Nigerian former professional footballer and Olympic gold medalist, Kanu Nwankwo, has extolled the leadership virtues of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, describing the governor as a God fearing, peaceful and kind-hearted leader who has made a lot of sacrifices and frantic efforts to keep the state peaceful and progressive.
Nwankwo disclosed that Enugu State is peaceful because Gov. Ugwuanyi is “a man of good heart and a peaceful leader.”
Speaking when he led a delegation of Kanu Heart Foundation to the Government House, Enugu, on a courtesy visit to Gov. Ugwuanyi, yesterday, the football legend, Nwankwo, popularly known as ‘Papilo’ also commended the governor for his good works in the state in spite of the economic, security and public health challenges bedeviling the country.
Nwankwo, who said that Enugu is his second home, informed Gov. Ugwuanyi that he and his team were in the city for the Kanu Heart Foundation Fitness Walk billed to take place at the end of the month to commemorate this year’s World Heart Day.
The ex-international football star and founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation revealed that the foundation chose Enugu for the event because it (Enugu) is the most peaceful state in the Southeast geo-political zone.
His words: “We thank you very much for what you are doing. We say may God bless you and give you strength. The good things that we do live with us; know that all the good things you have done will live with you. We will all remember you and will never forget all your good works.
“In life, not everybody will like you but if you have 70% or 80% of people who will like you, you are good.
“We know that by encouraging your good works, you will do more. And we know that even if you are not here tomorrow, your good works will talk about you positively. Keep it up.”
The founder of Kanu Heart Foundation pointed out that there will be free medical care on the day of the fitness walk in Enugu “to know who is fit and who is not fit.”
Nwankwo, who sought the blessing and cooperation of the Enugu State Government towards the success of the scheduled fitness walk, expressed confidence that the governor will give them support.
He disclosed that the Kanu Heart Foundation, since its establishment in 2,000, has carried out 600 open heart surgeries, with 200 patients on the waiting list, adding that 150 indigenes of Enugu State are beneficiaries “and we have 45 on the waiting list.”
Revealing what motivated him to embark on the life-saving humanitarian programme, Nwankwo who thanked God for saving his life after battling with heart-related ailment, said: “I am a symbol of hope and I believe that you out there will learn from me and that is why I am doing what I am doing.”
Earlier, Kanu Nwankwo’s Manager and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First Choice Afro Villa Ltd, Engr. Jerry Patrick Onuokaibe, explained that the fitness walk is to create awareness about heart-related ailments, prevention, early detection and treatment. He told Gov. Ugwuanyi that “we are here (Enugu) because we know that this Kanu Heart Foundation walk will be done peacefully because you are a man of peace.”
Welcoming the football legend and his team to the Government House, Enugu, Gov. Ugwuanyi invoked the blessings of the forefathers of Enugu on them, expressing delight at Nwankwo’s humanitarian gesture, saying that it is very rare.
[b]The governor lauded Nwankwo for the life-saving foundation he has laid, adding that it is a world-wide recognition of which he (Nwaknwo) will be remembered for.
Gov. Ugwuanyi assured Nwankwo of his administration’s support and commitment to the success of the event, and beseeched God to continue to be with him and see him through.
A former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and candidate of the Party for Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South Federal Constituency, Chief Engr. Vita Abba, former Chief of Staff to the Governor and the PDP candidate for Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Festus Uzor, the State Deputy Chairman of the PDP, Chief Innocent Ezeoha, the Zonal Chairman of the party in Enugu North Senatorial District, Rt. Hon. Nze Michael Onyeze, the Executive Secretary, Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Barr. Nestor Ezeme, the Executive Secretary, State Scholarship and Education Loans Board (ESSELB), Barr. Uche Levi Abonyi and a former Commissioner for Health, Enugu State, Dr. Uche Uzochukwu, joined Gov. Ugwuanyi to receive Nwankwo and his entourage.