Los Angeles, CA
November 4, 2017
Sinachi & Vitalis-
A marriage celebration like no other..
God truly blessed the different paths that led Chief/ Dr. Ife Sinachi Ugwuonye and Chief Dr. Vitalis Okechukwu to each other …
Chief (Dr.) Ifesinachi (Sinachi) Ugwuonye is a high achiever in every sense of the word – who is always trying to conquer new horizons.
Educated in some of the best schools, in Africa, Europe and North America, Ife Sinachi holds a Juris Doctor degree (JD) – International Business Law and Finance (USA); MBA in Global Business and Organizational Leadership, (USA); MA in International Commerce, (France); and BA in Foreign Languages, (Uniport).
Ife Sinachi is a Lawyer and a Mortgage Banker. She has worked for some of the leading financial institutions in America including the World Bank in Washington DC; Union Bank; Wells Fargo Bank; Citibank; Bank of America; Bank of the West – BNP Paribas, U.S. Bank and PNC Bank. She is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer, with clientele across all the U.S. and beyond.
Sinachi loves giving back to the community, especially the less privileged. She founded the ‘Sinachi Scholarship Foundation (Education for Girls Too (EGT)) in 1999 with the goal of offering educational scholarships to the less privileged children back home in Nigeria. Today the Sinachi foundation has offered scholarships to over forty college and college-bound girls, and has plans to expand its schemes to help more students.
Chief Dr. Ife Sinachi won the election as the President of Enugu USA, Inc., an Association of all Enugu State People in the Americas, on June 29, 2014, becoming the First Woman to be elected into the position of President in any Nigerian Community National Association in the USA. Being a one term of two years’ position, she concluded her term on July 3, 2016, leaving the association in a far better position than she met it.
Ifesinachi’s works with humanity has been severally recognized and appreciated by different levels of leadership and governments, in the USA and in Nigeria. She has been conferred with many chieftaincy titles – Adadioramma 1 of Ezeagu L.G.A, by the traditionl rulers in Ezeagu LGA – 2009; Adaejiejemba of Enugu State – 2010; Adadioramma of Orji Amokwe Udi – 2011; and Adaigbo niine –2016. By HRM Igwe S. M. Ozoekwem and HRH Igwe Emma Anichebe, in appreciation of her humanitarian works as the National President, Enugu USA, and her passion for helping the less privileged attain better status.
Sinachi, as she is fondly called, is also known among the African Communities as a public and motivational speaker. Among some of her great speeches are; a Nationally recognized powerful speech on Domestic Violence in Washington DC – May 2014, and April 2016, The role of Education in the society – 2017, and on Nigerian American Socio-Cultural Matters. She has written extensively on the need for unity in our communities.
Chief/Dr. Vitalis Okechukwu is a dynamic professional, who extends his wealth of knowledge to better the lives of others. He is an embodiment of intelligence, earning the nick name – “the whiz kid”!
Trained in some of the best Medical Schools in Africa, Europe and North America, Chief/Dr. Vitalis Okechukwu is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases with many years of experience in medical practice.
He is a scholar and physician per excellence. He holds Medical licenses in multiple states of the U.S
He is an Infectious Disease Consultant in private practice and academic medicine. He runs a private consultative practice and teaches Clinical Medicine at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.
He is affiliated to several medical institutions and belongs to several medical professional associations in the United States.
Dr. Okechukwu served as Enugu USA Medical Mission Chief Medical Director during the 2014 – 2016 administration. He is the current Chief Medical Adviser of Enugu USA – the umbrella association of all Enugu State people in the United States of America.
Dr. Vitalis Okechukwu was conferred the Chieftaincy Title – Nwachinemelu 1 of Enugu State on July 2, 2016 in Los Angeles California, and reconfirmed on December 21, 2016 in Amankwo Oghe, by HRM Igwe S.M. Ozoekwem, Adu 1 of Umumba Ndiuno, and HRH Igwe Emma Anichebe, Akukwu 1 of Isigwu Umana, witnessed by several other Ezeagu Traditional rulers, in appreciation of his services to Enugu State through Enugu USA Medical Mission.
