Philip Nweze

I can’t pin down a valentine’s day gift that can rival the one Mr Chijioke Uraku received last week. Tuesday February 14, 2017 was indeed a beautiful day for the physically challenged man from Item Amagu community, in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state. Recall that he was dehumanised by two soldiers for wearing military camouflage on the streets of Onitsha, Anambra state on 7th of the same month. His abusers gave him the vicious beating of his life. After, he was dragged on asphalt by the power-drunk lunatics in what has remained the highest level of brutality ever meted out to a man on a wheelchair.

However, little did he know that fate has some compensation for him for the degrading treatment. In fact it seems God allows bad things to happen to us sometimes so that helpers can locate us. In Chijioke’s case, he was located by the number one citizen of Ebonyi state, Governor David Umahi. He became the guest of the governor a week after his ordeal. Never in his wildest imagination did he dream that the encounter with his assailants would bring him face to face with a sitting governor. Prior to the incident, his name was probably an unknown entity even among his fellow townsmen. He was summarily regarded as a destitute with no future before him. But God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

Governor Philip Nwenze of Ebonyi state

His journey to the Ebonyi state executive council chambers on that fateful Tuesday morning was set in motion by a viral video showing the  two soldiers molesting him. The meeting was facilitated by the Governor himself who was weighed down by the excruciating load of torture meted out to the young man. The euphoria that obviously took him as he was being wheeled into the chambers was glaring. A visit to the hallowed seat of power is a once in a life time experience that would leave a first time visitor wishing the duration was extended to enable him soak in the endless glamour of its endearing appeal.

For one who never misses an opportunity to do good his encounter with Chijioke changed the young man’s life instantly. He immediately ordered the release of N500, 000 to the brutalized man for the continuation of his treatment and temporary upkeep. Governor Umahi also asked his Special Adviser on Welfare Matters, Rev From. Abraham Nwali to interact with the victim and recommend ways that government can properly rehabilitate him.

Under the department of Religious and welfare matters headed by a Catholic clergy, families have received new impetus and new lease of life. Every minute lives are changed for good, people saved and thousands empowered. Through this department, hospital bills have been lifted up the shoulders of many indigent patients. No doubt, through this same medium, the state government is sure to fashion out an all-inclusive plan to give Chijioke and his dependants the tool to get out of poverty and better his life. After many struggles, triumphs and moments that has tested him in ways he never could have imagined, he would be standing stronger at last, on the incredible support and warmth from the governor.

 In addition, the Governor demanded the Chief of Army staff to not only prosecute the cruel behaviour of its officers but also ensure their dismissal and prosecution for the dastardly act, in addition to a public apology to the the entire disability community for the action.

Deeming it appropriate and needful to invite and integrate the young man in his entrepreneurial list signposts the Governor as a fatherly figure and a defender of his people. When it comes to fighting for Ebonyi people, he does not pick and choose his battles. He does not have favourites. Everyone is equal and must be protected. 

Mr Chijioke UrakuTuesday has never had it so good. Surprise played out on his face when the announcement was made. This was the first time in a long while he had seen concern showed towards him. He could only grunt and doff his cap to show how ecstatic he was by the gesture for he was practically speechless. He kept mute not because he was dumb but for lack of a proper way to say thank you. The Governor belonged to a higher league than what he was used to. Perhaps that left him confused. At long last, he let out a smile, a cheerful demeanour that lit up the entire chamber.

Today, Uraku can be rightly said to have undergone full and complete life miracle. And more blessings are still coming the way of Mr Uraku by way of rehabilitation and more financial assistance for his final resettlement. For Gov Umahi lack of determination is the biggest impediment to success and not physical challenge.

The governor’s action is significant in many respects. Rarely, does governors jump in and challenge back when the rights of their citizens are abused. Or brandish whopping gifts. Gov Umahi is known for things like this; helping and giving out to people, communities, individuals. Testimonies abound of how he has truly touched the lives of all around him. His life of philanthropy has remained amazing, limitless and inexhaustible. He was raised to be God fearing and charitable in words and deeds. Coming from a humble background, his generosity has never been curtailed by age or his rise in the political and social scale. Instead it manifested more, making him appreciate the need to give back to the world. This invaluable trademark has remained key part of his life and the stabilising force for his success.

Like a caring leader, he jumped in and delivered his subject from the hands of evil men. He jumped in and challenged back, with a firm stand on the sacking of the two soldiers. This is a bold statement that the present government in the state would no longer tolerate marginalisation and injustice meted out to its people. The shrinking integrity of an average Ebonyi man has appreciated tremendously. The Abakaliki man is no longer a toy to be abused by all manner of clowns.

This indeed smacks of excellent leadership. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you’re a leader. The Governor has brought simplicity and ease in governance. He is a friend of the masses and he is leaving out his name “Ekubaroha” which means that wealth should be invested back to the people.