EKEH: A DONATION THAT NEVER WAS
The fund raising for the re-election of Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State has come and gone, but what is making rounds now in some quarters is that Dr Leo-Stan Ekeh made a personal donation of N100 million. Neither Ekeh nor any of his organizations made any donation to the event. He is not a card-carrying member of any political party.
In August 2006, I was in Owerri to cover an event for the state Health System Development Project (HSDP), where Ekeh and I met. I teased him that the bell of politics had been ringing since 1999, and he's yet to make a pronouncement. Hear him: 'Vic, I prefer my status as an electorate and a simple Nigerian.' The Zinox boss has made numerous friends from different parts of the country.
In 1989 when he established Task Systems Ltd, one of his 'paddy' friends in those early days was Ray Ekpu, of the Newswatch magazine. He has done himself a lot of good, by shying away from partisan politics. However, Ekeh is a staunch donor and supporter of mass-oriented projects. He is always involved in hospital, school and church activities. He has this passion for identifying with such areas, and has been a backbone to many motherless and deprived children's homes and hospitals.
In late 2008, the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, held a function tagged: 'Friends of FMC Project' aimed at, raising money from the private/corporate sector. Zinox made a donation of N1million. I have known Ekeh from Holy Ghost College, Owerri, where we attended. He was my senior, and two classes ahead of me. He is also my senior in age. We have remained very close. As a mark of respect, I still call him 'Nda Leo' till date. In Igboland, 'Nda' means 'senior' or 'elder.' From St Mary's Catholic Parish in his native home of Ubomiri, 15 minutes drive from Owerri, to several other churches and organizations, Ekeh has shown magnificent presence by his philanthropy and kind gesture.
A one-time governor of Imo State, the late Chief Evan Enwerem was seen by many as Ekeh's godfather. They were very close. Enwerem had the pedigree and the political sagacity to lure him into politics. Again, the computer magnate resisted. Ekeh is a remarkable fellow, a man of proven integrity, and uprightness. Back home in Imo State, Ekeh has scores of friends, many of them are into politics today.
The likes of Chief Chris Asoluka, Chief Kingsley Ufere (Ikenga Ideato), Chief Jerry Alagboso (Asiwaju), are some of his friends although, much junior in age to them. Like Ekeh, the trio are also ex-products of Holy Ghost College, the great institution that also produced Chief Patrick Ekeji, Chief Arthur Nzeribe, Charley Boy Oputa, Chief Paschal Dozie, Okey Isima, Kanu Nwankwo, etc. In Imo State, Ekeh is like a brand and a beautiful bride. Everybody wants to relate with him. As a sports man, he still finds time to play his favourite game, table tennis.
Everybody cannot join politics to serve humanity, or to make one -self relevant. An individual can still serve, or be useful to society in several other ways. For now, Ekeh and other Ubomiri sons and daughters are still mourning the sudden death of their great son, Uche Okafor, the former defense stalwart of the Super Eagles who died recently in the USA.