By Ori Martins
I was still a little boy when Prince Nico Mbarga released his famous Sweet Mother album on November 16, 1975. It was not just a sensation but it was also an instant hit. One of the revealing tracks of that top chatting outing was the track known as Who Knows Tomorrow?
Indeed, nobody knows tomorrow. Marie Curie discovered radium and that expository assisted in no small measure in medicine revolutionary. Yet, Curie was born at a time Russian – dominated Poland (she was born in Warsaw in 1867) outlawed women education.
Through personal efforts and sacrifices, Curie moved to Paris where she studied Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. She emerged a champion in her field and eventually, she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, the first to win it twice and the first to win it in two different categories – Physics and Chemistry! Who knows tomorrow!
Winston Churchill was roundly, and you can add perfectly, chosen by British people as the country’s Man of the Century at the end of 1999.
Yet, Churchill’s educational career was not distinguished at all. And so he was a college failure. His entrance into politics was a last resort to save a man who seemed to have been naturally albeit not true designed as a tragic figure. Besides, he was initially timid.
However, in a very remarkable form, Churchill worked on all his tragic flaws to emerge British prime minister and the one who ultimately rescued them from Hitler’s hands in the World War 11. Who knows tomorrow!
Those who were in Owerri between 1980 and 1990 can tell you that Nwankwo Kanu was a pitiable child who hawked articles in the streets of Owerri. He looked sorrowful and mournful especially in his dressing, made worse by his lanky nature. He always carried a nature of a hungry boy.
Despite his misfortunes, Kanu knew something about himself unknown to others around him, and he stayed glued to it, and like a hungry lion, patiently waited for a golden opportunity to strike.
In 1993, Kanu was called up as one of the Golden Eaglets players to represent the country at the Japan 93 FIFA U – 17 World Cup Finals. Kanu never missed that opportunity and the rest, as it is said, is history. And Kanu is one of the most recognizable faces in the world today. Who knows tomorrow!
Ray Emeana’s story is even more pathetic but also more graceful. Losing his father in 1977 when he was still very young, it appeared the youngish and smallish Ray had hit the brick wall.
Following his father’s demise, he could not proceed to secondary school although he had passed the common entrance examination. Thus, he became an artisan and expert in the making of bamboo beds, mats, bamboo chairs, rafters, etc.
Because of his enthusiasm and love for education, he formed the habit of going to the library to read. And, according to him, “in four or five years, I read virtually all the books in the library and that was how I trained myself. I never had any formal secondary school education”.
From there, he took the GCE and made his compulsory five credits and then pursued his university education which he completed with success just as he is now a proud holder of master’s degree.
Since then, he had been a civil servant where he retired as a head of a department. He was also in the Imo State House of Assembly where he represented Owerri North Constituency.
After that, he has been a two time secretary of the state PDP.
However, the central theme of this article is Ray’s good gesture of philanthropy. He stated that there were certain children he usually met hawking or playing around his area during school time.
Upon investigation, he discovered it was lack of payment of one school item or the other that has kept them out of school.
One after the other, Ray succeeded in getting the names and addresses of these kids and went for their respective mothers. Last Sunday, I was in Ray’s house in Owerri for a chat. The kids, 10 of them were giving scholarships up to secondary school level at least to acquire what is called “basic education” as Ray put it.
He was worried that while he worked hard to make it in spite of the odds and challenges that confronted him, these kids (six of them were girls) may run into difficulties that they may not confront.
This is Ray’s Wonders and it calls for celebration and emulation.