The European American University has conferred an honorary doctorate degree of Science in Business Management and Corporate Governance on the Chairman and Group Managing Director of Winco Group of Companies, Chief Godwin Ifeanyichukwu Okafor.
The award was presented to Chief Okafor at the convocation ceremony held in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday.
In a citation read at the conferment ceremony, Okafor was described as a consummate industrialist and philanthropist. Born at Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Okafor had a humble beginning. As a young man, he grew up learning the tenets of humility, hard work, perseverance and honesty.
At the end of the civil war in 1970, youthful Godwin Okafor could not further his secondary education because of the financial burden placed on the parents. He opted for trading apprenticeship that was in vogue then in Eastern Nigeria. He combined his apprenticeship with private studies to secure GCE O’ level.
Okafor commenced foam business in the seventies on a small scale under the registered business name of Godwin and Sons Enterprises. He is a man endowed with organisational and administrative abilities. This enabled him to steer his company successfully amid great challenges in the national economy. Today, his company, Winco Foam Industries Limited, Lagos, is a first-class mattress manufacturing company and ranks among the top five foam manufacturing industries in Nigeria. His foam factories are in the northern, western and eastern Nigeria as a means of promoting national integration. About 1000 people are under his employ.
As a philanthropist, Chief Okafor, who has a traditional title of Anyanwu Ora, sponsored Winco Foam National Games for the Disabled in Lagos and Abuja in 1996 and 1997 respectively. He is a recipient of numerous awards at local, national and international levels. They include, among others, distinguished role model award; 5th Ikeja City Award for Outstanding Industrialist of the Year 2010; African Leader of Integrity Merit Award, Accra Ghana, 2017; Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Foam Group Award, 1998, and International Trophy Merit Award by Editorial Service, Paris, France, 1991.
Okafor’s long time membership of International Sheep Products Association (ISPA) based in the USA makes him one of the mattress industry icons and mentors in Africa. He is extensively travelled and married with three children.