The history of the world revolves around the respected figures of great men. In the words of William Shakespeare, ‘some are born great; some achieve greatness, while some have greatness thrusted upon them’ People like Chidi Chiege is one of such persons thatweren’t born with a silver spoon nor had greatness thrusted upon him. He worked himself up to greatness through dint of hard work, courage and strong determination.
While growing up, he had a lot of ups and downs, but like someone destined to succeed, he persevered, giving up in the face of opposition was never in his dictionary. He is by all standards of evaluation great men who withstand all odds to carve a niche for himself.
In an interview with Ethelbert Obinna Umeh in Owerri. The President of Ideato Commonwealth Association Houston Texas, USA and President/ Founder Chidi Chiege Foundation spoke on sundry issues. Below are the excerpts:
Who is Chidi Chiege?
By the special Grace of God, I am Sir Chidi Chiege, born to the family of Late Nathan Chiege and Dorathy Chiege on October 9th, 1975.
I went to Eziukwu Primary school Aba between 1981-1987, secondary school at St. John Chrysostom from 1988-1993, School of Arts and Science, Port Harcourt 1993- 1994, Imo State University 1995- 1999. I studied Industrial Chemistry.
Why did you found Chidi Chiege Foundation?
It was an event that happened while growing up. Success has always been my top priority. I give myself very little room for error. I have always worked towards putting so much effort in all I do. After my youth service in 2001, I left the same year to UK. It opened a new opportunity for me, and I didn’t waste time.
I did my MBA with specialties in Human Resources at University of Bolton. I did another Masters in Business Administration at University of Massachusetts, started my PhD program at Liverpool Hope University before I left to US in 2007.
I am a Knight of the church, Knight of St Christopher to be precise. I was thinking how I can give back to the community. I have always had the passion to serve God and humanity. In my foundation, we have always laid much emphasis on integral youth development; how youths can be effective drivers of change.
What are the key things your foundation has done?
I have been able to empower a lot of youths in Ideato through quality trainings:
· I have empowered 16 Ideato Youths to attend training on ‘electric fencing’ in Lagos; they were trained by a South African company. 8 of them passed meritoriously, and now they are doing very well.
· I have sponsored 12 people to Abuja to attend International World Youth conference; it was an all-expense paid trip including lodging, accommodation, feeding and transportation.
· Offered scholarships to a lot of students from Secondary schools up to the universities to many Ideato Sons and daughters.
· In 2016, my foundation donated drugs to Osina Community Hospital worth over $10,000. They were handed over to Chairman, Osina Youth Convention for the community.
· Built state-of-the-art ICT centre, equipped with 50 computers and handed over to Ideato Anglican Diocese.
· Organized series of quiz competitions among Primary & Secondary Schools in Ideato, and prizes won includes N20,000 to N100,000.
· After every summit, we usually have town hall meeting. So, last year, one of my guest speaker from Ghana sponsored a young girl from Umumaisiaku to open a salon business.
· I have given soft loans and seed funding to a wide range of youth for their businesses etc.
How have you been able to sustain the foundation?
It hasn’t been so easy honestly. God has been my greatest provider.
What is your vision for this foundation?
I want to see a society where everyone plays his own part.
What will happen on the next summit 28th December, 2017
Come and see. It will be a consolidation of the progress we have made over the years. In this summit, our dream is to equip the youths with what they need to be better citizens of Nigeria. We will inspire them to tap from the experiences of great brains that will be speaking to them.
We need to engage the youths to become effective drivers of change. Why are our youths playing politics of the stomach? Why are they used as agents of destructions, political thugs etc. By the time we are done with them, their mindset will truly change!
Thank you for your time
You are welcome!