*I am a man of big dreams…a product of possibilities – Godwin Maduka*
Godwin Maduka is a philanthropist who owns a foundation with the aim of reaching out to the needy. In this interview, he talks about what it takes to be a leader, its challenges, and more. Excerpts:
*It was not long that your foundation was commissioned. What is your vision for it*?
I believe that all that is not given is lost, and the good book makes us understand that the only metric by which we will be judged is our attitude towards the needy. Every person in need is my neighbour, according to the story of the Good Samaritan. So, the essence of the foundation is to give succour to the needy, especially women, children and the youth. The foundation has been in existence for almost forty years but we want to institutionalize it. We plan on expanding the scope of our charity and structures so it outlives me. More importantly, we want to teach people how to fish instead of just giving them fish.
*How do you feel about the yearning of youths to take over governance in Nigeria*?
Being a youth is not just about age. It is a mindset, an orientation. Youthfulness is simply being progressive, being mentally in touch with current realities and always ready to learn, unlearn and relearn. Someone who is in his twenties and yet impervious to change, like a 19th century rock cannot be called a youth. Being a youth implies being upwardly mobile in thinking and perception without being fickle minded. Someone in his seventies can be young at heart. In the just concluded US elections, the top three contenders – Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are all in their seventies. But they all understand where America should be and her special place in the affairs of the world. Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa at an old age yet he demonstrated a leadership that brought together his nation that was sharply divided and was suffering from the scars of apartheid. Someone can possess such capacity at a young age too and become an effective leader. An example of such is President Macron of France. Bottom line, leadership is all about capacity. So I believe that the field should be made open for both young people by age and young people at heart.
*There is this notion that philanthropists like you fail in leadership. What do you have to say about this*?
Leadership is the highest demonstration of philanthropy. It is so because it is the best means of changing a society’s trajectory and affecting people’s lives on a mass scale, not just a particular segment of the society. Leadership is sacrifice. It is self-denial and that is what philanthropy is. Any philanthropy without sacrifice is no philanthropy. Most times what we see in this clime is transactional and self-centred philanthropy. People give because they want something in return, not for love of humanity. I don’t believe people fail in leadership because they are philanthropists. As you know, even people who are not philanthropists also fail in leadership. Therefore, primarily, leadership is about capacity, a reflection of vision, sound judgment, will and humility.
*Why do you think some leaders fail*?
Leadership is team effort. There is a very high probability of success in leadership if you have the capacity and the right team, people who can add value to your vision and who have the courage to speak truth to power when you derail, not praise singers, sycophants and court jesters. Leadership is a serious job, and with the myriad of challenges facing Anambra today, it is a tougher call. It doesn’t call for partying.
*There was this report about your comment on the need to build 21 universities across the 21 local governments of Anambra State. Kindly elaborate on what you were trying to say*.
The fourth estate of the realm is very vital in the development of every modern society. They act as a check on the excesses of those in power, mirror issues in the society and help start a conversation on them. However, sometimes, the quest to sell overshadows their dedication to proper journalistic tenets. Sensationalism takes over qualitative and investigative reporting.
There are what lawyers call literal interpretation and liberal or purposive interpretation. The purposive interpretation tends to look at the intent of the statement or the purpose the statement is meant to achieve, not the literal meaning, and in this case, the intent of my statement is basically my passion and belief in education as the easiest and best means of human capacity development. Actually, people understood what I said literally, hence the sensation and not in the purposive sense of the fact that I want to prioritize education. If you recall, when Dr Tunji Braithwaite was running for presidential election, he would always say that he wanted to relocate the residents of Ikoyi to Mushin and Mushin residents to Ikoyi. People got mad, but then, people understood the literal meaning of the statement rather than the liberal or purposive explanation. He was simply implying that if the rich could have a feeling of the conditions of the poor; it will go a long way in the commitment to bridging the gap between them. There are certain truths and possibilities people find outrageous or may not seem to understand very well, yet at the end it becomes the reality.
For emphasis, my idea of educational revolution in Anambra State comes from a keen study I did in the US. I found out that in America, Educational communities drive the economic bases. I took a trip to the Silicon Valley and I discovered how Stanford University is the brain power behind most tech start-ups. I started developing a similar idea which I can localize in my home state. I realize that if we can have educational communities around our economic bases, it will blow up the Anambra economy and double up our GDP in a short while. For example, an educational community with engineering courses as its main focus located around the Nnewi axis will contribute so much to research and development in automobiles and manufacturing. Imagine the deepening of local content and backward integration it will trigger, together with the attendant wealth and job creation. If you have an educational community around Awka, it will stimulate ICT and Technological start-ups. Likewise in the Agricultural bases of Ayamelum, Anambra east and west, an educational community will do a lot in the research of hybrids products and also develop models geared towards Agric-economics and agro processing which is a billion dollar industry. So in a nutshell, I was trying to talk about 21 specialized university campuses. We must revolutionize education to make it useful and that is what we want to do in other sectors.
