Deputy Registrar of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Onyinye Ralph-Nwachukwu has made history as the first Abia woman to become a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

The Fellowship was conferred on her on Thursday, April 25, 2024 during the just-concluded Nigeria Public Relations Week held at Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, where she was part of the delegation that represented the Abia State Chapter.

Onyinye, born after many years of waiting, is the first child of late Basil Onwuzuruike and his wife Ezinne Patricia Onwuzuruike. Her birth came as a miracle and she was regarded as a special gift from God, and was thus named ONYINYECHI. The little baby then, has at every stage of her growth to adulthood manifested her uniqueness and continues to live up to the meaning of her name – ‘special gift from God’.

Over the years, Onyinye Ralph-Nwachukwu (Nee Onwuzuruike) has through hard work and selfless service etched her name in the hearts of those she came into contact with, making remarkable impact in any environment she found herself.

A great lioness, having obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the famous University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Onyinye further fortified her academic qualifications with a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Arts from the University of Uyo in her quest to smoothen her path into the field of communication. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communication (Advertising & Public Relations) from Abia State University, Uturu. Still not relenting in her quest for academic and professional excellence, Onyinye is currently rounding-up her pursuit for a Ph.D in the field of Mass Communication with bias in Public Relations & Advertising.

Her journey into broadcasting commenced when she did her mandatory National Youth Service at the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA). With her outstanding performance at BCA, Onyinye was decorated with several awards by the NYSC and honoured with Abia State Merit award which earned her an automatic employment at the end of the service year.

While with BCA, Onyinye became an instant hit and popular personality in the airwaves. She was the toast of television viewers and radio listeners. After building her reputation as an accomplished broadcaster, Onyinye transferred her service to the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU) where she made her mark in the field of Pubic Relations and Image Building.

She headed the Public Relations/Protocol Unit of that reputable institution for five years and breathed life into the hitherto moribund Unit. Today Onyinye is a consummate Public Relations and Advertising professional. Little wonder then that she belongs to several professional associations including the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Nigerian Women in Public Relations (NWPR), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), UK, as well as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), USA. At the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike she has risen in her career progression to become a Deputy Registrar.

With an undying philosophy of never yielding to failure, Onyinye sees it as a point of duty to apply her intellect, skills and passion to attain success in any endeavour she undertakes. Those who refer to her as workaholic are right in their own way as she comes in the rare mould of highly productive individuals.

One of her most outstanding characteristics which has continued to shine brightly is her spirit of service, sacrifice and desire to make society better. This largely informed her deep involvement in the foremost global humanitarian organization – Rotary International, becoming formally inducted into the Rotary Club of Umudike Central on September 22, 2012. She served as the Club President during the ‘Be a Gift to the World’ Rotary Year (2015-16) and established many innovations to the credit of her service. Her diligence earned the club several honours and awards, notable among which is the 2015-16 Presidential Citation.

At the end of 2015-16 Rotary Year, Onyinye was honoured with several recognitions and awards, including the Rotary International Regional Service Award for her commitment towards the eradication of Polio in the world, as well as Most Passionate President among many honours she earned. A Paul Harris Fellow with some rubies added, Onyinye has continued to display her burning zeal to impact positively in the lives of others, especially the less privileged in society.

While she served District 9142 as Assistant Governor and Pioneer District Public Image Chair in 2017-2018 Rotary Year, she was recognized and honoured as the Best Assistant Governor as well as the Best District Committee Chair. Her modest achievements and performance while she served as Pioneer District Public Image Chair, catapulted her to the continental level as Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Regions 21 and 27, English Speaking Africa.

Onyinye has also served the District in the following capacities – District Chair, Lagos Institute Promotion (2018-19) and District Chair, Rotary Friendship Exchange (2019-20). For two straight Rotary Years (2020-2021 and 2021-2022), she served as the District Editor. Taking into cognizance her excellent communication skills, she was appointed as the District Chair, Covid-19 Vaccination Promotion Campaign in 2022-23 Rotary Year. In the current Rotary year, she is serving as the District Chair, Women in Rotary, 2023-24.

A firm believer that charity begins at home but should not end there, Onyinye has also Chaired the following Committees in her home club (the Rotary Club of Umudike Central), namely – Public Image, Rotary Foundation, Membership, Club Trainer as well as Rotaract Advisor. She has attended many Rotary International Conventions, Rotary Zone Institutes, Regional as we all District trainings.

Her unquenchable passion to add value to society spurred her on to join hands with her inimitable partner, Rev. Fr. Augustine Obi and together they founded the Heart2Build Youth Development Initiative, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which focuses solely on holistic development of young people. An arm of Heart2Build Youth Development Initiative code-named “Love Behind Bars” is involved in helping young people in correctional centres across Nigeria to rediscover themselves and be reintegrated into society after their rehabilitation in those centres.

To the glory of God, Onyinye is a mother of five and she enjoys farming, networking with people and adding value to them. Though she is not quite a remarkable dancer, she loves dancing, reading, writing, singing and travelling. She loves caring for animals too, especially dogs and she’s been a dog keeper for over twenty years!

She is an active member of the Catholic Church and currently serves the Church as Secretary, Umuahia Diocesan Pastoral Council.

On good authority, she plays down on many recognitions and awards she has been honoured with. Her greatest drive in life is to add value to people, organizations and places she finds herself in.

As one who is well-known for her passion to impart knowledge and grow leaders, Onyinye was recently appointed to serve Rotary International District 9142 from July 1, 2024 as Deputy District Learning Facilitator.

Onyinye embodies Public Relations and Brand Management. Her event management prowess and Public Relations skills were eloquently manifest when she chaired the 2022 Abia State NIPR Week. The event was rated as ‘world class’ and gave immeasurable visibility and mileage to the Abia State Chapter of NIPR.

It is worthy of note that Onyinye has always been very intentional in her choices and decisions, and this unique attribute resonates in everything she’s involved in.

She was inducted into NIPR in 2008 in Ilorin, Kwara State. Within five years, in line with regulatory provisions, she regularly attended the Mandatory Continuous Professional Development training programs of the Institute. Having stayed the stipulated five years with continuous training, she was upgraded to a Full Member of NIPR in 2014. She has served as the Secretary of Abia State Chapter (2013-2015), chaired some Committees and functioned as member of some Sub-committees in the Chapter.

Still not relenting, she continued with her professional training at higher levels, building essential leadership experience in the process. Having attained the ten years post-full membership milestone, she braved it and went through the rigorous processes to qualify as a Fellow. Interacting with her soon after her investiture, she described the fellowship screening as “the process of purifying gold through fire to form it into a priceless metal”.

Today, as a Fellow of NIPR, Onyinye has climbed to the highest level of the great Institute and is so-recognized across the country. She has made history as the first person to grow through the Abia State Chapter to earn the prestigious Fellowship. Not only has she broken this jinx in the Abia State Chapter, she has also smashed the glass ceiling as the very first woman from Abia State to be invested with the authority of a Fellow of NIPR. Onyinye has proven to be a trail blazer and has become an esteemed goodwill ambassador of the Abia State Chapter of NIPR.

The exceptional feat accomplished by this tireless Amazon is would no doubt serve as a springboard for greater achievements not only by the Abia Chapter of NIPR but the State at large.

Onyinye Ralph-Nwachukwu, FNIPR, is indeed an inspirational achiever and a woman to be celebrated within and outside Abia State.


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