By Ugonna Anejionu:
Godwin Maduka, renowned Medical Doctor, and the much talked about frontline contender for governorship seat of Anambra state after the tenure of the incumbent, His Excellency, Willie Obiano has a history worthy of study and emulation, for any underdog in life who wishes to achieve a turnaround in his or her life time. Maduka is at present, a billionaire by all standards, and an academic giant who has reached the pinnacle of his profession: triple Professor of Medical Sciences and founder of the Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre, one of the largest Private Medical Care Groups, In Nevada, United States Of America.
Maduka, popularly associated with two other titles, Oke Osisi Orumba and Lion of Africa, has an intimidating credential. He holds academic degrees in chemistry, pharmacy, medicine, anaesthesiology and pain management which encompasses surgery as well. He is a product of many world class institutions, among them, the Harvard medical school, one of the best universities in the world.
He was more detailed on his academic achievements, during his interview with Verbatim. He said: ‘’I had both my primary and secondary education in Anambra state before moving to the United States where I completed my graduate medical training at the prestigious Harvard school of medicine in anaesthesia, critical care and pain management in 1997. Prior to my Harvard residency, I had completed my
internal medicine internship at the University of Tennessee School of medicine. I also completed a Doctor of pharmacy degree at the Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. This was after obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at Rust college, Holy springs, Mississippi in 1984.’’
The achievements did not come easy. In an exclusive interview with Verbatim, Maduka attributed his achievements to ‘’hard work, perseverance and also focus.’’
His, was actually a classic example of rise from grass to grace. Born into a family not known for wealth, in a rural, farming Umuchukwu community in Orumba Local government of Imo state, Maduka told Verbatim that his parents produced 9 children, and that the eldest ended up as a welder. Maduka was the fourth.
The picture of poverty in Umuchukwu remains evergreen in the memory of Maduka. He told Verbatim how families managed to cope with hardship in his community.
His words: “We were all farmers. Once you get to age six, you are either in the farm or baby-sitting somebody. I was involved in the baby-sitting process. Also, for all grown up children, the youths, during farming season, you had to wake up by 6am to go to the farm and either make the mounds or clear the bush for cultivation. Also then, I remember everyone was into goat rearing and had a goat stead or barn. So it is either you were at the farm or you were attending to the goats till about 7am when you will march to the stream to fetch water. By the time you got home, your mother would have kept a meal of roasted yam and oil, or corn or swallow for you as breakfast and you run off to school. After school you are expected to go back to the farm and put in another one hour after which you rest a bit and go to your books.’’
Reminiscing that life used to be hard when he was growing up, Maduka narrated how they used to carry very heavy loads on their heads and trek about 10 kilometers to sell palm oil. “I remember we used to climb the palm tree, harvest the fruits and the oil from the fruits which is called palm oil. We then put the oil in a metal container that was called ‘tin’ then. This tin weighs about 40 to 50 kg. We then carry the tins on our heads as there were no mobility, to neighbouring communities to sell and return.’’
Maduka told this magazine that he had eight falls from palm trees that were over 60 feet high, adding that his ability to survive these falls proves that he is a child of destiny. He added that growing up was tough but was fun at the same time, insisting that the very menial jobs they did to survive shaped his mind to change
the narrative of his family and his community. Today his dream has come true and his community are thankful to God for the gift of Godwin Maduka, the pride of his people
While life was generally difficult for many, in his days. It was more difficult for children who wanted to get educated. It required going the extra mile.
Narrating a personal experience, Maduka told Verbatim what he did to achieve academic excellence. He explained thus: ‘’ I remember vividly that I studied with lanterns or the local light source made with the waste of palm oil that were put on sticks. Then I remember one of my uncles telling my parents that it was not right for me to study with that because of eye damage so they got me a torch and a lantern. Sunday then, was the only resting day and by Monday, you continue the routine. That was how we operated then. Looking back at that kind of life, I only appreciate God for his kindness and goodness upon me and I have taken it upon myself to better the lives of our people in every possible way. Thank God I am achieving this feat.’’
Though he was one of the brightest students in his secondary school, he lost his first opportunity to read Medicine at the University of Port Harcourt in 1981. He was offered admission by the university but he was unable to go for registration due to poverty in his family. The father could not shoulder the responsibility.
