For quite some time now, your darling back page column of Nigerian Newsguide popularly known as FACT CHANNEL has been on sabbatical, reason was not because yours sincerely ran out of issues or topics to write on, or that inspirations and ideas were not forthcoming. Nay, it was basically because of the exigencies of duty on one hand and secondly, our back page was on high demand and policy changed a little to the extent that we yielded and submitted whole and entire to the Igbo proverb that says; Ahu ihe ka ubi, ere oba – when something more valuable than the farm is being considered, the yam barn could be sold out.
Today by His divine permission and Grace, I am back on the column and would very reasonably, exhaustively and exclusively consider one man in this life whose love for humanity and regard for the hoi-polloi is immeasurable.
Yes, he was a career civil servant that rose through the ranks and eventually got to the peak of his career, first becoming Director of Public health and Primary health in Imo state Ministry of Health and subsequently a Permanent Secretary as well as Principal Secretary to a former Imo State Governor.
Though he is now retired or disengaged from civil service but definitely not on the grounds of either biological age or years of service but because the seasoned bureaucrat and world class optometrist was appalled about the gap in leadership, dearth of public utilities in his area and more so, the pitiable state of, and obvious under-representation of a people that oughtn’t to be unfairly treated in the first instance due to who and what they were in the past, hence his adventure into partisan politics.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not referring to no less a person than Dr. Paschal Chigozie Obi, OD,KSM, the honorable Member for Ideato North and Ideato South in the House of Representatives, Abuja. This great Alumnus of Old Imo State University Uturu now Abia State University is a great son of eminent father and mother – Late Chief Edwin Eluwa Obi Mmeje and Lolo Virginia Obi of Umuduruanyanwu in Obiohia community of Ideato South Council Area of Imo State.
He had good and solid academic foundation laid for him by his parents to the point that at 17 years, he had already left secondary school and headed for Uturu for a sound Doctor of Optometry degree (OD) which he bagged in 1993.
Obi had a brief teaching career as Lecturer at King Saud University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and later worked upon his return to Nigeria with the famous Niger Optical Services from where he joined Imo State Civil Service in 1998 on grade level 12. The visionary public servant attended several conferences and workshops both within and outside Nigeria that actually prepared him for higher public responsibilities.
In 2011, then Imo state governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha spotted him, his diligence and ingenuity and made an Obi Permanent Secretary and Principal Secretary to the governor, a position he held until 2018 when he opted out for politics.
Obi’s vision while in active un-dented public service was to toe the route of politics and power upon retirement or resignation just to ensure that the sad political narratives of his Ideato people were practically changed and by so doing, directly blessing his beloved ones using power instrument.
Today Paschal Chigozie Obi has only spent less than two years in the Green Chambers of the National Assembly but many people even outside his constituency think he is a second time lawmaker because of his enviable record and achievements unlike his predecessors.
Obi since 2015 had been in the business of academically helping hundreds of students from his area by paying and registering them for WEAC and other external examinations including bursary to many studying in higher institutions through his Equity Foundation, a feat he has sustained till date.
As a Federal lawmaker, Dr Paschal Obi, a Knight of St Mulumba in the Roman Catholic Church and goes with the chieftaincy title of Ugwumsinachi has written his name in gold in the area of attracting federal projects and institutions to his Ideato Area. And because he is among the best cum much-sought-after legislators in the National Assembly, agencies of government always seek his inputs in policy formulation and implementation more particularly in the health sector. He is Chair House of Reps Committee on Health Institutions, a position rarely given to first timers and he practically leverages on the powers inherent in this committee to give tens and dozens of Ideato graduates mega jobs in top flight health institutions across Nigeria.
Only recently, the action-packed lawmaker surprised many Imolites when he took the bull by the horn by using the instrument of his strategic committee on health institutions to establish Federal Medical Centre, FMC Owerri annex in his Ideato constituency. His idea was that his people needed a good medical facility like FMC in Ideato so as to stop incessant death of patients who don’t usually make it to Owerri because of the distance.
Today, the FMC Annex in Ideato is a dream come true and would certainly not only serve the purpose for which it was attracted but go a long way to give Ideato people more jobs to the glory of God.
In the area of youth empowerment and constituency briefing, Paschal Obi is unbeatable. He has always briefed and empowered his constituents on quarterly basis with good equipments and reasonable cash. He had the mother of all constituency briefings/empowerment on 14th December, 2020 wherein hundreds of women, youths and men smiled home with various empowerment items including vehicles, Tricycles motorcycles, sewing machines, grinding machines, cash and lots more.
At that singular December 14th, 2020 event, most Ideato religious and political leaders including former Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Traditional rulers and youth leaders described Dr Obi as the best lawmaker they have ever had and prayed God to protect and bless him the more.
Though I am not from Ideato but I join them in appreciating the good works of this quintessential lawmaker and humanist of no mean measure. I see Obi and will always describe him as a visionary public servant who took the route of power and politics with the sole intendment of lifting his people out of the dungeon of misery, darkness and under-representation to a refreshing level land of abundant light where they are simply blessed and will continue to be blessed. To God be the Glory.