Culture/Religion

Osun Puts Up 648 Rams For Sale During Eid-El-Kabir

Posted on August 28, 2017. Filed under: Culture/Religion |

Osun Puts Up 648 Rams For Sale During Eid-El-Kabir

The State Government of Osun has concluded arrangements to provide about 648 healthy rams for the upcoming Eid-El-Kabir festival.

The programme tagged O’RAM done through the Selema Oloba Ranch, Iwo raises highly fattened rams breed and vaccinated within two months.

According to the Managing Director of Selema Oloba Ranch, Sola Omidiran, the 648 rams breed in the ranch were acquired from various parts of Nigeria’s northern region.

He explained that during the fattening period, animals add 15kg more weight to their system enhancing their capacity and body shape to provide more beef to its consumers.

Omidiran noted that in line with the government’s quest to generate revenue for the state, the company has attracted partnerships with a wide range of leading online stores to ensure adequate marketing for its animals.

His Words “In a bid to enhance our marketing strategies, we have gone to partner with varying online stores with our website https://www. selemafarmfresh.com, or online sites like Jumia, Ebano Supermaket, Red and Green Butchery and Lekki Farms.”

“With all what we are doing, we can assure you that we will give you value for money. There will be nowhere else you will find rams that are of good quality like these other than the Selema Farms. “

“We have animals in four different categories that are going for different prices that are for sale. We have the Bronze category of about 25-30kg for about N45,000; the Silva Category of 31-36kg for N60,000; Gold category of 37-43kg for N70,000 and the Platinum of 44-50kg for N80,000,” Omidiran stated.

Aside the rams, Omidina added that there are also goats, cattles as well as tomatoes, onions, pepper and the rest as part of the Fresh products under the Selema Farms Fresh category.

It will be recalled that the O’Rams and Livestock project is part of the multi various sectors of the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme O’REAP, a cardinal point of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s six-point integral action plan.

https://www.youtube.com/e mbed/kxUQz0WR9xQ

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What soldiers do on Enugu-PH Expressway

Posted on September 18, 2015. Filed under: Culture/Religion, Opinion |

What soldiers do on Enugu-PH Expressway

By Odimegwu Onwumere

As the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway gets messier in traffic gridlock due to the dilapidated nature of the road between Oyigbo in Rivers State and Asa, in Abia State, where I shuttle most time, I resorted to riding  my own ‘Okada’ to work.

Any motorist that had experienced the severe traffic jam on this road would attest to the fact that, even the ‘Okada’ was not saving. Vehicles block everywhere. This does not allow easy movement of any kind. In the eventuality there is ‘no movement’, I do carry my motorcycle in the hand till I get a scarce access to continue my journey. Other Okada riders do this!

This happens any time: In the morning, afternoon and night. Many travellers have slept on this road. Motor fare has skyrocketed indiscriminately, because of the bad nature of the road. It is better imagined than experienced.

Dressing neatly and gorgeously is no longer on the Enugu-PH expressway.

Not minding the suffering of people on this road, no fault of theirs, if you are coming from the Aba area in Abia State, you will count over four police checkpoints, as soon as you pass the Imo Bridge. Yes, they ‘stop and search’ some vehicles, even at the peril of motorists and commuters, who had expended their energy and strength in the tiresome traffic jam.

I observed that using SUV otherwise called Jeep on this road, police have phobia for it. For ten vehicles flagged down for check, SUV is nine.

However, for some of us who are now ‘Okada riders’, crossing the Imo Bridge from Oyigbo, heading to Aba, has become a nightmare in the hands of soldiers stationed within the Oil Serve premises.

The soldiers make it mandatory that every Okada rider approaching their checkpoint must stop at about three poles away, come down and roll his motorcycle by the hand.

Sorry, if you are a newcomer, who did not know that that was the soldiers representation of democracy.

I do not want to say that authorities should investigate‬ the soldiers stationed on South-South-East zones; they make tollgate of the roads. Every truck that passes the roads, the civilian tax collectors, mainly young men, the soldiers employed, run after the driver and collect.

Any driver that refuses to pay, you might think he was a common criminal in the hands of the soldiers. I do not also want to say that the soldiers have marked faces; some of them are the appearance of herdsmen. I’m not sure when the people of South-South and South-East started having such tribal mark on their faces.

