Category Archives: Columnist

Equity in 2023 PDP Guber Ticket: Nkanu East in Perspective, by Ambassador David C Ani

Since the creation of Enugu State from old Anambra State, Enugu has remained one of the most peaceful states to live in(The Sun Newspaper in 2016). There has been interlocution within and outside the state on the ingenuity of such credit.

But this may also be attributed to the state’s one party system and lack of competition which in itself, brings backwardness and lack of development.

Constitutionally, we have three senatorial zones in Enugu State. Since its creation, political powers and proceeds has been revolving around these political niche and enormous peace has been obtained through this process.

But some months ago, there seem to be a rise in political awareness and consciousness, and probably, power may change hands to another political party due to alleged plans of the sitting governor of the state, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to hand over the PDP party ticket to an Isiuzo man who is more Nsukka (Enugu North) thank Nkanu. Due to this, some analysts are predicting the expiration of PDP in the state if this is done.

Others have argued that the next governors must come from Awgu extraction which are part of Enugu west senatorial zone

Some of this new political principalities against the age long equitable distribution of political power in the state are themselves the by-product of the arrangement. They have resorted to so many unfounded political languages in the state just to attract emotions and sympathy.

Some have started manufacturing so many languages just to suit their selfish ambition, and while a group said they’re now “greater Awgu”, another even argued that “when Anambra was created out of Enugu, we had only Enugu, Abakaliki, and Nsukka senatorial zones and that when Ebonyi was created out of Enugu state, we had Enugu and Nsukka zones left”.

However, following the original agreed pattern of Enugu State for equity, the governorship ticket should be zoned to Enugu East Senatorial Zone, and this should not be dragged with Nkanu East LGA. Nkanu East remains the most underdeveloped and magenalised LGA in Enugu State, with the highest land mass and highest capacity of food production in the state.

Before and after 1999, Nkanu East have been backward in infrastructure and politics despite her contribution to the feeding and development of the state.

Nkanu East is supposed to have two or more state constituencies considering her nature of settlement and population. For instance the people from the northern part of the LGA will have to cross over three LGAs in the state before getting to the LG headquarters(Amagunze). Secondly, Nkanu East despite its huge land mass and population, has just one state assembly seat till date.

Most large towns in Nkanu East such as Nkerefi have not produced even a local government chairman since the creation of the LGA due to the huge population and land mass of the LGA.

Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor of the state 1999 ruled for eight years without constructing a single road leading to any part of Nkanu East.

Since the creation of Enugu State, this local government have not been shown any sense of belonging, unlike our brother LGAs Nkanu West, which produced governors, senators, House of Reps members and is the host of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT.

There is also Isiuzo Local Government which have produced so many vital political positions and also hosts a popular Federal College of Education located at Eha Amufu.

As a matter of fact, Nkanu East in particular has not done anything unconstitutional, rather we’re just abiding by the peaceful provisional arrangement of the state through the PDP rotational system of leadership. To set the records straight, the population of an Nkanu Land is put to about 48% in the state. We have also over 35% of our people living all over the other zones. If numerical strength is power in a democratic set-up such as ours, then it becomes only fair for our brothers in the other side of the world to reason with us.

Meanwhile, the three constitutionally recognized zones since the creation of Enugu State has been happy with the arrangements as every zone has been producing the governor at their own turn.

Since PDP dwells on the equitable distribution and rotation of political powers, (and as we all know that) it’s the turn of Enugu East to produce the next Governor of the state. Furthermore, in as much as equity must be attained, Nkanu East being the most underdeveloped local government in Enugu State should be considered based on the language of equity.

As a peace loving people, Nkanu East people have endured the underdeveloped nature of the local government, believing that Enugu State’s PDP equitable distribution and rotation of power will come to Enugu East and by extension, Nkanu East is in the right position to get the ticket.

The good people of Nkanu East are also ready to turn their support against anybody or group of bodies, political parties that may dream to murder their rights.

Hon Ambassador David C. Ani
(Odogwu na Nkanu) writes from Enugu.

The Need for Equity in Enugu Politics, By Hon Lazarus Ogbonna

When Anambra was created out of Enugu, we had Enugu, Abakaliki and Nsukka senatorial zones. When Ebonyi was created out of Enugu State, we had only Enugu and Nsukka senatorial zones left.

In an over night political machinations done by Chief Sen Jim Ifeanyi Chukwu Nwobodo, Enugu Senatorial zone split themselves into two parts namely Enugu East and Enugu West senatorial zones.

Above all, they took Isi Uzo away from Nsukka in order to reduce Nsukka’s numerical strength and permanently marginalise us. Numerical strength that they couldn’t actually dilute for statistics has shown that even with their attempt, Nsukka Senatorial zone still has numerical edge.

The population of an Nsukka is put to about 48% in the state. We have also over 30% of our people living all over the other side of the divide in particular Enugu North LGA. If numerical strength is power in democratic step up such as ours, then it becomes only fair for our brothers in the other side of aisle to reason with us.

This trend worked so well for them so much so that Enugu East produced the Governor in 1999 in the person of Dr Chimaraoke Nnamani. It goes to be noted that in 2007 the same Enugu zone produced yet a Governor in the person of Barr Sullivan Chime. One old senatorial zone with 16 years of unencumbered governance.16, yes 16 years of holding forth to the chagrin of the other.

Our position therefore is that since an Nsukka man has endured 16 years of not leading in a state where they are the majority, it’s only fair that they should be allowed to restart in all this unwritten law of zoning. We are strongly asking Ndi Enugu to look into this point and grant us the fairness of equitable co existence.

Make no mistake to know that we as law abiding citizens of the state will always reciprocate without any doubt this gesture if given the deserved attention.

In event that zoning formula goes to Enugu East, we shall simply abide by it provided equity is applied.