My idea is that I want Anambra to be the educational hub of sub-Saharan Africa. Las Vegas where I live has about 10 universities. I am a man of big dreams and ideas. I did same in Umuchukwu, a village that was on the lowest rung of development and I built a city out of it. I am a product of possibilities. I went to America from the village and excelled beyond measures, and built six world class hospitals in the state of Nevada. I represent hope and inspire people to dream. With my story, it is obvious that regardless of your background, your dreams are valid.
*You were also reported to have said that you will run Anambra state with your personal income. Is that true*?
This is another sensational reporting twisted for the purposes of propaganda. I only said that if the condition calls for it, we would also put in our money to make the wheel of governance effective. Since I started my philanthropy, I have built a police station, a magistrate court, high court, constructed roads, built schools, hospitals and electrified my community. These are infrastructure that should be basically provided by the government.
In Igbo land, several communities embark on self-help projects that should ordinarily be provided by the government. Imo airport was built with contributions from people. It was a collective project. We don’t always depend entirely on government.
*You emerged as Anambra Man of the Year and have continued to win awards since you returned from the United States of America. Sometimes people thin influence attracts these awards rather than merit. What is your opinion*?
There is no need for an inordinate crave for awards. When you touch people’s lives, it would come your way without you angling for it. No doubt, the award culture has been bastardized, but I have never paid for any award. I have received awards in the US, Canada and other countries in the world. Will it not be tantamount to depleting my hard-earned resources if I buy awards everywhere in the world?
Actually, there was a time I was so tired of awards and complained to one of my aides and he reminded me that aside from the fact that I richly deserve them, they are necessary because these awards can inspire some other people to do more for humanity. When my story is told at award ceremonies, you never know who is listening or inspired to reach for the star. Ok
*What is your New Year message to ndi Anambra*?
The past year has been a very challenging one. The pandemic dealt a very big blow to the world economy. Hundreds of thousands of deaths were recorded, health facilities were overwhelmed and people lost their jobs. Also, companies shut down, some downsized drastically in a bid to survive, and for a country like Nigeria and by extension Anambra State that is largely dependent on oil revenue, it was a gloomy year. The revenue available to government to stimulate economic activities contracted.
It was Hellen Keller who said that the world is full of challenges, but the world is also full of overcoming them. The new year is here already. I urge Ndi Anambra not to give up hope. This 2021, we can rest, but we shouldn’t quit. The holy book tells us that if you knock long and hard enough, closed doors shall be opened. Let’s work for a greater year, believing and hoping that the tears of 2020 shall be wiped from our eyes and that we shall have abundance of blessings this year and beyond.
HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWS: A Commissioner Resigned From Obiano’s Cabinet
Music legend Jimmy Cliff came to Nigeria in the early 1970s for a musical concert. Somewhere along the line, he had a disagreement or two with the local organisers and before the reggae maestro could say Jamaica, he was hurled into detention. You could almost hear the Nigerian promoters bragging: he thought because he’s a superstar, he’s untouchable. We’ve put him in the cell; we’ve taught him a bitter lesson. Partly to tell his side of the story and partly to help his traducers massage their ego, Cliff released the song: Have you heard the news?
The opening lyrics go like this:
“Have you heard the news? News, news, news. Everybody, have you heard the news? I was in Africa, down in Nigeria. Oh they threw me in jail. I had one hell getting bail…”
Jimmy Cliff ended up proving to his antagonists that his reputation was intact; that even if the whole world was bombarded with tale of his arrest in Nigeria, it would not diminish him or stop him from conquering new heights. And that’s a lesson for the rambling opposition in Anambra State.
The vacuous opposition to the APGA – Obiano government has for two months now been celebrating the resignation of Christian Madubuko, former Commissioner for Tourism from the State Government. The news has been orchestrated, embellished, spiced and shouted from rooftops with the revelry of partying crowds. For two months, the Anambra opposition has clung to this marginal story like a precious only baby and brandished it as proof that the APGA – Obiano house is falling.