The other day, while it was raining heavily and I was drenched while on my Okada, the soldier that was at the checkpoint mandated me to roll my bike by hand. When I buttonholed him and told him that I’m a writer coming back from work and he should see the mud Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway is, coupled with the rain, he commandeered me to abscond or risk sitting in the mud.

Some Okada riders, who out of necessity, not curiosity, violate this military law, are either forced to sit in muddy water or cut grass.

Whenever I encounter this ‘military law’ on this road, I murmur that the government that was supposed to be ourselves is now that of the soldiers over us. They are now the ultimate rulers over us, not us the voters and taxpayers of this country.

Our so-called democracy has made me to remember the statement once made by a Charles Bukowski, which states that the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.

I had thought that if the soldiers think that Okada riders pose security threats to them, it behooves them to know that information of intelligence capacity is shared, not forcefully derived. I think these soldiers lack information and they resort to malevolence.

Some of the soldiers are below 24 and may be suffering from youthful exigencies than exhibition of military enlightenment. They make the military a facade of the behaviours of touts and street urchins. Then I wonder if this is the behaviour of the military in other spheres. Or, is it only in Nigeria?

It is high time the authorities made the Nigerian soldiers to ruminate on the fact that the total safeguard to our mankind and democracy is diplomacy, not debasement. Yes, it is true that the country is experiencing security challenges. But these soldiers ought to understand that a taste for a society of peace can never be achieved through violence, when the situation is totally in absence of war.

The soldiers have violated my fundamental right to freedom of movement severally on the Enugu-PH expressway. And if I was a man of violence, then it would have been eye for eye later and, the whole place would collapse.

The authorities should re-orientate them to understand that this is democracy. And in a democracy, no section should be autocratic. That was the reason one A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said that in a democracy, the well-being, individuality and happiness of every citizen is important for the overall prosperity, peace and happiness of the nation.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet/Writer; he writes from Rivers State.
Tel: +2348057778358
Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com
http://www.odimegwuonwumere.wordpress.com

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Clergy Bethrand Osinachi Ujunwa calls for unity among Christians

Posted on May 16, 2013. Filed under: Culture/Religion | Tags: |

By Nwaorgu Faustinus

Rev. Fr. Bethrand Ujunwa and the new parish priest Rev. Cosmas Edochie welcoming the Anglican PriestThe former parish priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Parish Umuodagu Ntu in Ngor/Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State, Rev. Father Bethrand has called on Christians to be united as a body.

Rev. Bethrand made the call at a send-off and reception church service organised for him and the new parish priest, Rev. Father Cosmas  Edochie by the parishioners on 12th May, 2013, as a way to appreciate him for a meritorious 6 years of service in the parish.

Using the broom to drive home his massage of unity, the clergy said when Christians stand as individual entities, just as a single broom stick, they can easily be defeated but when they are united as a collective indivisible entity, they will be in good position to overcome any threat  and emerge victorious because Igwe bu ike (multitude is strength)

Rev Bethrand noted that though there is diversity in our various lives, there is need for unity among Christians which will bring about peace and development for the good of the society.

Reading from the gospel of John 17:20-26, Rev. Bethrand charged Christians to love one another just as God loved Jesus Christ.

Earlier in her welcome address, comrade Maria Eke commended the dogged efforts of Rev. Ujunwa thus:

“On his arrival on February 20th 2007 Rev. Fr. Bethrand Ujunwa left no stone unturned but quickly galvanized the people into action. By his efforts and in consonant with the efforts of the parishioners mostly the CWO, the parish house was completed, well-furnished along with the Boys Quarters. In no distance time as he came with the financial assistance of his non-parishioner friends – Mr and Mrs Emma O. Agbachi, MD. A.O. Emmaco Global ltd and others put in place a befitting Chapel which ranks second to none in the Archdiocese.

He started a Nursery/Primary School and within one year, he provided a new and standard structure, an edifice to accommodate the school pupils.

