A scion of the Senator Greg Ngaji political family from Yala in Cross River State, Jude Ngaji is charitable, unassuming. He isÂ ambitiously eyeing the big picture as Ugochukwu Aliogor reports
So far, so good. But then, when challenges come, what matters is the attitude displayed towards them.
For Jude Ogbeche Ngaji, life is like a river clear, fast and in constant flow, with everyone desiring a drink from it.
Right from his college and university days at Mary Knoll College, Ogoja and University of Uyo, Ngajiâ€™s life has taken the pattern of a fast-flowing river, demonstrating that the act of giving should be a continuous process of circulation that stretches the flow of the human energy.
For over two decades, the philosophy of this young herald of hope has been premised on the understanding that for one to receive, someone else has to give; the latter role he has long assumed.
Weaned on the diet of love, care and compassion, Jude had early in life cultivated the art of charity, care and empathy for the less fortunate around him. Call it his destiny, if you like. Truth is, it has remained his passion and a ministry he has since been running with it. A chip off the old block, Judeâ€™s compassion for the vulnerable has its tendrils from his father, Senator Greg Ngaji, one-time senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As a member of the upper legislative chamber from 2003 to 2011, testimonies still swirl attesting to Gregâ€™s humanity. According to several of the senatorâ€™s beneficiaries who tapped from his milk of kindness, you never went back the same way you visited Senator Greg in Abuja. He would guarantee your comfort and ensure a fitting return home. His kindness was indeed that legendary. And like a family heritage, Jude has since been touching lives, restoring hope and putting smiles on the hitherto forlorn faces of the less privileged.
Seen by many as an iroko among shrubs, Jude is a medley of many things and different things to different people. As one time Organising Secretary of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jude ensured a coordinated and collaborative effort that led to howling successes of the partyâ€™s activities.
Graduating from the position of the organizing secretary to Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Liyel Imoke, Jude earned his stripes to later become the substantive Chief of Staff to Governor Imoke in the twilight of that administration.
He has been the state security adviser since the coming of the administration of Governor Ben Ayade. A young man with an insatiable appetite for learning, Jude, following his graduation from the university quickly proceeded to the Federal University of Technology, where he bagged a masterâ€™s degree in Marketing Technology.
Currently studying Law at the University of Calabar with a PhD admission in International Relations in the kitty, Jude has undergone several foreign security training spanning the Dubai Police Academy, where he emerged the best student of his set,Â as well as Enforcement and Regulatory Management at Harvard University, USA.
To several who have crossed paths with Jude, they have varied accounts of his personality: as then chief of staff, he was without airs and graces and operated an open door policy that ensured an unfettered access to his office. His office and house were a Mecca oas many people milled around for one favour or the other. A father of two,Â and a cross bearer for the abandoned and the poor; a man of charity and compassion, while drawing on the art of giving and sharing, Jude is usually roused by the plight of those with an uncertainÂ tomorrow.
A man with a sunny heart, Jude radiates a ray of light through the cloudy world of societyâ€™s most neglected and forgotten species as they struggle through the storms and turmoil of their uncharted and uncertain future. As an uncommon gift to his generation, the State Security Adviser is widely seen as a radiant and compassionate beacon of hope, a twinkling instance of what it means to care and the necessity and joy of sharing the suffering of others.
Having accepted the evangelism of charity as his divine lot, Jude has been playing the role of a â€œfather to the poor,â€ a symbol of compassion to the homeless, hope to the hopeless in the entire five council areas of the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State.
In fact, as a way of sharing in the core misery of the poorest of the poor and the very vulnerable in the state, the former Chief of Staff has, through his various mitigating and intervention initiatives like the Ikaba Ngaji Foundation, been offering succour to the sick and many others afflicted with sundry ailments.
For instance, in January this year, as part of his commitment to assisting patients who cannot pick up their medical bills, Jude personally undertook a tour of two hospitals, the Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) and the General Hospitals in Ogoja respectively, and settled the medical bills of well over a hundred patients across the various wards of the two hospitals. On the same day, food items as well as beverages were donated to the motherless homes in Ogoja.
Without prior information about his visit, mammoth crowd of supporters from Bekwarra, Obanliku, Obudu, Ogoja and Obanliku, bearing different banners had thronged Igoli, the council headquarters of Ogoja to receive the young humanist.
Similarly, over 3,000 people from the five local government areas of the northern part of the state had equally benefited from eye treatments and surgeries sponsored by the former PDP organising secretary. As well as people with eye-related conditions ailments, there are presently a large number of patients in different Indian hospitals under the auspices of Ikaba Ngaji Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, with Jude as chairman.
Coordinator of the foundation, Mr. Tony Idagu said since the establishment of the foundation, over half a million people have been touched in one way or the other, noting that Jude is ready to sacrifice everything he has to bring wellness to the teeming populace in the northern part of the state and others outside the zone.
Interestingly, as his humanity continues to resonate all across the five council areas, there is increasing pressure on the young Turk to assume higher political responsibility by running for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There has been a huge clamour from sundry support groups across the length and breadth of the five local government areas of Bekwarra, Obanliku, Obudu, Ogoja as well as Yala, persuading the State Security Adviser to have a go at the senate.
Coming under different names such as Generation Next; Team Jude; The Eagle Squad; Judified; King Jude; Ladies for Jude, among others, the support groups have taken it upon themselves to print T-shirts, face-caps, banners, handbills, if anything, to underscore their unflinching commitment and seriousness to the â€œJude for the Senateâ€ project which they insist, they are ready to give their all to actualise.
The position of the groups, according to Justin Isorji and Peter Ikpen Ilefa, is that the time has come to have a more vibrant and younger representative with fresh ideas in the Senate. To further reinforce their belief in Jude, the groups are ready to poll resources to pick up nomination form for him, even as they threaten to drag him to court, should he decide otherwise.
While Jude is yet to respond to the popular clamour to aspire to the Senate, he is to the youth, a senator who is awaiting a formal inauguration onÂ May 29, 2019. The youth have thrown a challenge, and the ball is now in Judeâ€™s court.
For Jude, there seems to be a tide in his affairs, which, taken at the flood, might lead on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of his life could be bound in shallows. On such a full sea is he now afloat. It is either he takes the current now that it serves or lose his ventures. This, the youth can ill-afford. For them, it is Jude or nobody else.