Late last year, the Chairman of Ned Nwoko Foundation, Prince Ned Nwoko, embarked on the massive project of eradicating malaria from Africa. Before then, for two years between 2017 and 2019, Prince Nwoko boldly succeeded in securing the Paris Club refund for his country, Nigeria.
The refund was a relief hugely beneficial to the three tiers of government in Nigeria particularly, for payment of workers salaries, provision of welfare and some critical social infrastructure. The lifeline came at a time when the nation was on the throes of recession and severe economic downturn. It also helped the countrys governments particularly the states and local governments to regain their fiscal balance. The huge amount of the Paris club fund came in tranches of billions of dollar.
A man of many parts who is well known for his patriotic and philanthropic instincts and a notable pan-Africanist, Prince Ned Nwoko is unpretentious about his love for his country and continent.
Just like the Paris Club refund which he single-handedly secured for Nigeria, Prince Ned Nwokos malaria-free Africa project comes as a timely intervention which would certainly save millions of lives in Africa.
In the case of the Paris Club refund, it took the eagle eye of Prince Ned Nwoko to detect that his country had been shortchanged by the foreign creditors and local accomplices through over deductions running into billions of dollars. It was in the process of servicing and repaying the loans, that Nigeria was cheated by those superintending the affairs of the international debt handling club.
Prince Ned Nwoko courageously took up the challenge of pursuing the creditor-countries to refund the excess deductions creamed off Nigeria in the process of repayment of the loans and other allied matters.
For several years, he pursued and battled the powerful creditor club from diverse fronts at great personal risk, filing many legal proceedings in different countries. At the end he triumphed over them and the dividend was the Paris Club refund earnings which saved his fatherland from what would have been its worst economic recession.
Prince Ned Nwokos heroics in successfully tracking the Paris Club for years and securing the life saving refund illustrate extraordinary commitment to national duty. He certainly feels a sense of patriotic accomplishment over what he had done for his beloved country. To him, to carry out a patriotic duty and accomplish the task comes with a unique feeling of a sense of national fulfillment.
And presently, Prince Ned Nwoko has embarked on another altruistic project of ridding Nigeria and the African continent of the scourge of malaria which has been afflicting humanity and Africans in particular for thousands of years. The Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation, which champions this cause, has set short and long term targets for the project aimed at achieving a malaria-free Africa before 2030.
The short-term delivery plan shall be through national mobilization for the fumigation of Nigeria and other African countries to rid them of mosquitoes. To achieve performance, community members will be made stakeholders of their environments while community town hall meetings shall similarly be held to appoint sanitation ambassadors and officers.
The foundations long-term plan in delivering the project is investing in development of anti-malaria vaccine. In furtherance of this, Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation would establish academic research grants for malaria vaccine in five top grade universities spread across the African continent.
The foundation shall further sponsor bills at the National Assembly of Nigeria and those of other African countries for National Fumigation weeks to wipe out the deadly vector from Africa.
Apart from that, there would be massive public enlightenment to achieve the goals of the foundation and bring this to the attention of the world.
The enlightenment drive would be targeted at nudging persons and organizations to improve on health education and environmental sanitation in neighborhoods and communities in order to deny mosquitoes breeding and hiding places.
The enlightenment and mobilization would be undertaken in collaboration with relevant civil society groups, governments, agencies, companies, international community, grassroots organizations and individuals on environmental health promotion with particular emphasis on elimination of mosquitoes and eradication of malaria.
For all his selfless efforts for a healthier and economically stronger Nigeria and Africa, it will not be out of place for people with genuine intentions and love for their country and continent, like Prince Ned Nwoko should be appreciated and honoured. Prince Ned Nwoko truly stands out as a rare African.
Nosike Ogbuenyi wrote from Wuse 2, Abuja. He can be reached via [email protected]