What is equity this situation is that in Enugu East, we have Isi Uzo who for once hadn’t held such a position. We as a people are saying with high level of steadfastness that it has to be Isi Uzo for what is good for the gander is good for the geese. As currently constituted, the Nkanu man in Enugu East Senatorial zone has the Senator, House Rep, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly to mention but a few while Isi Uzo has none. It’s high time we address the injustice for our overall mutual coexistence.

We appeal to all indigenes of Enugu to see this view as we continue to leave peacefully under God.

Beyond this, the orchestrated attack on our son and the Governor of Enugu State unduly is unbecoming. Yes there has to be criticisms but let it be a guided one.

He has so far done well and that’s there for everyone to see.

If in any event that there are areas of weakness found, let it be said constructively. No man can be all things to all men at the same time, therefore he can be excused while we point out those areas that deserve attention.

In case the undue attack persist, we as a people will have an obligation to defend him and not fold our arms and watch.

Enugu is in the hand of God.

Hon Lazarus Ogbonna, the National Chairman of Adada General Assembly writes from Enugu.

Enyinnaya Appolos: Four Decades Testimonies of God’s Unlimited Grace

On Wednesday, 10th September, 1980, a male child was born to the family of Late Pa Appolos Abakwuo Odingwa and Mrs Juliana Appolos, of Olobawa kindred, Isiko Village, Obi Mgboko Mbu Autonomous Community, Obingwa Local Government Area, Abia State, Nigeria.

The child- Enyinnaya Emmanuel Appolos, is the 4th child in the family of 7 siblings- six men and one woman.

Childhood

I grew up in Isiko. Isiko is a boundary village in Obingwa. Isiko, an agrarian village shares borders with the people of Nto Edino in Akwa Ibom State. It also shares boundaries with the people of the following Ngwa villages: Umuhuaba, Umuokahia, Umuanunu and Ekwereazu Ngwa villages. Major occupations of Isiko people is farming and trading. Isiko is largely a home of very courageous and fearless persons who have distinguished themselves in their various chosen careers, either as teachers, engineers, civil and public servants and of course, journalists, traders and farmers.

My father was a driver and a part-time subsistent farmer. During the Nigerian-Biafran war, he worked with Red Cross Society as a driver. He remained a driver until he was called to rest at the age of 81 in the year 2001. He lived in Port Harcourt, where he worked as a driver. He comes home every weekend to his wife and children. Despite that my father lived in the city, my siblings and I lived with our mother in the village, helping in the family subsistence farming, while we also go to school, primary and secondary, in Isiko and nearby villages.

Both my father and mother were born in polygamous homes in Isiko and Umuopra Egbelu villages. While My father was one of many children of a polygamist, Late Odingwa Isiguzo of Olobawa in Isiko, my mother is born the first child of late Pa Richard Ojinka Nwoko, another polygamist, and his wife Late Jenny Ojinka of Umuebere kindred, Umuopara Egbelu all of Obi Mgboko Mbu Community, Obingwa.

Education

I attended Umuhuaba/Isiko Community Primary School, where I obtained my First School Leaving Certificate in 1993. For my secondary education, I attended Learners Institute of Business Studies, a privately owned commercial school, in Umuanunu village, near Isiko.

In 1997, While in Senior Class 5 (SS2), I took a personal decision to quit school. I took the decision when I discovered my school- Learners Institute of Business Studies, was not a government school.

By then, my friends in government secondary schools were preparing to write senior West African Examination Council (WAEC). My action was completely taken out of ignorance and lack of information because I didn’t know that I could register for WAEC in any government school, even while at the commercial school.

Marriage

I am married to my wife. Ozioma Enyinnaya Appolos. I don’t believe in White wedding. So ozioma and I had our traditional marriage on 26th December, 2012. My wife and I have been married for 8 years by December 26th this year 2020.

Religion

My parents are Christians. As at the time I was born, they were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and have remained till date. I was dedicated to God as a child three months after birth at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Isiko. I was baptized as a member of the church at the age of 17, precisely in year 1997.

From childhood, I chose to be dedicated to things of God. I have been a chorister from childhood. I sang in children church choir, district youth choir and later district senior choir in Ekwereazu Ngwa District of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. When I later left Isiko for Port Harcourt to live with my father, he was worshiping at Mile One branch of the Seventh-day Adventist Church located at No 38 Nsukka Street, Mile One Diobu Port Harcourt. When I arrived Port Harcourt in January 1998, my father introduced me to Mr. Kingsely Okoro. Okoro was the church keyboardist and one of the choirmasters. He was also the leader of a singing group called The Harmonizers, in the church. My father told him to admit me as a member of the singing group and in the choir. I became a member of The Harmonizers and the Mile One Church choir also. I later joined the Port Harcourt District Choir. I also joined the Rivers Conference Choir. I remember when one of the past Presidents of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Pastor Jan Paulson visited Nigeria from America, I was a member of the Rivers Conference choir that came to Aba to welcome him. I have always been very active in the things of God in the church.

I also was a Literature Evangelist of the church. Literature Evangelist are those propagating the gospel of the second coming of Jesus Christ through selling/ sharing of literatures. Many of us who were Literature Evangelists then, are Pastors in Seventh-day Adventist Church today. One of them is Pastor Monday Onyekwere. At a point a lot of people thought I was going to become a pastor, including my mother.

Leaving Isiko for Port Harcourt

My decision to quit school at SS2 was received with cheers by my mother. Base on her level of civilization and exposure, She supported my decision and asked me to go and learn how to repair bicycle.

Her plans was for me to remain in the village with her as a bicycle repairer and a farmer. As far as my mother is concerned, the importance of education is nothing but to learn how to read, write and speak English. And by her assessment, I was qualified.

