If you asked that remarkable Egyptian leader of blessed memory, he would probably have declared that for some hero to accomplish such a role “wandering aemlessly” successfully, he requires some measure of “madness.” The sort of “madness” that is embedded in courage, audacity, vision and faith, that is.
That, at any rate, is the belief that has characterized the life of this gentleman called Chris Aba right from his childhood. A belief anchored on faith. He would tell whoever cared to listen that “I believe that it can be done.” People around him would shout that so or so thing was “Impossible”, but he would insist that it is “truly possible.” Hence, they nicknamed him “Mad Lion.”
Ever since then Chris Aba has been living up to his reputation/nickname as Mad Lion, as veritably evident in the legion of outstanding achievements which he has recorded since his days as a starry-eyed youth. His is the classical grass-to-grace story. He has achieved a number of things that many people swore was impossible to achieve.
Little wonder, when ‘Mad Lion’ declared in 2011 that he would build a state-of-the-art church for St Anne’s Catholic Church, Odoba Otukpa in Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State, not many believed him. More so as the visionary project would guzzle a lot of money. A multi-million Naira church? In a “bush village” such as Odoba Otukpa? The sort of gigantic project that the people of bigger villages in Otukpa and beyond have not dared to undertake?
Then the seemingly impossible started to become possible. Right before our very eyes, the new church building started to spring up. Within a couple of months it had been roofed. As I write this piece, finishing touches are being applied to the eye-catching edifice, which incidentally is located barely a stone throw from my school (Abba Elizabeth Academy). As you pass by the old Makurdi–Enugu road, look and behold the magnificent house standing there at Odoba Otukpa.
‘Mad Lion’ has, by this singular action, demonstrated for the umpteenth time that with faith, vision and determination nothing is impossible. That dreams truly come true. That we can if we believe we can. That spectacular development can be witnessed even in the remotest village on earth.
Wherever you see two or three Odoba indigenes these days they are most likely to be celebrating this hard-to-believe project, even as they shower encomiums on ‘Mad Lion’ for his exemplary heart of gold. What I personally find so very refreshing is the uncommon vision and audacity behind the project. For so long, Odoba had been abandoned by her well-to-do sons and daughters. The general belief was that if you go to your village witches, curses, enemies, bad luck, etc, would engineer your downfall.
But ‘Mad Lion’ and his ilk have, by their courageous and patriotic actions, shamed such negative thinking. Indeed, the likes of the USA-based John Ali, and the Kaduna-based James Garba, have been demonstrating their unflinching faith in their fatherland by contributing to its progress and development in sundry ways. Not only do they provide a variety of assistances to their less-privileged compatriots from time to time, they are always there for Odoba whenever any community project crops up.
‘Mad Lion’ and his ilk like James Garba and John Ali are, in my view, living examples for all other well-to-do Nigerians to emulate. We should all borrow a leaf from ‘Mad Lion’ by investing in our villages. Negative thinking and “bad belle” should not deter us. Nothing is too small or too big for us to do for our beloved villages.