AT 68, I AM GREATFUL TO GOD -Iron Gate

The
Eleme of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom in Ika Northeast local government area, Chief A.I
Sonwu turned 68 years old on Sunday February 8, 2015 saying he is grateful for
God’s unmerited and underserved mercies. Chief A.I Sonwu popularly referred to
as ‘Iron Gate’ is an educationist, Unionist, a social crusader, a defender of
the less privileged, a sport activist and a community leader. He  commented in an interface with newsmen at
Ute-Ogbeje last  weekend that he feels
great. “I am highly humbled and privileged to be celebrating today. Many that
started on the same day with me didn’t see today. God has given me good health,
God has given me children and grandchildren and by God grace they are all
alive. I appreciate God so much because of the undeserved wisdom he has giving
me to work for humanity. God has kept me alive and I am praying that he
continues to sustain my life to enable me achieve all he has created me to
achieve for humanity.

Excerpts

How
did you come about the name ‘Iron Gate’?

It
was in the field of soccer, in defence left full back, and right full back,
nothing passes easily without being scrutinized. At any time, the two legs can
be used equally. Even at the centre half back, I dominate all this areas. Also
in the field of hand ball, when I limp to strike, the goal keeper is in
trouble.

            These are the two major games I
represented Bendel severally. I represented Benin Province against the Delta
Province in those days.

            When I was in the higher institution
doing my diploma in physical and health education, at the NCE level, even at
the university I was prominent in sports. My carrier started from the secondary
school where that name came up when I went for pivotal.

            I say with all humility that without
Iron Gate, most matches are usually postponed at St. Thomas College Ibusa also
at St. Columbus College at Agbor where I was one of the pioneer students.

            Have you been honored with any
award?

A
lot of them. In those days, people don’t recognize the value of sports, yet at
the secondary school level, we were giving sports education serious attention.
When we represented the Catholic Youths Association of Nigeria, CYON in those
days, I acquired a lot of sports certificates which were prerequisites for my
entry into the College of Physical Education, Afunze

Why
is that comparatively, there was more discipline in those days than now?

            The quest for material wealth was
not as much as we now have. In those days, children were not having money
separately. They went for holiday jobs and tendered the money to their parents.
Now children don’t even show their parents anything. Lack of discipline started
with lack of control for children, when children were no more fully engaged in
school sports. When children are fully occupied in sports they use their
surplus energy. If they are not fully utilized, they look for different avenues
to satisfy that urge. And these are the things that makes them engage in cultist
activities. In those days sports dominated and the rules of the game says you
must obey. Sports made people get used to due 
process, that was when games masters where in charge. But now government
does not recognize them and there are no more physical and health education
teachers. The old ones are now retired. 
Government is not encouraging any new ones. Sports has died in different
aspects. So the children are lose. That innate energy to utilize their surplus
energy is there and they will seek other avenues to ventilate it. In schools
where they still  have games master, the
children are fully occupied sports wise, thus reducing cultist activities.

What
is your ideology of life.?

            Live and let live. I believe in the
law of nemesis that what ever you do, you will get rewarded for it. I try to
follow the positive aspect of it, to do good and as you do, you get the
immediate reward. Anytime you do evil and you think there is no reward, it
either goes to you or your children. Having that in mind, I tend to dance to
the positive side so that the lineage will inherit something that is
presentable before God. I believe in service to humanity. That is what the
preaching of Christ means. Doing onto others as you want them to do to you is
my philosophy of life.

Most
people are showing apathy to living, what do think is the way forward?

Look
at what is happening at Iraq, Syria Yemen and Egypt, the same thing is coming
to Nigeria. The end of the world is at hand and we have been warned in the
bible.

            Be very ready because you don’t know
the time or the hour. Anti Christ is already in the world. So the only solution
is prayer. Praying to God to avert those bad happenings in other parts of the
world not to reach us. People should strive to be contented with what they have.
I said “do unto others” meaning that we should learn to live harnomously with
one another, be patient and be tolerant and accept individual differences. We
are created differently and we are not 
expected to behave  the same
way.  It is understanding that can make
Nigerian’s live in peace.

Any
appeal to some people of your privileged generation who may not have
conderation for the younger generation?

Anybody
who does not live by experience, that person is not worthy of being called a
human being. If you have been hurt when you step your leg on fire, next time if
you do the same thing, then that person is not reasonable. As we see this
undesirable things happening, and there resultant effects, we should avoid
things that will bring negative consequences in the society. People should not
look for money and material things by all means remembering that we came naked
and naked we will return.

            Remembering this people should be
cautious in dying for wealth at all cost.

What
is your take on the postponed election?

The
INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega has used wisdom. It shows that he is
actually a professor. A man that is well read. A man that has gathered a lot of
information. People have adduced reasons for the postponement. Most especially
he hammered on the security situation. He weighed all those reasons and put the
interest of the country foremost by pursuing the postponement. The greatest
thing in this world is security. How do you conduct elections when there is no
peace and where many people have not gotten their voter card. Whatever people
might think about the postponement, before God Jega has done what he thinks is
right. We thank God for the present situation. Insecurity is man made but God
has intervened. Any person who within this period fails to collect voters cards
will not have any body to blame. We still want to advice our Anioma youths to
take advantage of the primary won by Dr. Okowa to rally round him to push us
forward. He appears to be the best so far and the most loved across the state. The
crowd following him has shown that he is the most popular amongst the rest.
People of Anioma and Delta should give him 100 percent support.

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