Tony Amadi writes that Dr. Godwin Maduka, a Harvard University trained Medical Doctor and Pharmacist has shown capacity to develop rural communities into world class settlements, starting from his hometown in Orumba, Anambra State. He is one of the leading governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party
I arrived in Umuchukwu, stunned to disbelief at the height of philanthropy of a man who has transformed a small town of no visible consequence into a solid city of international quality.
Dr. Godwin Maduka built a hospital to look after his people’s healthcare and handed Trinity Hospital to the Catholic Church to run. He also built a Cathedral for the Catholic Church and another to the Anglican Communion. A monastery for nuns is also to his credit not to talk of building the Magistrate and High Court that is all built to world class.
But what is stunning definitely is the erection of a 17-storey edifice to house the Institute of Medical Reseach where traditional medicine is researched and transformed to suit the African health environment.
Umuchukwu’s housing sector includes housing for over hundreds of poor families, primary and secondary schools to carter for the education of his people. He equally built a market to show the extraordinary height of his phylantropism.
Maduka knows very well the depths of poverty when he was growing up in Nkerefi, the old name of the town before the people decided it be renamed Umuchukwu.
Maduka’s younger nephew, Kingsley, himself a medical doctor and architect kindly gave me a guided tour of Umuchukwu and the achievements of his big uncle. Dr Maduka’s wing of the sprawling estate is his own residence graced by an impressive ash coloured Rolls Royce vintage car.
You ain’t seen anything yet, Kingsley told me as he noticed my wonderment at the sight of the Rolls. He then took me behind the main home to a warehouse styled extension where his fleet of super cars were packed – two more Rolls Royces, one Bentley, a Range Rover, two high powered SUVs, a stretch limousine, two sports BMW, you name it, he has it.
As I went through the huge estate with several apartment buildings for resident consultants and visitors, what came to my mind was that Maduka’s government house would not need to buy official car for the incoming governor if he wins in 2021.
Now, how does the Harvard University educated medical surgeon and owner of six medical centers in Las Vegas, United States of America go about transforming of Anambra the way he did in his hometown, Umuchukwu.
He said, “My ambition is to transform Anambra into A super state.”
The medical expert said he is ready to transform Anambra into a super state and narrated the essentials of his manifesto for the good governance of Anambra State.
“I believe that there comes a time when we ought to have a new direction, so I have been watching my state and I have seen the progress they have made, and in some other areas there is need for improvement. That is why I decided to try my best to get involved with the governance of Anambra State.
“Of course, as you know in medicine, which is my career, we have to improve in that area. I think medical tourism has to be reversed. Our people shouldn’t have to be going to India, America or UK to get the health care they need. So that is one of the things that I need to make sure it’s done in my state. You don’t need to spend millions of naira and dollars – taking that money overseas – when we can have it at home. As you know I am also a pharmacist and being a pharmacist, I believe we can build factories that manufacture drugs so that people can stop importing fake drugs into the country.”
“I think we need to have mechanized agriculture. We also have to be able to help local farmers to be effective in in order to improve their agricultural yield. I am sure that we can make a difference in healthcare and agriculture. I have done some work in the past in education, religious tolerance, roads and bridges as part of my philanthropic activities.”
How close are you to the grassroots and how much assistance and philanthropy have you done for the people of Anambra State?
He replied, “You may call it philanthropy but what we are doing is trying to improve the quality of life of the people. A lot of facilities were not available when we were growing up in Anambra. For instance, I was born in 1959. The war broke out around 1966 and lasted till 1970 and that led to our missing school for three to four years. I didn’t start school until I was 10 to 11 years old and I was very lucky to have finished school and ended up in the US where I read Chemistry, Pharmacy, and Medicine and started working thereafter. Now, the only time I have been absent from Anambra State, from Nigeria, was the first 11 years that I was in the classroom.
After that 11 or 12 years, I have been coming home every year. So there is nothing about home that I don’t know.