When my father heard of my decision to dump school, he frowned at it. He said, instead of staying in the village to become a bicycle repairer, that I would go with him to Port Harcourt, where he wanted to send me to a Government Craft Centre in Port Harcourt. His wish was for me to become a bricklayer.

I refused both offers from my parents, to be either a bicycle repairer or a bricklayer. I told them I wanted to be a driver.

My father didn’t buy the idea of me becoming a driver. By January 1998, he took me to Port Harcourt.

My father lived in Diobu area of the Garden City. He lived at Nanka Waterside in Mile One Diobu Port Harcourt. The waterside area is usually the end of most streets in Diobu, houses there are usually batcher. Waterside is an abode largely for the poor and wretched.

When we arrived in Port Harcourt, my father said that I needed to know the town so he decided that I should be following him to work. He was then working as a driver with a Block Moulding Company in Mile 3 area of the town.

One afternoon, we were returning to office in Mile 3 from Ukwujiagu area, where we had gone to bring sharp sand for the block moulding firm, while in the truck, my father called and said to me; as my son, I will never deceive you, listen to me as your father. Becoming a professional driver like me will not take you to anywhere in life. I have been a driver all my life and I understand what it’s all about. You won’t be a driver like me. Instead, you will go and learn how to repair cars as a motor mechanic. Even if you decide to become a driver in the future, then you know you have something added to it.

Though my parents were stark illiterates, but they understand the power of communication. They also understand that every child has a right, that the parents should guide. My father, without making much argument, and without forcing it on me, got me to accept going into the mechanic garage as an apprentice.

A Failed Motor Mechanic Apprentice

By January 1999, after I had lived one year in Port Harcourt, my father said; you have stayed one year in town, by now you should know your way around town, so it’s time to face the reason you’re in Port Harcourt. Unknown to me that my father had made enquiries where I would be trained as a motor mechanic. He took me to Elechi Street in Diobu of Port Harcourt, and introduced one Mr. Stanley Okocha, also known as Amaco. Amaco was one of the best Mechanics in the area.

Fortunately for me, Amaco hails from Obingwa like me. He is from Akpaa Mbato community in Obingwa LGA. He took me more like his younger brother, though there were three of us, as apprentice with him; namely Chigozie, the most senior, followed by Okechukwu and myself the last apprentice.

By January 2000, after I had spent one year in Amaco’s mechanic workshop, I became uncomfortable with myself and was worried about my future in the mechanic business because we don’t repair what I called ‘flashy’ cars. The kind of cars that we repair were mostly taxis like: Datsun Sunny, Nissan, Opel, Toyota Corona, all those rickety old taxis you will see along Mile-one, Mile 2 especially those plying Iloabuchi road.

But on the streets of Port Harcourt, you see all kinds of flashy cars and jeeps (SUVs) so I decided to dump Amaco workshop and go elsewhere where I can learn how to repair flashy cars and SUVs. That led me to a place in D/Line area of Port Harcourt where I found a good mechanic workshop by the Railway. The Workshop is owned by one Mr. Edet. It was a very big workshop where big men and companies bring their cars for repairs.

So I went to make enquiries at Mr. Edet’s Mechanic workshop in D/Line without my father’s consent. When I came back and told my father that I don’t want to continue learning the work at Amaco’s place, I told him I’ve found a place in D/Line where I would prefer. I tried to convinced him that at Mr. Edet’s place they repair jeeps and modern cars. My father didn’t say anything.

Without consulting my dad, I went to Mr. Edet told him I wanted to learn from him, and that I was already learning somewhere else and that I had spent one year there. He agreed and said I should go and bring my father, and come along with N40, 000 (Forty thousand naira only). I went back to my father and told him. He said, Enyia, there is no point going there because I don’t have money. Mechanic is mechanic. Free from Amaco’s place first then you can go elsewhere, and work as a workman, they pay you and you learn more.

At that point I told him that I wanted to go to school, and was not interested in mechanic anymore. He reminded me that I left school in the village on my own decision.

Before then, I had an encounter in Amaco’s workshop with the landlady of the workshop. One day, there was no work in the workshop so I went under a parked car where we usually go to rest whenever there is no work in the shop. While lying under the parked car, I brought a pen and paper I had on me and began to write a letter to nobody. I didn’t know the landlady was observing me. I have been taught how to write official and unofficial letters at Learners Institute of Business Studies, Umuanunu.

As I was just practicing what I was taught in school. She asked me, who are you writing that letter to? I said nobody. I told her I was just practicing what I was taught in school, how to write official and unofficial letters. She asked me what an official letter is, I said it’s a letter with two addresses, while the unofficial letter is a letter with just one address. She then said to me: “you are wasting your time here, you better go to school.“ That was the only thing she said and walked away.

So when my father said there was no money for training at Edets place, I just told him it is school or nothing. That time the only certificate I have was my First School Leaving I obtained at Umuhuaba/Isiko community primary school.

I went to a friend of mine, Mr. Chinasa Ojum, he was my close friend in our singing group and choir in church. I told him of my predicament. He said, “the only thing you need to do now is to go to RivCAS”. I said what is RivCAS? He said , Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Rumuola. He said: “go there for remedial and preparatory studies, then you can write WAEC and get admission into the University.” I said, fine. That was how I went to RivCAS in 2000, with hope of writing necessary exams in year 2001.

My father’s death and obvious reality

By May 2001, while I was still at RivCAS, my father began to have health challenges. A chronic cough was troubling him. I was the only one with him in Port Harcourt. My father complained severely about the severe cough and his deteriorating health to me, and told me he would go back to the village, as his health failed him and he couldn’t drive again. He left Port Harcourt in May 2001, unfortunately died in June 2001 and was buried on August 9th 2001.

