WHY I WAS CALLED A MAD MAN - AMAECHI 'S AIDE





Mr Israel Chibueze Ibeleme is a media aide to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi. Like any other young man in search of greener pastures, Ibeleme travelled from his Isiala-Oboro village in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State to Port Harcourt in 2003 to live with a cousin but he became homeless two years after when he was driven out of by his relation. From 2005 to 2008, he slept on the street in Rivers State capital while a transformer served as his wardrobe before a ‘Good Samaritan’ picked him up and dropped him in the Government House Port Harcourt.

 Ibeleme, Amaechi’s aide 

"Many people think living in Port Harcourt is like living in Paradise because the city flows with oil money?  From 2003 and 2008, I lived in Port Harcourt without help. I became a photographer because that was the only way I could get food. I slept in the street in Rumuomoi opposite the transformer because I had been driven out of the house where I lived with a relative. There was a young man that sold electrical parts that always gave me cartons to sleep on whenever he closed from his shop. I would bath between12 midnight and 1am because I had to do it almost in the middle of the road and that was the best time to do it as traffic would have eased. One particular day I told God I was not looking for mattress, pillow or even coverlet to sleep, but just a roof over my head. The first wardrobe I had to keep my things was inside the transformer beside the open space where I always slept in the street. I had only one pair of shoes, one pair of trousers and a T-shirt. Everyone around the community knew me with the clothes. Sometimes I fed on N20 per day. People called me all kinds of names just because I always slept in the street. Life was miserable; people didn’t want me around them. Though I had a village I could go back to, I made up my mind I wasn’t returning there. I started street photography and I was making between N20 and N40 per day. To cut the long story short, there was never a time back then when I found something to eat when I needed it, but, in all of these, I was very close to God. I chose to stay in Port Harcourt Because I believed I could make it there. I didn’t tell my family what I was going through until my troubles were over. It was a difficult moment in my life. I was known as Eze the photographer. People called me a mad man, a demon because I kept wearing one shirt every day sometimes for six months. I always trekked to my destination in town, no matter how far, until God used somebody one day to change my story."

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