Hon. Engr. Chidozie Chukwumerije’s Birthday: Celebrating a Philanthropist and Rare Gift to Humanity
Hon. Engr. Chidozie Chukwumerije’s Birthday: Celebrating a Philanthropist and Rare Gift to Humanity
By Comrade Queen C. Onyeagba
Let me quickly borrow a phrase from the former President of the United States of America, His Excellency, Ronald Reagan, in describing Honourable Engr. Chidozie Chukwumerije, my special boss and mentor for many years. Engr. Dozie, as he is fondly called by his thousands of followers and admirers, could be described as a “shining city upon a hill” not because he has been displaying a luxurious lifestyle or living in a plush palace. Far from that and from whatever perception distant watchers could have ascribed to him. He is, indeed, a simple and easygoing man. The historical and biblical allusion adroitly blended above was attributed to Engr. Dozie because of his love for humanity, effort at recreating an ideal society, and defence for the weak, protection of the downtrodden and voice for the voiceless.
The best gifts one could ever receive from neighbours are the gifts of love, care and empathy. From the side of humanity, Hon. Engr. Dozie stands out as possessing all these distinctive qualities. He is peerless amongst his contemporaries. He stands out distinguished in his mission to make the world a better place for humanity to live. His humane touch of benevolence, life of empathy, love for the poor, voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless singularize him as a flagship of honour and beacon of light for the people. These are priceless gifts very few possess. Engr. Dozie not only possesses them, he garbs and wraps them to the admiration of his teeming fans made up of youths, underprivileged and the poor. Just like the Holy Book succinctly has it: no one lights a lamp and hide it in a cellar or under a basket. Engr. Dozie’s path is trailed by a shining light. He is a light unto humanity. A light unto the world. A light unto the people. A light for the great people of Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State. No wonder many have often referred to him as, “Ike eji eje mba”. He is the strength for us, the youth. He stands as the eyes through which the youths see because he has always stood with them. Indeed, we have got a fearless lion fighting for the youths.
One of the unassailable facts many have attested to about the representation of the personage of Engr. Dozie is the astounding, splendid, inspiring, remarkable, amazing and impressive story that trails his path wherever he finds himself. The stories of great testimonies from the people that work under his supervision. The stories of those he has changed their lives for good. The stories of those he has sponsored their education from Primary School level to university level. The stories of thanksgiving for the many lives he has changed and still changing. The stories of uplifting people from rag to riches. The stories of making sure that no one that knows him go to bed hungry, or the people around him lack anything essential. He gives without expectation. I, too, Queen, have stories of my life to tell. My story cannot complete without acknowledging the invaluable place of Hon. Engr. Dozie in my life.
These have been the stories we’ve always heard and seen from both his former and present staff in offices and place of work; from people that have, perhaps, by divine providence, crossed his path; from the people he did not even know that his lending helps have lifted from the dungeons and abyss of despondency. I’ve seen them. I deliberately made some efforts to confirm all these testimonies by going through offices and public places sampling opinions. It is testimonies everywhere.
In recent times, I was privy to a gathering where many young entrepreneurs and activists were discussing about business magnates, philanthropists, politicians and public servants, including their services and achievements from different walks of life. It was an extensive discussion on the way forward for the betterment of the Abia state and the entire Southeast zone.
Prominent people’s profiles were unveiled and analysed. Among those set aside with deference was that of Engr. Dozie. His plethora of life-changing packages and programmes personally financed by him won him resounding accolades. His principles of administration and push for perfection in service delivery, both in private and public administration, and most importantly, how he was able to raise many from the state of haplessness to owners of businesses of a going concern. It’s on record that many that had never dreamt of living outside a rented two room apartment or less were made landlords and house owners through his magnanimous spirit. This is what the Bible means when it tersely put it thus: “we are the light of the world”. Here among us, we’ve seen the light, enkindling others, and rejigging the waning spirit, and showing them the light to liberty and economic prosperity. Truth is, nobody comes across Hon. Engr. Dozie Umunnochi for the good reason and remains the state. Meeting Dozie as political mentor, Godsend, role model and teacher is a turning point in my life.