Before then, my elder brother, Chibuike Appolos, who was with us in Port Harcourt, has left to Bayelsa State and opened his Automobile Electrician workshop there. When he was leaving Port Harcourt, he left his motorcycle Rx125 (Okada) for me. Before leaving for Bayelsa, Chibuike had left my father’s one room batcher house in Nanka Waterside were all of us lived, and rented a room apartment at No. 80 Nanka Street. So I had two accommodations in Nanka, one room at No 80 and my father’s room at the Waterside.

A failed okada man

After the burial of my father, I returned to Port Harcourt alone to conclude my program at RivCAS. I was then living at No 80 Nanka. I will go to school with the Okada in the morning, and in the evening, around 4pm when the Rivers State Government Okada task-force must have closed, I will enter the road with the Okada to carry passengers to make money to pay my bills since I was alone then in Port Harcourt. That was how I survived in Port Harcourt after the death and burial of my father, and since I couldn’t come to the village to stay with my mother and to farm, I had to face the obvious reality.

First WAEC, first shocker

I completed my remedial studies at RivCAS by September 2001 and sat for WAEC external exams. The result was not good enough. The bad result I got didn’t deter me. Since i couldn’t go to school the year after the failed result, I remained in Port Harcourt and started hustling again to make ends meet and to prepare to go to school.

Unforgettable okada experience

After failed attempt to WAEC in 2001, I returned to Okada in January 2002. Then I had an unforgettable experience that made me quit Okada. I was on the move with my okada along Woji Road in GRA Port Harcourt, around a popular bar, called Chess Bar. An accident happened. A vehicle knocked down an okada man right in my front. While the okada man was lying in the pool of his own blood, crying for help, and the vehicle drove away, I tried chasing after the vehicle but it sped off, it joined Abacha road, connected Ikwere road and disappeared. That experience hit me so hard. And I said to myself; this could have been me. When I returned to the accident scene the Okada man had been taken away, and I saw his blood on the road. Immediately, I returned home and vowed never to ride okada again.

A successful newspaper vendor

When I got home after the unforgettable okada accident experience, I then ask myself what would I do again. I contemplated going back to Amaco mechanic place, but something in me refused. Going back to Isiko was never an option. Then I went to my uncle, Dee Elijah Ojinka, who is a newspaper distributor in Port Harcourt. After sharing my experience with him, he understood because he was also an Okada man at some point.

I told him I wanted to join him in newspaper distribution, and he said no problem. That was how i became a newspaper vendor. My uncle took me to one Mr. Ahmed and introduced me to him and begged him to give me newspapers to go and sell on the road. My uncle also took me to Woji Road in GRA by Everyday Supermarkets. That was where I sold newspapers as a vendor.

While selling newspaper, I registered for an evening private class to prepare for another WAEC exams. I also registered for the 2002 November/December WAEC. It was that year that NECO started external (November/December), I registered both exams. After selling newspapers from the morning to afternoon, in the evening I go for my preparatory studies for my exams. My NECO result came out first and I had four credits including Mathematics and English. It was only Government that I didn’t have a Credit. By 2003, I registered and wrote JAMB and applied for Mass Communications at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I also wrote POLYJAMB, and applied for same course at Federal Polytechnic Oko, (Okoploy) Anambra State.

Back to school

With my NECO result, I wrote both JAMB and Poly-JAMB in 2003 with hope of going to school in 2004. POLYJAMB came out before UNIJAMB, I had a good score that could give me admission because all I wanted was to go to school and I don’t care whether it was university or polytechnic. When POLYJAMB came out, I completely forgot about the UNIJAMB and just pursued admission at Okoploy. By September 2003, I went to Oko, Anambra State for the first time.

First visit to ‘Aso Rock’

When I got to Oko Campus of the Polytechnic, and asked for where to process admissions, someone I met at the gate said, ‘go to Aso Rock’. Where is Aso Rock? I asked myself. Before then, I only know about the Aso Rock in Abuja, which I read as where the President lives. But then, I didn’t know that the administrative building of Oko Polytechnic is called ‘ASo Rock’. I went straight to the place called Aso Rock. I walked straight to the building and I met two ladies. My later enquiries about them made me understand they had finished their ND from the school and were doing one year IT in the school. The ladies I met looked very responsible. Their decent dressing told their story. One of them Margret, became my destiny helper as far as my getting admission in Oko polytechnic was concerned.

Margret told me that admissions have started for ND. When I told her I was coming from Port Harcourt and had no one, she offered to help me. She took me to the School Librarian then. When the Librarian saw my POLYJAMB result, he liked it and wrote a note for the HOD of Mass Communications, asking the HOD to consider me for admission’. But when he saw my O’leve result that I have four Credits in my NECO , he cancelled what he wrote and said, ‘go to Ufuma.’ I didn’t know what Ufuma was. I asked Margret, ‘what is Ufuma?’ She said its the pre-ND campus.

We left the Librarian’s office and Margret said, will you go to Ufuma? I said yes I will go. She said it was late to go then. She took me to her lodge and begged one male student, she called Zimuzo, to allow me sleep in his house and she told my story of admission to him. Zimuzo pitied me and told me to be strong. I slept in Zimuzo’s house for the night.

The next day, Margret took me to the Chaplin of Chapel of Transfiguration in Okopoly and introduced me to him and shared my experience with him. He asked if I am a born again, without knowing much about me, Margret said yes and told him it was important I go to Ufuma to process my Pre-ND admissions, and joined them for lectures.

Luckily for me, the Chaplin was going to the Ufuma Campus that day, so I joined him. I will never forget deplorable condition of Oko -Ufuma road then, before Governor Chris Ngige fixed it. When we got there he helped me a great deal in processing my admission. Then I realized I was late because lectures have started and students were in school. After that exercise, I returned to Port Harcourt, and prepared myself. Then I told my brothers I was leaving for school. That was how I went to Oko.