And in a sense, Madubuko’s resignation is one trivial story the opposition could peddle in compensation for exertions of empty noise – making. For apart from failed fabrications on the State’s indebtedness and sale of Commissioners
Quarters, the opposition finds itself growling like a broken record.
Dazed and dazzled at every turn by the progressive advance and changes wrought by the APGA – Obiano government, they bend down like the ostrich lest they come to terms with the reality of a marvelous transformation.
Consequently, among other landmark achievements, the opposition pretends not to know that it was in demonstration of great leadership that Governor Willie Obiano pulled off the relocation of Boko Haram suspects from Anambra State in 2015 without getting into a confrontation with the federal government.
With jaundiced eyes, the Anambra opposition does not see the beauty of three flyovers in Awka nor the 193m bridge, the longest outside of the Niger in the south east, built by the APGA – Obiano govt.
For the dissembling Anambra opposition, the Court of Appeal Division brought to the State by the APGA- Obiano govt is to be wished away.
The ground – breaking oxygen plant delivered by the APGA – Obiano govt is to be ignored.
The agric revolution and historic export of agro produce by the State under APGA – Obiano govt is to be disputed with outstanding cynicism.
Anambra’s continued excellence in WAEC and NECO exams for the past seven years under the education policies of the APGA – Obiano govt is not to be acknowledged lest political capital accrues to the present administration from it.
And of course, the fastly progressing Awka International Conference Centre and Umueri Airport are taboo subjects marked not for discussion except to disparage.
In the event then that a Commissioner’s resignation is such big deal for the opposition, let me remind give them a more expensive and tastier cuisine of resignations.
Six months into the post Chris Ngige government in Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, current Deputy Governor resigned as Commissioner. In the words of His Excellency, ‘I resigned because I wasn’t happy; I didn’t like the way things were going.’
About a year after that, Mrs Elsie Ikemefuna resigned as Commissioner from that same government.
And soon after Ikemefuna’s resignation, Mr Ikedi Okwena, then Commissioner for Environment, turned his back to the same administration and left.
He was soon followed by Emeka Ojukwu Jnr, son of the Biafran hero and father -leader of APGA.
Do the opposition still want to make noise about a Commissioner’s resignation?
Yoweri Museveni Declared Winner Of Ugandan 2021 Election (Sixth Term)
Yoweri Museveni Declared Winner Of Ugandan 2021 Election (Sixth Term)
President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni of the National Resistance Movement has been declared winner of the January 14 Presidential Election in Uganda.
The 76-year-old was declared winner of the polls after defeating ten other candidates including major challenger, Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform.
With the declaration, Museveni is set to be sworn in on May 12 for his sixth term, which expires in 2026.
But his main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, 38 has rejected the results citing widespread voter fraud and heavy crackdown on his supporters, and further declaring himself as “President-Elect”.
EC declares Yoweri Kaguta Museveni winner of the Presidential elections with 5,851,037, 58.64% of the total votes
Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) came second with 3,475,298, 34.83% of the total votes.
Nigeria Leaders have not been fair to our youths – Fr. Ebube Muonso
By Oge Onyeanusi, Onitsha
Rev. Fr. Obimma Emmanuel aka Ebube Muonso, is the Spiritual Director of the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, and the Parish Priest of the Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish, Umudioka, both in Anambra State. In an interview with CHRYSORA MEDIA, he speaks on 2023 Igbo presidency, need for active participation of youths in political leadership, among other salient issues.
Recently, you gave a message titled: “You Shall be Lifted Up,” which centered on the need for Nigerian youths to be given the opportunity to showcase their potentials. Would you emphasise more on the topic?
Because of negative orchestrations in our country, Nigeria, which has negatively affected the future of our youths, I felt that the future of the Nigeria youths is bleak. Considering what is happening in the political and economic scenes, it appears that future of the youths is bleak.
This is because, at the political scene, one will only observe the recycling of old people, who have necessarily outlived their usefulness in politics. The message was an advice that the older generation of politicians should retire or give chance; so that the younger generation of Nigerians will make their own contributions. The youthful age is the age of impart.