Rev. Fr. Bethrand with dogged persistence and enthusiasm negotiated and acquired over ten plots of land for further and future developmental purpose for the parish. He was a peacemaker. He mediated in and resolved some nagging and prolonged misunderstandings among families and villages”. A cross section of the parishioners

After receiving kind words and gifts from the Anglican Church in the community, catholic organisations in the parish, individuals, and a solidarity club (Ofu Ama Solidarity Club) led by its leader, Nze Emmanuel etc.  Rev. Ujunwa stated that, “I am moved by the songs and all the pleasant things you have said. You have surprised me. I am overwhelmed by the love you showered on me. May God reward you all”.

In an interview on the significance of the day to him, this was Rev. Bertrand’s response:

Today is a great day for me, in the sense that the people here, whom I have stayed with for six years asked me to come over for them to appreciate me for the work I have done for them. I am very happy coming back to them, to thank them for their support, because they are not the one that called me to this ministry, it is God himself. I did what I was supposed to do, working for them here. But for them to recognise that father you did well, come let us tell you thank you, I appreciate them. I appreciate them for their efforts to make sure that everything went smoothly when I was here with them. They gave me their full support, they gave me full encouragement, they did all they could do to make sure that our mission here was successful. Today is significant and I am happy.  I am happy today.Thanks giving prayer

On his major Achievement:

The major achievement is the spiritual rejuvenation. That is the greatest achievement I made here. I try to revive their spiritual life. When I came in, you couldn’t blame them because of the distance from the parish centre, which made it impossible for the parish priest when they were still a station to be really covering the community very well. But with my coming to live with them, the gospel got closer to them, and as God will have it, they responded to the gospel and you see some changes in their life style – they become more aware of their Christian responsibilities.

His message to the parishioners:

They should remain faithful to the gospel of Christ which we have propagated when we were here. They should remain ever faithful to it. The word of God is truth, and truth never rots. Truth is unchanging, so those truths the gospel of Christ has given them, they should hold on to them strongly. As the new priest has come, they should equally support him fully so that he will be able to achieve his aims here to making them better Christians.

The occasion was graced by His Royal Highness and Ugoeze S.O. Nwaeke, knights and Ladies of the church, traditional title holders, among others.

 

 

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Boko Haram Is Destroying Nigeria

Posted on March 21, 2013. Filed under: Culture/Religion | Tags: |

BEYOND RELIGION AND CULTURE: Sometimes I wonder, but these days, I have been wondering per second. Can Nigeria be happy with herself again? If Nigeria is not happy with herself, then can anybody or country be happy with her? Why is this cycle of insecurity?

Yet, the government keeps on selling to us through jingles and newspapers that there is no country in the world that is free from crisis. Claptrap! Does the government know that Boko Haram is destroying Nigeria like the vagina of a female destroyed by bunch of rapists?

Does our country now belong to the Organisation of Insecure Countries (OIC)? These perpetual killings of Nigerians in the north by Boko Haram, but most especially, the slow-destruction of Ndigbo in the country economical and otherwise, is largely irrelevant to the great struggle of our forebears.

It can be construed that this Boko Haram’s insensate struggle is a struggle against humanity. If not, how could a group that said it was against western education turned-out to be haters of humanity. Is their hate for western education our fault? Why are they falling our people apart?

Did we destroy their illusions? Conversely, Boko Haram should not see its potency in killing as capable of subduing our strength. Boko Haram can only rage, but cannot bridle the rage of love in us. Boko Haram has only succeeded in losing its members liberty, and makes them meet calamity the general way they have been introducing it to others. Boko

Haram and its members and affiliates should know that they are travelling fast to destruction. They think that their actions are fatal to our country, but I am too sure that they are cultivating their self-destruct.

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Rivers State, Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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The Fascinating Story of the Uzuakoli Leper Colony

Posted on February 23, 2013. Filed under: Culture/Religion | Tags: |

The Fascinating Story of the Uzuakoli Leper Colony

By Emmanuel A. C. Orji

I have been moved to write this article as a follow-up to my last article entitled ONCE IN A WHILE in which I drew the attention of Nigerians to the selfless services of the University of Port Harcourt and its Vice Chancellor, Prof Joseph Ajienka, made manifest through the recognition of the musical genius, Ikoli Harcourt Whyte who, but for them, may have been left to blush unseen as depicted by Thomas Grey in his elegy in a country churchyard as follows:

“Full many a flower is born to blush unseen

And waste its sweetness on the desert air”

The dawn of the 20th century marked the insurgence of British imperialism in what came to become a country called Nigeria. This same period witnessed the spread of Leprosy in Eastern Nigeria.

