The history of mankind in the past 7 million years is filled with records of significant progress. The transition from being cave dwelling mammals to now being futurists existing in a digital age, underscores the fact that humans have come a long way. As mankind begins to gear up towards becoming a planet of 9 billion people, would you say humans are better off than they were millenniums ago? Of course they are, especially given that access to the bare necessities of life has never been easier. There is considerable improvement in shelter electricity, food, and hygiene and this has invariably improved the quality of our lives. But the one essential element that separates humans from the dumb, that helps create better societies, develop virtues and gives us a sense of freedom—is Education and many around the world are still deprived of it. A few political office holders in positions of authority in Nigeria understand this fact and have taken it upon themselves to right the wrongs and give desired priority to education within their own environment.
Supporting education is not only about renovating school buildings or paying for external examinations for a few students just to catch the attention of the media and by extension the gullible segment of the public. Not at all; it is deeper than that, especially within the Nigerian context where as a student you sometimes have the feeling that the society seems not to be prepared to provide a platform for you to launch yourself after studies. You don’t only support education by building classroom blocks but by giving graduates a sense of belonging so that younger ones will desire to acquire education. You won’t understand this except you passed through the terrains of the ivory tower and tasted the atmosphere of momentary joy and eventual despair that confronts virtually every Nigerian student while in school, yet you strived to emerge victorious by graduating against odds. Once you get to position of authority, among the first things you often do for your people is to create an enabling environment for education to thrive because you don’t only understand the value of education but also know how to activate that value.
This is where Hon. Paschal Chigozie Obi, member representing Ideato North/South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, comes in. He is by far the most educated and academically grounded personality to have occupied the Federal House seat for Ideato North/South Federal Constituency since the history of the Federal constituency. He is also the first technocrat to represent Ideato North/South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Who is Dr. Paschal Obi?
Hon. Paschal Chigozie Obi is the member representing Ideato North/South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He was born on 15th of July, 1970 into the family Late Chief Edwin Eluwa Obi Mmeje and Lolo Virginia Obi Mmeje (Akwuete) of Umuduruanyanwu village in Obiohia Autonomous community, Ideato South Local Government Area, of Imo State. He contested and won the Federal House seat for Ideato North/South Federal Constituency on the February 23rd, 2019 General election. On Tuesday 11th of June, 2019, the 9th national assembly was inaugurated with Dr. Obi as member representing Ideato North/South Federal constituency in the green Chambers.
Inspirational academic pedigree
Just checkout his impressive academic pedigree: He attended Community Primary School Obiohia (1976-1982), Comprehensive Secondary School, Urualla, (1987), Imo State University Uturu, now Abia State University, (1993) where he earned a Doctor of Optometry degree, after which he did his National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme at Ahmadu Bello teaching hospital for his primary assignment. He then moved over to King Saud University in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he lectured for a while under the tutelage of Late Prof. Paul Ogbehi who was his external examiner when he was graduating from the then Imo State University, Uturu. He was also once a part-time lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Imo State University, Owerri.
Hon. Obi’s passion for academics saw him proceeding to University of Nigeria, Enugu campus (UNEC) where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health in 2010. So there is a clear history of his movement through the enclaves of formal education, which is why he is genuinely interested in creating enabling environment for young people in Ideato nation to see education as a priceless accomplishment. You might not decipher this completely if you don’t have the educational pedigree of Hon. Obi, with a local touch that makes it possible for him to understand the educational needs of people living even in the remotest parts of his constituency, having also had his primary and secondary education at home. You can click here to read Hon. Obi’s very interesting biography which was written by Greg Chukwudi Agba, Founder and CEO of EpochsearchTV, the most viewed communication platform operated by an indigene of Ideato Federal Constituency.
Professional track record
Hon. Obi also has quality experience as a civil servant and in professional practice. This also gives him a better understanding of why education should be genuinely prioritized in Ideato North/South Federal constituency. He was the acting Director of Public Health and Primary Health care in Imo state Ministry of Health and also the coordinator National Programme for Prevention of Blindness (VISION 2020). Before moving over to the House of Representatives he was an accomplished civil servant who leveraged on his background as an fulfilled academic to positively impact his environment. So he is not an ‘accidental honourable member’ who probably dabbled into politics from obscurity without any palpable educational and professional backdrop to buttress his potentials. He knows what it means to take his constituency to the next level and has unbelievably effective administrative skills required to plan, execute and complete tasks in record time.
Record breaker in 9th Assembly
This is apparently why despite the fact that he is a new house member in the 9th Assembly, he easily broke the records of all other previous representatives in Ideato Nation, by becoming the Chairman of a sensitive standing committee – House Committee on Health Institutions. Here’s what Speaker of the House of Representatives said about Hon. Obi: “The Profile of Dr. Paschal Chigozie Obi is not only outstanding but intimidating which qualifies him to chair the House Standing Committee on Health Institutions in other to meet the great expectations of Nigerians.” This is definitely what a man’s track record of proven integrity with sound educational backdrop does for him. It then means the notion which holds that to produce a standing house committee chairman one has to be elected for a second time, has been remarkably dismantled by Hon. Obi’s position as a Standing Committee Chair in the House.
Personal goal to promote education in Ideato
Only a qualified technocrat with proven passion for learning like Hon. Obi will understand that education makes us better citizens by teaching us how to conduct ourselves through life and giving us a sense of conscience. He knows that education makes people more confident to go out into the society and achieve things. Just like many governments across the world, Hon. Obi recognizes the importance of education as a tool to enhance progress and make the world a better place. This is why he is making it a personal goal to ensure that the youth in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency are encouraged to follow the part of education in achieving their dreams. Here are the things Dr. Paschal Obi has done to promote education in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency. This includes his efforts even before becoming a member of the House of Representatives, a proof that he has always understood that education powers a better society.
