A nominee for the Sun Newspapers Humanitarian Service Icon Award for 2022, Chief James Ume, says the recognition is a clarion call to do more serving the people of Abia and humanity in general.
Ume, who is the founder and Chairman of Unubiko Foundation, Chief James Ume, said philanthropy was about serving humanity and not about seeking attention.
He spoke on Sunday in Abuja when he played host to a delegation of the newspaper’s management led by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr Unuoha Ukeh.
“I believe we are serving humanity, we are serving God, so, we don’t need any self-seeking attention. When you give to people, you are giving back to God,” Ume said.
According to him, as a media owner, it was easy to have taken the path of self-adulation but that would have defeated the essence of setting up the foundation to impact meaningfully on the lives of others.
Ume, who expressed appreciation to the Sun newspapers for the recognition, said: “it is a surprise that the Sun newspapers has done its homework very well and have found us worthy of this esteemed recognition.
“On behalf of my late mother, my dear wife, my children and those who have donated to what we are doing.
“We have a lot more projects ongoing, to accept this award nomination and I wish to reiterate that this is a clarion call to do even more as a foundation in serving our people and humanity.”
Earlier, the MD of the newspaper, Mr Ukeh, while presenting the letter of award, said Ume’s selection for the award was based on merit because of his outstanding humanitarian service gestures, which have touched the lives of many people.
“The Humanitarian Service Icon Award is reserved for that man or woman who has done much to give succour to the indigent and the downtrodden.”
The letter reads in part: “We know that as a way of giving back to the society, you set up the Unubiko Foundation to reach out and give hope to the needy. Ever since, you have made giving a culture, which has been demonstrated without boundaries.
“Last month, you handed over a Customary Court rebuilt at the cost of over N150million. You also handed over the Presbyterian Church you rebuilt as well as a women development centre, and Ovukwu-Abam Secondary School, Atan-Abam, which you rebuilt at over N500 million.
“You have empowered hundreds of widows, awarded no fewer than 200 scholarships for students in Arochukwu Local Government Area, paid WAEC fees for all students in Atan-Abam in 2020, and donated 100 brand new laptops to trainees in digital economy.
“You have also provided transformers to aid rural electrification, financed 44 boreholes for the 27 villages that make up Abam, among other philanthropic projects.
“We are aware that in 2020, at the peak of COVID-19, you distributed PPEs to all the communities in Abam, Arochukwu LGA of Abia State, donated PPEs to Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, donated books worth over N6 million to the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) National Secretariat as well as the Abia and Abuja Councils, paid medical bills for the indigents running into hundreds, and sponsored several journalism capacity building trainings.”
The letter further stated that owing to the founder’s “immense contributions to Abia State and community development efforts,” he was “singled out for commendation by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a personally signed letter. This was followed by your installation as “Ike Abam’’ by the 27 autonomous communities in early 2021.”
The presentation of the award will be held at the prestigious the Sun Awards ceremony scheduled for Lagos on January 28, 2023.