By Jude Atupulazi
Valentine Ozigbo, a Nigerian business mogul and philanthropist, has commended the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra Chapter, for putting together the sum of N125 million to support vulnerable families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
On Saturday, PDP leaders led by Peter Obi, the 2019 Vice Presidential Candidate of the party and also the former governor of the Anambra, announced the cash-and-kind palliatives worth a whopping sum of N125 million.
The main opposition party in the state also pledged to set up a testing centre within 21 days in Anambra State as well as to support healthcare workers working at the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Ozigbo, who is one of the leading donors to PDP’s COVID-19 Palliatives Fund, in an e-mailed statement to The Trent on Sunday, May 17, 2020, said that the philanthropic move by the main opposition party in the state was “what any responsible organisation would do”. He also extolled the leadership of former Governor Peter Obi.
“In such an uncertain and difficult time, it is important that we show up as leaders in providing comfort and hope to those most affected by the economic disruptions and upheaval caused by this global health pandemic,” Mr. Ozigbo said.
“I commend the leadership of His Excellency Peter Obi, Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Uche Ekwunife, and Chief Linus Ukachukwu, other elected officials, and stakeholders of the party for this compassionate intervention.
“I believe that this N125 million intervention which goes into direct cash transfers to vulnerable families, setting up a world-class testing centre, and various donations to hospitals is the first of its kind by an opposition political party in Nigeria.
“Worthy of note is that a part of this fund will be used to set up a testing centre. Testing is a major factor in the battle against this virus. With this intervention, Anambra will be equipped with a world-class testing centre for now, and the future.
“In view of the overwhelming importance of this health-related project, I call on the Anambra State Government and the Federal Government to deploy resources to support this bold initiative,” he said.
Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and CEO of Transcorp Plc, also called on all well-meaning and well-placed Anambrarians to be inspired by this novel philanthropic act of Anambra PDP and reach out to their communities.
The respected business leader is one of the philanthropists in the frontlines of creating social safety nets, relief, and education to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through his charity, Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, he has provided various palliatives, including facial masks, and 3,000 bags of rice worth over N20 million.
Valentine Ozigbo, a former top banker, has also provided a personal guarantee of N100 million to support businesses in Anambra to access the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N50 billion COVID-19 Intervention Loan; a gesture, which has been given high marks as a novel move by a politician during this healthcare and economic crisis.
His foundation also launched the Ogene and Mbem contests, which leveraged culture in the dissemination of information. He also partnered with young professionals to develop an app, COVIDNG that provides self-assessment and other vital information to user.