By Nna Anulumadu
The people of Ifite-Ogwari and Ayamelum communities on Saturday, May 9th 2020 agog as the Archbishop of Onitsha Most Rev. Valerian Mmaduka Okeke Commissioned St Joseph’s Hospital and Maternity Ifite-Ogwari and laid foundation stone for Maria Assumpta group of schools Ifite-Ogwari.
The epoch making ceremonies attracted the presence of respected dignitaries and top government functionaries including governor Willie Obiano (Akpokue dike global), Speaker Anambra house of Assembly Rt. Hon. Uche Victor Okafor, Commissioner for Basic Education Prof. Kate Omenugha, Hon Commissioner for Health Dr. Vincent Okpala , traditional ruler of Ifite-Ogwari Igwe A .I Ofuebe among others.
In his speech shortly before the commissoning of the hospital, the hospital proprietor Archbishop Val stated that the hospital was built to in order to give the members of the community and the entire Ayamelum communities quality health care and easy access to good hospital since such was not in place until now. The hospital he said will save many lives especially in times of emergency.
Speaking earlier during the foundation stone laying for the new school under construction, Archbishop disclosed that the reason for citing the school at the area is to alliviate the suffering of the Ifite-Ogwari children who cover a far distance every day to access a school in neighbouring communities. He revealed that is part of commitments of Onitsha Archdiocese to consolidate on the efforts of the early missionaries who brought education to us many years ago. He called on people of good will to support the project in order to speed up its competition.
Governor Obiano who was represented at event by his Chief of staff Hon. Primus Odili in a speech extolled the prelate for his vision and for his large heart to Ifite-Ogwari and entire Ayamelum communities. He made it clear that proper health care facility is needed all parts of the world expecially now orona virus is ravaging nations, stating that the Archbishop has done well by providing a well equipped hospital at the area with a difficult terrain.
” The hospital and the proposed school have already started developing the community,” adding that the state government has already started supporting the hospital and will not relent since the said hospital is there for everyone.
The Anambra speaker cum house member representing Ayamelum constituency in Anambra state house of Assembly Hon. Okafor in his speech eulogised the Archbishop for his magnanimity to Ayamelum. His words: “the hospital project is already developing Ifite-Ogwari and environs. ‘Ndi be anyi development has come and more are coming’.
Also the Commissioner for Health Dr Okpala poured encomiums on the prelate, remarking that Onitsha Archdiocese is doing well in the health sector, adding that such efforts by the Archbishop is making his job easier.
The Commissioner for Basic education Prof. Kate Omenugha who spoke to the press described the hospital project as a plus to the Archdiocese. She also posited that the school project indicates that education is gradually coming to the grassroots, adding that it is a step in the right direction.
The coordinator of health services Archdiocese of Onitsha Very Rev Fr Basil Ekwunife in his remarks described Archbishop Val as a good man who has continue to show love and care to the Ayamelum communities. He recalled that in early 2000 when Archbishop directed that work should start at the hospital site, the structures at the place were in a dilapidated state.” In other words the whole building was pulled down and construction kicked off afresh.”
” Today we have a new ultra modern hospital, doctors and nurses quarters, convent for Rev sister for effective management” He also thanked the donors including Gov Obiano, Chief Primus Odili, High Chief Obiora Okonkwo, Prof Kate Omenugha and others who contributed financially and otherwise towards realization of the hospital project.
The hospital C E O Fr Okala V. C Abanogu, the parish priest St Anthony’s parish Ifite-Ogwari Fr Joachim Igwe, Chief Raymond Chetauya and Chief Ralph Machi who spoke to the press in their similar remarks rained accolades on the Archbishop over the transformative projects commissioned at Ifite-Ogwari.