Amuzi, Ahiazu-Mbaise LGA, Imo State, Nigeria, 2022:
A moment of silence was observed during the recent uncharacteristic commissioning of an MTN mast in Amuzi, Ahiazu-Mbaise, Imo State, in recognition, reverence and remembrance of late Professor Celestine Onwuliri who over 10 years ago, envisioned and initiated actions leading to the actualization of the day’s event.
Uncharacteristic because commissioning of MTN mast installations is not the norm. But as tribute to the initiator of the process and to express appreciation by Amuzians, Her Excellency, former two-times minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Viola Onwuliri requested and secured a greenlight for the rare ceremony to proceed.
At the commissioning, with Chief BC Nwachukwu, Chairman, Central Working Committee of the Patriotic Citizens of Amuzi -PCA, as master of ceremony, assisted by Hon Columbus Akalaonu, the ribbon cutting was performed by the traditional ruler of Odu na Izuoha, HRH Eze Dr James Okoronkwo, while the Special Guest of Honor was Her Excellency, Noble Lady Viola Onwuliri. Others who officiated were Chief Felix Chukwu as Chairman. The Royal Fathers of the day were HRH Eze Dr. James Okoronkwo, HRH Sir Innocent Ugochukwu and HRH Eze Sabi Nwaneche, and prayer was led by Rev. Fr Dr. Chrisangelo Otuibe
The general takeaway from the event was the pioneering role of Professor Celestine Onwuliri and the resilience of some of his adherents notably his wife Professor Viola Onwuliri, mentee, Chief Felix Chukwu, Barr Uche Okoronkwo among others, who remained steadfast in shepherding the frustrating start-and-stop-and start process that finally brought the MTN mast to Amuzi. All Amuzians who spoke at the event, namely Chief Felix Chukwu and Professor Viola Onwuliri, while commending MTN for locating their mast at Amuzi, joined voices with MTN staff who spoke, and pleaded with the community to be vigilant to ensure the installation was not vandalized. MTN staff who were in attendance or who were recognized were Uche Osuji, Cyril, Kingsley and Peter.
At the reception for the MTN staff at the residence of Her Excellency Professor Viola Onwuliri, which followed the commissioning, the officials disclosed that MTN was responsible for the resources for the project including funding and location of the project, and the land acquisition. They further shared that they mostly use two criteria for making decisions on where to site a mast- economic activities and population.
In his reaction to the events of the day, the convener of the PCA, Professor (Prince) Eddie Oparaoji, a US based Pharmaceutical Executive who was both at the commissioning event and reception, said, “this a major accomplishment. With this development some of us can now realistically consider relocating our remote offices from abroad to Amuzi and our local businesses can now have reliable global internet store fronts with potential to sustainably earn hard currencies from Amuzi.”
Other dignitaries who attended the commissioning include former Perm Sec, High Chief Dr Johny Chukwu, Councilor representing Amuzi-Ihenweorie ward at the Ahiazu LGA, Hon Uche Agomuo, Chief Dr Tony Igbojionu, Dr Pius Nwagwu and Chief Joe Kemdirim.