BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
It was a moment of honour well-deserved and an outpour of encomiums as the Benue State University (BSU) singled out the President and Chief Executive Officer of Naija Ratels Football Club, Paul Edeh, and bestowed on him an award of excellence.
The award according to the citadel of learning was in recognition of his years of immense contribution to the development of the institution and society at large.
Receiving the award, also uniquely packaged due to his exceptional career progression as an alumnus of the institution during its combined 18th to 21st convocation ceremonies and 30th anniversary, alongside other awardees in Makurdi, Edeh, whose joy knew no bounds, thanked the management of BSU led by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Tor Iorapuu for the honour.
The lawyer turned football administrator and towering philanthropist was among the two to be recognised from the institution’s Faculty of Law.
“I specially want to deeply appreciate this special honour from the management of BSU which has shown that the institution recognises efforts and initiatives of spirited individuals unlike what is obtainable in the society.
“The recognition is a task to do more for our alma mater and the society in general. My encouragement to the University is to consider making this Award an annual affair where alumni associations, individuals or even lecturers whose efforts have continued to raise the banner of the institution would be encouraged to do even more,” he said.
Edeh, a real estate kingpin and President of Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) shortly after receiving the award made several donations, totaling N4million.
The donation includes N2million for the equipping of the school’s Faculty of Law e-Library, N1million philanthropy gesture towards the funding of the JS Tarka Foundation and N1million spread across five years for best graduating law student from BSU to honour his late father Captain Samuel Ankwa Edeh.
Born to the family of the late Capt. Samuel and Veronica Ankwa Edeh and a father of three, Edeh had donated sets of law reports to the university in 2004 and has continued to update the library to date.
Outside the institution, the convener of the annual Sheroes Cup, best ever pre-season tournament in Africa, specifically for women footballers, has single-handedly donated 2500KVA transformers to the Jos Electricity Distribution Company for his community in Otukpo, Benue State to ameliorate the suffering of his people without electricity for couple of months.
He has also organised and bankrolled an Inter-School Competition for primary and secondary schools in Benue State, where over 3000 students have participated from inception till date and won various prizes with about 40 students benefitting from his scholarship scheme.
In addition, Edeh also owns another women’s club Honey Badgers FC resident in Makurdi.
He yearly sponsors the Ratels FA Cup, a soccer competition organised by the Benue State Football Association.
Also, his prison intervention has led to the release of several inmates who went through proper rehabilitation before gaining their freedom, just as he has continued to provide different prison interventions including sponsoring the Kuje Prison football competition.
As a humanitarian, he has consistently provided free medical services to vulnerable communities with over 1000 beneficiaries.
Recently, he paid an unscheduled visit and rescued a missionary school in Adaka, a remote village in Benue state, which was about to be shut down by the owner due to paucity of funds and other logistic problems.
While at its premises, he promised to augment the teacher’s monthly pay and support the building project which was abandoned inside the school.