Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Diamond Bank, Dr Alex Otti, recently took philanthropy to the next level when he provided succour for 18 Abia indigent patients. The patients who were on admission at Madonna Catholic Hospital, Umuahia, Abia State, were discharged, but had no money to pay for their hospital bills and had remained in the hospital in periods varying from two weeks to six months.
According to Rev Fr Anokwuru Christian Uche, the administration of the hospital, succour came the way of the 18 patients when Otti, now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), came to see one of his friends who was on admission at the hospital, Chief Michael Irom.
Rev Fr Uche explained that after seeing his friend, as Otii was about to leave, some of the patients recognized and beseech him to assist them in the payment of their hospital bills.
‘When some patients who had been discharged but had no money to pay for the hospital bills saw Otti, they beseeched him for help. Otti promised to help them and asked them to write down their names and 18 patients whose bills ranged from N50,000 to N1.1 million wrote their names.’
It was gathered that immediately Otti made the promise, before he could even redeem it, some of the patients started leaving the hospital, saying since he had pledged, he would make good his promise.
Those of them, who had made deposits before Otti’s visit, asked the hospital to refund them and they were duly refunded.
Lauding Otti for his philanthropic gesture when Chief Mike Akpara, one of his aides came to redeem the pledge made by his principal, Rev Fr Uche said he would have loved the amount the former banker spent on the patients mentioned as it ran into millions of naira, but since Otti never permitted that, the hospital management had no choice.
‘I thank Otti immensely for his generosity, his humility. You recall that Otti made generous donation of PPEs to the hospital for COVID-19 and they were given freely to patients according to his wish.’
He called on other good spirited individuals and corporate organizations to emulate Otti’s good gesture.
Some of the patients, including Chief Irom, commended Otti for his benevolence in paying the hospital bills of some of the patients who were discharged but had no money to pay their bills.
‘Some of the patients had stayed for six months after they were discharged because they could not pay their hospital bills, but with what Otti did, they were allowed home.’
Another patient, Ikechukwu Madumere said: ‘We are very grateful. Dr Alex Otti came here to see his friend, when he was about to leave, some of the patients who were discharge and had stayed back for between weeks to six months because there was no money to pay and go, approached him for help.
‘He gave instruction that they should write the names of those discharged, that he will pay and he has done that and I am praying that God will help him in all his endeavours.’
Madumere, who said he had major surgery twice and his bill was N1.1 million, explained how difficult it was for him to settle the bill until Otti came to save him from what he said could have been public embarrassment.
Ferdinand Ekeoma, media aide to Otti, said what his principal did had no political undertone as this was not the first time he was assisting people in need.
‘What Otti did was accidental just like what he did at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia last year, it is a regular occurrence and I think whoever is bringing politics into this is trying to be mischievous,’ Ekeoma said.