He got another opportunity in 1982 with a scholarship to read Medicine in Rust College in the United States of America. He nearly lost the opportunity but the family members, far and near, rallied round to raise a meagre N7, 600 out of N5000 required for Basic Travel Allowance (BTA). It was a harrowing experience.
Maduka explained to Verbatim how he confronted the challenge. ‘’In as much as it was a scholarship, I was still required to make some payments for basic travel allowance, BTA and others amounting to about N5000. I went from place to place trying to raise the money without success so I was forced to go to my brother who was a panel beater and also a roadside graphic artist in Abuja. “Actually, I was on my way to see a cousin who was with the Nigerian Air force in Kaduna to see if I could get some money from him. I merely stopped over to see my brother and tell him what was going on. You can now imagine my shock when he told me that he had N5, 200 Naira and that he will give me N5000 and keep the remaining N200.
“I remember he told me that all of us cannot go to school so he had to learn a trade to be able to help the others go to school. I was so touched. Then I went to Kaduna and my cousin gave me N600. Then I went to Kafanchan where one of my uncles,
now late, gave me N2000. With these funds I was set to go to America and here we are today.’’
As a result of his hard work and focus on a vision to be great, Maduka is now a champion and success story. Among others, he went into the business of private medical practice, through which he is touching lives, creating jobs and contributing to development of society, globally.
Among others, he set up the Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Centre in the United States of America. The Las Vegas Pain Institute has over six expansive and ultra-modern branches in the United States and they gave birth to the wealth of this billionaire in dollars, Godwin Maduka.
The Institute has over 500 people from USA, Europe, Asia, Pacific Islands, Central and South America and also Africa in its employ. He told Verbatim that on account of the admixture of people he has employed so far, most people in America call the organization a mini United Nations. “I think these were the reasons why that name “Lion of Africa” came to be,’’ he said.
Maduka has also done much for his people and community in Anambra state. On account of his numerous achievements locally, he is not today, not just the shining star of Umuchukwu and Orumba but also the “Iroko of Orumba.’’ The entire 24 communities in Orumba honoured him with the chieftaincy title as the Oke Osisi Orumba.
Verbatim editors who visited Umuchukwu, the home town of Dr Maduka were stunned at what the man was able to single handedly put on ground for his people. First thing any visitor to Umuchukwu will experience, while approaching the town, is the very smooth and zero pothole roads that were built by Dr Maduka. The visitor again will be mesmerized by an imposing, intimidating and very large blue glass high rise of 17 storeys that can be viewed from neighbouring communities like Umunze, Owerezukala and others around Umuchukwu. This building is a medical research center built by Maduka for not just Nigerians to access but for the whole of Africa.
From records, it is the tallest hospital in Africa as a whole. Maduka explained that it took him many years to finish the project. This is outside the six storey Trinitas hospital and maternity which Dr Maduka also built, equipped and donated to the Catholic Church in Anambra.
Upon entry into the town too, one can never help but marvel at what an individual did for his people of Umuchukwu. The town has everything that makes an urban city, courtesy of Maduka. There is a police station, officer’s mess, SARS headquarters, civil defence headquarters, high court, magistrate court, judges’ quarters, catholic and Anglican churches and a residence for priests.
Maduka has other legacies in Umuchukwu. These include a primary and secondary school, a market, village square, town hall, palatial residence for the traditional ruler of the town, including duplexes for other family members.
Maduka also built a 40 flat, four storey edifices for tenants in Umuchukwu and about 250 units of bungalows for indigent indigenes of Umuchukwu. It will be worthy to mention that these projects are all standard, ultra-modern and state of the art. Beyond this, he built very standard bridges linking his community which is a border town to their neighbours in both Abia and Enugu.
With all these, Umuchukwu has been transformed to a semi urban town that can exist on its own in all facets of life because of the benevolence of Dr Maduka, who could be described as a man with a heart of gold.
This benevolence was also extended to children of other less privileged not just in his community but Anambra in general including some from other states. At the moment, hundreds of students from secondary to university levels have benefitted from his large heart by way of scholarship and it will be worthy to mention that some of the scholarships were for foreign universities. Today, most of them have qualified as doctors, lawyers, engineers and others and have brought light into their various homes.
Having set unbeaten record in development in his community and vicinity, Maduka told Verbatim that he is on a new mission. In answer to clarion calls far and wide, to touch the whole of Anambra with unparalleled transformation and development, he is in politics now, as a governorship aspirant, on PDP ticket.