So I did one year pre-ND in Library and Information Science because there was no pre – ND for Mass Communication at Ufuma campus. By the time my results came out, I was already qualified to read Mass Communication. After the pre-ND studies, I was admitted to read Mass Communication and graduated in 2006, and I became a holder of the National Diploma certificate in Mass Communication.

Funding my education

From the stories so far, it was clear that funding was going to be a major issue for my education. But God was ever ready to help a needy like me. God provided destiny helpers. But my two elder brothers did their very best. My mother and sister Made sure I never lacked garri and other food stuffs she could provide from Isiko. There was an elder in our church in Mile one, Elder Christian Elemele, he also helped me.

Weekly hustling for school fees

I never relied only on the support of my elder brothers and those who offered to help me. So I continued my business as a newspaper vendor in Port Harcourt, even as a Mass Communication undergraduate at Okoploy. Every Friday, I returned to Port Harcourt from Oko, after church on Saturday, I sold newspapers on Sunday, and return to school in Oko on Monday. All throughout my ND days, I traveled every weekend to Port Harcourt to sell newspapers.

As a newspaper vendor, I make more money selling papers on Sunday than any other day of the week. You know why? On Sundays, offices are shut down. Those who do newspaper supplies to offices don’t do supply, and everybody come to the streets to buy newspapers from vendors.

For that reason, I missed all my lectures every Monday at school, because I will leave Port Harcourt every Monday morning for Aba to enter vehicle at Ngwa Road, either Adam and Eve Motors, or Jenco transport going to Ekwulobia. By the time I get to school, of course Monday lectures would have been over. So I only go to lectures Tuesday to Friday and after lectures on Friday in the afternoon, I will travel to Port Harcourt for ‘business’.

In all of these, God was there for me at all times. And I had great determination to do my best. Though I saw my father as my only helper until he died and I realized that I had no one else but God.

From industrial attachment to full-fledged reporter

By 2006, I was done with my OND, and left for Lagos for my one year industrial attachment. A lot of my friends applied to do the one year IT in banks. The banks were paying well and the money was important. But I refused to do mine in bank and insisted I will do mine in a newspaper house. I arrived Lagos on Monday January 22nd 2007, not knowing anyone personally, in any newspaper house in Lagos. The only contact I had were phone numbers of some columnists I saw on some newspaper back-page. Some of the columnists usually write their phone numbers on their columns. That was how I got the phone number of Mr. Sam Omatseye of the Nation Newspaper. When I arrived Lagos, I called him and told him I wanted to do my one year IT with The Nation Newspaper, and he gave me appointment to see him in his office on Wednesday 24th January 2007, at 27b Fatai Atere way, Matori Lagos. That was the address he gave me and I found the place through Ladipo.

When I got to his office he interviewed me and asked what beat I would like to cover, I said Politics. He later took me to The Nation’s newsroom and introduced me to the Group Political Editor, Mr. Gabriel Akinadewo. Mr Omatseye said to Mr. Akinadewo, “Mr. Politics editor, this man here will stay with us for one year. He is coming from the Federal Polytechnic Oko, he has interest in political reporting.” That was my ‘initiation’ into a national newspaper newsroom. Though I had my 4 month IT with The Tide Newspaper, a Rivers State Government owned platform in Port Harcourt, but coming to The Nation Newspaper’s newsroom was a dream come through.

Immediately Mr. Akinadewo gave me assignment to cover a protest rally by members of National Conscience Party (NCP) at INEC office in Yaba, that was at the buildup of the 2007 general election. So I was lucky to have come into the newsroom as a political reporter in an election year, that helped me a great deal in shaping my reportorial and journalism career. The period was also helpful economically.

By December 2007, when I was about concluding my one year IT, My Boss, the Group politics editor, Mr. Akinadewo told me that I’ve done well as an IT reporter and he encouraged me to either continue if I don’t wish to return to Oko for my HND. He told me that a new newspaper was coming up in 2008, and said if I am interested, I should join him because he was going to be part of the new platform. I agreed, because I was already contemplating- who is going to help me if I return for HND. Wondering if I was going to continue going to Port Harcourt to sell papers every Friday to sustain myself and rely on others to pay my bills in school. So I decided to go with my boss.

By 2008, Mr. Gabriel left The Nation and moved to Nigerian Compass Newspaper. That was how i also moved to Compass, and became gainfully employed for the first time as a journalist as a political reporter. Because I always loved journalism, because I was looking up to Eziuche Ubani and because I have a boss in Mr. Gabriel and later Mr. Dotun Oladipo, who gave me rooms to explore, and become a successful journalist, like them, I didn’t see any distraction, and didn’t see any danger ahead. All I saw was success ahead. And God crowned my efforts.

By 2010, I officially moved to Abuja Bureau of the Nigerian Compass. While in Abuja, I covered the judiciary beat and later posted to the National Assembly. Working as a journalist in Abuja opened my eyes and also opened doors for me.

By 2011, 2012, when Nigerian Compass became unstable, I left the platform and joined The Union. The Union was also a new platform. In my life as a journalist, I have always had the opportunity of been a pioneer staff, except for when I did my One year IT in The Nation. When I joined Compass, it was a virgin platform. When I joined The Union, it was a fresh platform.

Copying Eziuche Ubani

I didn’t know anything about journalism or mass communication until I became a newspaper vendor. But I know there is someone in my village who was a newspaper writer, he is a journalist and writes for a newspaper in Lagos, he is Mr. Eziuche Ubani. By then, Eziuche had worked with several Newspapers in Lagos and was then Special Adviser on Media to Rt. Hon. Ghali Umar Na’Abba, the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003. When Eziuche didn’t win election to represent Ob1ingwa/Ugwunagbo/Osisioma Federal Constituency in 2003, and his boss also didn’t return to the House, Eziuche returned to Thisday Newspaper newsroom as Editor-at-Large, and he began to write the famous EziucheUbani on Friday Thisday back page column. He later won election in 2007 to represent Obingwa/Ugwunagbo/Osisioma Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He spent two terms of 8 years from 2007 to 2015.

