From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
People of Akwaeze community, Anaocha Local Government Area , Anambra State, are excited over the positive interventions of an illustrious son of the community, Chief John Ezeanidike, who has deployed his personal resources to fight joblessness, crime and drug addiction in their community.
Daily Sun gathered that Ezeanidike, popularly known as Ikemba Akwaeze, using his Ezeanidike Foundation, has given scholarships to some students from Akwaeze, facilitated employment opportunities for his people and also trained others in various skills programmess.
Chairman of the foundation, Chief Osita Udemba, disclosed that it was in the wake of the rising spate of drug addiction, especially the abuse of the deadly substance methamphetamine (mkpurumiri) in some communities in the South East, coupled with incidents of crime perpetrated by some idle youths that the board of trustees of Ezeanidike Foundation decided on the urgent need to provide a home-grown solution to keep busy other jobless youths without higher educational certificates in Akawaeze community, after extensive deliberations.
He said the board came up with the idea of empowering the youths with tricycles for commercial transportation, and Ezeanidike agreed to finance the project.
At the last count, 84 Akwaeze youths had benefited from the empowerment scheme, with positive testimonies of personal achievements recorded by the beneficiaries and reduction of criminal activities in the community.
Recently, the last 10 beneficiaries of the scheme were handed new tricycles at the palace of the traditional ruler of Akwaeze, Igwe Ndubuisi Okpala.
They were all smiles as they received the registration particulars of the tricycles, each with N30,000 cash to help them register in their respective tricycle unions and also take off the transport business without additional hassles.
Speaking during the ceremony, Igwe Okpala expressed delight at the noble gesture of the foundation. He described Ezeanidike as someone who has shown passion and commitment to the growth and welfare of Akwaeze people.
Igwe Okpala remarked that Ezeanidike has continually detached himself from unnecessary praise-singing; he does not even know any single person personally among the 84 beneficiaries so far, since he does not interfere in the running of the foundation’s activities.
“He looked around and decided to tackle unemployment and idleness in Akwaeze. Today, youth restiveness, crime and other vices have taken flight in our community because all the beneficiaries now see where they get their daily returns and take care of their families,” he said.
Udemba, who spoke on behalf of the founder, recalled that the educational aspect of the foundation has been operating for the past 12 years but the business aspect took of with 33 tricycles in December 2020.
He said the second batch was 10 tricycles at Easter 2021, another 10 in June 2021 and another 21 in December 2021, before the latest batch of 10 in May 2022, bringing it to total of 84 tricycles so far distributed.
He said the progress and wellbeing of Akwaeze have always been uppermost in Ezeanidike’s heart and also urged the beneficiaries to live up to expectations, which will make them worthy sons and ambassadors of Akwaeze.
A facilitator and former senior special assistant to the executive governor of Anambra State on youth empowerment, Hon. Somtoo Anyaeche, lauded Ezeanidike for his silent revolutionary activities in his community without any political interest.
He said the philanthropist has challenged the youths to also invest in human capital development, which he described as the best form of development.
On his part, the president-general of Akwaeze Town Union, Chief Ignatius Maduka, charged the recipients to be more responsible and help security personnel to monitor activities in the town as they use the tricycles mostly in the hinterlands.
Two recipients of the gift, Mr. Chukwuebuka Okafor and Mr. Obidi Okpala, expressed happiness, noting that the foundation has given them wings to fly high. They promised that they woould not disappoint the foundation.