From time immemorial, Leprosy has been a dreaded disease. Among Ndi Igbo, for example, Leprosy was seen as a disease that ended with death. Ndi Igbo feared Leprosy so much that its sufferers were isolated from society and regarded as living dead.  Even the bible did not help matters in this regard, for, in Leviticus 11, 12, 13, Leprosy and its sufferers were also isolated and humiliated until the priests declared them cured. Imagine a patient using a bell to announce as he walks the street to warn other road users to keep a safe distance from him because he was a Leper and so was unclean. Such was the faith of many people in Eastern Nigeria of the historic time.

The first Leper Colony in Eastern Nigeria was established at Itu in present Akwa Ibom State by the then Church of Scotland Mission (now Presbyterian Church) in 1928. There, Leprosy patients were assembled and efforts were made to cure and care for them. They were mainly Leprosy sufferers from the old Calabar province.

But in the case of leprosy patients from the old Owerri Province, made up of the old  Ahoada, Bende, Degema, Okigwe, Orlu, and Owerri Divisions/Districts, nothing was done until a young British Doctor volunteer, Dr. Fergurson, had the permission of the British colonial government to carry out research to find the cure for leprosy. This volunteer, Dr. Fergurson, who chose Nigeria as his field of study, arrived Port Harcourt and the Resident of the old Owerri Province caused a ward to be opened in the Port Harcourt General Hospital for leprosy sufferers. The District Officers of the various districts of Owerri Province were instructed to advise Warrant Chiefs to send known leprosy patients from their areas  to Port Harcourt for treatment.  The rush to Port Harcourt was great, the facilities at the General Hospital could not meet the demand for treatment and soon an area of the town called Gborokiri became quarters for leprosy patients.  Prominent among the early arrivals to Port Harcourt for treatment were the famous musician from Abonnema, Ikoli Harcourt Whyte and Isaac Nwohu from Ikwuano, in present Abia State. At first, there was neither care nor cure. The overwhelming number of leprosy patients posed serious problems of accommodation, security, care of expectant patients etc for Port Harcourt that its clean residents protested against sharing the town with them. Government was compelled to decide to use force to rid the town of lepers. A police unit under the command of Chief Inspector of Police J. O. Njemanze was constituted to enforce the eviction order. Owere people have a parable that says no one would dare slap a yaws sufferer because such a person would risk becoming a yaws sufferer too( aka nti anu onye ekpechu). So it needed a lot of caution to handle the eviction of leprosy sufferers. The leprosy patients, under the leadership of Ikoli Harcourt Whyte, resisted government eviction. They marched to the Manse of the Primitive Methodist Missionary Society in Port Harcourt and submitted a petition to the Rev. Banham to appeal to the government not to send them away to suffer, but to persuade the Methodist Church to open a leper Colony for them as the Church of Scotland Mission(now Presbyterian Church) had done for leprosy patients from the old Calabar province at Itu, in present Akwa Ibom State, in 1928, through the efforts of one Dr. MacDonald. The Rev. Banham, after whom the Banham Memorial Church was built on Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt, quickly intervened and appealed to the Resident of the old Owerri Province not to send the lepers away from Port Harcourt while he consulted with the Methodist Mission in London and Nigeria for the establishment of a leper colony somewhere in the old Owerri Province to take care of and cure them. Before long, replies came confirming that the Methodist Church could help out if the Resident would provide the initial infrastructure while the church provides medical personnel, medicine and general welfare. The Methodist mission started looking for land. The first bid for land was made at Ishiagu but failed. However, H. L. O. Williams, then Principal of Methodist College, Uzuakoli, taking advantage of his good relationship with the people of Umuimenyi, secured the site for the building of the Uzuakoli Leper Colony. The Resident quickly sent Taylor Woodrow, Provincial Engineer, to start putting up the initial infrastructure of the Leper colony which was ready by 1932.  On August 5, 1932, the leprosy patients at Gborokiri were evacuated to Uzuakoli, including Ikoli Harcourt Whyte and Isaac Nwohu.