Mr. Eziuche Ubani is a successful and fearless journalist. And as a newspaper vendor I enjoyed reading him and also selling his products. So he influenced my choice of career in going into journalism. So I became a journalist because there was an Eziuche Ubani from Isiko that is successful in journalism.

Amb Raph Uwaechue, a destiny helper

My financial breakthrough came with my meeting late Amb. Raph Uwaechue. As a journalist, I have serious interest in anything that concerns Ndigbo and our people. This made me to be close to Ohaneze Ndigbo and it’s politics from the days of late Dr Dozie Ikedife as President-General.

The turning point in my life as a journalist, financially, was in 2010 when I encountered Amb Raph Uwaechue. In 2010, the Late Uwaechue was the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

One evening, in 2010, Dr Ikedife, who had handed over to Amb. Uwaechue called me on phone and complained about certain decisions of the Uwaechue leadership in the Pan Igbo Socio-cultural organization, about the 2011 presidential elections in Nigeria. Dr Ikedife, who was on his way to the United Kingdom when he called me, wanted me to publish what he said. I accepted to publish him, and told him that I will publish his side of the story, not until I’ve heard from Amb uwaechue. He said ok, and gave me Amb. Uwaechue’s phone number. Immediately I called Amb. Uwaechue to get his reaction to what his predecessor said about his decision in Ohanaeze.

Amb Uwaechue said to me. I don’t know you and I can’t talk to you on phone. If you want to get my side of what Ikedife said, you must come to the African House in Ogwashi Ukwu in Delta State.

I have not been to Ogwashi before then, and the story before me was a good developing story I must follow up to get the details, and if I must get the details, I must get to Ogwashi because Amb. Uwaechue wouldn’t talk to me on phone. I called my Editor, Mr. Gabriel, who was the Weekend Editor in charge of the two weekend titles of the NIGERIAN Compass, and told him about the situation. He said, Appolos, that is a good crossfire story. Go to Ogwashi Ukwu immediately and get Uwaechue’s interview and write a crossfire story, with interview for the Saturday Compass.

I left Lagos for Ogwashi Ukwu on a Wednesday and arrived Asaba the Delta State Capital, where l met Amb. Uwaechue’s contact person who was already waiting for me. He drove me to African House, private residence of the late Ambassador, in Ogwashi. By the time i was done with the interview with the Ohanaeze PG, it was about 7pm. He wanted me to spend the night in the African House, but I refused. He then ask his driver to take me to a hotel in Asaba.

It was a no-holds-barred and revealing interview with the late diplomat, who was also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the “Know Africa” books, a three-volume book that was published in French and English. He was also the publisher of “Africa Who’s Who” and “Makers of Modern Africa.”

After the interview, I called LAGOS to brief my editor how it all went. And gave him bullet points in the interview. He ordered me to get the interview ready and sent to him before 8am Thursday.

The chilling hotel room in the Asaba was all I needed to transcribe the interview and get the exclusive story ready for the weekend edition of Nigerian Compass Newspaper. Before 2am, the interview was done and dusted and sent to gabyfola@hotmail.com, my editor’s email.

I had a brief sleep and left the hotel room for the motor park and boarded the first bus going to LAGOS. Before noon, I was already at the compass office, located at Isheri area of Ogun state near LAGOS, to join the production of the weekend paper. The Ikedife-Uwaechue crossfire was the big story for the Saturday compass that weekend.

Monday after the interview was published, Amb. Uwaechue called me and invited me back to the African House in Ogwashi Ukwu. That second visit to African House become the turning point in my life and my career, as Uwaechue engaged me as his personal media consultant. He paid me the kind of money I have never seen in my life before. From that point, my life changed financially. I worked with him until he handed over to his successor, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey as Ohanaeze PG.

I bought my first car in my life while working for Uwaechue. I bought the land I build my house in Isiko while working for Uwaechue. I relocated to Abuja from Lagos and paid for an apartment in Abuja while working for Uwaechue.

May the souls of both leaders of Ndigbo, Uwaechue and Ikedife, who I enjoyed very cordial relationship with, until they both were called to rest, Rest In Peace.

Alabo Mujahid Dokubo-Asari on my case

My relationship with Alabo Mujahid Dokubo-Asari is over a decade now. As controversial as Dokubo-Asari is, he is one of the nicest persons I have ever met. The day I was given appointment to meet him somewhere in Lagos, over a decade ago, during the Late Musa Yar’Adua presidency, I prepared to meet a ‘monster’, and ‘drug addict’. But the reverse was the case, as i met a good man. A father of many children, a husband of good wives, an Islamic leader, a social crusader, a freedom fighter, a historian and a helper of the poor, needy and downtrodden.

At the mention of Dokubo-Asari’s name, different things come to different minds. He means different things to different people. He is a devout Muslim. does not drink alcohol and does not smoke. If he ever did that must have been before we met.

I have never been to that part of LAGOS before, and I went alone with direction and was communicating with Dokubo-Asari until I got to him. We ate together, then he told me a long story about himself and the struggle for freedom which he is so passionate about. After spending about 4 hours with him, without any formal form of interview, I left him. Before leaving, he told me he was wanted by the government and that he was leaving the country that evening and promised to call me when he gets to his new destination.

When he got to his new destination, like he promised, he called me. And then ask me to publish part of the things he told me in Lagos. From his new destination, he offered me a job as his media assistant, I rejected and told him I will prefer to be a friend who will always be there for him. He liked that.

