and human cooperation. His foray into business demonstrates a tale of will, resilience, creativity, determination, courage, incredible thrival spirit and re-emergence. A wise investor who has ventured into pharmaceutics, cosmetics, hospitality, oil and gas, electronics, finance, and energy sector of the economy, Chief Ezenna keeps representing the tribes of few integrity-based and value-driven entrepreneurs. Though his spheres of operations are multifaceted, his base is well-integrated and rooted in God. Hence, Ijele, fondly so called because of his impact and achievement, lives a unity of life without duplicity. Being a caring husband, disciplined father, generous Christian, compassionate entrepreneur, and successful businessman, Chief Ezenna’s personality encounters no confusion. The chairman of Orange Group Ltd lives for the glory of God and for the common good, and his life easily registers as a rare breed among other humans.
Testimonies abound of his legendary commitment to wealth creation, financial discipline, faith-promoting missions, life-giving and transforming charity initiatives and value and service delivery projects for the common good. In a rather spectacular way, his actions are depositing indelible imprints of greatness through selfless service in the lives of families as an excellent lesson for posterity. Ijele’s profile narrates a unique brand of cooperation with grace, leading him to deploy human resources to capture the prize in the race to excellence. It stands to reason that he leaves no turn unstoned since the accomplishments echo it to the rooftops. Nothing else warrants and funds his success other than cultivating divine friendship. He leaves no stone unturned in developing his capacity to be a veritable conduit of the fullness of life and dignity to families and individuals. Chief Ezenna’s style is staying the course of goodness, thereby being a channel of grace.
With deep and strong roots in God, the chairman of the Orange Group appreciates the God factor in all his undertakings. Consequently, he makes the promotion of the Gospel (evangelisation) one of the cardinal destinations of his resources. His varifocal investments in promoting the Good News remain seeds sown for an eternal harvest. He invests in the provision of places of worship (a monastery and churches), supporting and sponsoring pastoral agencies and agents (dioceses, parishes, seminaries, bishops, priests, monks and religious), financing pastoral programmes and evangelisation projects, financing educational institutions and projects, financing many small and medium enterprises for poverty alleviation, engaging in many charitable and philanthropic projects (provision of reliefs during emergencies in different parts of Nigeria), supporting or sponsoring health services projects and programmes, providing seed capital for businesses, and sponsoring social, educational and cultural programmes, especially in Ideato, Imo State, among many other numerous instances. Though this piece avoided specificities because of scope, it has to be mentioned that the Orange Group Ltd, through its chairman, Chief Tony Ezenna, gives annual subventions to dozens of dioceses in Nigeria. On record, Chief Tony provided a big generator for Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria.
Following God and deploying self to transform the world is a passion Sir Tony dies daily to live for. An Afrophile, he is ever committed to seeing a transformation of Africa for the better to show that it is not in our stars to be an object of scorn and an example of failure. He believes in the politics of human ennoblement and societal transformation. As Chief Dr Anthony Ifeanyichukwu Ezenna celebrates his birthday, we wish him more grace as he keeps ascending to the pinnacle of grace and the ramification of its possibilities. This reflection on his life affirms the effectiveness of integrating grace and human effort. It expresses gratitude to God for the gift of great souls whose lives light up dark roads to a peaceful and prosperous life. Chief Ezenna (Ijele) is blessed with an angelic and beautiful virtuous wife, Mrs Elizabeth Adaeze Ezenna, with whom God blessed the family with five amazing children. He celebrates his birthday on the 21st of April. While praying for him, we encourage him to keep allowing his blessings to bless God’s people.
Happy birthday, Chief Dr Tony Ifeanyichukwu Ezenna KSS OFR (Ijele)
Chairman, Orange Group Ltd.