From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
It was jubilation galore recently at Nsukka and adjoining villages in Enugu State when a philanthropist, Dr Joel Rotechukwu Ugwoke, marked his 40th birthday with the less privileged.
As a mark of honour different celebrities from the Nigeria’s entertainment industry stormed the sleepy university town to add colour to the celebration as Ugwoke, the Managing Director, Golden Valley Hotels, Nsukka, visited an orphanage, donated to a local church during thanksgiving and empowered widows.
The celebrities include Nollywood bigwigs like the legendary Chief Pete Edochie, Steve Eboh (Ajebo) and Tony One Week. They accompanied him, on the first day, to the Divine Wounds Orphanage Home located in far away Ogbodu community, Enugu-Ezike, where the celebrant kick-started the celebration with more than 100 orphans.
The children who could not hide their excitement as their visitors offloaded various gift items ranging from foodstuffs, beverages, drinks, toiletries, among others ran into the arms of the celebrities for warm embraces.
Receiving the delegation on behalf of the Proprietress, Rev. Sister Martina Oforka, a volunteer, Mrs. Nwokolo Appolonia revealed that the Catholic nun who runs the home was away to a hospital where she took a sick woman for medical attention as part of her humanitarian works.
She said that the children whose care and feeding rests squarely on the shoulders of the Rev Sister survive on the assistance of public-spirited individuals like Ugwoke who visited them with his friends. The children who were mostly delighted to see movie stars they had only seen only in posters and on television before now thanked the celebrant for his kind gesture.
Ugwoke in a brief remark said he was marking his birthday with his five-year-old daughter, Munachiso, who she said felt that the best way to do that was to fete other children who are presently under the care of foster parents. He presented a cheque bearing an undisclosed amount of money to the home for use in the upkeep of the children even as they cut and ate the birthday cake amidst joy. It was an emotional moment as the children gave a heart-rending song before capping it with a soul-lifting prayer for their benefactor, family members and friends that visited them.