15 ways Hon. Paschal Obi has promoted education in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency
1. Since 2015, all the secondary schools in Ideato Nation both Public and Private enjoy free holiday lessons during every long vacation courtesy Dr. Paschal Obi’s Equity foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that primarily touches lives positively especially in the area of Education and human capacity development.
2. Fifty five indigent students of Ideato North/South Federal Constituency benefit yearly from Equity Foundation free WAEC registration exercise.
3. Hon. Obi secured employment for more than 200 people into the public and private sectors. This is a major way of supporting education because when people know they will be gainfully employed when they graduate from school they will develop the desire to work harder in school while those in secondary school would want to further their education.
4. He moved a motion urging the Federal Government to create one Federal Government College (FGC) in Imo State, recalling that every state in Nigeria has three Federal Government Colleges except Imo State. This motion received instant approval.
5. He insisted that the new Federal Government College will be cited in Ideato Nation. This will not only ensure quality education at secondary level not only for Ideato people but other kids who wish to enroll in the college. It will also create employment for Ideato people who are graduates, including boosting the local economy within the constituency in one small way or the other.
6. He moved a motion for the extension of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri to Ideato which was unanimously approved and to be included in the 2021 budget. You may ask: how does this concern education in Ideato nation? Well, it does. Extending FMC to Ideato will create job opportunity for graduates from that constituency in terms of employment quota. By extension, this will inspire younger people in the area to strive to become graduates since they will have a changed mindset that there exists the prospect of becoming gainfully employed and living a better life exist after school.
7. He moved a motion which has paved the way for the creation an Ear Centre in Lagos and Eye Centre in Owerri, Imo State. He achieved this by moving a motion urging the Federal Government of Nigeria to build more Ear/Eye hospitals in other parts of the country since the only Ear/Eye hospital is located in the Kaduna. This motion was unanimously approved, meaning that the creation an Ear Centre in Lagos and Eye Centre in Owerri, Imo State, had received support. Again, this has educational value not only for people in Ideato nation but to the entire Imo State. Young people who were beginning to lose hope in education due to lack of job opportunities would now start seeing several opportunities springing up all around them and subsequently they would desire to go to school to further their studies. Only a well-educated technocrat will have this deep understanding of how to inspire young ones to be educated and this is what Dr. Paschal Obi is doing through his office as member representing Ideato North/South Federal constituency in the Federal House of Representatives.
8. He facilitated Interactive/Collaborative skill Acquisition Delivery Mechanism for Organisations and Ideato Citizenry.
9. He facilitated Project Scheme II on Setting Service Standards among Secondary Schools.
10. He facilitated training on Advance Techniques in Emerging Techniques for Youths and women of Ideato North/South Federal Constituency.
11. He facilitated Internet and Computer Technology Development Training in Imo State.
12. He facilitated training on Skill Acquisition Mechanization and Setting Standard in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency.
13. He facilitated training of Youth and Women on Fish farming in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency with many of them across (27) Electoral wards of Ideato Nation benefitting from the programme already.
14. Students who found themselves at home during the COVID-19 pandemic benefitted immensely from the palliatives distributed by Hon. Obi. Recall that during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Obi distributed over six thousand safety kits like sanitizers, face masks and hand gloves against coronavirus pandemic in Ideato Nation and also shared five hundred (500) bags of (50kg) rice and one thousand cartoons of noodles to the indigent needy and widows in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency as a palliative to cushion the effect of hardship occasioned by COVID-19 lockdown.
15. Several graduates in Ideato Nation have benefitted from Hon. Obi’s desire to promote education in his constituency by way of securing employments for them in Federal Health institutions across Nigeria. This is one major move that has definitely encouraged many young people in Ideato Nation to strive to acquire University education, since the future now looked bright for those who went to school, a situation that looked pathetically gloomy before Hon. Obi was elected into office. Here are some of the graduates that Hon. Obi secured employment for in Federal Health institutions across Nigeria:
Uba Uzochukwu Anthony from Arondizuogu – Health Services Management Board F.C.T, Abuja.
Dr. Igwe Henry Chinaezerem from Obodoukwu and Ojiaku Chika Lilian a Nurse from Uzii – National Hospital Abuja.
Dr. Chioma Okorocha from Ogboko – University Teaching Hospital Abuja.
Dr. Ndukwe Uzochukwu from Isiekenaesi – National Orthopedic Hospital Enugu.
Dr. Raymond Akamonu from Umumaisiaku, Dr Ekene T. Onyenakazi from Umuchima and Dr. Ebenezar from Akwu-Owerri Akokwa – Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Ebonyi State.
Ako Henrietta a Nurse from Isiekenesi and Michael Nwafor from Iheme-Arondizuogu – Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
Dr. Darlington Obi from Umualaoma – Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi
Others include Franklin Okanumee a Microbiologist from Ntueke, Kevin Anyiam from Isiekenesi, Kizito Egbuawa from Ugbelle, Egbugha Lawrencia a Nurse from Umuojishi-Isiekenesi, Dr. Nwokedi Victor C. from Urualla and Dr. Emmanuel Uzochukwu from Ndi-Imoko Arondizuogu. – University of Portharcout Teaching Hospital.
Creating the enabling environment for graduates to succeed in life is one major way of encouraging education in any society, not just renovating schools and giving scholarship. Hon. Paschal Obi is offering a complete package in the promotion of education in Ideato North/South Federal Constituency. Ideato people are benefitting from the depth foresight from a man whose hindsight in education is infectiously impressive and effectively working out in the interest of his people.