Ahead of the November 6, 2021 governorship election, Dr. Obinna Chukwudum Uzoh, flag-bearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has defined a new vision to transform Anambra State from a human and infrastructure-challenged land of giants to a modern state, Louis Achi writes
Indisputably, Anambra State is a land of icons – powered by faith as well as swashbuckling dreamers in diverse fields of human endeavor. This peculiar defining feature will shape the high-octane battle for the soul of the state in the November 6 gubernatorial election.
Out of the mass of contestants for tenancy rights of Awka Government House, in November 2021, the towering figure of lawyer, astute business mogul, notable politician, renowned philanthropist and chairman of Gocuz Group, Dr. Obinna Chukwudum Uzoh, looms large – with good reason.
No less a child of providence who exercises influence with alluring humility and exemplary focus, Dr. Uzoh has demonstrated with his life’s trajectory that spirituality, business, philanthropy and politics fundamentally address transformation of the human condition for good. To-date, he unabashedly maintains this unique philosophy and footing.
An apostle of “politics without bitterness” and politics of consultation and accommodation, Uzoh’s campaign slogan is: Restoration, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Anambra State.
Uzoh, who contested the governorship seat of Anambra State in 2003, has since been actively involved in politics. Today, with his eyes locked on his state’s immediate future, he proffers an alternative vision of governance on how to transform his home state into a 21st Century development and technological model for both his region and country to clone. His vision not surprisingly derives its depth, energy and blueprint from over three decades of entrepreneurial excellence, political sagacity and impactful interventions in diverse humanitarian theatres.
In his words: “My folks are widely recognized for their industry, courage and resourcefulness. These qualities have enabled us survive as a people in the face of daunting existential challenges. It’s worth recalling that at creation on August 27, 1991, by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime, Ndi-Anambra had over 75 percent literacy level and boasted extra-ordinary human and material resources. These attributes need to be given a new direction, new discipline and new energy. God has given me the vision to do this.”
According to Uzoh, “I have identified 10 key sectors that deserve total focus to transform the state. These include security, infrastructural development which is foundation for transformational industrialisation and will support Nnewi, Onitsha and Awka as critical technology hubs, real agricultural revolution. Deploying a transparent, judicious and efficient management of resources, I will empower our people with skills acquisition, mainstream our judiciary, step-up sports, provide microfinance for SMEs and pursue an integrated development scheme that should fundamentally change the game in Anambra State.”
And more…“I am not contesting the 2021 governorship election in my state lightly. It was a product of deep introspection and wide consultation. I believe that at this moment of our national history and the rapid changes impacting both the continental and international arena, Anambra needs a deep but temperate personality and thinker to guide its journey. Let me share this with you and many may not know this. The fate of Anambra State has fundamental connections with the fate of Ndigbo and Nigeria at large.”
Though a very challenging personal journey, Uzoh adroitly created and nurtured the Gocuz Group of Companies – a very successful conglomerate comprising Gocuz Oil Services, Gocuz Engineering, Gocuz Chambers, Gocuz Construction, Gocuz Finance & Security and Gocuz Farms Limited.
Uzoh is the only Papal Knight (Knight of Saint Gregory the Great) in the governorship race, in a highly religious community. It’s worth noting that the dominant churches in Anambra State are the Catholic and Anglican churches. Significantly, of all the governorship aspirants in the state, he has done notably so well for the Catholics and Anglicans, as well as other religious and non-religious organizations.
A few years ago, he donated a 110-room ultra-modern students’ hostel at the Holy Family Youth Village, Awka to the Catholic Church. This came barely one year after single-handedly building/donating an imposing church complex in Ihiala – the All Saints Parish complex, in Umunnamehi, Ihiala, which was dedicated by the Papal Nuncio in Nigeria.
Because of the high value he places on education, he has awarded scholarships to many students in primary, secondary, colleges of education, polytechnics and universities across the country. He has also awarded special scholarships to indigenes of Anambra State in Medicine, Law, Accountancy and Engineering.
He built and donated a three-storey building for the Law Faculty of Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State; built, donated and renovated schools across the country, constructed and equipped several computer and science laboratories in secondary and tertiary institutions in Anambra State and distributed text books and instructional materials to schools across Anambra State.
He is also involved in establishment of small scale enterprises for indigenes of Anambra State and involved in road construction/rehabilitation of rural roads in the state. He has provided boreholes, rural electrification and donated transformers to towns and villages in Anambra State with financial and moral assistance to Non-Governmental Organizations across the country. He has also donated drugs for free medical outreaches to St. Charles’ Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha, Anambra State.
He has established a special fund for assistance to pregnant women, widows, disabled people and people with heart, kidney, lung, sight and spinal cord problems. He has assisted young traders, school leavers and graduates to set up their own businesses through a revolving loan and is involved in sports development through sponsorship of local football competitions, track and field events.
Against this background, it is then little wonder that Uzoh has received countless honours by a grateful society and several respected personalities have testified on these unique interventions. According to the Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. (Dr.) Val M. Okeke, “I have closely followed Dr. Obinna Uzoh’s activities towards the less privileged and they are edifying. He has assisted many indigent students through scholarships.
“He has built houses for the poor, built hostels for students, churches for worshippers of different denominations and he identifies with the poor and the lowly. He has not excluded the rich; his friendship cuts across the poor and the rich. He has identified with the governments, states and federal. He is a good man in all sense of definition.”
For the former governor of Anambra State and ex vice presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Peter Obi, “Remarkable too is your spirit of philanthropy which has continued to earn you goodwill in Anambra State and beyond. You have equally excelled in missionary work, contributed in many ways to the Christian youth development, which you most recently demonstrated by building and donating a multi-million Naira hostel edifice to the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha at Holy Family Youth Centre, Amansea. This gesture of yours is a challenge to other wealthy Anambra citizens on how best to give back to the society.”
It’s worth noting that any narrative about the life story of Uzoh that excludes his extraordinary philanthropy fundamentally defeats the being and essence of the large-hearted Ihiala-born business mogul – and wait for it – uncommon philanthropist.
Not surprisingly, Uzoh’s entrepreneurial astuteness and broad humanitarian vision, provision of employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians through the diversity of his business conglomerate and compelling philanthropic spirit which has impacted and lifted many lives in his community, state, region and country, has attracted countless accolades and awards from a grateful community.
Uzoh, born on March 17, 1963, to the family of the late Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Obi Uzoh from Umunnamehi, in Ihiala, Anambra State loves education dearly. This guided him to acquire academic laurels. He obtained B.Sc (Business Administration), University of Lagos; M.Sc (Marketing), University of Lagos; LLB, University of Lagos; B.L., Nigeria Law School and Ph.D (Economics) from the Lagos State University. He is married to the love of his life – Chief Barr. (Mrs.) Henrietta Obinna Uzoh – a union blessed with seven children.
To partner him in his quest to govern Anambra State, Uzoh settled for a scientist as his running mate on the SDP platform. He is a doctor of human medicine and consultant family physician Uzochukwu Obiora Chira. Dr. Chira hides an inner steel and stern discipline that enabled him rise to his current position behind an affable and courteous exterior.
A public administrator and development strategist, philanthropist and politician, Dr. Chira brings to his political partnership with Uzoh, a track record of youth, dynamism and compelling intellectual acumen – qualities certainly needed for higher political responsibility in the offing. He is married with a son.
A personality who has envisioned a new direction for his state, Uzoh’s promising electoral choice as next governor of Anambra State would indeed tacitly acknowledge the capacity of highly focused individuals to change their society for the better.
Culled from THISDAY