• Kalu and others at the celebration
From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
From time immemorial, the Ohafia people in Abia State are known to be republicans, egalitarians and fervently independent. This explains why their core values seriously reject unilateralism.
Their worldview is powered by meritocratic ethos that frowns upon laggardness, shenanigan and laziness, but which supports a reward system that thrives on ethics that promote hard work, honesty, trust, and co-operation.
This is why in Ohafia, people who have served the community selflessly, upheld the standards and values of the land or distinguished themselves in philanthropy and patriotism are rewarded with traditional titles, which in itself is a mode of upward social mobility.
That is why the Ohafia pantheon of heroes bristles with celebrities like Prof. Eni Njoku, Prof Kalu Ezera, Dr Agbai, Prof Eme Awa, Chief N. N Nwandu, Ambassador Ochea Ikpa, Justice Kalu Anya, Brigadier Ogbugo Kalu, Dr Chukwuma Ijomah, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Commissioner Orji Okereke and Comrade Viktor Murray Kalu, all of blessed memory.
There are those who are still living including Dr Uma Eleazu, Chief Okwarra O. Osonwa, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, Lady Chief (Mrs) Julie Onum Nwariaku, Chief (Mrs) Inyang Olugu, Arch Nze Dike, Rev. (Dr) Uma Ukpai, Chief Nduka Onum, Prof.Charles Okpa Chiori Agwu (COCA), Prof U. U Uche, Chief Ulu Uka Mba,Chief Fab Uche, Chief Acho Ukaha of Petroleum Equalization Fund, Abuja and Orji Okoro Nwosu.
And not long ago, Elder Emmanuel Kalu, popularly known as EMMYKAY, the principal of Federal Government College, Ohafia, who has been breathing new life into structures that enhance the social and economic well of his people joined the league of Ohafia men of timber and caliber. He was recognized for his role in stepping out to make a positive difference in the lives of Nde-Ohafia.
About a year ago, the college was literally sinking into the pits, as well as drifting into the shadow of its former self. Delinquency in the school was said to have became higher than the national average as students in the boarding house broke bounds just as bullying became the order of the day.
The one-time college parents were proud to send their children to in the past became undesirable as class tutorials in core subjects dropped because academic members of staff were not motivated. This it was said made the teachers in the school to abandon their duty posts as they arranged transfers to other neighbouring institutions.
Thus the Ohafia community, which hitherto was a dominant player in education together with other stakeholders, was very upset that the unity school at the epicenter of its land was falling apart. The lack of amenities like water, electricity and hygienic toilet facilities did not help matters in the school. The civil society, parents as well as guardians were worried and complained to no end.
What went wrong? Why must a supposed centre of excellence go to the dogs? They queried as they vowed that something drastic must be done. Therefore, Kalu, like the biblical Paul was called to come to Mesopotamia and help us.
Kalu, a teacher and college administrator, imbued with awesome managerial competence agreed to go for the rescue mission. He left his plum job in Abuja, transferred to the college in Ohafia to clean the Augean stable at home.
Prior to his redeployment, he was the director and principal of Federal Government College, Rubochi, Abuja, and a screened candidate for the position of a Federal permanent secretary in 2015.
In no time Kalu assumed duties, he restored the dignity of the college and the standard of teaching and learning visibly came up to the admiration of the leaders of Ohafia. Indeed, this self-sacrifice never escaped the appreciative recognition of the traditional ruler of Ebem Ohafia, Eze SA Okorie, who singled him out for recognition.
In a special ceremony that attracted important dignitaries from the communities and beyond, he conferred on him the title of Obimba 1 of Ohafia and his wife, Omasiri, Obidiya 1 of Ohafia, in recognition of her tireless support for the well-being of her husband.
Kalu, who expressed gratitude to the people for recognizing his efforts said that he did not know that people were watching what he was doing. According to him, this is a lesson to people that if one is doing good or bad, there are eyes, which one may not know is watching one.
He advised Nigerians to be selfless in what they are doing, adding that one may not know when one’s time would come. He thanked the traditional ruler for the gesture and promised to do more wherever he was called upon to assist on any area of need to his fatherland.