This is the type of life changing experience that one usually comes across either in the Bible or in fairytales, but I was a witness to this event, and I so testify…
Chukwuebuka Asika was a struggling boy who finished secondary school, took JAMB twice without success and ended up a road sweeper, starting out to work cleaning the city streets as early as 5:00a.m every day.
The only child of his parents has as passion singing and music, which he uses his spare time to practice. This frequently pitched him on a collision course with his father who felt he was wasting his time. He joined his church choir a few years ago, and mother luck shined on him recently on the day of the Festival of Nine Lessons at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu.
He performed the ‘Largo Al Factorum’ from Rossini’s Opera The Barber of Seville. It was a powerful rendition. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was a guest at the event was awestruck; So was the audience. The governor asked him right there and then… “Make a wish….”
Chukwuebuka dreamt of owning a design house and a tailoring training institute. Instantly, Governor Ugwuanyi doled out a largesse, which had this poor guy shedding tears and rolling on the floor. He literally had to be straitjacketed or he would have injured himself. It was a tear-jerking moment for many of us present.
Today, Chukwuebuka is actualising his dream, acquiring floor space, industrial machine and generator, and other equipment for his institute. When we tracked him down recently, he had this to say… “I am just a struggling boy from Atta, Ikeduru Local Government Area in Imo State. I love to sing. My parents never believed any good could come from this. I used to feel I disappointed them, being their only child, but I never gave up. Who will believe that a road sweeper like me will experience this good fortune from a stranger? I never got the chance to thank Governor Ugwuanyi for changing my life. I pray God to meet him at every point of his need as he has done for me”.
At a function yesterday I reminded Governor Ugwuanyi of his act of benevolence which he had almost forgotten, and he simply said… “Ambassador, I was a child of poor parents, so I have walked a few miles in that boy’s shoes. Our fate in this life lies in the hands of God”.
I start this New Year with saying Bravo to an exemplary and compassionate leader, a shepherd of dreams, a humble servant of his people, magnanimous to his predecessors; benevolent to his benefactors, a destiny changer. Again I say, may your shadow never grow Dim.
To all struggling youth out there, never give up on your God-given talent. Patience and perseverance are the true conquerors of time….
• Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu is former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain and widow of Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (Ezeigbo Gburugburu).