When he relocated to Benin Republic, he invited me to know his new ‘home’. He introduced me to every member of his family. His wives and children. When I wanted to marry in 2012, December 26th, he told me he won’t be able to join me in Aba, but he gave me huge amount of money that was enough for my marriage. When I buried my grandmother in December 2017, Dokubo-Asari came in person to support me. He is a senior friend, a big brother, and dependable ally.

The Prophesy of Rt. Uzo Azubuike

I started hearing of Barrister Uzo Azubuike in his days at the Abia State House of Assembly, when he represented Aba Central State Constituency, during which he became the Deputy Speaker at some point in the life of the Abia State House of Assembly.

Hon. Azubuike and I worked more closely when he was elected to represent Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency at the House of Representative, Abuja in 2011.

Though he didn’t employed me as a political aide, but he got me engaged in most of his political events at the National Assembly and here in the state. I was practically his media consultant. He ensured I was part of every trip of the House of Representative Committee on Public Petitions which he was chairman of the committee.

At some point in 2013, when he indicated interest in the 2015 governorship in Abia, he told me about it and carried along in some of his activities for the project.

One weekend in January 2014, he asked me to join him to Lagos as part of his consultations for the 2015 project. We arrived Lagos on a Friday, and he went straight to a meeting somewhere in Ikeja part of Lagos and ask me to wait for him at Ibris Hotel, Toyin Street, Ikeja, where has paid for two accommodations on for himself and myself.

While in Lagos, Hon. Azubuike asked me to call Mr. Raymond Aliga, who I had introduced to him in Abuja the previous year-2013, and get an appointment for them to see again after they first met in 2013. Mr. Aliga gave us appointment for Saturday morning at Raddison Blu hotel at Victoria Island Lagos.

On our way to keep Aliga’s appointment Saturday morning, we were on 3rd Mainland Bridge when Hon. Azubuike answered a call, and told me afterwords that immediately after the meeting with Aliga, that I will return to Abuja while he goes to Umuahia. After our meeting with Aliga, we returned to Ikeja checked out of the hotel and headed for the Airport while I returned to Abuja, Azubuike went to Umuahia.

Immediately I arrived Abuja, Aliga called me to confirm if it was true that Azubuike has pullout of the 2015 governorship, which was why he came to see him in Lagos. Obviously I was not in any position to confirm that to Aliga. I ask him to give me time to get to Azubuike, who was already in Umuahia for another important meeting and get back to him.

When I called Hon. Azubuike to ask him about developments in Umuahia, he told me there was a development, and promised to give me details when he return to Abuja on Monday.

Monday afternoon Hon. Azubuike called to inform he was coming and requested that I meet him at his office at the National Assembly. Later Monday evening we met at his office. In clear terms Hon. Azubuike told me who will be the next governor of Abia in 2015. The first question he asked me was: “Do you know Dr Okezie Ikpeazu?” I said yes, he was the 2011 Campaign Director for Rt. Hon. Eziuche Ubani, who is my elder brother. Then Hon. Azubuike told me that Dr Ikpeazu will be the next governor of Abia State.

Prophetically, Azubuike said to me: “Appo, whosever that will be governor in Abia in 2015 will know you. The person will know you as one of those who work for him, or as one you work against him.”

After the meeting with Hon. Azubuike, i then called Aliga to deliver the message from Azubuike.

At first, Aliga doubted me. He said: “How can Dr Ikpeazu become Governor? Does Uzo (Azubuike) know what he is talking about?”

Later, Chief Aliga called me the next day-Tuesday, to confirm that Hon. Azubuike was right. In fact Aliga told me to come pick him at the airport in Abuja on Wednesday that he was coming to Abuja with Dr Ikpeazu.

Wednesday, I drove to the airport in Abuja, picked Chief Aliga and he then told me that Dr Ikpeazu was on his way from Abia. We went to a hotel somewhere in Life Camp area of Abuja where I met a team led by late Chief Chijioke Nwakodo. The rest is now history.

By February 2014, I officially resigned from The Union Newspaper to join Dr Okezie Ikpeazu in his governorship ambition. It was a hard decision I had to take. God guided me and saw me through.

When I told Mr. Emma Agu, the Editor-in-Chief of The Union Newspaper that I was resigning to join Dr. Ikpeazu, he said to me; “Appolos, in all my years as a journalist, I’ve not heard of any Dr Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia or Igbo politics. Why do you want to risk your job for his political aspirations. What makes you think he will win?”

I replied him and said: “Sir, this is not about Dr Ikpeazu. It is about Ukwa-Ngwa people. I am an Ukwa-Ngwa son, and I know that this is our time to produce governor of Abia State. If we fail to be governor in Abia by 2015, we would never be again. He may not be known, but he will be governor because our people will support him to be.”

At this point Mr. Agu said: “Appolos you have my support. This your man will be governor. Give me your resignation letter, I will keep it with me. If your man didn’t win the ticket of the party, come back and take your job, but if he wins the ticket that means he will win the election, I can the submit your letter of resignation. Meanwhile, go I will pay you salary for up till March, even though you will not be working, but that how best we can support. Make sure you send his reports for us to publish for him.” And I left The Union Newspapers to join the Dr Okezie Ikpeazu campaign team.

Becoming a part of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu Governorship Team

When I joined Dr Ikpeazu in February 2014, he was the Deputy General Manager of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (asepa) in charge of Aba. Dr Ikpeazu by then, was not known to the national media, it became my duty as his Media Assistant/Personal Assistant yo project him.

My core duty was to sale and promote what Dr. Ikpeazu was doing at ASEPA to the media in Nigeria and beyond, using my social media platforms and my contact in various newsrooms across Nigeria. Dr Ikpeazu is a good product, very easy to market, so marketing him, his ideas and what he stands for, going into the 2015 election, drawing strength from what he was doing at ASEPA, was not a hard job for me.