Explaining in greater detail why he wants to be next governor of Anambra state, Maduka said:
‘’Yes there has been calls especially from the youths to contest. However, I want to make it categorically clear that I was not interested in politics and probably not even interested now, but then I have never failed to grant the request of my people. That is just what I considered, so I am contesting to be the face of change in Anambra. For your information, I am not just running but I am running to win so I
can be able to put in place all that I have seen in the civilized world and also replicate all I did in Umuchukwu all over Anambra state.
“I tell you other states will emulate from Anambra and the country will be developed the more. I will assemble a good team to run the state with me and I will promote the participation of the people in government like it is done in America, Britain and other developed societies. Checks and balances will be put in place to guide our government so that we will not derail and I am sure we will take Anambra to the next level.
He said there is no formal education in leadership which he said explain why people rule as they deem fit and expressed displeasure at the electorate for being unconcerned even when those they elected into offices perform below expectations. He said checks and balances on office holders should be properly implemented and enforced as witnessed in developed countries to stop them from derailing adding that he will make the electorate to fully participate in his government when elected. In addition, he said he will rule the state with sound minds as appointees and advisers emphasizing that he will never deal with any stakeholder who will give conditions to support either his campaigns or government if he is elected.
Maduka said he will not be contesting to make money but contesting to change the face and narrative of the state and bring it back to its past glory as the ‘Light of the nation’ and a state of many firsts. This magazine gathered that Maduka had at a time promised to even run the state with his personal resources.
On his plans for the state, he said he will build a model airport for the state and also prioritise the availability of a seaport in the state since the nautical miles between the Anambra River and the Atlantic Ocean is not too much. On the other hand, he said he intends to tackle the menace of floods in some riverine areas of the state by channelling the floods away and building very aesthetic resorts in those areas for tourism and income.
Outside these, he said mechanised agriculture will also be a king post of his administration while education and adequate security will also be focal points to pave way for commerce and more industrialization of the state.
Maduka who will be contesting from the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, said his footprints can never be washed away by the sands of time in Anambra after his tenure just like they can never be washed away in his community, Umuchukwu.
At the moment, awards, honour and recognition have been pouring in for the man from several respectable organizations and groups in appreciation and celebration of his achievements. Some of the awards came from the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, who through its chairman, Hon Abike Oluwatoyin Dabiri- Erewa praised him on behalf of the federal government for his contributions to the development of Nigeria in accordance with the call of President Muhamadu Buhari for Nigerians in the diaspora to return home and invest in Nigeria. Others include another from the Nigerian armed forces, the Dr Michael Okpara foundation and numerous others.
According to him, these awards apart from strengthening his resolve to continue his philanthropy should also be a wake-up call to others to tow his line for the overall good of their communities and states in general.
Maduka is a catholic and is happily married with children. He holds the title of Oke Osisi Orumba, meaning the Iroko of Orumba which was given to him by the people of the 24 communities that make up the Orumba clan of Anambra state.
He is also called the Lion of Africa by Africans in the Diaspora and the Ijele of Igboland and also Ochiri ozuo (one that trains multitude).
Dr maduka who is widely and globally recognized as a premier physician in the pain management field is also a ‘Heartbeat of America’ award recipient. He also serves as the clinical faculty supervisor of Pain Management at the Tuoro University, Nevada’s College of Osteopathic medicine.
In all he does in life, he readily remembers people he admires and family members including a senior brother whom he claimed contributed immensely and made sacrifices that saw him through to America.
He also identified some Nigerians who inspire him to touch lives, on account of their own contributions to society.
He named some, during his interview with Verbatim. His words: “Nnamdi Azikiwe who has almost the same pedigree with me as regards studying in America is a great role model. He realized some things needed to be changed and moved towards changing them.
“Tafawa Balewa is also my role model because of the roles he played in helping us secure our independence in 1960 alongside Azikiwe and the rest. Abiola was also a role model because of his philanthropy and then Dr Michael Okpara is also another
role model. He was a man that was ahead of his time. His regime as the premier of the old eastern region has remained the best and this was why I was so happy to be honoured by his foundation.
“Prince Arthur Eze is one of my role models because he is always ready and moved to help people to survive and he has helped a lot of people. See, he does not have to be doing what he is doing but he is still doing it, giving out millions of dollars to charity and all of that. He is a friend and a role model.’’