By. Honest Munachiso Offor
I didn’t expect him to remember but he did and I was pleasantly startled when I saw his call. I beamed with pride and appreciation as he prayed for me and lauded my consistency in standing for what is right.
In that moment, I felt fulfilled, valued and truly proud of myself. Dr. Alex Otti is not just my leader, he is a mentor and the embodiment of our collective aspiration as a people. Of course I told him that his consistency and doggedness has steeled our resolve to remain steadfast in the face of intimidation and temptations.
In him I draw inspiration and motivation. I’ve learned persistence and resilience, diligence and focus from the manner his has handled his successes and dealt with defeat. I consider his call a perfect birthday present. He didn’t just call. He sent a token which is by my own standard, an immense display of affection. He left me speechless and truly humbled.
In keeping faith with my desire to give back to the society, I’ve decided to apply some of that generous token to grooming our younger generation. I am product of public schools. At the Federal government College Okigwe, my writing skills were honed by the debate and literary club which I was a star member. We attended competitions, wrote essays and learned the art of public speaking. Today, I earn a living with the skills I learnt in secondary school.
The Abia state inter-school debate competition will be a yearly event and we’ll kickstart it this year. We’ll start with debate and add essay writing and spelling competition next year. My desire is to revive debate and literary clubs in all our secondary schools. To do that, I’ll work with willing corps members and school Heads.
Foundation is relevant and a good foundation is what we need to change our state for better. By building the confidence of our teenagers and directing their focus to the things that matter, we’ll be building a new crop of citizens that will have interest in governance and that can engage responsibly.
The first prize will be #100,000, excluding the trophy, the first runner up will go with #50,000, while the schools that finishes top three will go home with #20,000 for their efforts. If you’re interested in being part of this project, you can indicate interest.
Once again, I am grateful for the outpouring of love and affection on my birthday. As long as God gives me life, I’ll spend my days doing things that improve the lives and well-being of our people.