By Ezeakukwu Emmanuel Nsoedo (PhD)
December 20th, 2022, will remain a memorable day for the people of Nnewi because Chimezie Metu Foundation has given a magnificent basketball court to the town. It is the first of its kind in Anambra State.
It is a gift of immeasurable value not just for the immediate moment but for the potential future value that would translate to basketball talents that may transcend the shores of Nigeria.
What took place on Tuesday at Nnewi high school was supposed to be a quiet handover of the completed basketball project to the Mezie Metu Foundation, and in turn, to the host community. However, by the time the short ceremony was conducted, the place had become a beehive of activity.
The contractor who designed and built the court was Arc Onochie Zube of Mode Design and Build. Arc Onochie handed over the finished court to Sir James Metu, who, with his wife, accepted and by so doing, confirmed that the execution of the project met the stipulations indicated by the Foundation. Sir James Metu stood in for Chimezie Metu, the President of the Foundation, but is currently on active duty with the Sacramento Fox.
Sir James Metu formally handed over the basket ball court to the Nnewi Crown Prince, Barrister Obi Orizu who stood in for Igwe KON Orizu III, and also, on behalf of the Old Boys of Nnewi High School.
While handing over the court, Sir James Metu recounted the aspiration of the donor to the community. Sir Metu reiterated that “the use of the court is free by anyone who desires to use it.” The basketball court should serve as a place to help pull the children and youth off the street and help channel their energies toward positive experiences, opined Sir, Metu.
Besides the above attributes, it is the hope of the donor and President of the Foundation, Chimezie Metu, that the court will be a center of talent harvesting that would attract the best talent scouts, who will help groom them into world superstars, Sir Metu concluded.
The Crown Prince expressed his gratitude on behalf of His Royal Highness, Igwe KON Orizu III, and the entire Nnewi community that a son of the son took the initiative to do something marvelous by sparing no expense in building a world-class basketball court for the community. He bestowed blessings on Chimezie Metu, the parents, and the family.
The Crown Prince thanked Mezie for using his talent to serve humanity and to give back to the community of his forebears. He thanked him for being a pathfinder for other successful offspring of the community who may wish to give back to their motherland but do not know how to go about it. “Mezie is the beacon light for others to emulate,” Prince Obi Orizu said.
The President of the town’s union, Dr. Maduka Atueyi, was also grateful to the Mezie Metu Foundation for the wonderful development of the community.
The two former Council Chairmen of the Nnewi North Local government, RT Hon Prince Chukwudi Orizu, and Hon Francis Omo Okeke, played a significant role in scouting for a suitable venue to sight the court. It may be interesting to note that Hon Omo Okeke had wanted the court built at Okongwu memorial Grammer School, but Nnewi High School was chosen for its central location.
Hon Ezeakukwu Emmanuel Nsoedo(Phd) coordinated the event of the day on behalf of the Foundation and other stakeholders. Nsoedo called on the people and some local basketball players that gathered spontaneously to reflect on the mission of the Mezie Metu Foundation (MMF), which stated thus:
The Mezie Metu foundation is a non-governmental organization with the vision to ameliorate the living conditions of underprivileged children in Nigeria through basketball.
MMF has a mission of inspiring young talents and ensuring growth and development amongst them. This mission has led to the provision of camps and resources that promote sportsmanship, education, and a healthy lifestyle.
The formal handover to the community having been completed, the Crown Prince was invited to declare the court ready for playing by shooting a ball. He designated his rights to one of the young basketball enthusiasts who went out and made the basket. Other players flowed into the court.
The Foundation provided entertainment for all the guests, and many of the guests took part in the feast.
The story of the day’s event will not be complete without reminding the readers that Mezie Metu and friends formed the formidable team that represented Nigeria at the Olympic basketball games that gave every team run for their money. He wore the number 10 Jersey for Nigeria and 7 for his Sacramento Kings team.
There is no question that more projects from the Foundation are on the way if one is to go by the young man’s antecedents. The President of Mezie Metu Foundation, in the continuous expression of enthusiasm for Nigeria, said: “You know, most of my memories of my childhood are back in Nigeria honestly,” Metu said, “Obviously, those are the years you learn about yourself; you learn about family. It was really good to go back there and see where I was from. Now when I go back, I’m not lost. I know where things are, I know where people are. And it’s a really good feeling.” – (Chimezie Metu, August 2019).