By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
It’s cool by me to stay out of the urban scene in the festive season in order to soak in the sweet breeze of village life.
People who complain that they had not heard from me for some time should please understand as I undertake to get down to brass tacks.
It was such a joy on New Year’s Day as I bore witness to a pulsating football final match at the ultra-new Umuchu Mini Stadium, a compelling facility facilitated by the phenomenal chairman of Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State, Dr. Chibueze Ofobuike.
The place used to be a local primary school field but has since been transformed to a modern mini stadium to behold in wonder by the youthful Chairman Ofobuike.
The Umuchu Mini Stadium is already reaping bountiful rewards with eminences such as four-time World Cup Star and Super Falcons Captain, Desire Oparanozie, leading her team to play a match with the Umuchu All-Stars team.
Also, a group of foreign scouts has come to watch young footballers from Aguata with the aim of selecting outstanding players.
Soon the world will be watching soccer maestros playing for the Manchester Clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan and Bayern Munich etc. brewed from Umuchu Mini Stadium!
The stadium was filled to capacity as the football side Great Minds FC defeated Young Stars FC 1-0 to win the maiden Ezeora Challenge Cup which N2.5 million prize money for the champion and runners-up was provided by the chairman’s family.
It was as carnival-like atmosphere in Umuchu Mini Stadium as Chairman Ofobuike presented the giant trophy and the medals at the end of the nerve-wracking match, and I could not but join the chairman and his beautiful sisters in a unifying dance of the people in the middle of the field.
The chairman, Prince Chibueze Ofobuike, is the son of the late legendary leader, Igwe IO Oforbuike, MFR, Ezeora I of Umuchu, whose all-encompassing clout in his storied lifetime ruled the waves.
Prince Chibueze has written and published a book, Lived to Lead: A Biography of His Royal Highness, Igwe Ignatius Onyeneme Ofobuike MFR (Ezeora I of Umuchu) on the life and times of his father Okaa-Omee Igwe IO Ofobuike, the departed and mourned chairman of Aguata Council of Chiefs.
My belief in bottom-to-top development is a policy that Chairman Ofobuike epitomizes, whence my writing this piece.
Dr. Ofobuike was a lecturer at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University before ascending the post of Aguata chairmanship.
He studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, showing his leadership credentials through his initiative as Lead Coordinator at Project Umuchu Future Icons.
He is married to the charming medical doctor, Dr. Chikosoro Ofobuike, and the marriage has recently been blessed with a daughter, Eririmma.
A redoubtable workaholic, Prince Ofobuike was busy at work barely a day after the Ezeora Challenge Cup final match, undertaking the 2024 Aguata Marathon in which Ejikeme Kenneth from Uga took the first position in the male category while Ibeh Saffron also from Uga took first in the female category, and the gold, silver and bronze winners were rewarded with the prize money of ₦500,000, ₦300,000 and ₦200,000 respectively.
Chairman Ofobuike had earlier launched the Yuletide season with the Aguata Christmas Carol of 9 Lessons that was attended by the entire Aguata LGA traditional rulers, president-generals, women and youth leaders.
A short piece such as this can hardly do justice to the multiform developmental projects being undertaken by Chairman Ofobuike, but it just suffices to highlight here the Nkpologwu Community Library.
The personable Prince states: “It gladdens my heart to see how far we have progressed in reconstructing a completely dilapidated library to becoming a landmark in the entire community.”
He has now “commenced the process of partnering with Microsoft and other top tech firms as we explore the possibility of furnishing the structure to become a tech hub for young people in the locality.”
An exemplary protégé of Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, Prince Ofobuike reveals that he is deeply inspired by the words of Soludo who stated in his Solution Manifesto that he will “work with development partners to deploy broadband access to schools across all levels and public libraries to improve access to internet for all…”
It is this vision that is driving the efforts at the Nkpologwu Community Library, and he looks “forward to the completion of this project and the transformation it promises.”
It needs to be recalled that Dr. Oby Ezekwesili as the chairman of the Joint Transition Committee of Governor Soludo had said while handing over her report thusly: “Chukwuma, in all you do and will be doing in this new task before you, work with people who have your DNA.”
It is indeed obvious that Dr. Chibueze Ofobuike has the Prof Soludo DNA!
A formidable tower of strength for Prince Ofobuike happens to be his doting mother, Lolo Chinwe Ofobuike, aka Ocheze, who at age 78 has just received from her son and daughter-in-law the great gift of a 23rd grandchild, Eririmma.
Dr. Chibueze Ofobuike is a reason to believe that Nigeria has a future via dynamic leadership.
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu is the author of God of Poetry.