A FOREMOST philanthropist in Anambra State, Chief Godwin Chikeluba of the GMO business group fame whose philanthropic gestures transcends the old Anambra State, Igboland and Nigeria, a native of Awka Etiti in Idemili South in Anambra State is being immortalised by his family through the Onwa Chikeluba Foundation.
Onwa Chikeluba Foundation, whose essence is to give free medical education, enhancement and encouragement to budding entrepreneurs in Igboland, on 31 July, 2019, provided free medical mission and education mission to the people of Awka Etiti with the collaboration of the Awka Etiti Improvement Union (AIU) which was held at the community town hall.
At exactly eight in the morning, the town hall ground was already covered with canopies, chairs and decorations as the people throng into the venue in groups taking turns to sit on the well arranged seats awaiting the full commencement of the programme.
In due time the team of medical personnel arrived to the venue fully kitted and almost immediately adjusted to the environment as the event started with the registration of patients followed by a general health care education and awareness talks to over 1500 indigenes and non-indigenes of the community who duly were attended to through various medical tests, diagnosis and administration of drugs. Those with visual challenge were equally offered medical support as they went home with satisfactory medicare.
Over 1500 people who attended the event with one challenge or the other were provided with refreshments by the Chikeluba Foundation that saw it as a way of providing integrated relief to the people.
Another segment of the mission was the promotion of education by motivating teachers and students for excellent performance, held at the Awka Etiti Central School.
Highlights of the education mission included a mathematics and science film show for the children; motivational speakers; including a renowned instructor from the US who enlightened the teachers and students on best global practices in the sector.
Other highlights were the reward of excellent academic performance through awarding of prizes to best performing teachers and students.
The foundation equally donated books to the various schools that participated in the programme.
In an exclusive interview with the main organizers and foundational members of the Onwa Chikeluba Foundation, it was gathered that the event, which was kick-started last year and making their second debut is going to be an annual one.
According to the wife of the late sage and business magnet, Chief Lady Mercy Chikeluba (Adaeze Onwa), she went down memory lane and gave a brief historical background of the late husband’s enthusiasm in availing himself to the needs of his people who for obvious reasons identified with him as a beacon of hope, succour and inspirational figure to all and sundry.
In her words: “My husband was indeed a man of the people, a beacon of hope, a selfless giver, inspirer whose legacies will stand the test of time. In our over 50 years of marriage, before he was cut short in his prime by assassins,
he practically superintended the making of great men in different parts of Igbo land and Nigeria by his generous support he gives to his various acquaintance. Awka Etiti ,his people gave him all the attributes and recognition he deserves by putting his statue in the centre of the town signifying his number one role in impacting on the people in his life time”.
For the Chairman of the foundation, Chukwudi Chikeluba, “The foundation is in memory of our great dad, Onwa Godwin Chikeluba who was a great philanthropist. The mission is borne out of the great desire to help the less privileged. We were taught by my dad to always help those who are in need. He showed to us that to be a good Christian is to always do the little you can do towards others.
“This medical mission actually began last year and we intend to continue with it next year and would make it a yearly affair. The services to be offered ranges from diagnosis on general health, dispensing of drugs, while for the eyes section, those in need of reading glasses will be given one”.
On the sustenance of the programme, he said, “By the help of God, we are working out a programme towards its sustainability. In this clime, the poverty level is too high hence the privileged must do more to help the less privileged. We would like to use this opportunity to enjoin the church to go into philanthropy.
They should do more outreach than they are doing now- they should offer medical care to those that cannot really afford it. We were able to put this together through the coordination of our friends who came all over the globe, like one of our family friends, Larry Umeche from Amichi, who was able to coordinate the doctors.
This is not all a Chikeluba family thing. We have free donors who donated to the medical and education mission, as well as for the education mission aspect. We decided to add that aspect to the mission because we thought that as more and more people are being reached out to,
while we still get more donors keying to what we are doing, we will keep on introducing more new things to the services of the foundation. Summarily, we want to promote education in Awka Etiti and environs, because with education, you can never go wrong in the society. Today, Yoruba’s remember Awolowo basically because of education.
I must commend the governor of this great state, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike) for putting Anambra State on the map of states that are thriving in education. Anything we can do to assist his government we will always do.
The President General of the Awkaetiti Improvement Union (AIU) reaffirmed what is said about the late philanthropist.
His words: “He is an Icon of inestimable quality who bestrides his time and space in making a legacy of which his people will remain immensely grateful and appreciative”.
On his part, the Secretary General of AIU cum Secretary of the planning committee of the foundation, Mr Leonard Nwadike, said: “The programme is being engineered by Onwa Chike Chikeluba via Onwa Chikeluba Foundation and AIU.
Some of the team came from the United States with the support of Anambra State Association (ASA), USA, who donated the drugs, among other items. Since we came into this administration, this is the second time this is happening. It was organized last year and we do hope that next year we will have a more improved version.