By Anthony Awunor

Many people in Ubulu Uku know late Mr. Godwin Azubuike Unini (JP) in different ways. While some see the gentleman as a farmer, some others perceive him as either a community leader, retired civil servant or a pharmacist.

Personally, I know Mr. Unini as a pharmacist; a superb one for that matter. It was in the course of his duty at the old Dispensary, a community health centre located right at the boundary between Agbonta Udogwu and Isho quarters, that we became friends. The friendship was like that of a regular patient and a Resident Doctor. I was the sick, and Mr Unini who is now late was my personal doctor.

I call him doctor because he had all the qualities that modern day medical doctors have. From diagnosis to treatment, late Unini had the prerequisites. His experience, kindness and readiness to handle patients are instrumental to the survival of most Ubulu people that are living today.

Those days I used to cherish my sick periods because of the handling Unini offers. Being sick those days, meant that, I was entitled to 10 balls of hot “akara” before Unini gives me any treatment. The “akara” which must be bought within Agbonta Udogwu, few poles to Unini’s Dispensary served as breakfast that would be used to withstand the efficacy of Unini’s injection. The “akara” was very vital because Unini can never give you any injection without confirmation of adequate food taken. I used to eat 5 balls whenever I was sick but Unini, in his own wisdom later advised my mum, that 5 balls of “akara” were not enough to withstand the kind of injection that would be administered to me. Mum took the advice hook, line and sinker, and before I knew it, my “akara” allowance was ugraded from mere 5 balls to 10 each time I was sick. Thanks to late Unini.

Apart from his professional attributes, late Unini dressed like a medical doctor throughout his lifetime. Short sleeve shirts were his favourite with plane trousers. His belts and shoes also had resemblance with those types worn by medical doctors. Even the way he walked in the lobby of the local health centre was the same with the way Chief Medical Directors walk in Federal Medical Centres. His binocular matches up with that worn by great surgeons; he had stethoscope and all the instruments used by medical doctors. He was fully qualified and had shown it to Ubulu people before he finally went into farming.

When he joined farming, Unini did not fail farmers. Despite, the fact that he had early and sound education, his yam barn surpassed that of traditional farmers in the land. Truly, he made progress in farming much more that the farmers he met on ground. I am sure that if Unini had followed farming, ab initio, he would have been, long ago named as one of the biggest millionaires in Anioma land. Consequently, many Ubulu Uku infants would have been killed by either malaria, fever or even common cold if Unini was not on ground as at the time he was offering free community health care.

The octogenarian did not stop at treating patients, only at the Dispensary; he also volunteered to handle those who may not be able to come to the health center on their own. Unini never charged any money for such home services.

At the local Dispensary, he treated mostly infants and that would make anybody conclude that, perhaps, Unini had bias in pediatrics. Interestingly, I happened to be one of the infants that benefited from the medicare that Unini dished out magnanimously. He was not the owner of the Dispensary but his managerial ability, clear understanding of drug administration, professionalism, literacy level and other medical attributes played out to the advantage of Ubulu Uku people.

Whenever I fell sick; the next destination was Dispensary, where Unini must have woken up as early as 6: am waiting to start handling medical issues bothering on infants. My case was always malaria but late Unini handled yellow fever, pneumonia, cough, dysentery, cholera, small pox, wounds, diarrhea and cold. He even handled more serious cases such as polio and deep cuts. From my observation that time, Unini, apart from these illnesses mentioned, specialized in treating measles. Yes, this man knew so much about measles and that saved the life of many Ubulu infants which would have otherwise ,died due to lack of adequate health facilities.

Typhoid was not in existence amongst Ubulu children at that period, so Unini had no issues with typhoid fever. But even though, it existed, great Unini would have known how to handle the dreaded illness professionally.

The gist of the foregoing is to make it known the great things late Unini did for Ubulu people in terms of health management. He made Ubulu children survive illnesses that were killing other children from neighboring towns. He did not work to earn fat pay, but served his people diligently day in, day out.

It is therefore, very important that Ubulu people recognize such indelible marks made by one of their illustrious sons in the nearest future. The children who survived deadly illnesses in his hand should pray endlessly for the soul of our departed hero. As they pray, they should equally find things to do physically, so as to immortalize the personality who worked day and night to see that a large number of Ubulu children survived different forms of tropical diseases all through the years.

Above all, we should emulate the selfless and noble life he lived during his lifetime.

Pa Unini  passed on in his home town, Ubulu-uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State on the 17th June, 2017 at the age of 87. He was given a befitting burial which took place in his compound from the 4th and 5th of August, 2017.

Until his death, he was a retired Chief Pharmacy Technician. He is survived by many children amongst who are Sir Byron Unini, Secretary, Delta State Universal Basic Education Board, Henry Unini, Blessing Unini, Chiedu Unini, Kelvin Unini and many others.

… Awunor, a multiple award-winning journalist is the publisher of Ubulu Ezemu.

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