Aloysius Attah and Obinna Odogwu, Awka
It was a unique 60th birthday celebration for the former Central Bank governor, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, in Anambra recently, as his various supporters touched lives in different ways.
The All Soludo Support Groups, a coalition of various platforms promoting Soludo’s aspiration to be the next governor of Anambra State, donated N2 million for the enrolment and one-year health insurance coverage of 160 inmates of selected less privileged homes in the state.
The package also offered free health care to inmates of the Rehabilitation Centre for the Diseased, Old and Tramps, (RECDOT), Ozubulu; Faith Community Children’s Home, Awka, and Home for Mentally Challenged, Nteje.
The group further donated N500,000 each to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam, as an endowment fund for the Prof. Chukwuma Soludo Prize for the best graduating student from the Department of Economics.
Receiving the donation, executive secretary of the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi, appreciated the decision of the group to offer succour to the less privileged in a way different from what others had been doing.
“I feel great to identify with this great initiative. Your ideas are wonderful and deserve everyone’s attention,” he said, pledging to add his own donation to increase the number of beneficiaries by 30.
Earlier, presenting a cheque to the ASHIA, the chairman, All Soludo Support Group, Jude Emecheta, explained that the gesture was to demonstrate the ideals of Prof. Soludo, which include selflessness, sacrifice and service.
“Soludo has taught with his life story that nobody has any reason not to succeed in life. It is all about what you are ready to do for yourself. Self-pity does not help matters. We decide to give these palliatives in tandem with the mood of the times. However, we are creative in the sense that we would have given rice and beans as several others had done, but we believe that whoever has his or her hospital bills paid through the insurance scheme will feel better touched,” he said.
Secretary of the group, Dr. Nelson Omenugha said the group decided to celebrate somebody like Soludo who has used education and wisdom to impact his generation positively.
He described Soludo as an iconic human being who has left a scandal-free record in all his public life and should serve as a role model to the youths.
He said since Soludo is a renowned economist, the group decided to institute a cash prize of N100,000 for the best graduating student in the Department of Economics of each of the two universities for the next five years.
The vice chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, thanked Soludo supporters for their kind gesture, saying that the ex-CBN governor was a role model to be celebrated. He recalled his days at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and described Soludo as a high flier from the b beginning.
“Soludo is one person youths should look up to because he had a very humble background and rose through sheer hard work and God’s grace to become what he is today. When he became the CBN governor, the wonderful transformations he carried out were very evident. There are certain milestones in life that is worth celebrating,” he said.
Vice chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Prof. Greg Nwakoby, while receiving the delegation at the Igbariam Campus, noted that honesty and decency in public service have become scarce commodities in Nigeria. He said anyone that comes out of public service clean should be emulated. He lauded Soludo for his excellent character and performance in public life.
The event also featured presentation of prizes to winners of an essay competition on the theme “Analysing the Soludo Template for Africa’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The competition was organised by one of the groups under the All Soludo Support Groups.