By Clara Ezekiel
At last, Oloko people now have a reason to bubble with smiles as a standard Health Centre has finally come to stay at their doorstep.
Over the years, I watched the people of Oloko in Ikwuano LGA of Abia state struggle with health challenges, with no adequate healthcare facility in existence. At most, all they had were some mini-Chemists’ shops.
Oloko clan is made up of Oloko Proper, Ahaba Oloko, Umugo Oloko, Azuiyi Oloko, Amizi Oloko and Nchara Oloko.
I watched my people die silently and like flies and I cried in my small room and wished there I could do something to salvage the piteous situation of my people. But, I was incapacitated! And the fact that I could scarcely do a thing hurt me the most. There was no adequate Government Health Care Centre available for the people except for some private owned Health Centres where these rural dwellers visited for treatment. Often times, they might not be able to afford it since the available clinics were owned by individuals whose interest was basically profit making.
Many from the clan lost their lives to minor ailments that could have been arrested with so much ease, if there was the presence of some functional health centre.Some died while being taken to the hospitals located in the urban areas. This was consequent on the believe that proper medical care could only be obtained in the city as none was provided for the rural dwellers by the government.
Some, their situation deteriorated as the medications administered to them were done by some quack Chemists. All this could have been prevented if the government had lived up to its constitutional mandate.
Let me add that at various times, the people of Oloko had stood under the sun and in the rain to campaign for political leaders and also vote for them. They risked their lives and made enemies on behalf of politicians. But, regrettably, once the candidates win and assume office, they immediately consign to oblivion the efforts of the masses who elected them into offices.
Growing up, I remember a particular elderly woman, in her late sixties, from one of the towns in Oloko, who developed goitre from taking expired drugs administered to her by one popular Chemist who has now joined his ancestors. Poor man, what would he do? He merely set up the Chemist shop which he ran in one of the rooms in his tiny mud house just to alleviate the health challenges of his people. Devastatingly, this woman eventually died and has been forgotten.
The people had one popular Health Care Centre known as Ntugbu Health Centre. This was a government project with dilapidated structures then. Ntugbu Health Centre was strategically situated at the boundary between Oloko Proper , Ababa Oloko , Umugo Oloko and Azuiyi Oloko, such that it could be accessible by rural dwellers in Ababa Oloko, Azuiyi Oloko, Umugo Oloko and Oloko Proper but was considered somewhat a long distance to the inhabitants of Nchara Oloko. The once famous Ntugbu Health Centre has gone into extinction with no one making reference to it.
But, thank God for Chief Sam Ifeanyichukwu Onuigbo(Odozi Obodo), the Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency.
Obviously, if Chief Sam Onuigbo had been in office when the famous Ntugbu Health Centre was operational, I believe that massive structure which was known for its immediate response to health-related issues of the people could have been a second to none in the entire South East. The Dispenser-in-charge of the facility, I remember was always on his toes to administer medical treatment to patients with little or no stress. But, today, our long celebrated Ntugbu Health Centre has gone moribund!
Luckily, the narrative has changed! The joy and happiness of the entire people of Oloko know no bounds as the man, Sam Onuigbo has resuscitated their already dying hope through the erection of an outstanding Health Centre.
Here is a man who has absolutely demonstrated his belief in the popular aphorism: ‘health is wealth’. Hon. Samuel Ifeanyichukwu Onuigbo has restored the long dead hope of the people indeed.
Evidently, there have been leaders and there still remain leaders who emanated from the clan and have turned deaf ears to the yearnings of the masses in the area. This questionable attitude is disgraceful, little wonder Ndi Oloko celebrate the Messiah of their time, whose feat will definitely outlive their generation.
No doubt, Hon. Sam Onuigbo is a tool in the hand of the Almighty Creator to turn around the captivity of the downtrodden people of Oloko community. Just like the Psalmist sang: “we were like the people that dreamed when the Lord remembered the people of Oloko Community and turned their captivity around through his choicest servant, Chief Sam Onuigbo, the Odozi Obodo 1 of Ikwuano/Umuahia.”
This is barely two months after the Contractor resumed work and the edifice has finally arrived. We the people of Oloko community cannot conceal our gratitude, and our prayer is that, may the good Lord continue to bless our Rep. Sam Onuigbo.
Meanwhile, all hope is not lost yet as regards our dear Ntugbu Health Centre; we are not giving up as we believe in the continuity of government. Our prayer is that God will give us another Sam Onuigbo who shall imbibe his attributes although we will love to have him there again because his emergence has really brought a glimmer of hope to us. He has truly proven himself “A POLITICIAN WITH A DIFFERENCE” and we implore him to keep the good work afloat while urging others to follow in his footsteps.