Nigeria’s former international and Olympic gold medallist, Kanu Nwankwo, has extolled the leadership qualities of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Nwankwo lauded developmental strides in Enugu State when he led a delegation of the Kanu Heart Foundation on a courtesy visit to the governor on Wednesday.
He described the governor as a God-fearing, peaceful and kind-hearted leader who had made a lot of sacrifices and efforts to keep Enugu State peaceful and progressive.
He noted that Enugu State is peaceful because Gov. Ugwuanyi is “a man of good heart and a peace-loving leader.’’
The football legend, popularly known as “Papillo’’ also commended the governor for his good works in spite of the economic, security and public health challenges bedevilling the country.
Nwankwo said Enugu State is his second home.
He said the delegation was in Enugu State for the Kanu Heart Foundation Fitness Walk billed to take place at the end of September to commemorate the 2022 World Heart Day.
The founder of Kanu Heart Foundation pointed out that there would be free medical care on the day of the fitness walk “to determine who is fit and who is not’’.
Nwankwo, who sought the blessing and cooperation of Enugu State government for the success of the fitness walk, expressed confidence that the governor would give the Foundation his support.
He said that since its establishment in 2000 the Kanu Heart Foundation had carried out 600 open heart surgeries.
He added that 200 patients were on the waiting list and that 150 indigenes of Enugu State had benefitted from heart surgeries at the Foundation.
“From Enugu State, 45 patients are awaiting surgery at the Foundation,’’ he said.
Revealing what motivated him to embark on the life-saving humanitarian programme, Nwankwo thanked God for saving his life after battling with heart-related ailment.
“I am a symbol of hope and I believe that you out there will learn from me and that is why I am doing what I am doing,’’ he said.
The ex-international and founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation said it chose Enugu for the fitness walk because it is the most peaceful state in the Southeast geo-political zone.
“We thank you very much for what you are doing. We pray God to bless you and give you strength.
“The good things that we do live with us; know that all the good things you have done will live with you. We will all remember you and will never forget all your good works.
“In life, not everybody will like you but if you have 70 per cent or 80 per cent of people who will like you, you are good.
“We know that by encouraging your good works, you will do more. And we know that even if you are not here tomorrow, your good works will talk about you positively. Keep it up,’’ he said.
Earlier, Nwankwo’s Manager, Mr Jerry Onuokaibe, explained that the fitness walk would create awareness about heart-related ailments, prevention, early detection and treatment.
He told Gov. Ugwuanyi that “we are here (Enugu) because we know that this Kanu Heart Foundation Walk will be done peacefully because you are a man of peace.’’
Welcoming the football maestro and his team, Gov. Ugwuanyi invoked the blessings of the forefathers of Enugu State and expressed delight at Nwankwo’s “rare humanitarian gesture’’.
The governor lauded Nwankwo for the life-saving foundation he had laid, and said the entire world would never forget his gesture.
Gov. Ugwuanyi assured Nwankwo of his administration’s support and commitment to the success of the event, and beseeched God to continue to be with him in all his endeavours. (NAN)