ABOUT VITALIS AND SINACHI- THE JOURNEY OF FRIENDSHIP – A MARRIAGE AND A BOND
Theirs is a story of love at first sight, an ancestral bond, and a friendship perfected. With so much in common, destiny was waiting to be fulfilled.
They are both from Ezeagu Local Government Area (North and South) of Enugu State. Both are children of teachers. Vitalis from Amankwo Oghe, the first son of a renowned Headmaster, Chief Edwin Okechukwu and his amiable wife, Lolo Schola Okechukwu. Sinachi is from Umumba Ndiuno, the only daughter of a renowned Headmaster, Prince Michael Ugwuonye, of blessed memory. Vitalis and Sinachi had similar childhood experiences, though never met or heard of each other before March 2015.
They both left home too young, and grew up rather too fast!!
Life took them from Nigeria to Europe – Vitalis to Eastern Europe, and Sinachi to Western Europe. But like some invisible force leading them, both came into the United States of America the same month and in the same year – 1997. They also became American Citizens in the same year – 2002.
Still as co-travelers but on parallel roads, that never met, their lives took them in different parts of the United States, where they pursued their very different careers, hopes and aspirations. Their endeavors and challenges kept close resemblance as if this force, though keeping them apart and strangers, is working and mirroring their goals and results.
After some successes, some failures, and some uncertainties – they are to meet in the most unusual of manners and places. They had both traveled from their different states of residence, Vitalis from Louisiana, and Sinachi from California, to pay their final respect to a fallen mutual friend, an Ezeagu son, and an Enugu State patriot. In their pain of loss and mourning, they found each other.
Bound by a common desire, aspiration, hope, and love for their people, they built on their friendship, combining their talents for the common good of their people. That invisible hand has finally directed them back to where it all began, the land of their births, the home of their fathers, and the abode of their forefathers, Ezeagu Igbudu, Enugu State, Nigeria.
It is friendship/love/relationship perfected; a bond and match made before they were born; a marriage and covenant blessed by their ancestors, and ordained by God. It is a prayer answered, and a destiny fulfilled.
That which God has joined, let no one put asunder!
To God alone be the glory!!
In this interview with our Publisher, Hon. Chief Chike Nweke, Sinachi & Vitalis talk about their past, how they met each other & their plans for the future.
Q 1. God blessed the different paths that led two of you to each other- please briefly tell us how you met:
Sinachi: You do know that I was the National President of Enugu USA from 2014 to 2016. In that position, I had many responsibilities to my people of Enugu State, and to the public in general. It was during one of such functions, carrying out my presidential responsibilities, that we met.
Enugu State had lost a very honorable young man in Houston, and we were all gathered in Houston to mourn our loss. I was there as the national president, and a friend to the deceased. And he was there also as a friend of the deceased. I was on the stage, and he was in the crowd. When we met, we talked about our common interests…. Enugu State and its people.
Well, you could say it was love at first sight, depending on what your definition of love is. We both share common goals, aspirations and hopes, …. of helping our people. Dr. V. was already doing his bit, and I was doing mine. So, we had such to talk about. Giving our relationship status, and busy professional lives at the time, it was easy to find common grounds, and click. We found each other, not because we were looking, but because our paths crossed at the right time. We are from the same Local Government Area in Enugu, and have many things in common.
Q 2- Your love story is truly inspiring- what is the most fascinating thing that attracted you to each other?
-Sinachi: I will say that there are quite a few fascinating things that attracted me to him. The fact that we are from the same Local Government Area, Ezeagu, in Enugu State is probably the most fascinating of them all. We have so many things in common. In fact, our lives are so incredibly mirrored. He is very smart, and highly educated. He is also quite handsome and youthful. He is also funny and silly sometimes. I like the fact that he challenges me to aim even higher. You can say that he came with an almost complete package.
