By Emmauel Iheaka
I was in my office on Wednesday afternoon when two men entered. One of them, the younger, looked very worried, while the other one’s countenance was a bit bright. The elder introduced himself as the Chairman of Tricycle Operators Imo State University (IMSU) Unit, Owerri.
Initially, I thought they had come to complain about multiple levies imposed on them. Tricycle (Keke) operators often lament demand for multiple taxes by revenue generating agents in Imo State. They had to demonstrate in Owerri sometime last year in order to express their grievance.
But this time, it is not the issue of multiple levies. It is a different matter. The leader of the tricycle operators, Mr. Sylvester Chimamkpa Iheanetu was on a rescue mission. He later introduced the other person, Chukwudi Okoro as a member of the IMSU Tricycle Unit.
Mr. Iheanetu said Chukwudi’s wife was delivered of triplets that afternoon in Mercy Maternity Akabo in Ikeduru Council Area of the state. Upon the arrival of the babies, Chukwudi out of confusion, popped out of the hospital and rushed to his chairman for assistance. Both of them therefore decided to visit the corporate office of Nigeria Newspoint Newspaper in search for help.
The sight of Chukwudi on Wednesday afternoon elicited pity and sympathy. He looked miserable. The tricycle operator lamented that he will not be able to pay the hospital bill for the discharge of his wife and as well cater for the kids. His tricycle is on hire purchase and his wife has no job. Chukwudi’s landlord had issued him quit notice or the option of paying two years advance rent. So, the arrival of the triplets seems to have compounded Chukwudi’s woes.
Chukwudi who hails from Amuru in Okigwe has four children already. The fifth one died. According to him, the baby was about to be bathed when he fell into a bowl of hot water. As a result, the baby died. So, it was in a bid to make up for the loss that Chukwudi’s wife gave birth to triplets. God decided to make it triple for the couple.
The holy book, Bible says that God’s gift makes rich and adds no sorrow. But in the case of Chukwudi, the gift came with sorrow. Chukwudi had no joy on the day he received the gift of triplets. He was rather in a sorrowful mood. But I have no doubt that the sorrow will in no distant time give way for joy.
In May this year, one Matthew Ukwueze and wife felt same way Chukwudi feels at the moment. Matthew’s wife was delivered of quadruplets at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri. Matthew was just a labourer then. His wife had no job. Before the delivery, Matthew’s wife was admitted in the hospital for about three months. FMC was taking care of her.
Matthew cried and pleaded for help. He was also confused about how to cater for the kids. I did a piece on this column asking for assistance on behalf of the Ukwueze family. Few days after the delivery, help started coming. I remember the wife of Imo State governor, Mrs. Okorocha visited the family at FMC and made cash donation. The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu also donated, including gifts from other quarters. I can’t forget the delegation from the Synagogue Church of All Nations that also made a donation.
Today, Matthew Ukwueze has a job at the Imo Transport Company (ITC). The governor’s wife had also rented and furnished an apartment for the family at Orji area in Owerri. The Ukwueze family may not be comfortable yet, but the family should no longer be in sorrow. At least, God has provided a means of tending for the babies.
I am convinced that Chukwudi will soon have a cause to smile. If not for any other reason, at least for the fact that those who brought smile to the Ukwueze family are still alive. I know the governor’s wife, the speaker, ITC, Synagogue Church of All Nations and others are still involved in the acts of charity. Their mammary glands have not dried of milk of human kindness. The milk still flows. Therefore, there is hope for Chukwudi, his wife and the babies.
I plead with the state government, Governor Okorocha and his wife, the speaker of the state House of Assembly, as well as other public-spirited individuals and groups to come to the aid of the Chukwudi family. They have done it before and I know they will do it again. The babies have to survive. In this case, the kids do not just belong to Chukwudi and wife but the state. The couple was just a tool for bringing the kids into the world.
There is an organization that struck my mind when Chukwudi and his leader called. This organization has given hope to the hopeless. It has restored life to many who thought they were mere living corpses, owing to the critical condition of their health. It is the Imo Foundation. The foundation is headed by a woman who is passionate about the welfare of the less privileged, the needy, Barr. Ngozi Njoku. She ensured through the office of the governor’s wife that the Ukwueze family was provided a residence.
I know that all it will take for succour to come the way of the Chukwudi family is letting Barr. Njoku, Nneoma Okorocha and the world know about the development. And that I am doing now. Therefore, I tell Chukwudi and wife to be hopeful and calm. Help is in the offing.
Governor Okorocha had a meeting with tricycle operators recently in the state. In the meeting, the governor said he has adopted the tricycle riders as his children. This is the time to walk his talk. An opportunity has emerged for the governor to fulfill his assertion, to prove he meant what he said. It shouldn’t be a mere utterance. The governor should treat Chukwudi the way a father would do to his son. This will sustain the faith and confidence tricycle operators reposed in him.
But there is something that amazes me. I have pondered over it. Why does this kind of gift mostly go to the poor? Why do twins, triplets, quadruplets and other plets go to those who lack the where-withal to cater for them? Those who do not want the gift.
There are couples who have been earnestly praying for children. They have prayed and waited for many years, but the gift is yet to come. If they get twins, triplets or any of the other plets, I know they will go for thanksgiving. They will invite relations, friends and associates to sing praises to God. There will be feast and clinking of glasses. They will treasure the gifts. But here is the gift eluding them.
Could it be these gifts sometimes miss their way? Well, I don’t think so. God has a purpose for everything. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. I know God has reason for allowing triplets into the Chukwudi family. It could be the triplets will re-write the history of the family. One of the kids could lift the family from penury to affluence.
I tell Chukwudi and wife to be strong. It is well with them.