By Collins Ughalaa
Since my friend and quintessential blogger, Ifeanyi CY Njoku, clocked 33 years old on August 8, 2017, I have taken time in my quiet moment to ruminate over life. I had so many reasons to ruminate over life, because, personally, a lot of things have happened in quick succession over the past few years that required that one to take a deep breadth and think things over, especially that my son, Fortune Uzoma Ughalaa, turned 12 on August 6. But when I came on Ifeanyi CY Njoku, operator of Ifeanyicy blog and my good friend, I saw nothing but a story of grace and fortitude written boldly all over. He is a man with great future and he is carrying on with the missions to achieve the great future layer before him.
Then the spirit of the Lord Most High whispered to me and said: *"It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy. Romans 9:16. "I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time", Ecclesiastes 9:11. "For God said to Moses, 'I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose'", Romans 9:15; Exodus 33:20.*
When you see Ifeanyi, especially for the first time, the first thing you would see is his disarming and charming smile. He is very friendly and holds nothing back. He gives himself when he sees the need. And he does all this not calling to mind that he lost his right left from the ankle, to a ghastly motor accident that claimed the lives of his co-travellers. I think Ifeanyi bears this in mind constantly, and in order to be eternally grateful to God he has been going about doing only good, putting smile on people's faces without asking for anything in return.
Sixth child of his parents, he was born to the family of Mr. and Mrs. B.O. Njoku of Amazi Umunakanu Owerre, Ehime-Mbano Local Government Arear of Imo State, on August 8, 1984. For the love of education, he set out for school on time, attending Community Primary School, Umugolo in Umunakanu, Ehime Mbano LGA. He also attended Comprehensive Secondary School Umueleke, in the same LGA, where he was introduced to leadership functions as he became a Class Prefect during his days in JSS1 to JSS3. He later became the School Rgulator.
Variety, they say, is the spice of life. Ifeanyi CY Njoku got change of school and moved over to Nsu Technical College (NsuTech), a boarding school. As a star without a hiding place, he continued with his leadership functions in Nsu Tech, from the position of Sanitary Prefect in SS1 to Senior Prefect in SS3. He sat for WAEC/SSCE and came out in flying colours.
With his eyes set on the prize, he wrote JAMB and got high grade. He sought for admission to study Medicine and Surgery. But little did he know that life had prepared a different route for him. While he was running around processing his admission to study Medicine and Surgery in his first choice, University of Lagos, and Second choice, University of Nigeria Nsukka, the unexpected happened. He was involved in a motor accident alongside two of his school friends.
God spared his life, but the accident led to the amputation of his right leg from the ankle joint. After six months at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, where he sought medical attention, and rising with fortitude clothed with grace from above, the indefatigable Ifeanyi picked himself up and looked at the sky, and as if reading what the future held for him, he forged on and secured admission to study Biochemistry at the Abia State University, Uturu.
With crutches in his two hands, he criss-crossed the length and breath of ABSU and graduated in 2005 with BSc in Biochemistry.
A leopard does not change its skin. Thus, braving all odds, Ifeanyi also became the Course Representative in the University and later joined the University politics, where he cut his teeth in politics and rose from being a member of the Student Union Legislative Council and contested election as Director of Health, Student Union Government, ABSU. He was also a member of Rotract Club. He was Politics Editor of the Students Press Club, and founded the Society for Promotion Igbo Language and Culture, while in the University.
Having cut his teeth in the University politics, Ifeanyi remained in active politics in the University and formed Okigwe Zonal Youth Development Forum, and coordinated the 2003 governorship campaign of Hon Emeka Nwajiuba.
Having performed creditably in this role, he was picked immediately on return from the University by the Honourable Member representing Ehime-Mbano State Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon Stanford Onyirimba (Majority Leader, Imo State House of Assembly) as LGA Youth Leader. This was after he headed a powerful youth group in Ehime-Mbano called Ehime-Mbano Youths Movement.
Moving up the ladder of life, Ifeanyi relocated to Owerri from the village and joined the People's Democratic Party (PDP) where he became the first youth to be appointed member of the State Working Committee (SWC) of Charles Ugwu 2007 Campaign Organization. When the PDP lost the election to the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) that saw Chief Ikedi Ohakim being sworn-in as Governor, Ifeanyi was appointed Personal Assistant to Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Sir George Egu. He later resigned after agreeing with his boss to allow him time to coordinate his new found state youth group, the Ohakim Youth Vanguard (OYV).
The Ohakim Youth Vanguard later metamorphosed into the most powerful youths group in the state and sought after by everybody that mattered in Imo State politics, as the group boasted of the best political structure and fine strategy. The OYV dominated youths activities in the state and controlled students politics across the 6 higher institutions in the State.
Many would have gone home to lick their wounds when Governor Ikedi Ohakim lost his re-election bid in 2011. But Ifeanyi instead persevered and brought out the lion in him. He was leading Imo youths in solidarity to all Ikedi Ohakim's court cases till it ended in the Supreme Court. While this was going on, he was courted by the Governor Rochas Okorocha led administration in the state and he was subsequently appointed Personal Assistant to Chief of Staff to Imo State Governor, Prince Eze Madumere.
Prince Madumere was later sworn-in as Deputy Governor after the impeachment of Sir Jude Agbaso, and he moved with him as PA to the Deputy Governor on Youth Mobilization. He was in this office until when he shocked Imo people and his teaming supporters by his resignation. This was reported in major newspapers and electronic media.
Still moving on the ladder, Ifeanyi formed his NGO, Centre For Youth Development and Peace Initiative, organizing seminars, workshops and leadership training for youths, as well as preaching peaceful coexistence in the state. He delved into the media and launched an online media platform, www.Ifeanyicy.com. This blog has become the most read blog in the South East of Nigeria.
Apart from running his blog, Ifeanyi CY Njoku has become a humanitarian, rendering help to the needy. His social-welfare crusade has bailed many from the hospitals, including indigent mothers who were detained in the various hospitals in the state as a result of their inability to pick their bills.
Ifeanyi CY Njoku's story qualifies for a Nollywood best seller script of from grass to grace. It is an interesting and developing story that will be highly captivating. But to me, the story of Ifeanyi CY Njoku is a lesson that with grace, fortitude and hardwork you can be whatever you conceive of in your mind. It is a lesson that no one is holding you down but you. It is a lesson that no one else holds your destiny in his hands but you. It is lesson for all, that the race is not for swift.
Happy birthday in arrears, Ifeanyi CY Njoku, blogger extraordinaire.