By Chidi Emeagi
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At exactly 07:12am on Thursday, 26-11-2020, I had an unquenchable urge to write a piece about one man, one advantage and rare gift of God to many in our clime. I quickly dropped all I was doing, pondered a while and then after deep thoughts and radical retrospections, resolved to write on the above topic.
Nigerian Newsguide is a weekly newspaper that appears on the newsstands only on Mondays, and so Thursday was not a day to publish this wonderful piece.
Whilst waiting to fully develop the work, I decided to pen down a few lines and sent to the man of the moment vide SMS thus; “Let me be among the first to congratulate you on this special event in your life. You mean well for humanity and have stopped at nothing to touch many lives in several ways. May lines continue to fall in pleasant places for you and may angels of protection and longetivity never depart from your dwelling places, AMEN. Happy Birthday to you Rt. Hon. and God bless your home in Jesus name”.
These were my kind words for Hon. Ugonna Ozuruigbo (OZB) on his 43rd birthday anniversary, and the words in the real sense aptly though very brief captured the exact life and mission of Ugonna Ozuruigbo in this planet, earth.
Born on 26th November, 1977 to two thorough-bred educationists and teachers of note, Chief and Lolo Donatus Ozuruigbo of Umudurueze-Umozu, Nwangele Council Area of Imo State, Ugonna I must say, belong to the category of men who were born before their time as captured in one of Prof. Sanya Onabamiro’s historical books. Such men have their mental faculties operated wave-lengths outside the range of comprehension of their contemporaries.
It is not always safe for such men because of the raw power of vision they carry and how fast they climb the ladder of success. And to that extent, they easily become targets to enemies who sometimes put them to death because they were considered “threats” to the “stability” of their societies. But in Ugonna’s case I dare say, most of his enemies actually ”love” him because of his philanthropy, and may not plot evil against him.
Johannes Kepler was one of such men born before their time in the medieval age (1571). The man’s genius was so exceptional as to transcend those of all his scientific contemporaries in the whole of Europe. Though Kepler started as a mathematician but ended up an Astronomist. He was actually the man that discovered certain physical phenomena which enabled him to enunciate three laws governing the motion of the planet. His scientific work “Sommenium” was of tremendous importance in the development of space science. Keplar had earlier envisaged that the application of his laws could take and land men in the moon.
In a nutshell, by July 1969, nearly three and half centuries after Kepler concluded his research and died, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin possibly landed in the moon as brave astronauts, they were enabled by the brilliant research and discoveries of Johannes Kepler.
Back to our subject matter, Ugonna Ozuruigbo popularly known as OZB in his primary and secondary school days really manifested traits of a business/political genius of sort. During these times under review, young Ugonna saw his tomorrow (today) and religiously pursued that vision with great zeal and vigour. Upon graduation from Government College Owerri in 1995, he got admission into the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri to study Business Administration and left with OND in 1997. In 1998, he dumped polytechnic education for the University, securing admission in ABSU Uturu and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration in 2002, he was to do his mandatory NYSC programme in 2004.
During his studentship at Nekede and Uturu respectively, OZB engaged himself in all sorts of trades because he was certain within himself that graduating and waiting for a paid-job in a country like Nigeria was not actually for those on the speed lane. Having read Business Administration and Public Administration, Ugonna Ozuruigbo like my topic suggested is today an admixture of business and political genius but he transcended these two and explored another gift of his, which has to do with touching lives like never before and advancing humanity.
Before his graduation from the university, OZB was already a CEO, as he had fully ventured into communications, using Bourdex phone lines to assist customers connect their business partners and their loved ones within and outside the shores of Nigeria. Also in the university, he was a political god and asset to many student unions and was elected into various offices among which was SUG President ABSU and President Nwangele Students’ Association.
Having developed a solid business blueprint, an OZB was among the few who against all odds embraced and invested heavily in the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) at their formative stage and subsequently became sole dealer and earned franchise in MTN, Econet, Globacom etc. Till date, many youths think that OZB is a name of phone manufacturing company in the city of Owerri and beyond.
Today, Ugonna Ozuruigbo sits on the board of several blue chip companies in Nigeria and overseas. His companies which are into hospitality, communications, ICT, agriculture etc, include OZB Communications Ltd, Kelvic Suites & Towers Ltd, Victory Publications Ltd, Kelvic Farms Ltd, Kelvic Fast Food Ltd, among others.
Before his foray into politics which was not without a big bang, OZB was a well established young man, widely travelled, married with children and a devout Christian of the Roman Catholic denomination.
Just in his first outing as Member for Nwangele in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Ugonna Ozuruigbo re-defined Assembly representation in his constituency, lifting many out of the dungeon of poverty and misery with monies, scholarships, vehicles, etc. One good turn they say deserves another was actually what earned OZB a second term, he to the glory of God emerged the Deputy Speaker in 2015.
As number two in the house, he blossomed and got fully linked up with the state and national grid and attracted several roads, public utilities and employment opportunities to his area and people. During this time, hundreds of youths, men and women got heavy cash, cars, equipments etc with which they have been able to establish themselves thus becoming successful in life.
In 2019, young Ugonna like an unstoppable moving train was overwhelmingly elected into the Federal House of Representatives where he is doing all that Napoleon could not do for Ndi Nkwere, Isu, Nwangele and Njaba federal constituency. With a very powerful feed-back mechanism in place, he has been able to write his name with gold as a lawmaker and representative of a people.
In the House of Reps, OZB is among the first 25 much-sought-after legislators in Nigeria and has a number of masses oriented bills and motions to his credit. One of such bills is a bill to amend certain sections and provisions of the controversial CAMA law wherein the Christian-Faith, church freedom, rights and operations were so threatened and infringed upon.
Ugonna Ozuruigbo’s humility is orthodox and second to none, his smiles highly infectious and his milk of human kindness flow like rivers of living water.
Let me at this juncture inform you my reader that I have known Ugonna Ozuruigbo (OZB) as a friend for seventeen years now and he has neither betrayed me nor consciously or unconsciously exhibited any character or attitude that would warrant me regret ever coming in contact with him.
As you marked your birthday anniversary last week, I salute your courage in business and politics, your scandal-free private and public life. I commend you for your love and passion for the poor and down-trodden. I equally urge you to get prepared because I envisage you would become the NUMBER ONE in Imo sometime, someday because you have got the vision, experience, capacity, contact and most importantly the temperament a leader of such caliber requires. Jide kwa ka iji.
“And now may the peace of the Almighty God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind in the knowledge of God and his Son Jesus Christ-our Saviour, May the blessings and protection of God the father, Son and Holy Spirit remain and abide with you and family now and ever in Jesus name, Amen.” Happy birthday my friend and legislator par Excellence and happy many returns.