Uzoma Ugochukwu, young and vibrant medical doctor from Umuhu Okwuato in Aboh Mbaise local government area, Imo state, is aspiring to represent Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency in 2023 at the House of Representatives. In an exclusive interview with Ugonna Anejionu, Assistant Editor, Ugochukwu spoke about his ambition and the impact he will make if elected. Excerpts:
Verbatim : We have heard about you sir and your interest in the politics of 2023 in Nigeria . Can you tell us more about yourself?
Ugochukwu : Thank you my brother. My name is Uzoma Ugochukwu. I am a medical doctor with specialty in public health. I am from Umuhu Okwuato in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo state.
Verbatim : Please tell us more about your academic background . We have noted that you are a medical doctor.
Ugochukwu : I studied medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) through its Enugu campus known as UNEC. I majored in public health. I later obtained master’s degrees in public health and international affairs and diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria.
Verbatim: How much experience do you have in public service? Please let us know where you have worked since you finished studies at the university level?
Ugochukwu : I have worked in many places across Nigeria. First, I did my compulsory national youth service at the Divine Mercy hospital in Niger state. The Divine Mercy hospital is owned by the Catholic Church in Niger state. Immediately after youth service, the Niger state hospital board engaged some of us they felt were good so I was posted to the Niger State specialist hospital in Minna. I worked there for about three years and went for my master’s degree from there. Later, I joined the Heartland Alliance, an international non-governmental organization with a special focus on HIV prevention and other critical health issues. This job took me to Enugu state where I was made a capacity advisor/team lead. From the Heartland Alliance, I joined UNICEF and then the world Health Organization, WHO, where I am currently working.
Verbatim : Sir, we have also heard about your benevolence. Let’s know more about your level of involvement in philanthropy and the development of your immediate community.
Ugochukwu : I would not want to use the word philanthropy because I believe it is the responsibility of anyone that is more privileged to give out to the less privileged. I don’t really understand it when people go about bragging with the toga of philanthropy trailing behind them. Honestly we are all duty bound to support those around us. It is a duty we all owe humanity. It is not about philanthropy but all about touching lives positively. That’s how I see it. It is a way of life and the way to go and I would say I haven’t done badly in this regard. For instance, I remember I always gave while growing up. I have continued to give to individuals and groups till now. I also remember that as an undergraduate then, I noticed that a lot of women who brought their little children for treatment came with no kobo on them for treatment and you see them begging people around for money to treat their children. I was so touched that I had to form an organization with some of my friends to raise funds to help these poor women. We needed to save this situation and kill this predicament and embarrassment on these women. We raised some funds from where we did our best to help them. These funds we raised then went a long way to save a lot of children emergency cases and also enabled us to renovate and equip the children’s emergency ward in our hospital then. Looking back, I feel proud I was involved in saving a lot of lives through this. On the other hand, I worked in the North Eastern states of Bornu, and Adamawa even amidst the crises and insurgency. I worked fearlessly in Maiduguri because I was determined to help save lives. I am also proud I did this. Remember this was a time when people were relocating from these troubled states. I have also interacted with a lot of young people who I felt needed mentoring and finally took their education bill. Some people call it scholarship but I don’t agree to that because scholarship means dolling out some amount to individuals who might not even utilize the funds for the purpose it was meant for. They release these monies but fail to monitor the beneficiaries who may end up squandering these monies on frivolities. I mentor these people, monitor them and ensure they graduate. This I have done for a while now.
Verbatim : Could you tell us what really prompted you to aspire to represent Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala in the House of Representatives in 2023?.
Ugochukwu : Thank you so much. Well I was prompted by my conviction that one needs certain positions and offices to really touch people’s lives positively. There are things one can do as an individual and many he can do while occupying certain offices. Of course there are limits to personal interventions but that of certain offices and positions are limitless. I am burning and itching to make a change and also improve the society. That is my basic interest.
Verbatim : What impact do you think you can make if elected.
Ugochukwu : Well the basic function of the Federal House of Representatives is legislative which means it is all about making laws and engaging in other oversight functions. In this regard, I will contribute to making good laws for the good of the nation and my constituents. I will speak up when necessary without fear or favour and I will give my people who elected me a good representation and I will always boldly protect their interests without any selfish interest or benefit. I will give them a sound and selfless representation. That is the impact I will love to make if elected and you will agree with me that every other thing and possible achievements revolves around what I just said I will do. That is the base of success and it is a legacy I will love to leave.
Verbatim: You appear well grounded but could you tell us what your relationship with your people is like.
Ugochukwu : It is very cordial. Am very safe there. They know me and I know them. They know my personality, carriage and my strong emphasis on integrity, sincerity and uprightness. They also know about my involvement in activities and projects in my community and they love me for the little I have been able to put on ground for them. There is no problem there at all.
Verbatim : How do you rate the level of representation of politicians in the country especially your constituency. Are you pleased?
Ugochukwu : Well I won’t want to say much here. I won’t want to disparage anyone but one thing I know for sure is that there is always room for correction in every human endeavor. That much I know and am sure you know that too. I will try to make my era an era of corrections. Everything correctable will be corrected if I am elected. It won’t be business as usual and that’s another legacy I would love to leave behind. My constituents will now be the judge at the end of the day.