Visits never left them screaming in fear. Instead, they leave with the similitude of a yellow face with small, open eyes and a large, round mouth slack with surprise or shock. And this is no sign of sorrow.
First, it was a former Liberian Vice President, Hon. Joseph Boakai. Then followed a former Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Edward Singhartey. What did they see that gave them such feelings of awe and disbelief in a relatively unknown village?
Former Senate presidents Anyim Pius Anyim and Ken Nnamani must have thought so too after their visit, without prior “warning,” culminated in positivity.
Former Abia governors and deputies and the current executive at the helm are no strangers too. They know Amaokwe Achara, Uturu in Isukwuato local government area. So, it was not surprising they visited too.
But what was startling was, perhaps, when Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Sen. Theodore A. Orji, Sen. Orji Kalu, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe and Sir Udo Oko all ended up with the puzzling wow.
I guess it was what prompted newsmen to corner one of the prominent Abia statesmen, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kalu, who passed on recently when he visited too. And he had this to say:
“After touring his facilities and taking notes of his achievements, I can say that Greg Ibeh stands shoulder above his contemporaries. I do not doubt that the future is bright. There is no better exclamation to describe the transformation I saw than wow!”
If Ndubuisi Kalu’s observation was a bang, then Goodluck Jonathan’s assertion was a banger. The multiple-award-winning former Nigerian leader came calling last Wednesday and lifted the lid off the mystifying wow.
He also gave insight into the virtues and achievements of Greg Ibe that the late Ndubuisi Kalu described as distinctive.
“Prof Ibeh has shown that with the little God blessed us with, we can change society positively,” Jonathan said after he commissioned and energised a 5MVA electricity transformer Prof. Ibeh bought for his community.
“The provision of electricity to an entire community was not a joke. Ibe has shown that he has the heart of gold.”
Of course, it is a known fact that power illuminates’ life and society and triggers development. But could it be the only reason a relatively unknown village has been playing host to several international and indigenous dignitaries? Certainly not!
There is a changed narrative. The meteoric rise to fame of Amaokwe Achara isn’t by a providential stroke of serendipity. The catalyst is the vision Prof. Ibeh has been nurturing since 2012.
According to the Deputy Registrar of Gregory University, Mr Sleek Ogwo, “the vision that Prof. Ibeh has is what triggered the development and gave rise to the kind of infrastructure we have on the ground.”
Perhaps, what provoked the wow exclamation was how a vision that started on a low key metamorphosed into a massive project that is moulding tomorrow’s leaders for Nigeria in all facets and also shaping the future of Nigeria and the African continent in health care in less than 10 years.
“We started with three colleges — Social and Management Sciences, Humanities and Natural and Applied Sciences — in 2012 and subsequently began to acquire so many other programmes and each programme has a specific requirement in terms of infrastructure,” Mr Ogwo said.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Augustin Uwakwe, added, “We have moved from three to 10 colleges. We even have a post-graduate school. We have colleges of pharmacy, engineering, environmental sciences, law, agriculture, education and medicine.”
He said although the Federal Ministry of Health released the FMC, Umuahia, to them for use as part of their teaching hospital, Prof. Ibeh did not rest on his oars.
“Just like every visionary leader, Prof. Ibeh built an ultramodern pathology block, the best in Nigeria. It is properly equipped to cater to every area of clinical medicine. He did not stop there. He started the building of our university teaching hospital,” he said.
He added, “we have spent over N3 billion to build the best university teaching hospital in the region.”
I know you are tempted to shout wow too. Jonathan did. His forecasts that the teaching hospital will revolutionise health care in the African continent is proof.
“I have confidence in the Chancellor of Gregory University, Prof. Greg Ibeh when it comes to the provision of quality health care to the people.
“This 1000 bed teaching hospital is a very ambitious project that will change the face of health care not just in Nigeria but Africa,” he said.