Valentine Ozigbo, the flag-bearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2021 Anambra governorship election, was in Onitsha on Wednesday, October 20, 2020, to celebrate with His Grace, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, who marked his 68th birthday.
The birthday celebration, held at the Nigerian Correction Services, Onitsha, attracted several dignitaries, including His Excellency Peter Obi, the immediate past Governor of Anambra State and Vice-Presidential candidate of PDP in the 2019 general election; Governor Willie Obiano; and many others.
In his address, Archbishop Okeke said he decided to celebrate his birthday at the prison facility to give the inmates a sense of belonging.
While addressing journalists at the event, Mr Ozigbo said he was privileged to join Archbishop Okeke to mark his birthday, eulogising him for his exemplary life of impact and prioritising the less fortunate in society.
“I am pleased to be in the midst of our friends at the correctional facility to celebrate our father in the Lord and wish him a happy birthday. It is gratifying that we are celebrating with people who are often forgotten,” Ozigbo said.
“Archbishop Valerian Okeke’s gesture speaks volumes to what he represents and the life of impact he is known for. He inspires me all the time, and I am grateful to be here.
“I wish the Archbishop long life, good health, and many more years of working and impacting lives in the vineyard of the Lord,” Ozigbo, a multiple award-winning global CEO, prayed.
Ozigbo also emphasised the importance of job creation as a solution to the problem of congested prison facilities in the state.
“The overpopulation of the prison is evidence of failed leadership. When quality leaders are voted into office, the economy is energised, and jobs are created naturally,” the business mogul added.
“We are suffering from a lot of economic problems. They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, and the current crop of leaders have failed to provide jobs for the youths.
“As we approach the November 6 election, we must emphasise character, competence, capacity. I am here to change Anambra’s story, give these people a fresh lease of life, and provide them with new opportunities,” Ozigbo added.
Ozigbo, who is wife, Mrs Ojiugo Ozigbo, accompanied to the event also joined Archbishop Okeke to inspect the multimillion-naira modern skills acquisition centre under construction within the prison facility.
The centre, which is designed to train inmates in tailoring, barbing and hairstyling, shoe mending and making, carpentry, computer studies, and engineering, is a pet project by Archbishop Okeke and is scheduled to be in full operation by 2022.