The Nigerian youths have the energy to turn things around; the only hindrance is that they are not given the chance. In Nigeria, you can see the recycling of power from civilian rule to military rule, all dominated by older politicians. From the presidency to the least carder in politics are old people. Some politicians go to the senate, House of Representatives and the State Assemblies for as much as three times or more; while energetic, well educated and qualified youths are relegated to the background. I advocate that a law should be put in place to give our youths the opportunity to serve their fatherland, by making their own contributions. The message is also an encouragement for the youths to be hopeful, because, there shall be an upliftment for them. Despite the denials, the future of the Nigerian youth is still bright. Again, I advocate for political revolution. Let there be a revolution. Let these old politicians retire and give way for the younger generation to showcase their talents and potentials. That is my opinion. The youths are the workforce of any nation. They must work very hard to change the society for the better. Life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change, which comes through deliberate actions. I believe that the youths can change the face of Nigeria. What they need are visionary and selfless leaders with vision; leaders, who can sacrifice their time and resources to bring change to this country. Again, with regard to the present situation of Nigeria, I urge every Nigerian to be hopeful of a better tomorrow. Let the youths be futuristic. I also insist on the need for political revolution. As you can see, Nigeria is dormant and stagnant economically. The present crop of leaders in the country does not have what it takes to move the country forward. However, I foresee a change that will put smile in the faces of Nigerians. That is the summary of the message.
Many youths are poor due to lack of economic opportunities. How would you expect such category of citizens to overrun the political elites in order to bring the desired change?
Power belongs to the people. If the masses want a change, they can get it. That is why I said there is reason and need for a revolution. The revolution I mean is a situation where youths will come under one political umbrella, nominate a leader and tell the political elites and the entire Nigeria that it is either this man or no other person. This will also involve firm resolution of the youths, where they will decide that they are not going to collect money from anybody and sell their political vision. So, I will always advise them not to collect money and mortgage their future. Some youths are like the Biblical Esau, who could not see beyond his physical needs. Esau mortgaged his right because of yam portage. That is problem with some of our youths; they want immediate gain. So, in future elections, especially the 2023 general elections, Nigerian youths must be blunt. It is better they suffer a little while and enjoy forever. That is the attitude of those who have strong mindset to succeed. In 2023, they must not allow themselves to be used as political thugs; because, by so doing, they will be selling their collective future. I insist that the future of the Nigerian youth is presently in jeopardy. So, this time around, they must come up bold under an umbrella and make a declaration. Then again, hard work is very necessary. As a youth, anywhere you find yourself; see yourself as a world changer. Youths must have the mindset for victory.
As an Igboman and a charismatic leader, what is your view about 2023 Igbo presidency agitation?
My view is that if the rest of Nigerians will not allow Igboman to have a shot at the presidency in 2023, Ndigbo should go for any other option that will grant them a voice as a people who have right of self determination. Last time an Igboman was at the corridor of power was in 1983; about 40 years ago, when Dr. Alex Ekwueme was vice president to Ahaji Shehu Shagari. I see this as marginalization. For me, Nigeria should see 2023 as a year for the appeasement of the most marginalized people in the country, the Igbo. Agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and similar organizations are as a result of Igbo marginalization. Igbo, as a group in Nigeria, does not receive its fair share. My worry, still, is that some Igbo elites, who are fortunate to find themselves at vantage political positions, fight for their personal gains, as against collective gain and interest of Igbo people. They are not helping the matter at all. They have settled as second class citizens in their own country, and they are comfortable with that. This is very wrong. As far as 2023 presidency is concerned, Igbo should stand on their feet and take action collectively. In 2023, Igbo people should take concerted action to end marginalization. Ohaneze Ndigbo must be seen to be representing Igbo people; not their personal interests. 2023 is a test case for the apex Igbo socio cultural group. Ohaneze must be the mouthpiece of the Igbo people in this regard.
Ohaneze Ndigbo has just elected new leadership under Prof. George Obiozor. What advice do you have for the apex Igbo organisation?
My candid advice is that the leadership of the new Ohaneze should be true mouthpiece of the people. They should be ready to be jailed because of Igbo interest. The new president must make himself true activist. Some of the past leaders failed to confront the ills in the society because; they would either have skeletons in their cuboids or might have interests to protect. Some of the past leaders, instead of working for Igbo interest, lobbied for political posts and federal contracts. That is not what a group like Ohaneze should be. The new president of Ohaneze and others under him must have a blend of action and reasoning in order to succeed. I also advise Ohaneze to come to a round table and present candidate for presidency. 2023 Igbo presidential project should be the target of the new Ohaneze leadership. The Ohaneze leadership should also draw synergy with the north, the west and other parts of Nigeria, in order to make the vision fruitful. I also call on the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, to see reason in the Igbo agitation for president. The church should also wade into the issue. Our God is a just God; so, CAN should go for justice, and see to it that a people that have been marginalized for a long time receive justice.
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