It is remarkable to note that the most loyal and effective Public Works Department (PWD) staff who assisted  Taylor Woodrow in building the initial infrastructure in the Uzuakoli Leper colony was one  Daniel Meziobi from Nekede near Owerri. After the first houses were built by PWD at the Uzuakoli Leper Colony, the PWD, impressed by the patriotism and missionary spirit exhibited by Daniel Meziobi, transferred his services on secondment to the Methodist Church where he worked until his career in the civil service continued when government took over the leper colony on April 1, 1945 (government financial year then began on 1st April of one year and ended on 31st March of the following year). It must be emphasized that Daniel Meziobi was never a leprosy patient. He was rather a sympathetic Nigerian patriot who admired the humanitarian services of European Doctors etc and wished to join them in serving humanity to eradicate leprosy. What a rare Nigerian!

The Primitive Methodist Church, London sent Dr. J. A. K. Brown to work at Uzuakoli. On arrival, he first stayed with other missionaries at the Methodist College, Uzuakoli before he went to Itu Leper Colony for orientation after which he returned to Uzuakoli with such remarkable pioneer Nigerian Staff as Eze Agha and Ebeke Inyang. Dr. Brown’s first tour was to last for four years, in the first instance, and he said, ab initio, that he would not seek a renewal. This situation created expected anxiety for the Methodist Church. At a synod of the church held in London at this psychologically most unfavourable moment, the problem to be posed by Dr. Brown’s exit from Uzuakoli Leper Colony was discussed. A synod delegate called Mr. Davey on reaching home after the synod meeting discussed the issue with his family at lunch.  His son, Thomas Frank Davey, then a student in the University of London, where he was studying for a Master’s Degree in Biology with the aim of teaching Science in Methodist College, Uzuakoli, upon graduation, was so deeply touched by the plight of leprosy patients that,  on the spot, he decided to change to the study of medicine not only to replace Dr. Brown, but to engage in research that will provide the cure for leprosy. And T. W. Davey became a Doctor at the time Dr. Brown was to leave Uzuakoli and indeed took over from him in 1936. That was how the most remarkable leprosy worker of all time in Nigeria came into action.

It is interesting to note that when Dr. T. F. Davey took over the administration of the Uzuakoli leper colony in1936, he inherited Dr. Brown’s staff among whom were some very beautiful girls, incharge of the colony babies home (there babies born by leprosy patients were carefully kept away from their mothers to assure their safety from leprosy infection).These beautiful girls were carefully selected from Calabar, Opobo, Bonny (there was only one Igbo among them). For Dr. Brown, these pretty girls served the purpose of attracting young men to the colony and so made the public to feel that the colony was not a place of isolation to be dreaded by people after all. Dr. Davey saw Dr. Brown’s policy as hypocritical, sacked the beautiful damsels, and replaced them with ugly girls, arguing that it was better to educate people to understand the truth that leprosy is a communicable disease that can only be contracted through prolonged person to person contact with a leprosy patient, and that it was curable as well. So, people had no need to dread and avoid the leper colony where Europeans and their family and supporting African staff and their family lived, not only comfortably but confidently. Dr. Davey also terminated the appointment of male staff that did not show demonstrable Christian commitment to Leprosy eradication work. And as we shall see later in this article, Dr. T. F. Davey did all in his power to make the leper colony an attractive place to live in through the creation of social activities.

