Chuks Onuoha, Aba
It was unconcealed excitement as members of the Ridge Club, Umuahia, Abia State, recently gathered to celebrate its 100 years of existence.
The occasion was also used to launch the new clubhouse in Umuahia. It was a day of fanfare, which the members might not forget in a hurry.
The chairman of the club, Sir Uchenna Dike, said the journey of the new clubhouse was started by his predecessors and the baton was passed on to him. He thanked members and non-members alike who contributed to the success of the project.
He explained that the club was founded for the advancement and promotion of sports, social and recreational activities for members, and not for profit. He revealed that, through the club’s activities over the years, people from all parts of the state, irrespective of tribe or religion, have been united in preaching peace and prosperity.
Making known some of the challenges facing the club, he said that electricity, perimeter fence, furniture and utility bus were major priorities. He called for assistance from kind-hearted Nigerians to fill the gap.
The chairman thanked the governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, for gracing the occasion. He asked for more support from the number one citizen in order to tackle the club’s needs.
The governor, who inaugurated the clubhouse, was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Chris Ezem. He advised members to show good conduct, according to the rules and regulations of the club.
At the occasion, 83 members were inducted into the club, which was said to be the first of its kind since its establishment by the British colonial masters.
The chairman on the occasion, Pastor Emeka Inyama, a former commissioner in the state, urged members to show more support and commitment to the progress of the club. He charged the new members to bring on board values that would increase the integrity of the club, which would attract more people to become members.
An inductee, Chief Emmanuel Egwu, said what inspired him to join the club was the calibre of men he saw the first day he visited the club.
“The members are fathers, grandfathers, even great-grandfathers, as well as men that are filled with wisdom and understanding. This is not a place for people with questionable character.
“The processes of screening and admission are not too difficult. It is more of you knowing who you are in terms of your history, character and morality. You must be somebody that everyone can vouch for before you can be accepted. The benefits of becoming a member are numerous. When you get old, you come here to also dish out knowledge and wisdom to the younger ones,” Egwu said.
Another inductee, Chief Sam Hart, described the club as a prestigious one, adding that the club has social and economic benefits.
“I discovered that all they do here is not just to share friendship, sporting activities or relax and unwind. One is privileged to sit in a social environment like this with highly respected individuals, senior government officials, and captains of industry. This amounts to business benefit too because it gives room for networking,” Hart said.
The traditional ruler of Umukabia autonomous community, Eze Uzor Nwosu, said that the club affords every member the opportunity to be informed of happenings in society, especially as they unfold.
He advised new members to be focused in whatever they do, and be humble to learn from the old members by tapping from their wisdom and fountain of experiences.