*Says his passion is to help the poor…
In this interview with Vanguard Community, Nwokedi Chiemezuo Emmanuel, a Corps member of 2019 Batch C Stream 1 who built a four-unit toilet for the people of Otun, Moba Local Government Area in Ekiti as part of his campaign against open defecation. In this interview with Arogbonlo Israel, he hinted us on what inspired his project during the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), among others before completing his one year mandatory national service in 2020. Excerpts..
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Nwokedi Chiemezuo Emmanuel, a native of Mbutu in Isiala Ngwa South LGA of Abia state. I served in Otun and I was the corps members’ liaison officer for Moba LGA of Ekiti state during my national youth service.
What’s your educational background?
I studied Electrical Electronics Engineering at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State. Am a member of Nigerian Society of Engineers.
What inspired your recent project?
I was always irritated whenever I saw people in the area defecating in nylons, bags and throwing it into nearby bushes as a result of non-availability of toilets. At the central market in the local council (Odo Oja), one can hardly breath because of the stench coming out from bushes surrounding the market as a result of open defecation. Motivated by the executive order 009 signed by the president on ending open defecation, I decided to contribute my quota towards ending open defecation in the otun-Ekiti, moba LGA and Ekiti State in general. People from Ibadan in Oyo State and Ilorin in Kwara State trade at the market, so this project has reduced open defecation in South west and North central.
How were you able to execute the project considering the fact that Corps members are not allowed to use their money for community development projects?
I got the moral and financial support of stakeholders in the community and the local council. The Oore of Moba land; Oba Adekunle Adeagbo, Ilufemiloye 1,Oore of Otun-Ekiti and Permanent Chairman of council of Obas and chiefs in Moba LGA provided financial support, land, encouragement and the royal blessings towards the successful execution of the project.The Moba Legislative assembly, especially Hon Iyabo Afolayan all gave their support. My Local Government Inspector Mr. Medayese Rowland was instrumental to the succes of this project as well.
To every success story, there’s always one or more challenges to tell, what would say your major challenges are in the course of carrying out this project?
The first challenge was the COVID-19 Pandermic, it really affected the economy and it was a herculean task getting the needed financial support as sponsors were all affected by the harsh negative effect of COVID-1919 on the economy but as the economy improved, they began to respond positively.
What are your plans for the next five years?
I would like to establish my own engineering firm specialising on the promotion of usage of greener and affordable energy. I also want to go into Agriculture. I enrolled in NYSC skill aquistion programme while I was serving during which I had a professional training in Bee Keeping and Fishery. Ekiti is a very peaceful and secured State with arable lands and conducive atmosphere for Agriculture so, I plan to establish a big Agro farm in Otun, Moba LGA of Ekiti State if I get the needed capital. I am also passionate about improving the lives of others irrespective of religious or ethnic backgrounds, so I plan to establish a foundation (mezuoo foundation) through which I can pool resources together to help the less privileged.
Your advice to the Nigerian youths on today’s auspicious occasion (African Youth Day).
I have always advocated for altitudinal change among Nigerian youths. We must not always wait for Government to do all. We can always contribute in our own little way. We must shun those fanning the embers of violence using religion and tribalism as tools. Nigerian youths must also get involved in politics so we can change the narrative.