In 1938, Dr. T. F. Davey attended a World Conference on leprosy. His paper on leprosy was so well received that the University of Manchester gave him an award for his masterly presentation. It was at this conference that he debunked the idea of calling a centre for the treatment of leprosy by the derogatory name, COLONY. He preferred the name SETTLEMENT. That same year, he opened out-patient clinics in segregation settlements near homes of sufferers so that they may be in close touch with their homes. The reason for this was that patients in the Uzuakoli settlement were written off by their people who often appropriated their homes and wives because they regarded them as dead. Even some cured patients on discharge from the settlement returned to their homes to find them appropriated by their relatives who presumed that the leprosy patients had died. Not all communities accepted the segregation village idea advocated by Dr. T. F. Davey. For example, Nekede near Owerri rejected the idea but Alai and Ibeku in old Bende division accepted the idea.  Dr Davey mounted propaganda across Eastern Nigeria for leprosy sufferers to come forward for early treatment to avoid deformities that made sufferers look ugly. Dr. Davey raised a lot of money in Nigeria and outside Nigeria in particular, from charitable organisations such as British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (BELRA), The Oxford Group, churches etc. At the Uzuakoli settlement, he founded primary school for children where properly trained lepers and ex-lepers became teachers. These teachers were assisted by volunteer wives of expatriate staff. Children produced by this school were among the best in Nigeria. In fact, one of them went to University and rose to become a professor of English and Drama before he died.

In 1944, the then Governor of Nigeria visited the Uzuakoli Leper Settlement officially. Following this visit, the Nigerian government took active interest in missionary activities to eradicate leprosy in Nigeria by taking over the Oji River Leprosy Settlement from the Church Missionary Society (CMS now Anglican) as well as the Uzuakoli Leper Settlement from the Methodist Mission. It also built a Leprosy Control Centre at Oji River. Because of the efforts of Dr. T. F. Davey, Uzuakoli also became a Leprosy Research Centre headed by one Dr. John Lewe, a Leprologist of repute who was assisted by European technologists, who also trained Nigerian technologists, some of who were lepers and ex-lepers as well. Here it is interesting to note that the first effective standard drug, DDS, used to treat leprosy was perfected at Uzuakoli before the death of Dr. Lewe.

Dr.Davey knew that ex-patients, especially those with obvious deformities, would be handicapped to help themselves and would also be rejected by their own people so, he persuaded the Methodist Mission to take over the after discharge matters of the ex-patients through the creation of a Welfare Department that I understand is still operational today.

We cannot end this presentation without recounting Dr. T. F. Davey’s extra humanitarian contributions at Uzuakoli. He once came back from a synod meeting looking very angry because one Rev. Roberts in charge of Methodist Church, Ovim was being transferred to Port Harcourt and Dr. Davey thought that  his transfer would kill the motherless babies home  established at Ovim by Rev. Roberts and his wife. A woman had died after child birth at Ovim and Mrs. Roberts, then a nursing mother, took over the motherless baby. About the same time, five other mothers around Ovim died after child birth and Mrs. Roberts took over their motherless babies.  These unfortunate events led Rev. and Mrs Roberts to open A Motherless Babies Home at Ovim, with funds raised by them from friends and relations in England. Dr. Davey feared that with their transfer to Port Harcourt, the motherless babies’ home founded by Rev. and Mrs Roberts at Ovim would run into trouble, hence his concern.  To save the situation, Dr. T. F. Davey urged the Methodist Church to allow the Uzuakoli Settlement to add the six motherless babies from Ovim to its non-leprosy children of leprosy patients. Dr. Davey did not stop there. He approached one J. C. Okeke, a contractor at Uzuakoli and native of Atani in Ogbaru near Onitsha, who had just opened a maternity at Uzuakoli, to accommodate all the motherless babies referred to above in his new maternity, thus taking them out of the leprosy settlement. J. C. Okeke graciously granted the wish of Dr. Davey. But Dr. Davey took further steps. He appealed to some German organizations for funds with which he built a Motherless Babies Home at Uzuakoli in1958.

Dr. T. F. Davey was also an accomplished musician. He played the piano well, composed music and promoted the musical work of Ikoli Harcourt Whyte by putting them in Tonic Solfa to simplify things for Harcourt Whyte who he helped to organize the Settlement Choir otherwise known as the Harcourt Whyte choir. Dr. Davey wrote and conducted drama for the Leper Settlement staff and patients thus enhancing community life in the settlement.  The Harcourt Whyte Choir performed all over Eastern Nigeria in schools such as Methodist College, Uzuakoli; Archdeacon Crowder Memorial Girls College, Elelenwa, Port Harcourt; Women Training College (WTC) Old Umuahia; Union Secondary School, Ibiaku Ikot Oku in Ibiono, present Akwa Ibom State; Shell Petreoleum Development Company Port Harcourt etc. As a Biologist, he was fond of catching butterflies and once succeeded in catching special specie that provoked a lot of interest in Britain. Dr. Davey promoted sports in the Uzuakoli Settlement by encouraging residents to participate in the game of tennis with racquets and tennis balls provided by him. In particular, he took part in the games himself with his wife. He was a man who was not only humble but had the knack of meeting people on their level without any loss of dignity.

