I LOVE SEEING SMILES ON THE FACES OF CHILDREN

-         Sir Sam Ubachukwu – Chairman, Megachem NIg. Limited

“The old I respect.

The young I fear,

 because I don’t know what they will become tomorrow.“

 

The amiable Chairman of Megachem Nigeria Limited, Sir Sam Ubachukwu is a humble, yet very distinguished parishioner, who has led his company in the past 12 years to initiate and sustain the sponsorship of the Annual Children’s Harvest. It is a phenomenal act of support for the success of the Church’s harvest programmes, which has made families, especially children, to always enthusiastically look forward to the annual event.

Members of the 2017 Harvest Committee, led by the Chairman, Engr. Olufemi Poluyi paid a courtesy call on Sir Ubachukwu at his Ikoyi office and were awed by his simplicity, reverence for God and his deep interest in the happiness of children. He confesses to have been continuously inspired to sponsor this harvest event by the joy he sees on the faces of the children as they cling to their gifts year in and year out.  

The first ever of such sponsorship took place in 2006, about three years after Sir Ubachukwu  began to worship at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church.  Prior to then, he worshipped at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island.  But then, things changed in 1999 when he attended a baptismal service at the AVMCC on the invitation of the Late Guardian journalist, Mr. Ben Okwuoma, as God father to his son. The service was conducted by the then Rev. Olushola Odedeji now Rt Rev. Dr. James Olushola Odedeji,  who was a chaplain to the immediate past bishop of the Cathedral, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter Awelewa Adebiyi.

At the end of that baptismal service, a friendly conversation between Odedeji and Ubachukwu inspired the latter to commence worship at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral.  He recalls that the first service he attended was memorable. It was a praise worship and very different from the typical traditional orthodox worship at his previous church. The interesting and spirit-filled service, coupled with the fact that he lived in Ikeja GRA at the time, helped him to quickly transit to AVMCC.  Since then, he never looked back, as he became a regular worshipper. Beyond that, he said, “We became family friends.  I have continued to find the service fulfilling, to the point that though I now live on the Island, proximity is no longer an issue.”

Shortly after he began to worship at the AVMCC, Ubachukwu observed that the church featured very little activities at the yearly children’s harvest. Instead, more activities and focus were on the adult harvest.  All the children got at the harvest was food and drinks. So, he thought it could be lots more fun. As a lover of children, he felt they should be better entertained and provided for on a day set aside for them.  In his words, “Children just got food and drinks. We thought we could make them happier and generally carry them along.”

Since then, the children’s harvest has brought so much joy to children and parents, not only within the AVMCC, but on the faces of children around the environment (most of whom are Policemen’s children) who look forward to the annual treat.

Sir Ubachukwu has indeed proven all these years to be a cheerful giver, whom the Bible says, is very loved by God. Not only does he give these gifts freely and generously, he gives with such adorable great enthusiasm and love. He’s keen to make sure that every child receives a pack, without stress, with rancor and indeed with dignity.  He gave an insight into the reason for this more than a decade of exemplary giving: “I have been a person that love children a lot. I am happy when they are happy.  I am happy when I see those smiles on their faces as they clutch on to their packs. You see them smiling from the altar. …”

He is not concerned that in recent years, non-parishioners have formed a habit of ‘gate-crashing’, into the church on Children’s Harvest day, just for the purpose of receiving Megachem packs.  Instead, he throws the challenge to the leadership of the church to use the opportunity of the ‘uninvited visitors’ to spread the gospel.   “Let them come to hear the world of God. It shouldn’t matter if they are Christians or Moslems. We should be prepared to minister to them. They can get converted.  The children should be preached to by Sunday School teachers. They could begin to pressure their parents to worship at AVMCC.  As a person, I am happy when I see a lot of them come to worship with us.”

What is more, he has not been diminished in any way by his generous giving. Instead he confesses that he has been more abundantly blessed in both his private life and in his business.  He says, “The bible tells us that the more you give, the more you receive. I have experienced God’s blessing with members of my family. When we started the sponsorship, I had plans to carry on for five years, but every year, the inspiration waxes stronger.”

Ubachukwu traces his love of children to his childhood days.  “I have always grown to love children. My late dad loved children a lot. He always organized events. He would come to the house. He would organize things for them. I took after my dad. I grew up to learn the importance of respecting children.”

Beyond his dad’s influence, he has also been hugely influenced by the words of Adolf Hitler on children that say: “The old I respect. The young I fear, because I don’t know what they will become tomorrow.“  (It turns out that not everything about Hitler is negative!)  He readily clarifies though, that he is not in the least, a fan of Hitler.” Apparently, he likes reading.

Ubachukwu has enjoyed all the Children’s Harvest activities since inception and credits all the societies with successful outings. He however singles out the Christian Brothers, the Host Society of last year for exceptionally ensuring “orderliness in the way and manner they shared the products. They were very organized. Every child got something. There were no complaints last year.”

He further took the opportunity of our chat to encourage church members to spread love. “We should show love to one another because love brings unity. Once there is unity, there is peace. We as parishioners should have love for one another. It can expand to become love for the whole country.”

 And to the children he says, “Be obedient to your parents. Be good to your parents….so that God may continue to bless you.

He enjoined other corporate organisations to take up annual sponsorship of other harvest events in support of the church. “Even ordinary services can be sponsored in support of the church.”

And to the church officials, he advises on the need to ensure a more effective time management, especially during harvest activities. “Services should not habitually overlap. This is very common. Parishioners should also be advised to reschedule special thanksgiving during harvest Sundays.”