By Sam Eyoboka
MGBIDI, located in the far north of Imo State and bounded by Amorka in Ihiala local government area of Anambra State, is one of the oldest towns in Imo State with 11 communities. Mgbidi is the headquarters of Oru West local government area.
The sleepy farm settlement shot into limelight after it became the venue for the annual Lord Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries’ international gospel crusade in the first week of every year.
Following the success of the annual crusade, the ministry recently drew the crème de la crème of the society to defy a downpour for another milestone in the town. The visitors joined the locals to lay the foundation stone of a proposed university by the church in Mgbidi.
It was ecstasy as products of the mission’s primary and secondary schools sang and enthusiastically jubilated thanking God for the provision and the benevolence of Governor Rochas Okorocha who graciously agreed to reschedule the appointment as a result of the downpour that disrupted the earlier scheduled date of Tuesday to perform the ground breaking ceremony of Chosen Crown University, a brainchild of the General Overseer of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement, Pastor Lazarus Muoka.
The project, located at Umuabiahu Village, Etiti-Mgbidi, is the first to be established by a Pentecostal church in the South-East and the fourth privately-owned university in Imo.
Okorocha, in his speech, commended Muoka for his courage, tenacity of purpose, commitment to education and a resolve to provide a university for the people of the state and beyond. According to him, the project is a great opportunity that has come to the people of Mgbidi in particular and Imo State in general.
Urging the indigenes to protect the investment, the governor said: “Pastor Muoka could have chosen to build this university in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, or even in London considering their population and development. But because of his love for his people, he came to this remote part of the world to answer a clarion call to bring about education. Bushes, trees and total underdevelopment have ravaged the village of Umuabiahu Mgbidi and Pastor Lazarus says ‘let there be a university that will bring a huge development to the people.’”
He therefore encouraged the host community, especially the youth, to co-operate with the church because, according to him, the project would bring further development to the area within a shortest possible time and put it in the map of the world.
“Some of you may not know that the university, when fully operational, would attract about 10,000 students to this town and their relations who will come to visit them. Obviously, each of the students will spend not less than N500 per day buying water, recharge cards, coke and biscuits. That would amount to about N50 million daily. And, if you multiply that by 30 days, you will be talking of about N1.5 billion monthly. That is to give you an idea of what this university will bring to this community. It is for this reason that I urge all of you, especially the Umuabiahu village to support this project,” Okorocha said.
“With this, the entire community will be affected by development as what we did in Owerri, the state capital, will be replicated in Mgbidi,” he said, expressing his willingness to convert any of the primary or secondary schools in Mgbidi as a temporary take-off site, if the founder is willing to start immediately.
Okorocha paid glowing tributes to Muoka, describing him as a true son of Imo, pledging, “if Pastor Muoka needs anything, he should let the government of Imo State know.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the General Overseer had outlined the vision for the Chosen Crown University to include the desire to produce and nurture balanced men and women in character and learning who will recognize and appreciate the dignity of service and are able to see themselves as agents of change for development and common good, while retaining a high moral and spiritual values.
He explained that the core value of the institution will be tailored towards training students to rule and become blessings to humanity and the entire society.
Muoka, who is aiming to build a citadel of knowledge that would rank among the best in the world, added: “On completion, the university will serve as a Centre of Excellence for the production of globally competitive graduates in various disciplines for maximum impact on national and global development.”
The cleric then led the gathering to supplicate for Okorocha in appreciation for what God has used him to do for the Lord’s Chosen, while assuring the host community of his co-operation and expect them to reciprocate the gesture by supporting the project.
The traditional ruler of Etiti-Mgbidi, Eze Amatoom Obinyere Ogbuehi, (the Ogbuehi Ikeziem III), described the project as a great feat and blessing to the community and commended Muoka for his vision and what God is using him to do for the community and the world at large.
Ogbuehi, who described Mgbidi as a blessed community, said: “Our community had been a blessed place long time ago. It could be recalled that the Biafran war did not get to Mgbidi due to the foundation of peace in our community. So, we are unique and blessed, that is why God directed Pastor Muoka to continue to invest here. In fact, we are happy and grateful to God for using Muoka to affect lives positively.”
In an address on behalf of the Mgbidi Clan, the Chairman of Mgbidi People’s Forum (MPF), Comrade Sylvester Chukwuka Akukwe, said the project is a welcome development, but called on the state government to ensure that a tripartite agreement between itself, the host community and the owners of the university is put in place to guarantee peace and progress that would carry along all concerned parties.
“The people of Mgbidi Clan are God-fearing and education friendly. We want the university, but would passionately appeal to the government and the parties concerned to carefully come up with a workable resolution that will achieve the desired results and stand a test of time,” he said.
Similarly, the youth leader of Umuabiahu Etiti-Mgbidi, Mr Okezie Nwabugwu, welcomed the project, pledging the support of his members in the area for proper actualization of the project.
“We will support the project, but want the university authority to carry us along by giving us jobs at the place. We have the workforce they may need. Our youths are not radical, we are organized. We are ready to protect the project,” he said.