From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Respite recently came the way of the people of Ugwueze village, Umuopu community, Enugu Ezike in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State as the foundation for the first hospital to be built in the area after several decades was laid.
Ugwueze Umuopu shares a common boundary with Ette, the Idoma-speaking part of Enugu State, which also shares a common boundary with Benue State.
For the people of the area, life is an unending daily struggle as mother-infant mortality rate in very high owing to the lack of any basic health care centre.
The people of the area have to travel several kilometres to access medicare in Ogrute, the local council headquarters.
Oftentimes, lives were lost before help could come, just as other challenges including lack of basic amenities like good roads, electricity and pipe borne water had made the lives of the people become a drudgery.
But there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel when recently caterpillars moved into the area and graded the roads.
While some of the villagers were still wondering who brought the goodwill to their area, the same earth-moving machines were deployed to an area behind the out-station of the Catholic Church and began the clearing of a large portion of land.
It was then that news filtered into the community that the place has been mapped out by a philanthropist, Owelle Ejikeme Odumegwu for the construction of a hospital.
Odumegwu, a lawyer, politician is the coordinator Gburugburu Support Group that worked assiduously for the election of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State during the 2015 election.
During the foundation laying ceremony which also featured the child dedication of the donor’s son, Trump Ifemyorochukwu Odumegwu, Owelle also announced the scholarship award to four students from indigent families.
He also announced the building of houses for widows, the selection of the beneficiaries, he said, would be handled by the parish priest of their local church to avoid bias.
He had earlier donated a trailer load of cement for the ongoing construction of their main church in the village while all the guests from the village and beyond who came to felicitate with him on the child’s dedication went home with tubers of yam which he described as his son’s gift to the guests.
Preaching during the holy mass, the Parish Priest of St Paul’s Catholic Church, Umuopu, Rev. Fr. Jude Ugwueke, said just as Christians celebrate the triumph of life above death through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, so also would goodness continue to triumph over evil.
The cleric praised Owelle Odumegwu for taking a decision to come back home instead of concentrating all his might in his city of residence.
Odumegwu in a remark noted that whatever he was doing presently stemmed from the message he received from God.
Giving a rundown of his journey in life, he recalled how the late Zik of Africa and Nigeria’s first President, Nnamdi Azikiwe conferred the Owelle title on him years back as a result of what he saw in a dream at the age of 23.
He noted that many laughed it off when he shared his vision but everything later became a reality to their surprise.
He said his son Ifemyoruchukwu was named Trump because he was born the day Donald Trump was sworn in as President of America, noting that the same way may people saw the surprise of how Trump won American election was the same way God has been surprising him with several opportunities.
He said contributions to the church and his community were devoid of any political motive show of wealth, as he noted that experience has taught him that giving did not have to be in times of financial abundance.
He also said that all he was doing was to alleviate the sufferings of his people, as well as complement the efforts of the Governor Ugwuanyi administration, noting that the governor has taken the challenge to develop the rural communities which past administrations had neglected.
Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Amb. Fidel Ayogu, who flagged off the hospital building project, commended Odumegwu, describing his gesture as not only timely, but also beyond imagination.
Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Igbo-Eze North LGA, Mr. Alex Urama noted that Odumegwu has also been a loyal party man who has been supporting the party in the local council.
Urama described his gesture as an exemplary conduct that should be emulated.