As flood continues to ravage Anambra West and Anambra East Local Government areas as well as Ogbaru area of the state, succour came the way of the victims last week when a philanthropist and business mogul donated relief materials.
In a move that gave the flood victims hope, Barrister Dr. Obinna Uzoh, chairman/chief executive officer of GOCUZ Group Limited, under the auspices of Obinna Uzoh Foundation, breezed into town not only to sympathise with the flood victims but also to provide them relief.
In the last two weeks, flood has sacked many communities in Anambra West, Anambra East and the Ogbaru areas of the state. Homes, farmland, schools, churches, police stations, hospitals and other things have been submerged. People have been displaced and without homes and food, they have been at the mercy of the elements. The devastation caused by the flood is so enormous that Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has asked for help from the Federal Government and other spirited Nigerians.
Apparently answering the call, and in line with his humanitarian services, Uzoh bought food items, made up of bags of rice, vegetable oil, salt, tin tomatoes and other edibles worth more than N5 million and headed for the affected areas. When he beheld the devastation of the area and the condition of the affected people, his compassion increased, as he promised to assist in other ways possible.
At Anambra East, the first port of call, Uzoh sympathised with the traditional ruler, Igwe Idigo, at his palace. Also present were cabinet chiefs, a large crowd of villagers, who had gathered to hear the soothing address of Uzoh and also get food items. They were happy that Uzoh left his businesses and family to identify with them in time of sorrow.
Addressing the people, Uzoh said he was moved by their plight and therefore, decided to make his own contribution to alleviate their sufferings. He told them to be steadfast in the things of God, as the Almighty would soon give them cause to smile again soon.
Uzoh said: "When I heard about the flood, I decided that it was better I come here and see things for myself. What I have seen today makes my heart to bleed. I have seen how our people have been displaced, how farmland have been submerged and how roads have been covered by water. This is unprecedented.
This is why I have come to tell you to take heart, be strong and have faith in God. We Anambra people are known to be strong. We withstand and overcome tragedies. I know we will overcome this one.
"Please, accept this token I have come with. This is my humble contribution in the effort to ameliorate the suffering of flood victims. Keep hope alive. This problem will also pass and we will live our normal lives again."
The philanthropist called on public-spirited individuals to assist Anambra State take care of the flood victims, at this time of agony.
Expressing the community's gratitude, Igwe Idigo thanked Uzoh for his benevolence and kind-heartedness. He prayed that God would reward him abundantly.
One of the flood victims and beneficiary of Uzoh's gesture, Mrs. Ngozi Ejiofor, said they were overwhelmed by the philanthropist's kindness. She said that Uzoh was the first individual to come personally to sympathise with the flood victims as well as give them relief materials.
She led other women and children to cheer Uzoh, amid dancing. Uzoh's train moved to Anambra West Local Government Area, where royal fathers from the affected communities, including HRH Igwe P.N Okolo of Nzam, Igwe (Sir) Tony Onyekwere of Owelle and Igwe J.C. Ajodo of Ukwalla were on hand to receive him. Also present were the council transition committee Chairman, Hon Chinedu Obidigwe and others.
Uzoh told the villagers to cheer up, even in the midst of the flood, telling them that God would take control of everything. While donating the relief materials, he said that his coming was to let them know that he cared and felt their sufferings.
While receiving the materials, the royal fathers prayed for God's abundant blessings on Uzoh. They prayed that as the philanthropist remembered their communities, in their time of need, God would uplift and increase him in great measures.
In his thank you message over Uzoh's donation, a member of the state's House of Assembly representing Anambra West, Hon Victor Jideofor Okoye, said: "Thanks for the donation. We highly appreciate your timely intervention. Givers never lack. You and yours will never lack, in Jesus name."
At Atani, in Ogbaru Local Government Area, the last port of call for the day, Uzoh was moved to tears when he saw the condition under which the victims were at a waterlogged primary school, where they were camped. He told the people to be strong, as their misfortune was temporary.
On hand to receive him were community leaders, who took custody of the relief materials and cash donated by the Uzoh.
President General of Atani Town Union, Chief (Sir) Frank Mesiobi, while thanking Uzoh, said he has demonstrated great magnanimity. He prayed that God would reward him.
Others who expressed gratitude to Uzoh include Hon. Simbad Chukwuma, Chief Benson Nwadukwe and Hon. Obidi Nwabueze.
Uzoh has been involved in philanthropic activities in Anambra and other states. Recently, he donated textbook and other educational materials to schools in Anambra. Currently building a hostel at the Catholic Youth Village in Awka, which would be commissioned by March next year. He has also reconstructed school classroom blocks. He built a three story Faculty building for the Law Department of Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State.
The philanthropist recently sponsored a health programme, where doctors went to rural communities in the state and provided health care to villagers. Last February the church, which he single-handed built at Ihiala was dedicated by the Papal Nuncio.
Uzoh recently partnered with the Barracks Community Action for Progress, a non-governmental organisation on the 'Back to Book' project.
According to Mr. Patrick Akobo, leader of the NGO, 'Back to school' project was restoring reading culture among children. He said that through reading, kids would be engaged and therefore stay away from corrupting foreign movies, the Internet, cyber crimes and other vices.
Uzoh had commended the NGO for organising such event, while stressing the need for individuals and organisations to come together and support such laudable programmes.
He pledged partnership with the group to attain listed objectives. He therefore donated learning materials to students and pupils of the Army Day Schools.