By Nwabueze Okonkwo
This year’s edition of the two-year-old empowerment and free medicare programmes being sponsored by JohnBosco Onunkwo Foundation, JOF, kicked off at the weekend with a walk for life campaign conducted by members of the foundation together with their principal, Chief JohnBosco Onunkwo.
With a motorcade in a road show which they tagged: Aguata Walk for Life, the foundation members playing musical instruments, embarked on the walk and danced to the rhythm of the music until they arrived at the Civil Centre, Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State within two hours from Orie Uga market junction also in the council area.
At the Civil Centre, shortly after the Aguata Walk for Life, Chief Onunkwo declared open activities mapped out for the free medical programme which included health education, donation of home kits for blood pressure and blood sugar tests, free out-patient consultations and drugs, free eye tests, free reading glasses and free cataract surgeries.
In his opening remarks while declaring the programme open, Onunkwo disclosed that he had spent close to N20 million so far in building a health centre at Umuchu, sponsorship of youth football competitions for four years running, scholarship scheme to many students in various schools and above all, empowerment of less privileged persons, such as aged men and women, widows and widowers.
Onunkwo who is an illustrious son of Umuchu, a Port-Harcourt-based oil magnate and a governorship aspirant during the 2017 Anambra governorship election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, further disclosed that as a Rotarian and past president of Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, he is a Paul Harris Fellow, based on his frequent fat donations to the Rotary Club.
In his own speech, the medical officer in-charge of the free medical tour 2018, Dr. Ejike Ibeanusi, disclosed that he sold the idea of the free medical programme to Onunkwo in 2016 and he agreed to sponsor it till date.
Ibeanusi who is also the President of Clem-Fid Health Foundation, noted that the programme started in 2016 with free medical treatment in Umuchu community alone, adding that in 2017, the programme was expanded to Aguata West and now in 2018, it was further expanded to the entire Aguata Local Government Area covering up to 40 communities.
Ejike further disclosed that more than 1,000 patients were targeted to receive the free medical treatment in various specialisations, including ears, eyes and surgeries, with various types of laboratory tests.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to newsmen about the free medical tests and treatments, commended Onunkwo and his JOF members for initiating the idea for the benefit of the less privileged ones in the society and urged them to sustain the tempo as according to them, every good work has its own reward from God.
In his own reaction, a social critic and human rights crusader, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme lauded Onunkwo’s virtues for showing empathy to the less privileged and the downtrodden, adding, “his belief in William Jame’s assertion that there is no blessing in getting and having but only in giving, has propelled him to develop good motive in politics and motive of doing good and rendering selfless service to the needy.
According to Ezekwueme, “Other public spirited individuals should emulate Onunkwo because through his philanthropic activities, he has succeeded in changing politics from transactional politics to transformational one and at the same time, discomforting himself in order to comfort others.”