By Chinenye Dike
In a demonstration of solidarity and commitment to the advancement of agricultural initiatives and healthcare infrastructure, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, paid a courtesy visit to the Agro-Project-Pilot-Site at Mary Agro Farm in Udi on November 21, 2023.
Welcomed by the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo, alongside the staff and students of Mary Agro Farm, Mr. Peter Obi was given a comprehensive tour of the farm to witness firsthand the significant progress achieved since his last visit. The farm, initiated by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu under the leadership of Most Rev. Dr. Ernest A. Obodo, is a beacon of hope aimed at addressing food insecurity, unemployment, and poverty in Enugu State and beyond.
In a welcome address presented by Rev. Fr. Patrick Okoye on behalf of the board of directors, management, and staff of Mary Agro Farms, the intentions of the Church in undertaking the Agricultural project were outlined. Inspired by the compassionate actions of Jesus Christ, the project is envisioned to evolve into a substantial agricultural venture that will positively impact the lives of the people.
Fr. Patrick highlighted the challenges of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to alleviate the suffering of over 130 million Nigerians living below the poverty level. The Agro Project, he asserted, is a vital step towards the promotion of spiritual, social, and economic well-being, offering solutions to food insecurity and job creation.
The project, currently a pilot scheme in Udi, was revealed to be a precursor to a larger venture in Omughu, Ezeagu Local Government Area, requiring an estimated 150 million naira for land acquisition. The achievements of the pilot scheme, initiated on May 13, 2019, include notable progress in fish farming, poultry, piggery, and the cultivation of various fruits and vegetables.
Rev. Fr. Patrick attributed the success of Mary Agro Farm to the support of individuals like Mr. Peter Obi, recognizing his understanding of the transformative power of agricultural productivity in addressing societal challenges. The Church-Government partnership aims to achieve the overarching objective of providing food security to the people.
In response, Mr. Peter Obi expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome, commending Most Rev. Ernest Obodo for his dedication to the Agro farm project. Recognizing the urgency to alleviate poverty in Nigeria, he underscored the importance of transitioning people from consumption to production.
In a gesture of personal commitment, Mr. Peter Obi presented a cheque of 10 million naira to Most Rev. Ernest Obodo in support of the Agro-Project-Pilot-site. He pledged continuous visits until the project attains its full potential.
The Auxiliary Bishop, expressing immense gratitude, hailed Mr. Peter Obi as an inspiration for the future. He thanked him for his generous support and reiterated their shared vision for a prosperous Nigeria.
The visit extended to St. Dominic Hospital, Obinofia Ndịagu in Ezeagu Local Government, where Mr. Peter Obi inspected the progress of a new hospital building. In another display of benevolence, he presented a cheque of 10 million naira to Most Rev. Ernest Obodo, affirming his commitment to the advancement of healthcare infrastructure in the region.
The Auxiliary Bishop expressed gratitude for the continued support and looked forward to maintaining a fruitful collaboration until the goals of the projects are realized. The visit concluded with prayers for God’s protection, good health, and wisdom for Mr. Peter Obi in accomplishing the noble objectives close to his heart.