My desire to help people is not borne out of my desire to join politics or become a politician….”
The above were the exact words of Estate Surveyor Sam Anokam, a community leader and a native of Ihiagwa Autonomous Community in Owerri-West Local Government Area of Imo State shortly after he was bestowed with a distinguished Award of ”Excellence” for his service to mankind, by the Imo Media Observers Forum,” on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at his Anokam Associates Estate Surveyors and Valuers Office, at Wetheral Road in the state capital.
He informed his guests that his desire in championing the causes of the masses is to contribute his own quota towards moving society forward.
As he put it, “It is actually because I want to contribute towards rebuilding society. I have made that contribution within the period of my life to leave my footprints in the sands of time.”
He noted that his philanthropy dates back to his secondary school days when following a book that he read which says, “One must leave one’s foot prints, positively, in the sands of time,” adding that one will always be remembered by what good things one did right.
“Your offspring will benefit from it, one way or the other,” he said.
He gave instances of situations in which people not closely known to him have equally benefited immensely from his benevolence and for which he did not even ask for a reward.
“Let me give you another example. In the South East after the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War there was poverty. It was supposed to be that Southeasters were not paid to rise again by the Federal Government. And the people were discriminated against.
“General Yakubu Gowon promulgated a decree after the war that wherever the soldiers occupied they must pay a rent. And the entire South East was occupied during the war. They didn’t pay one Kobo. But in the North they paid. I sat down in my office here prepared a report too… So I followed it up. I used Amakohia as my case in point where they had two barracks with all the facts. There were no doubts about it. I wanted to sue the Federal Government. At the end of the day, the Federal Government had to pay N100 million then for all the South East states. That was between 1993 and 1994, during the time of the late General Sani Abacha… In the end, I was happy that the military paid something… That is the way I do my things for people, for posterity because that is the essence of education, the essence of knowledge. You don’t use it selfishly. As long as God gives me life I’ll do more for society.”
Anokam enjoined media practitioners to fish out others like him in society and project them too, believing that they too would do more.
He commended Governor Hope Uzodimma over the role he played in the repossession of some pieces of land from the Federal Government at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) , describing the governor as a selfless person who asked him to give the land to their owners.
“The Governor told me about the FUTO land: Sam, go and do it for the interest of the people, you know I’m not a land grabber. Do it well. I have given it to you. So he did not say: Sam, bring it and give it to me or how do we share it, or how do we do it?”
He also spoke glowingly about the investigative capacity of the publisher of Daily Nigerian Horn newspapers, Chief Bright Chimezie Njoku long before he even established the paper and commended him for that singular journalistic effort.
Chief Anokam, therefore, urged practicing journalists to crosscheck their facts before going to the press.
“Investigate properly,” he stated.
In their separate remarks, the coordinator and secretary of the forum respectively, Chuks Nwokeji, and Kelechi Uzomah spoke on the reasons for bestowing Anokam with the prestigious award.
According to Nwokeji, the award was in keeping with ‘World Humanitarian Day’ –set aside to honor and celebrate those who have rendered selfless service to humanity but cannot blow their own trumpet.
“Sir, we’ll be bold to say you’ve written your name in the hearts of many. They may not know you but we’ve been observing you. We only urge you to keep on doing the good work because posterity will not forget you. We’re proud of you. You’re one of those making a silent but powerful impact on society. Thank you very much.”
Uzomah noted that the prestigious award was due to Chief Anokam’s antecedents: his contributions for his community, his sincerity of purpose, for ensuring that what is due for his community is given to the community and as an elder statesman who has done so much for humanity. To celebrate him alive, to show the world that Anokam is a man who has given his best, who has never indulged in any illegal dealings; for his philanthropic gestures which are second to none. The Icon of human and society development, who has been committed to rendering selfless service to his community and to the people.
“And we as a group, as a body, as an organization, as a watchdog of society, we’ve come to tell you, that it is not only your community, it is not only your immediate Local Government (Owerri West) that are seeing all your good work, that Imo people and indeed the world at large are taking notice and cognizance of all your activities. A man whose word is indeed his bond. We want to thank you. Once again, accept our congratulations.”
In a citation, Uzomah said, among others “…Ladies and gentlemen, may I, at this point, present to you a man who has empowered so many youths and given scholarships to so many brilliant students in Ihiagwa and beyond. This philanthropist of our time has contributed greatly to the overall development of Ihiagwa as a community and Owerri West Local Government, Imo State in particular.”
Chief Anokam appreciated the gesture.
“I feel happy and honored. An Igbo man would say, ‘aturu kwam anya nke a!” I wasn’t expecting this award. But since you say okay: you’ve been close to me watching and then as somebody qualified to be given this honour I want to thank you all. I know that all that we do as human beings do register in the minds of our neighbours whether it is positive or negative. And hardly do people show appreciation to it.
“You probably might think they’re not taking note but at the appropriate time they’ll express themselves to you, one way or the other. In your case you’ve actually done your own so timely,” he said.