One of the weak points of my Boss and Mentor is certainly his penchant for charity and humanitarian gesture. He can empty his accounts and even go extra-miles to render help and make sure people around him are happy. This accounted for his frequent visitation to motherless homes across the Abia state, the entire southeast region, meeting their needs and extending helping hands to them. He has been touring hospitals offsetting medical bills for the poor in our society. Orphanage and Old People’s Homes have never suffered his absence. The physically challenged have found new friendship in him. Indigent students, irrespective of place of birth and origin, have got new lease of life in him. Awards of scholarships are a matter of routine. Now, many underprivileged kids have hope of making it to the university and acquiring skills through him. This is a true love for humanity. A manifestation of sincere and selfless services to the society at large. He is a blessing personified!
All above, Dozie does in secret as required by the Holy Bible. He does not drum these laudable and far-reaching achievements. He does not invite the media while going about doing good things. He allows his good works to speak for him. It’s unusual of Nigerians to do that without issuing a press release or addressing a press conference. I heard people described him as a “Secret achiever whose projects are deafening and echoing from all corners”. Even as the ever-performing President-General of Uhude Autonomous Community through his youth empowerment programmes and goal-oriented driven initiatives, he has refused to take credit for that on the media. That’s what greatness clothed in simplicity and humility is, after all.
In terms of administrative rating, Hon. Dozie has distinguished himself through hard work, timeous efficient service delivery and pragmatic management of pooled human and material resources. A special breed of human resource manager, Engr. Dozie is not only an embodiment of practicable ideas, indeed, he also epitomizes the ideal public servant premised on value, integrity, loyalty to the service, discipline, confidentiality, commitment, respect, transparency and accountability. These might have accounted for why he has been able to achieve greatly wherever he carries out assignment. No wonder, out of millions of people, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, considered him best and suitable for a federal appointment when he was appointed as the Executive Director, Planning and Design of the Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority in August 2020. Since then, he has been doing great and laudable job in the sector. I strongly believe that more of the appointments are waiting for him. One good turn deserves another.
It’s on record and will continue to serve as a reference point that Engr. Dozie always turns things around in all the offices he steers. Things are systematized. Works are outlined and properly defined. Vision and mission are regulated and everyone is charged to step up efforts for the target goals. He has never achieved less. That’s the result of self-discipline in public offices. His footprint of achievements is quite deeply entrenched serving as a challenge for his successors to buckle up their shoes to fit in the legacy left behind.
One of the unique indices of Dozie is his cognitive ability to recall all the names of staff offhand, their work schedules and descriptions and even their respective offices. He does not waive principles and discipline for sentiment. Quite unusual of our country, Dozie believes much in diversity. He works with people that can deliver regardless of tribes or ethnics. He accommodates and empowers people across the country.
In the global and cybernetic village, the Whitman has always used such derogatory term as “African time” to describe the Africans or Blacks in general whenever a meeting is scheduled or arrangement is made. The sobriquet, “African time” means a lot when interpretation is given to it. It means laziness, lack of seriousness, lateness to work, lack of commitment, failure, and so on. However, this was never in Dozie’s dictionary. He not only keeps to time, he announces his arrival early enough. With this, one would begin to appreciate why he has stood out among his peers over the years.
Without any doubt, the people of Abia State need people like Engr. Dozie in elective offices to continue to make Abia State great. If we have just few people like him, then, Abia State would have no business with poverty and underdevelopment. As the State continues to search for liberator and pathfinder who will chart a new course of history and rewrite the story of the State, it’s in this light that the thought of Engr. Dozie comes to mind. He is needed to consolidate on the achievements on this present administration and to continue with the legacy projects as being witnessed in the River Basin Authority.
Hon. Engr. Dozie has selflessly made his mark in the lives of many. He has been a blessing to the people of Abia State through his great farsighted achievements. And the question is: how do we celebrate our chairman, boss, role model and mentor? All we’re saying is; thank you for your services to humanity. Thank God for the wonderful gift of life. Thank God for the good health he has given you. Thank God for blessing the people of Abia State with your kind. You’ve shown the light, and we are following your giant steps as your disciples.
As you add another graceful and fulfilling year to your age, it is my prayer that you will continue to thrive in good health. You’ll continue to symbolize the river that flows out of the temple where mankind will draw and bear fruit, live and always appreciate God for that special gift He has given through you. Thank you, Boss, for all you have done for me.
Happy Birthday, our performing and ably representing Honourable President-General and great humanitarian. Congratulations Boss.
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