The first time I read about him was a Christmas holiday period, and the story of Jesse Ojobor (not the merry of the season) made the entire celebration a wonderful one.
Just about twenty years ago he was serving table at the Shell Specialist hospital in Warri but he is currently working within the Environment Branch at the United Nations Industrial Development organization (UNIDO) HQ, Vienna.
‘Between 1995 and 1997, I was a steward at Shell Specialist Hospital – Warri, Delta State, where during nearly every work shift, I would, in a kitchen (among other meagre catering services), prepare and serve tea/snacks to Nurses, Doctors and patients.
One of the medical doctors I served was Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, usually in his consultation office.’
One night however, all he has become today would have been shattered if not for God and perhaps how He wants to use his story to give hope to many.
‘One night after finishing an evening shift, October 30, 1995, I was going home at about 10:30pm and on my way I had a fatal motorcycle accident caused by police officers at a checkpoint who in a bid to stop and collect “N10 matching” from cyclists, cornered another bike who was on high speed trying to avoid them into mylane. And…….baaaam! Till today, I can only remember the split second light flash. The accident was so fatal that had I pronounced dead by doctors in three hospitals, including the General Hospital in Warri. Somehow I regained consciousness. In the third hospital (Warri General Hospital), the doctor looked at me shocked, asked if I’m a Christian, I nodded, he said: “Pray for your sins and repent.”
I think I prayed and repented a thousand million times as I walked home with blood sprinkling from my moccasin like water. I just wanted get home and die in my mother’s arm. After an hour’s walk dead in the night, I did get home and I was going to die. In fact, I was dying, my head had hit the tar so hard that my lower jaw mandibular bone broke into nine pieces. Both of my jaws were on my tongue. My face was like a flat A4 paper. While lying on my crying mum’s arms, blood were dripping from my ears. I apologized to my parents for the pains that my death was going to unleash on them. They could hardly understand me. I struggled. Mustered words out: “Take me to Shell Hospital.”
My parents went knocking on everyone’s door that had a car on our tiny street of five houses. Papa Maxwell answered and like an ambulance drove into Shell Yard, just past about 3am. My dad and mum were hopeless. My mum’s wrapper drenched in blood. First time I saw my dad cry. I was taken straight to Out Patient Department and nurses whom I served some few hours earlier were shocked. They called the doctor on duty, and former Governor of Delta State, H.E, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, walked in. He too was shocked, but he had a job to do.I asked him: “Dr. am I going to die?” He looked at me, smiled and with gentle and sure words said: “No. You are not going to die, you live to be what you will become.” He did all he could to stabilize my situation. He was by my side for hours. At the break of dawn, he wrote on a piece of paper and recommended where I should be taken to. Long story short. I was operated by one of the very few renowned maxillofacial surgeon who operated on me after 28 local anesthesia shots were injected into my face because the resuscitating machine had broken down just before the operation started.
I felt every cut and slice on my face, I groaned in pains as my facial bones were being put into the “right positions”.
I sat weakly but strong, holding on to my father’s hand. My mum hard earlier given me a stern warning…..”Don’t you dare die!” I have not yet reaped your reward as my “lucky boy”. That was the promise. A promise to stay alive. Story of the “lucky boy” might be for another day.
I promised her to come out of the operating theatre alive.
My jaw were wired for 92 days. I fed through straws.’
As his pain persisted, his concern for what the future held for him occupied a place in his heart and the words of Dr. Uduaghan that he would not die, also occupied a place in his troubled mind.
‘I resumed my kitchen steward, tea and snacks serving job on February 1, 1996. I remember these dates. They are remarkable. I met Dr. Uduaghan sometime in March 1996. After seeing me fine and happily doing my job, he then said to me: “Jesse, it’s time to move……time to start preparing to control your future…..go get registered for JAMB and leave this job.”
That was how the journey of his real greatness started. He studied to obtain a Bachelor of Social Science (B.Sc) Degree in Geography and Regional Planning from the University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria.
He also got a Master of Science (M.Sc.) Degree at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering, Vienna, Austria; and finalizing his Doctorate in Water Resources Management.
Jesse has developed projects on agribusiness development, entrepreneurship; alternative livelihoods, women and youth in productive activities, poverty reduction; human security and post-crisis rehabilitation. These projects have been implemented in seventeen countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East region.
He also has over ten years professional working experiences in project conceptualization, development, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation with particular focus on industrial waste management, water management, pollution hotspot analysis, resource efficiency and cleaner production.
He has a solid track record in delivery of technical cooperation projects, with specific expertise in the Sub-Sahara Africa region while acquiring knowledge and competences within the Middle East, Arab Africa (MENA) and Asia Pacific regions.