Eleme-born professor of Economics, Walter Ollor, pens down his ‘heart’ in memoirs


– Says: Wash your wife’s feet to discover new route to her heart

A professor of Economics and community development activist, Walter Ollor, who is now a monarch in his Eleme town, has unveiled a book that tried to avoid too much economics but rather dug into his heart and found treasures. Instead, according to the former vice chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Joseph Ajienka, the book is a chronicle of Ollor’s eventful experiences thus far in this earth life.

Speaking at the launch event last week at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, Ajienka said: “The author has had a very active and eventful life. When we strive to make our mark in society all earthly titles fall away and we are simply known by our names, by the legacies we leave behind. Walter Ollor has been active in academics, in the banking industry, in politics and public life, in the church and in community service.

 “Hearts and Treasures: Memoirs is a book on leadership and social change.  It is a book on nuggets of wisdom and values that served as moral compass that guided the Author in his education, work and family.  HRH Professor Walter Ollor is a committed fighter for justice for his Akpajo Community in the Eleme Kingdom.  He tried to encourage his people to derive maximum benefit from their entitlements and compensations from the privatized Eleme Petrochemicals Company but of course the dynamics of divisive community politics took a great toll on him.

“The book also documented efforts at ensuring peace between the Eleme Community and their neighbouring Okrika Community.  He was an active member of a committee that offered suggestions on how to build lasting peace and harmony among the neighbours.

“Professor Walter Ollor has had his fair share of travails, adversities, conflicts and crisis.  As a firm believer in the Rule of Law, he always resorted to the Judiciary to seek justice in his several challenges in the community, church and work.   Interestingly, in all of the decided cases he was victorious and vindicated.”

He said: “We Africans are more of story-telling people and so are not fascinated by books. But that should change.  We are in the new knowledge society and books are central and cardinal in the new age of knowledge and the consequent new knowledge economy. In Africa, when an elder, a custodian of history and rich experiences dies with his knowledge, it is as if a whole library goes up in flames.”

He added: “As I read the book Hearts and Treasures, Memoirs of Walter Ollor, I was inclined to caption my review – Experiencing.  Because that is what I felt it is. More than account of his life, the book presents nuggets of wisdom garnered in the process of this experiencing.  As we know, experience is the best teacher. Through experiencing we understand our environment and fellow human beings better; through experiencing we build our personality and mature.”

He went on: “Before he reached the peak of his academic career, he had a foray in the private sector and politics.  He was appointed Chairman, Board of Directors of two international banks and was elected to represent Bori II Federal Constituency in the Constituent Assembly where he served as Chairman, Federal Accounts Committee.  He also served as Member, National Constitutional Conference and Member, National Committee on Vision 2010 as well as serving on very important Committees in the development of Rivers State.  He also contested and lost primaries for a senatorial seat.  After these detours, he returned to academics like a prodigal son when he recognized that his throne lies in academics.  And fortunately, he made it to the peak of his academic career.”

“Our people say a dog that does not go out will not be pregnant.  Having travelled widely, Professor Walter Ollor was pregnant with ideas particularly on sustainable development of community and country.

“In fact, he published a book on Sustainable Development in honour of the second Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt Professor Sylvanus J. S Cookey.  His desire to ensure sustainable development of communities made him to become an active player in his community.  In recognition of his contributions to community service, he and his beloved wife Helen were honoured with chieftaincy titles.

“His Royal Highness (HRH) Prof Walter Ollor is presently the Chairman, Walter Ollor Foundation which is focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).  I am aware of his efforts to establish a higher education institution on ESD.”

A panel of presenters tore through the book and the author’s life, even as his wife, Helen, sat calmly and laughed once in a while. The chief presenter, the retired chief justice of Rivers State, Justice Iche Ndu, said the book was written in simple and great style. Chief OCJ Okocha (SAN); said: “It’s a lesson in self-motivation and emotional influence. This is a family man indeed with tribute to Helen his wife and a long letter to his son. Chronicling the lives of great men helps young ones to choose better.”

Dr T.C. Osanakpo said the book teaches humility; and humility buys everything, it pays. “Humility is not timidity. The book is an appreciation of unsung heroes. Knowledge can make someone human capital”.

In his remarks, the author thrilled the audience with extra-crackers: “My father wanted me to be a lawyer and my sister who mentored me wanted me to be a doctor. I failed both of them.” He however said he had always stood for the environment up to representing Ogoni at the 1994 summit just after the Ogoni killings.

“My life was always threatened. Walter Ollor University will start soon. The governing council has been established. We have refused to use Elano money to build that university just to show character. The money will come from the outside.

He threw a bombshell in romance when he revealed that the new way to burrow into the innermost part of your wife’s heart is to wash her feet. “Wash your wife’s feet. It’s a new love and emotion”, he stated. He gave illustrations as someone who has been doing it and revealed his findings. The son and executive director of Walter Ollor Foundation, Atoaan Ollor, commended the dignitaries that found space to devote to the event in the hectic December ending period.