In the month of September, 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals as a roadmap towards eradicating poverty, protecting the planet and improving the quality of life for the family of man everywhere in the world. It was a 15year plan with 2030 set for its attainment. The very first goal upon which all other goals are built is the need for action to tackle poverty and entrench the culture of shared prosperity. With the enormous resources the mother earth is bequeathed with, poverty and want should be an exception not the rule, and as long as poverty exists anywhere in the world, it is an indictment for the whole of mankind.
Implicit in the delivery of these goals is effective and efficient leadership. This factor has been the bane of development, particularly in Nigeria where there is a dearth of purposeful leadership.
However, one lighted candle is enough to illumine the dark recesses of a cave. Dr Godwin Maduka, born into a humble family in 1959 in Umuchukwu, has shown in his private capacity that attaining the Sustainable Development Goals within the time frame mapped out for it is practicable and possible. With his educational background and exposure, his passionate love for his roots and an unwavering desire to uplift his people’s quality of life, he has adopted those goals and made them the basis of his infrastructural intervention in his community.
With his life as a testament to the fact that you can never go wrong with education, Dr Maduka understands that one of the easiest ways of poverty eradication is through qualitative education. Being a born and bred nwa afo Igbo, he imbibed the ancient Igbo principle of onye aghana nwanne ya, or like the American Marines would say, Leave no one behind. This is predicated on the sense that we are tied together in one single garment of destiny, that out of many, we are one. He is convinced that the greatest resource of a people is the human capital. To this end, he has sponsored hundreds of young pupils through primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. His scholarship scheme has provided a launching pad for the teeming youths, giving them wings to fly, removing the cobwebs of their minds and setting high their mental skies. His human capacity development is unparalleled throughout Anambra State. Some of the beneficiaries were sent to study choice courses like Medicine, Law and Aviation in notable ivy league institutions round the world. Many have graduated and are excelling in their different careers, enriching human civilization.These youths in turn become a pillar for their families and by extension, responsive and responsible members of the society. Furthermore, Dr Maduka singlehandedly built Immaculate Conception College, Umuchukwu, equipped with it modern tools for education, making learning attractive and the environment conducive. Maintaining a high standard of learning is expensive, but ignorance is more expensive. And so he has continued to grant subventions to the school. No wonder the school has bagged several laurels in competitions within and outside the State, and her students have continued to show the stuff they are made of in character and in learning.
Another approach of his towards tackling poverty is through provision of grants for business owners and construction of standard markets for his community. The market created and has continued to create business boom for farmers and traders from not only his community but from other neighbouring communities as well. The increase in commercial activities makes for enhanced earning power of his people and by extension a heavy blow to the poverty curse.
Dr. Maduka, believing in the dignity of the human person and the right to shelter as a fundamental human need, has constructed hundred houses for the homeless and the displaced in his community. His three pronged approach to fighting poverty through qualitative education, increased commercial activities and provision of business grants for his people has leapfrogged the tremendous development in Umuchukwu, in line with the SDGs. These are in addition to the provision of Transformers to boost electricity availability which in turn sustains production and the construction of roads to increase easy access to markets for farmers.
Dr. Maduka, himself son of a Dibia and an accomplished medical Doctor, realized that there is a correlation between a healthy population and productivity. A healthy population is a wealthy population. With his rich experience, wide exposure and rare accomplishments in the field of Medicine, he understood that charity begins at home and that his famed success and exploits in the medical field is naught if his people lack access to quality healthcare. To this end, he constructed a very ambitious state of the Art hospital and a research Institute in his town. The structure is unarguably the tallest building in the whole of Anambra and when completed, will be equipped with modern medical equipment with cutting edge technology to cater to the health needs of not just his community but people from far and near. The imposing edifice is an engineering masterpiece, a wonder to behold and has transformed the aesthetics of the town. The Institute is expected to announce the arrival of the black man on health researches and development of vaccines/cures for complicated health issues bedeviling mankind. Pending the completion of this Institute, he has also constructed and equipped an ultramodern hospital that caters to the health need of his community. This feat gives a boost to the attainment of the third goal of the SDG which is good health and wellbeing.
No economic activity can be sustained without security as well as efficient and effective justice delivery system. Investors and business owners wants a conducive environment for their lives and properties and an institution for settling disputes. Absence of these things leads to chaos. It is an invitation to anarchy, a descent into the Hobbessian state of nature. Being a widely read individual with a keen eye for creation of job opportunities and economic growth for his people in line with the SDGs, Dr. Maduka embarked on the construction of a Divisional Police Headquarters, a Magistrate Court, a High Court and a Barracks for Civil Defence Corps. These buildings were fully equipped before they were handed over to the relevant government agencies for optimal usage. The presence of these institutions of governance in the community has increased the peace and the standard of living enjoyed by the people of Umuchukwu and the adjoining communities.
In Igbo tradition, proverbs are the Palm oil with which words are eaten. One of such proverbs states that a chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches. Simply put, the future of someone can easily be foreseen through the character and tell-tale signs he exhibits today. The culture of excellence and the unwavering belief in the SDGs as a means of catapulting Anambra State into a developed State and a shinning light is the hallmark of the life of Dr. Godwin Maduka. One only needs to kill a lion once before he is called Ogbuagu. In Dr. Maduka ‘s case, he has not only killed lions several times, he has skinned them. He has shown in more ways than one that the SDGs are attainable and it is more instructive that he has shown that in his private capacity. His life is a story in an abundance of humanness, vision, focus and capacity.
In an era of uncertainties and darkness as regards the possibility of attaining the SDGs before the decade of action is over(2020-2030), Dr. Maduka shows up like a Knight in shining armour and says,”Let there be light”.