-Vitalis: Sinachi is the most intelligent woman I have ever met. She is so talented, very compassionate, and generous. She is very beautiful, inside and out. I am amazed at her wealth of knowledge and her energy. It is amazing to see a woman so beautiful, and so highly educated, yet so humble. For me, it is a case of absolute compatibility. I have a lot to learn from her. I feel very lucky to have met Sinachi when I did, and to have her as my wife.
Q3- You presently live in different states and different cities, Sinachi in Orange California, and Vitalis in Lafayette, Louisiana. What are your plans after your marriage celebration? Do you plan to move in together in one city?
Answer: This is a decision that we will be making soon. As you know, we have lived our separate lives and involved in our different professions and careers, in different states for a long time. As such, we have so many things to take care of in our current situations in preparation for that eventual move in together and co-habitation. It will not come easy, but we are working on it.
Q4- You have children from your past relationships, any plans for kids together?
Answer: We are both in our late 40s, we have six kids, making it already a large family. While we are not actively attempting or planning to have more children, we know that having children goes beyond biological children. So, let’s say that we are keeping an open mind on that. You will be informed when such a time comes.
Q5- You are both involved in philanthropy and giving back to the society, do you intend to continue this tradition and legacy together?
Answer: Yes, we are continuing in our endeavors to better the lives of our people. This is probably the main reason we found it meaningful to get together, as we know that combining our talents and resources would yield far greater result in that area, than our separate individual efforts. This tradition and legacy will go on by God’s grace, and we hope that it will outlive us.
Q6- Why did you style this a marriage celebration instead of the usual church wedding and reception?
Answer: Like you rightly said in your previous question, we have both been previously married and divorced. With that comes certain experience. We agree that what we need is the “beef”, and not the skin. We are celebrating the “main item”, which is the marriage, and not a ceremony, which is the wedding. Since there are several layers of ceremonies that constitute the main item, marriage, we preferred to celebrate the marriage which is a life-long commitment. Marriage is the promise to be there for each other, “no matter what.” It is the life-long journey. While ceremonies last but a very short time, a marriage lasts forever, in sickness or in health, in all situations, be it joyful or sorrowful. The two people that are bind in marriage become the lifeline of each other…way beyond the parties, and long after the curtains are drawn, and the lights go off.
Marriage is not about your beauty, your wealth, your power, your connections, or about the number of friends you have. Marriage does not see all these. Marriage takes “as is”, at all times, and in all situations. It is the assurance that so long as there is life, you will never be alone. Marriage is about two people becoming as one, and standing together come rain or shine. It is an incredible force that can do all things in unity. So, we celebrate our marriage, witnessed by all our friends and families. We know we are expected to do the right thing, by us and by our friends. We know we owe each other a special duty to make it work, and make life more enjoyable and livable for each other.
Q7-What are your plans and dreams for the future?
Answer: We plan to live, and not miss any opportunity to be happy together. We plan to keep growing, learning from each other, and building stronger allies. We plan to create very loving environment for our children, and help them pursue their individual interests. We plan to continue to give back to our community as we work together to uplift our people in Nigeria and in our immediate environments. We dream of this grand consolidation of efforts for a gigantic result that all could benefit from.
Q8- What advise will you give to a young African immigrant who just arrived in the U.S. about achieving the level of success you have attained in this country
Answer: It is very simple… just work hard. Be truthful to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to any other. Stay focused, and pursue your dreams. America is a place that you can become anything you want to become, at any age, if you work hard and smart enough. Stay off anything or anyone that may lead you into trouble. Be patient. If it is meant for you, it will be yours, but you must work for it.
Please add any other issues you want to highlight as questions hereunder.
In closing, we would like to thank Life & Times Media team for dedicating this Winter 2017 Edition of its magazine to celebrate our marriage. We appreciate all our friends from near and far, who took out the time to celebrate us. This journey was made possible because of your support and encouragement. We shall not forget!
We thank also our families, especially our children for their love and support. We couldn’t have come this far without them. May God continue to bless you! We love you immeasurably!
Find below a limited release of the marriage celebration pictures…
The pre wedding album…