Dr. T. F. Davey and his wife left Nigeria in 1959 because their mothers had become very old and needed their personal care as they had come to admire the Igbo social security culture of families taking care of their aged members – they believed that the Igbo system of caring for the aged was better than the British approach of sending them to an old people’s home. While in England, Dr. Davey was appointed Medical Secretary of the Methodist Church. He served in that position for 5 years and it afforded him the opportunity to still serve the people of Nigeria because, as Medical Secretary, he continued to oversee the work of Methodist medical institutions in Nigeria at Ituk Mbang, Uyo; Iquita in Oron; Amachara near Umuahia. Even in his work as Medical Secretary, Dr. T. F. Davey found time to continue his Leprosy research effort. When his mother and mother in-law eventually died, Dr. T. F. Davey went to India to work as a leprosy doctor for 5 years.

Dr. Davey’s interest in church work led him to build a large chapel at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Settlement. And the first church became converted to a civic centre. The church built by Dr. Davey was damaged during the Nigeria/Biafra war. When Dr. Davey learnt of this, he raised money in England, sent the money to Miss Rosalind Collwell of the Amodu, Itu Mbuzo mental welfare project of the Methodist church welfare department, who caused the damaged church to be rebuilt.

Dr. T. F. Davey was a linguist who spoke and wrote Igbo so well that the Methodist Church commissioned him to write their ‘Ekpere Na Abu” (Prayer and Hymn book in Igbo) for use by Igbo congregations.

Dr. T. F. Davey had hoped that he would, after defeating leprosy, face the scourge of tuberculosis in Nigeria and work for its eradication as well. But time and circumstances did not permit him to do so.

A serious country would have conferred national honours on Dr. Davey but not Nigeria. It is not yet late. It is hoped that people in government who read this presentation would promote such a ‘thank you’ initiative to give honour to a man who served Nigeria so selflessly with all his efforts of head and heart and hand. Be that as it may, the British government recognised and admired his work in Nigeria and awarded him an O.B.E.

Dr. T.F. Davey, in his bid to develop a good and enlightened community in the leper settlement at Uzuakoli, became a teacher in addition to being a medical doctor. In 1938, he started a class in his house for the African staff of the leprosy settlement every Tuesday from 7pm. He taught them Religion, Philosophy and History to enlighten them and prepare their minds psychologically for the difficult task ahead. Among staff who benefitted from this education project were P.A. Nwokoro, I.E. Duruoha, J.E. Ezereonye and Isaac O. Onoh. At one of these classes, Dr T.F. Davey revealed to his students that formal study of medicine began in Africa. He also taught them the Hippocratic Oath.

Dr. Thomas Frank Davey died in 1983. In his will, he requested that his body be cremated, that no wreaths be laid on his coffin or grave and that any amount given by people during condolence visits to his family be sent to Uzuakoli and used to maintain the church he built there.

We saw how much Dr. Davey was concerned about the care of children. But it must be noted that Dr. and Mrs T. F. Davey had no biological children of their own.

Given what is happening today in our country, from the above account, we can appreciate the difference between a missionary and a mere proprietor of a church that Bishop Ochiagha prefers to refer to as  small scale industry. Indeed, these churches have graduated beyond small scale industries because proprietors of small scale industries cannot afford to buy private jets. So let us all become missionaries and like Dr. T.F. Davey and his ilk, carry out our Christian obligations to one another, in the belief that Christianity is not about the survival of the fittest, but the protection of the weakest. And that is why, we should, all and sundry, brave all odds, by going out into arena of service, combining with others, to convert labour for the benefit of humanity into a feast of love.

Emmanuel A. C. Orji, Senior Citizen

Email: eacorji@yahoo.com   Phone:08034447729

 

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