Ugwumba: Philanthropy Beyond Politics




It won't be very long from now before we start reading and hearing of emergency philanthropists giving out handouts to youths and 'empowering' women with wrappers and bags of rice, while news of novelty football marches that will be passed off as talent hunts will rent the air across the country, especially, in my own Imo State. In fact, starting from this December, rural dwellers and citizens across different strata of the society will witness a kind of boom in philanthropic acts by politicians. This Christmas shall be better for a lot of people than the previous Christmas. This wouldn't be because our politicians have become more responsible or kind-hearted, but because elections are close.

For most politicians, election seasons see them becoming the best of themselves, but as soon as the elections are over, they become aloof, whether they win the elections or lost. Those who lost, would most likely go incommunicado and those who win, would surround themselves with bee set of security personnel, not particularly because of their personal safety but because they want to keep as much distance as possible from those who elected them, including those who played important roles in their campaigns.

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Those who had come in contact with Ugwumba Uche Nwosu before he became a top government appointee in the Owelle Rochas Okorocha administration would always attest to the reality that he didn't suddenly become a philanthropist because of his involvement in politics. I have heard people confess about he easily gave them recommendations for jobs, how he provided them some level of financial assistance or the other many years before he became a Commissioner, then, a Chief of Staff. I remember the story of a young man who told me that his chance meeting with Uche Nwosu sometime in 2008 was all he needed to turn his life around for good. According to the young man, he didn't have any hope of writing that year's university matriculation exam and was already running around hotel lobbies to run errands for guests, for some handouts. But after he ran some errands for Ugwumba, he was given a lifeline, when Ugwumba gave him enough money to enrol for his JAMB exams, and some extra cash for his preparatory lessons.

Ugwumba doesn't believe in giving or assisting people to increase his political capital, he believes that as long as God blesses him, the blessings would be useless if he doesn't positively impact on the lives of others with such blessings. This explains why, a clear two years since the last governorship election in which he was obviously robbed of his victory, his passion for youth development initiatives has not waned. There are always testimonies from young people about he has continued to impact on their lives, positively.

At a time when most politicians see cheap philanthropy and petty handouts as avenues for their personal public relations to enhance their political chances, Ugwumba sees service to humanity, especially, the youths as a duty he owes to posterity and humanity.

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He is also not the kind of man to give cheap handouts that are easily squandered and mostly valueless, but a man whose empowerment goes a long way in setting up most of the beneficiaries for success in life. There is a traceable number of young people who have become modestly successful in their chosen areas of business and work through the assistance of the man described by many as one of Nigeria's most impactful leaders.

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Ugwumba is gradually and steadily building a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs across Nigeria, but with a bigger number of these youths in Imo. If a few more politicians could genuinely do as little more as possible towards empowering our youths as Ugwumba Uche Nwosu has done over the years and continues to do, then, there would certainly be less restiveness and bickering among our youths, as thousands of those roaming the streets today in search of jobs would rather be comfortable employers of labour.

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