Impressed by a privately-sponsored modern church building which changed the face of a rural community, the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, has urged the elites to make meaningful contributions in the development of the rural areas, saying that every elite, no matter how highly placed, owed their origins to the grassroots.
He made the call during the dedication of St Johns Methodist Church, Umukabia Okpuala in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State, saying that successful elites should not feel comfortable staying in the cities without identifying with their roots.
Makinde noted that the church, built by Chief Ikechi Emenike in memory of his late father, Pa Bartimaeus E. Uwagbama, has become an outstanding monument in the infrastructural landscape of the community, adding that the donor has made it possible for his people to share in his success.
He said that it was very unfortunate that a lot of successful people easily forget their roots, adding that the nation would experience more development if those with the wherewithal join hands with government to bring development to the rural communities.
Governor Theodore Orji, who graced the occasion with his wife Odochi and the wife of his deputy, Nene Ananaba, said that he came to identify with Chief Emenike's contribution to the development of his community.
Alluding to the deep political wedge between him and Emenike, Governor Orji said his presence at the ceremony was to demonstrate that he has no enemy, and kept referring to Emenike as his "younger brother".
"I don't have any animosity against anybody, including my brother Chief Emenike," he said, lauding the publisher and development economist for adding to the spiritual and physical development of his community.
In his response, Emenike said he built and donated the church in fulfillment of his divine inspiration adding that "with this church something greater will come to Umukabia Okpuala".
He said that he has every reason to thank God for making him what he is today and pledged that he would continue to contribute to the development of his community and Abia state; whether or not he is in government.
"I will never turn my back on Abia State; I will never turn my back on this community (Umukabia Okpuala). Every good thing I see elsewhere I always think of how to bring it to Abia State," Emenike pledged.