I was involved with the construction of roads and doing other development oriented things at home and dealing with villagers. So in terms of being close to the grassroots, of course I am one of them. I did the things that were needed to be done at home to make sure that lives are better for the grassroots people of Anambra State particularly in Orumba where I come from.
On the issue of zoning of political offices in Anambra, Maduka said, “It has been observed for close to 20 years that the Central Senatorial District has ruled for eight years; the North Senatorial District is just completing another eight years. Now it is time for the South but let me make it categorically clear we have to observe that zoning so that there will be peace at home. You cannot explain to somebody that it is time for the South to produce the governor and all of a sudden it becomes politics. You can’t have peace in the state that way. Now after we finish with the South then we can abandon this zoning system.
“It should be abundantly clear that the next governor must come from the South or the people of the southern senatorial zone will feel cheated. But I believe that even at that, we have been endowed with men and women that can actually win the governorship without it being zoned to the south. We have a lot of heavy weights down there. I happen to come from the south as well even though I am not running based on senatorial zoning. I am running on the fact that there are lots of things that need to be changed. We shouldn’t be lagging behind in development.
“First of all, most people know that I am a son of a native doctor, a herbalist, and that’s how I got this idea of becoming a medical doctor. During the rainy season, people get sick. I follow my father into the bush, get the roots, get the herbs, get the leaves, mix them together and cure people. We never had any doctors in that remote part of Nigeria. These people cure anything from sexually transmitted diseases to malaria to different ailments. This area of work is called Pharmacognosy – the study of plants and roots for the purpose of medication. We did that in pharmacy school and that is the part I am still more interested in.
We still have some of the recipes at home.
“I really believe that Nigeria, just like Cuba, should develop some of these herbal drugs. Whether it is found in the north, south or the west of the country, it is important to get all their remedies. We can always put it through the lab and check out the toxicity level and efficacy and start doing our own trials.
“In building that 17 floors, in future I hope it will help the World Health Organisation and other enterprises in the study of the tropical disease and tropical medicine for the purpose of treating different types of tropical diseases from typhoid, malaria and parasite infections.
“We keep using the western medications which might not work well with us back home. I think it’s about time we did studies in terms of trials of medication using our people at home for whom the medication is being developed. As for Nigerians in diaspora, I am a member of ANPA, that is, Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, and some of them come home and do medical missions but I believe in time not too far, we will establish this international teaching method using that 17-storey building. It will house medical research, it will house the teaching of doctors, nurses, radiologists, the laboratory attendants, etc.
“It will house international health organizations of Africa. Prior to that, I have already built a hospital called TRINITAS that is already taking care of the local people at home. This one is mostly for research and fellowship training as well as specialist matters, whether it is in cancer and oncology, whether it is in infertility, whether it is in HIV/AIDS, now COVID-19.
“So upon completion of these 17 floors, that will be the hub of training our local people with different areas of medicine. what are you bringing to the table?
Maduka said that he is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform. “What I am bringing to the table is that for the 40 years I have been in the USA, and out of these 40 years, 30 years I have been at home doing one thing or the other, trying to improve people’s lives and I believe that I have something to offer the state. All the governors since Ngige, Peter Obi as well as Obiano, I have always been involved trying to do my best to help the government.
“And so I have watched them all these years and I realized that there is a lot I can add to what they have done and I have enumerated many areas that will need some improvement, in education, transport, women and youth empowerment and ICT.”
It has been observed for close to 20 years that the Central Senatorial District has ruled for eight years; the North Senatorial District is just completing another eight years. Now it is time for the South but let me make it categorically clear we have to observe that zoning so that there will be peace at home. You cannot explain to somebody that it is time for the South to produce the governor and all of a sudden it becomes politics. You can’t have peace in the state that way. Now after we finish with the South then we can abandon this zoning system. It should be abundantly clear that the next governor must come from the South or the people of the southern senatorial zone will feel cheated