Obi @ 62: Consistent in charity

….Obi celebrating with the less privileged 

By Ike Abonyi

Today, Wednesday, July 19, 2023, the former governor of Anambra state and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25, 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi, turned 62 years old. He had on Monday, alerted friends and well-wishers of the date and reminded them how his birthday is usually celebrated, devoid of ‘owambe’ but a time to think about the poor, the less, and the underprivileged in our society.

According to him in that message, "Wednesday 19th July 2023, marks my 62nd Birthday. While I remain immensely grateful to God for His infinite mercies, I still maintain my decision of over 20 years, that I will not celebrate my birthdays in today's Nigeria, with the current deplorable state of the nation.

"However, some friends, members of the Labour Party, OBIdient family and supporters have asked how they can join me in celebrating that day, and even present some gifts. Let me humbly and respectfully appeal to all those who desire to celebrate me with any kind of gifts, to look around them, and extend such gifts to the people in need, especially in these difficult times.

"I urge them to visit hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the aged and people with disabilities, and offer them such generous gifts. They can also visit schools of basic studies in remote areas and support them with the basic amenities they need.

'Those who wish to do more can visit various IDP camps in different parts of the country. I intend to do the same thing. Aside from sharing my time and resources with the less fortunate people around me, I plan to raise money for schools, hospitals, etc.

"I have already said that the sacrifices for a better Nigeria must now start from us, the leaders and the well-placed. The state of our nation must give us cause to pause and ponder. There is far too much insecurity, violence, and bloodshed. This month alone over 200 lives have been lost to sustained violent attacks in Mangu LGA in Plateau State. Similarly, in Benue State, over 100 lives have been lost in recent times, the latest being 27 persons killed in Adogo Ugbaam, Akpuuna, and Diom communities in Ukum LGA.”

Peter Obi, unlike most Nigerians politicians, especially, who would steal the slightest opportunity to showcase oneself, would instead, turn around those times to pass a strong message about the divinity of our being.

At any available opportunity Obi tries to draw everybody’s attention to what is dear to his heart - the poor in our midst. He brought this sentiment into his politics and it has endeared him to the downtrodden. 
No wonder every attempt by the selfish elites to diminish him hits the rock because the people see and value his consistency and sincerity in his love for the less privileged.

Politics is not driving his charity and that explains why he has remained consistent in and out of public office.

To show that Obi’s charity is constant and regular and not window dressing or politicking, here are some samples of his birthday activities in the past:

When he was 53 years, Fidelity Bank, where he was chairman, gave him N5 million to commemorate his birthday anniversary and he immediately donated the money to Holy Name Secondary School, Umuchu, in Anambra state.

Presenting the cheque to the owner of the school, the Catholic Diocese of Awka led by the Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor on the premises of the school at Umuchu, Obi said that part of his mission since leaving office was to solicit funds from organizations and his friends to assist missionary-owned schools and the poor through support to Churches in the State to start faith-based revolving micro-credit scheme.

Obi thanked Fidelity Bank Plc for the gift and for respecting his wish that rather than place adverts for him, organizations and friends should use the money to assist the poor or give to him to donate to schools and the poor.

Two years ago when he celebrated his 60th birthday when many of his friends wanted to showcase him, he dodged all the fanfare and decided to be with the disabled.

He donated to the disabled, Tramps, equipped school computer lab and the sum of N5 million to the Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled, Old, and Tramps (RECDOT) Ozubulu, in Anambra state. He also equipped the computer laboratory of RECDOT Comprehensive Secondary School, Ozubulu.

Obi, who visited RECDOT family and RECDOT Secondary School on that day, explained that it was more fulfilling for him to celebrate his birthday with the downtrodden and the poor people in the society. He said it would do neither him nor society any good if he lavished huge amounts of money on exotic celebrations when people were hungry on the streets.

“Anyone who knows me know that I don’t do parties. How can I be drinking expensive champagnes in Abuja when millions of Nigerian youths are roaming the streets hungry and unemployed? I would rather invest whatever money I have into making our society better by building schools, upgrading hospitals, and lifting people out of poverty. That to me, is more rewarding and fulfilling”, Obi explained.

Handing over the cheque of N5 million to RECDOT Centre and 10 laptop computers, 2 printers, and a generator set to Recdot Comprehensive Secondary School, Obi encouraged their founder, Mrs Rosemary Odunukwe, to keep up her good work.

Addressing the students, Obi encouraged them to take their education seriously, for it remains a pathway to greatness. Obi reiterated that education remains the greatest contributor to national development and urged the students not to take it lightly.

In her words of appreciation, Mrs. Odunukwe said that Obi has always come to their aid and always contributed to their welfare. She prayed God to bless Obi always. 

So for Peter Obi, his charity job did not start today and may not stop today because he believes that sharing with the people gladdens his and their hearts and may also be pleasing to heaven. 

Obi strongly believes in the words of English writer and Puritan preacher, John Bunyan that “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” 

Happy birthday to Okwute Ndigbo, the phenomenal figure of contemporary Nigeria. God bless.
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