From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The President and founder of the Christian Leadership Foundation, Apostle Chinonyerem Clinton Amaechi, has described the former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as a detribalised Nigerian and deserves the support of all Nigerians.
He also disclosed that he is meeting with the then Vice President in 2002 as a JSS 3 pupil of Holy Ghost College Owerri in Imo state changed his life for the better.
Apostle Amaechi, who is visually-impaired, and a native of Obibi Amaumara, in Ezinhitte Mbaise council area of Imo State. stated this in Owerri, Imo State capital, while addressing select journalists. According to him, the PDP candidate is a detribalised Nigerian and should be supported by Nigerians.
The erstwhile state chairman of persons living with disabilities said, “I am convinced beyond doubt that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar stands out as the best for the presidency, and should deserve a shot at Aso Rock come 2023. I will be more than happy to join his campaign team if called upon to so do.”
Recalling his dramatic meeting with the then vice president, Amaechi he said that as a JSS 3 blind student of the Holy Ghost College Owerri with special needs to aid his education but could not get help anywhere.
He said that out of desperation when he heard on air that the then vice president was going to be the guest of the then administration of Chief Achike Udenwa in Owerri in 2002 he was determined to brave the odds to get the attention of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“I remember having approached the then SA to the then governor of the state, Chief Achike Udenwa, for help but was turned down by him for reasons best known to him. Along the line, I head over the air of a dinner being organized for the then Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Waziri), by the then Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Chief Achike Udenwa, and I thought that could be an opportunity for me to explore; perhaps, I could meet with the then Vice President of Nigeria and cry out to him for help,” he said.
Continuing, he said: “But upon enquiry at the State Government House, I was told that my dream was an impossible one, that there was simply no way I could meet with the guest, more so, attendance at the dinner was strictly by invitation. Look at small Me, a Teenager, and blind on top of it all, of a very humble family background, how on earth would I have been invited to such a function, organized to receive and honour the Vice President of the Federation? I mapped out a strategy that could ensure I was at the venue of the dinner, which was Imo Concord Hotels, Owerri, and indeed, I was there on D-day. First, the security men refused me entry into Sam Mbakwe hall, where the actual dinner was to take place. So, I remained within the premises, still contemplating what next to do. While standing and waiting, some well-known politicians from the State approached me and requested that I leave the premises. It was like, who brought this small blind boy here? Let him be taken away immediately before our guest arrives. Shortly thereafter, there was a signal to the security men to clear the way for the arrival of the then Vice President and his entourage. Suddenly, I heard the unmistakable voice of the then Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, and I made effort to approach him. In the ensuing drama, the security men attempted to block me, but I was shouting at the top of my voice that I want to see Atiku.
“The then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Waziri), beckoned on the security men to stop, and he stretched out his hand and held me, saying, ‘young man, what do you want? I am Atiku!’ My whole body vibrated upon hearing his voice, but I managed to express myself and my problems. Touched about my condition, he directed one of his PA to take accurate records of all my needs, which was promptly done, and I left the venue, filled with joy and hope. A lot of my friends didn’t believe I actually met Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Amaechi further recalled that “The then Vice President shortly after sent his team to my village but when they did not see me there, as I had left for Aba to spend some time with a relation during the holidays. They were given an address by people and they traced me to where I was at Aba, picked me up with an uncle of mine, and took us straight to Aso Rock, Abuja to meet with the Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and for 3 weeks, my uncle and I were lodged in a hotel, while an assistant of the Vice President was sent to the United States of America to purchase that special equipment I had demanded. True to his words, it wasn’t long and the assistant returned with everything I had requested for. Not one item was missing.
He further disclosed that then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, now the presidential flag bearer of one of the major political parties in Nigeria, the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), held an event, well attended by the media, electronic and print, where those materials were officially handed over to him.
This he said basically demonstrates how friendly and approachable the man Atiku could be.
“Since 2002 till date, in all my activism, I have not found a Nigerian more detribalized than Atiku, that in spite of my not being from the North, he still cared about my needs! Though I am a Christian and not a Muslim, yet he bothered about my needs! Though blind, poor and wretched, yet he humbled himself to reach out to me.”