It was Stephen Grellet who said, ‘’ I shall pass through this world but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, let me do it now; let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again’’. Giving credence to J. Walch’s avowal: ‘’ God make my life a little staff, whereon the weak can rest; that so what health and strength I have may serve my neighbours best.’’
These words captures the philosophy of life of a veritable mountain of a man, late Senator Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu, who as a loving family man, a consummate public servant, an astute business man cum politician and philanthropist, ironically, through simplicity of character, humility, philanthropy and love for fellow men advanced to become the greatest politician of his generation.
Indeed, at every point in time you bring this kind hearted man into perspective there is so much to say, and so much to learn, that, time would always be a restraint. Yet, despite the choking presence of time there is this unseen hand compelling you to do the needful at least to give an insight no matter how unsatisfactory into his clearly inspiring and productive life, as not to try at all will amount to a disservice to the energy, sincerity, passion and commitment he throws Into mentorship and friendship, something most of us who benefited from him can attest to.
To be sure, the lofty height which this spirited giver climbed in life was never achieved by hook or crook. He attained this height by single minded focus, determination, courage of conviction and the manifestation of the truism that givers never lack. He is one of the major protagonists of the belief that Ndi Igbo and Nigeria our great country can only make meaningful and sustainable progress if human capital development and youth and women involvement in governance is honestly promoted and truthfully mainstreamed in the socio-economic and political realms of our existence. Though, this quest may seem an ordinary thing to an ordinary Nigerian and a mere waste of time by the chauvinists, it is not so for him. From the outset this is an important milestone, but then, his unyielding spirit continued to propel him into initiating, and carrying out practical actions, geared toward the total emancipation of woman and youths in his life time. As it is today, though this tall order is far from being actualized, the giant strides he recorded during his tenure as the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, have become a big source of hope that one day that much longed dream will be realized and even surpassed.
Born on the 30th of June 1965 to a wealthy Igbo family, his father, late Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu, who is from Ihitte-Uboma local government area of Imo State, was a business man, industrialist, philanthropist and a renowned politician who used his wealth to provide for the needy, irrespective of personal, ethnic or religious affiliations, as well as, better the lot of so many people by sponsoring and supporting aspiring Nigerian’s of good conscience like, Dee Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, Chief. Dr Nnamadi Azikiwe and many others who at their time delivered the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people. He had his early education in Imo State and later went abroad to seek higher education and exposure in preparedness of the task that lied ahead of him.
Consequent on his return from abroad and the demise of his father, he took over and become a prominent industrialist, business tycoon and politician at a very young age. He funded the Social Democratic Party, SDP and later became the youngest political party chairman of SDP and the Imo State coordinator of Chief MKO Abiola’s presidential campaign organization. He contested for several elective positions before the mantle of leadership fell on him as the Speaker of the state Assembly and member representing his people of Ihitte-Uboma in the Imo State House Assembly.
Under his peaceful, harmonious and uninterrupted 4 years rule at the State Assembly, education in the state became free up to tertiary level, salaries were paid promptly, crime reduced to the barest minimum, new school were built, roads were constructed, new cities were developed, the Assembly complex was completely renovated and new offices constructed, new general hospitals were built, Owerri capital city was developed at per with other major cities of Okigwe and Orlu, rural roads were asphalted, industries were revitalized, impactful laws were enacted, life changing motions were passed, constituency projects were executed, higher institutions were attracted, markets were also built, while human capacity building and empowerment for youths and women were handled with upmost respect owing to the impactful laws and motions passed by the House, as well as, the stability in which Uwajumogu’s peaceful disposition, transparency and strong leadership made possible.
His emphasis on transparency and accountability, laws and motions targeted towards improving the states internally generated revenue, investments that will guarantee economic growth and sustain institutions, employment and human capital development and close relationship with order arms of government according to the principal of separation of powers played complementary role in the setting of the state government policies for the future of the state.
No doubt, late senator Uwajumogu as a man of the people took it upon himself to use the platform of his office to address inequalities that had until his ascension as a Speaker apparently smeared his zone and constituency. He negotiated and championed the following projects in the six local governments the makeup Okigwe zone. The construction of over 15 km of rural roads, construction of six general hospital, construction of new schools in each electoral ward.
Other projects includes, the Obowu Malaysian market, the attraction of three tertiary institutions in the zone, the Okigwe urban renewal projects, that facilitated the installation of stainless steel street lights and the construction of a cultural centre by the state governor, youth and women empowerments, construction and development of new cities and many other projects, as well as facilitation of appointments, admissions and employment to deserving Okigwe sons and daughters. Some of this projects he has vowed to complete if he is elected a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
From his days at Nigerian Shippers Council which afforded him the opportunity to crisscross the 36 states of the federation, to his days as the no one lawmaker in Imo state, Odokara Ome, stood out as a man who can be trusted and a model of excellence, selflessness, philanthropy, and hard work by spurning the attraction of graft, corruption, wickedness and nepotism. It did not come as a surprise that he broke the records of delivering service and projects to his people of Ihitte-Uboma local government council by attracting and executing, life changing projects.
Which includes, the Imo State College of Education, over 25km of asphalted roads, construction of new schools in all electoral wards, renovation of health centers and construction of a brand new general hospital, donation of transformers and electric cables, sinking of solar powered bore holes, construction of stalls to facilitate trade and various empowerment programmes that facilitated the empowerment and scholarship of over 7000 Ihitte-Uboma indigenes, as well as, remained true to his family ideology of trustworthiness, accessibility and philanthropy, which brought to bear his celebrated constituency relations skills, open-mindedness and non-judge mental attitude that transformed his town into an economic hub within 4 years and earned him the reputation of the architect of modern Ihitte-uboma local government area.
Indeed Benjamin Uwajumogu’s visionary and spectacular performance in the Imo state House of Assembly, from 2011 to 2015 accelerated and sustained economic growth and infrastructural renaissance in the state, as well as, earned the House its respected status as the most productive House of Assembly in Nigeria and the second best House in Nigeria, as adjudged by the Revenue Mobilization And Fiscal Commission Abuja.
No wonder, this selfless leader who placed high value on his people and state above self-interest, had an eventful political career , delivering the dividends of democracy to his people and touching lives, mine is one of such lives he touched.
Beyond the favour of appointment, beyond his personal interest in my future, like many others, I will remain grateful to God for allowing me drink from the fountain of love and goodwill that separated this specimen of God’s abundant grace from every day politician. Indeed, this has nourished me awesomely and made me the man that I had always wanted to become.And today The pain of losing this man is immeasurable but I know that the biggest star in the sky that is shining the most is my late Boas. Odokara, I hope you are living well in the world of the creator.
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