Aloy Madu, Enugu
Chief Kenneth Ofordile is the National President of Enugu Progressive Social Club of Nigeria, one of the most prominent and active social clubs in the South East. Ofordile, a business tycoon and celebrated philanthropist who has impacted his club with his vision and mission of charity to the less privileged in society in this interview bares his mind on a variety of issues and developments in Enugu State, the South East and Nigeria at large, saying that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has done very well and would win the governorship election in a landslide.
Can we know the history of your club, as well as its vision and mission?
The Enugu Progressive Social Club of Nigeria was formed as one of the first social clubs worth the name in Enugu State and even in the South East. As a matter of fact, the club was not founded by any individual as such, but was formed by a group of like-minds and friends from the various walks of life and professions, based here in Enugu who constituted themselves into a club to actualize their collective vision in the society. The common denominator that bound the group together was a vision of service to the society, particularly in the area of charity and support for the less privileged in the society as well as other areas of social services in the form of providing support services to augment government efforts. Essentially, therefore, the vision and mission of the club revolve around philanthropy and social development. The other part of the club’s vision is to foster peace and unity in the society through advocacy and conflict resolution where conflicts occur and also to encourage good governance in leadership and politics through constructive advice to people in power.
How far has your club actualized this vision and mission?
Since its formation, Enugu Progressive Social Club of Nigeria has not been wanting in the pursuance of its declared vision and mission in the society as stipulated in its articles of association and aims and objectives as I earlier stated. For instance, at the end of each year, usually around the Christmas season, we normally pay visits to orphanages and old people’s homes around Enugu State and sometimes outside Enugu State to donate various food items, as well as money for the upkeep of the inmates. In addition, the club has donated various educational materials to many primary schools in Enugu State such as library and exercise books and stationaries.
We also visit hospitals, both public and private. The last time, we visited the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi to pay the bill of a discharged indigent patient amounting to hundreds of thousands of naira. In the course of our visits, we discovered many patients that had been discharged, but had no money to pay their bills and gain their freedom. I must admit that this is a very serious challenge. Last December, we visited Enugu State Teaching Hospital and requested the Chief Medical Director to give us the names of indigent patients in their hospital. Initially, a few of our members did not like this idea of hospital visitation, but after we visited the Park Lane Hospital, they turned to commend the whole exercise, evidently after witnessing the psychological stress experienced by these indigent patients and their relations. In the area of conflict resolution and crisis management, during the administration of former Governor Sullivan Chime when there was a feud between the governor and a faction of Enugu State House of Assembly led by former Speaker, Hon. Barrister Eugene Odoh, the Enugu Progressive Social Club of Nigeria was one of the several organizations that helped resolve the crisis amicably.
Is the membership of your club limited to indigenes of Enugu State and what are the qualifications for membership?
No, not at all. Enugu Progressive Social Club is made up of people from every part of the country, particularly in the South eastern part of the country. For instance, I am from Ezeagu Local Government of Enugu State while my deputy is from Idemili Local Government Area of Anambra State. Mazi Omife I. Omife, (Mbuze Mbaukwu), our PRO, is from Anambra State. Enugu Progressive Social Club of Nigeria is made up of people of high morals and integrity. The qualifications for membership re- quire first and foremost among other things that one is a man of honour and integrity and has a mind of char- ity and assistance to others in need. The person must also possess a spirit of patriotism and service to the society and humanity. More importantly, a prospective member must not be a person convicted of any crimi- nal offence or a person with any dent in character. That is why we screen prospective members thoroughly be- fore admitting them into the club.
How do you see the present administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and what is your club’s relationship with his administration?
In the first place, as a club that is made up of progressive oriented people and whose vision and mission are anchored on peace and progress, Enugu Progressive Social Club has a policy of supporting every government in power by way of supporting its progressive policies and programmes. Coming to the present administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Gbururgburu, you don’t need anybody to tell you that his administration has proved to be the most progressive, people-oriented and result-oriented administration in the history of Enugu State. In only three years in office, Governor Ugwuanyi has surpassed all known records of performance and populist programmes and projects in the history of Enugu State. Enugu State has never had it so good under Governor Ugwuanyi. Look at the way he has transformed our rural areas in just three years. The governor is opening up and empowering rural communities and rural farmers for more effective harvest and also be able to transport their produce to sell in urban centers. More people are now moving into agriculture due to access roads to arable land within their communities. All these translate to rural development. Not only that, Governor Ugwuanyi is among the only three governors in Nigeria that has continued to pay workers’ salaries before the end of each month and also paying pensions and other allowances. Last year, he paid 13th month salary to all categories of workers in the state. Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is a man of peace and humble character with the fear of God in performing his duties. He is a role model in governance. He has brought peace and security in Enugu State, especially in the area of herdsmen and farmers conflict, making Enugu State the acclaimed safest state in Nigeria. And so many other achievements, which there is no time to mention here. If the governor has done this in only three years, can you imagine what Enugu State will look like in 2023 when his tenure will end? Like Dubai, of course. Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has proved that he is a man with profound concern for the welfare of the masses. He has made life easy for the people of Enugu State. We really thank God for bringing a person like Governor Ugwuanyi as our governor because he is a Messiah in the true meaning of the term.
From what you have said, you think Governor Ugwuanyi will be returned for a second term next year?
One hundred per cent certain. And he is going to be returned with a greater landslide victory than 2015. If he could win with a an overwhelming landslide in 2015 when few people knew him or his leadership capabilities, how much more today when he has shown an unprecedented level of leadership quality and record of achievements? Your guess is as good as mine. Go to any community in Enugu State today. Everybody, young and old, men, women, youths, children, everybody is singing Governor Ugwuanyi’s praises. So, nobody is going to stop him because he deserves a second tenure based on his achievements.