Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, a delegation from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) led by its President, Amaju Pinnick, and the representative of Femi Otedola, Founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Philip Akinola, on Wednesday paid a get-well visit to former Green Eagles’ Captain and Coach of Super Eagles, Christian Chukwu, at his Enugu residence.
Governor Ugwuanyi, who expressed delight at Chukwu’s level of recovery, offered automatic employment to his first son, Emeka, an engineer, to work in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in furtherance of his administration’s assistance and commitment to the family’s wellbeing.
Speaking during the visit, the NFF President, who was also delighted to see Chukwu in high spirits, described him as “a super living legend”, noting that he “has paid his dues for the people of Nigeria”. He equally described Chukwu as “a legend that we love so much” adding that “we believe that his name has been written in people’s hearts and in the annals of football in Nigeria”.
Mr Pinnick, who appreciated Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration for its prompt intervention in offsetting the medical bills of the former captain of Rangers International Football Club during his treatment at a clinic in Enugu, disclosed that the NFF under his leadership decided to be part of the healing process.
His words: “I have to thank the governor, who has been amazing, he is a role model for many people in terms of display of total humility, he is a man of destiny, you see a lot of positives radiating around him. This shows that he is a man of the people genuinely despite that he is a politician. I say thank you, Your Excellency, the good people of Enugu State are solidly behind you”.
Commenting on the $50,000 donation by Mr Otedola for Chukwu’s treatment abroad, which was presented via a cheque to the family by his Chief Operating Officer, Mr Akinola, the NFF President commended the Nigerian businessman and philanthropist for his display of “dexterity” describing him as an “astute administrator”.
The NFF boss, who promised Chukwu the continued support of the Enugu State Government, the NFF, Mr Otedola and other Nigerians, disclosed that arrangement is ongoing to fly him to England for further medical treatment. He reassured the ailing former coach that he will be much better after the trip.
“The truth is without you (Chukwu) there is no NFF; without you there is no CAF; without you there is no FIFA; without the players, there will be no administration. If we don’t get that at the back of our mind and acknowledge your presence in ensuring total wellbeing, acknowledging your presence is ensuring total package, ensuring that you live. We want to strengthen you to be closer to God, to be closer to your family and now know that Nigeria loves you beyond imagination,” said Mr Pinnick.
Appreciating the efforts of other contributors, he said: “I also want to thank the entire state football stakeholders, members of the executive committee, members of the Nigeria Football Congress and also your colleagues that have made us know that you are facing this. We want to thank the ex-Rangers and the current Rangers players, among others”.
Speaking on behalf of the state government, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Joseph Udedi, who narrated how the governor intervened by making an initial deposit for the commencement of Chukwu’s treatment at the Enugu hospital and later paid the entire medical bills when the football legend was discharged, applauded the NFF, Mr Otedola and other good spirited Nigerians for their support and cooperation.
Responding on behalf of the family, Chukwu’s first son thanked Mr Ugwuanyi, the NFF leadership, Mr Otedola and all those who have contributed so far towards the treatment of his father, stating that the family is very grateful for the show of love extended to him by Nigerians.
He equally expressed gratitude to the governor for the automatic employment and assured him of diligent service in his office of deployment.