At a time when a number of Nigerian youths are either seen as not yet prepared for the leadership of this country, thus prompting the gerontocracy advocates to continue to perpetuate themselves in office till either rapture occurs or the grim reaper beckons, Engr. Johnbosco Onunkwo, represents a sharp departure from such thoughts, contrasting such thinking as incorrect!
I am sure that when he sees this, he will first frown because he does not like undue publicity. Reading further though, he would chuckle here and there, and then put a call through to me to say: “Young man, stop bringing me out, amidst laughter and some light banter. Expect him to ask a thing or two about you, and then expect a rigorous debate on some issues pertaining to happenings in Anambra, the Southeast, Nigeria and the world. Expect him to concede here where he thinks you are right but also expect him to stand firm on the principles he believes in, while still accepting your views.
Born to the family of Sir Simeon Onunkwo and Lady Onunkwo, he attended a number of institutions before gaining admission to NAU where he studied Chemical Engineering. Bagging a degree, he immediately sought employment and was headhunted into one of Nigeria’s leading petrochemical firms, AGIP.
From then onwards, it’s been one giant leap, after another and another. Onunkwo has been in the news for a number of positive developments.
A mind given to philanthropist, he has been meeting the needs of ordinary people irrespective of where they are from. A scholarship project within Anambra, caters mainly for indigent students all over the state, at the last count, the number of students on his bill should be nearing a thousand.
Another scheme caters for people who cannot afford quality healthcare treatment. As the Johnbosco Onunkwo Foundation has a scheme resembling a combination of the American Medicaid and Medicare for the poor, needy and the weak in society. For six years running, the good people of Anambra have been beneficiaries of such benevolent practice. Drugs, counseling, treatments and even referrals to specialist hospitals are usually obtained from the scheme and that’s not all, cases referred to such hospitals are borne by the foundation and so you can imagine the joy of that woman, child or father, whose humongous cost for treatment is taken over just because one man really cares.
To this end, Onunkwo is building a 40-bed hospital in Anambra that will offer subsidised health care treatment for patients. The hospital, which is nearing completion, will have a state-of-the-art equipment as well as retain qualitative healthcare professionals.
Entrepreneurship is another vent by which Onunkwo believes he can make his mark. To this end, he has financed a number of businesses of serious-minded youths across the country. At first, many of these youths, thinking that these funds are loans, strived hard to do well with such funds with the intention of paying back, but you can imagine the shock which then cascades into a boundless joy when he tells the entrepreneur that such funds are not meant to be paid back but to be further ploughed into his business.
As an intellectual, Onunkwo’s approach to development is people centric. He believes that the average Nigerian is not given to the needless ethnic and tribal discolorations of the Nigerian society, all he or she, that is, the average Nigerian citizen is good governance, peace and security, the average Nigerian will move mountains. He believes that governments must save for the rainy day. A firm believer in Keynesian economics, he also dabbles into the theories of Joseph Schumpeter and is a ready devotee of Jeffrey Sachs!
A political animal, his politics can be described as progressive. A champion of the grassroots, he defies the unprogressive bent of ethnic politics, believing that ethnic politics is largely self serving and limiting. Little wonder he has been so consistent as a member of the ACN before it transformed into the APC.
Unlike the average politician who is given to the whims and caprice of the non ideological politics of ours where politicians change parties and political leanings like socks, Onunkwo’s consistency defines him as a politician with class. A strong supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, he has contributed to the growth of the APC in Anambra and the Southeast that he is referred to by senior politicians as the Digital Politician!
Time and space, puts a check on a lengthy treatise and since I am only allotted 800 words, I cannot go on preaching about the many virtues of Engr Johnbosco Onunkwo. But I am sure history and posterity will give more effusive praise than any word-smith as time goes on.