With the special grace of God and mandate of Abia people, Dr Ikpeazu became the 4th democratically elected Governor of Abia State in 2015, and was sworn in on May 29th, 2015, as the first Ukwa-Ngwa man to be Governor in Abia.

I was officially appointed as the first Personal Assistant (PA) to the Governor from May 2015 to June 2016. One year after, I was appointed the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, from 13 June, 2016 to 28th May 2019. After the 2019 election, I was appointed the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor. And the prophecy of Hon. Uzo Azubuike, that whosoever that will be governor in Abia in 2015 will know me, became a reality.

In what may be considered as the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu kitchen cabinet, I am most likely the only one that have held three different offices by the special grace of God, and benevolence of the Governor. I remain grateful to him for the trust and opportunity to serve.

It is instructive that I say it here that I was the very first aide of Okezie Ikpeazu, as far as his governorship project is concerned. And I must give thanks to God and appreciate my principal for finding me worthy to enjoy the privilege he has given me to work with him up till this very moment.

Let me at this juncture, specifically appreciate and thank my Boss, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, for the trust he has towards me. Just like my former bosses in the newsroom who gave me the opportunity to proof myself, Governor Ikpeazu has given me more opportunities to prove myself. I will remain indebted to him. All my appointments came from him, despite all forms of political intrigues and betrayals from some close friends, who for reasons best known to them, ganged up against me, Governor Ikpeazu remembered where he met me and where I started with him.

From my appointment as the first Personal Aide (PA) to the Governor, to my appointment as Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, and my appointment as Special Adviser on Media to the Governor, he (Governor Ikpeazu) alone made it possible.

I pray God Almighty for wisdom and understanding, in the nearest future, to write in more details my experiences and encounters during my service in Abia State under Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Time and chance

Meeting and working briefly with Amb. Raph Uwaechue was an opportunity that came my way, and I made good use of it, for my economic gains and advancement, without compromising my job as a journalist working with the Nigerian Compass Newspaper.

Also, meeting and working with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu gave me an unimaginable opportunity. Working with Governor Ikpeazu opened a lot of doors for me. I met people and become close to those I would never have met all my life. Some of those opportunities came with economic benefits.

Only God…

Deuteronomy 2:7 (NLT): “For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these FORTY years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’

Also, from the Bible book of Zechariah 4:6; 7 & 10 (NLT), it says: “ This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it! Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

The belief that everyone in and around the corridors power, who builds a house or buys a car has stolen government money is very erroneous. There are genuine guys who make good use of opportunities to meet their needs.

The truth is; wisdom is the principal thing. Like the Bible admonished, in all your getting, get wisdom and apply it, It will help you a great deal. Don’t forget where you are coming from, remember always your class.

Don’t be carried away by the appurtenances of the moment. Be watchful and careful of sweet-offers and sycophants. Their mission is to derail you and blame when the moment is gone. Make good and legitimate use of the moment. Integrity remains the watchword. Just like the moment can give unlimited opportunities, it can as well ruin. See your exist as you enter. Owe your loyalty first, to your conscience, do that which is right whether it is in your interest or not and speak truth to power even at the risk of the moment. Run away from the gossip around and about power corridors. Open your ears to hear a lot, but speak less.

Identify single story tellers, ensure you hear from the other side and verify their stories before you take any action. Be prepared to be a victim of betrayal and blackmail, especially from those you have given access to you.

Fundamentally, I have achieved, by the special grace of God, what looks very impossible for people from a very poor background like me, to achieve, in the past 15 years of my 40 years of my stay here. God looked beyond my poor family background, my poor academic credentials, my infallibilities and bestow His riches, blessings and unmerited grace upon me. Only God, and God alone can do for me, what He has done. Tehillah!

Significantly, I have come to appreciate that the movement to the top, is not an elevator movement. Whosoever wishes to get to the top in life, should prefer the staircase or the step. When you use the staircase, you mark your step, appreciate every effort made in getting to the next step. When you finally arrive at the top, you will come to appreciate the entire movement.

Truly, I have come to see nothing in life. I have also come to terms with the obvious that, the best for me is to hold fast to God and true friendship. Indeed, things of this life are gradually becoming useless and meaningless to me.

Thank you

I will be an ingrate if I fail to mention, and appreciate those God has used to help me thus far.

To my departed friends, who are not alive today to celebrate with me, I will not forget your great support and push. The likes of Prince Longinus Orjiako, Chief Chukwuemeka Azikiwe (Owelle 11), Dr Dozie Ikedife, and Amb. Raph Uwaechue, God who called you to rest, will give me the power to hold onto what we shared together.

My Special appreciation goes to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Chris Ngige, Emeka Etiaba SAN, Chief Abu Inu Umoru, Elder Christian Elemele, Hon. Aniekan Umanah, Mr. Gabriel Akinadewo, Mr. Dotun Oladipo, Mr. Emma Agu, Mr. Obi Azuru, Chief Ikpeoha Nwamuo, Rt. Hon. Uzo Azubuike, Dr. ACB Agbazuere, Mr. Sam Omatseye, Alhaji Shetima Yerima, Mr. Friday Oloko, Chief Chekwas Okorie, Senator Nimi Amange, Senator Ali Ndume, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, Sir Ndubuisi Nwobu, Hon. Uko Nkole, Mrs. Constance Egbue, Mr. Benjamin Obioha and lots more.

To my dear wife, Ozioma, to the good and sweet memories of my late father, to my mother and my siblings, Mr. Okwudiri Appolos, Mr. Chibuike Appolos, Mrs Chinenye Maxwell (née Appolos) Me. Obioma Appolos, Mr. Onyedikachi Appolos and Mr. Osinachi Appolos. I forever appreciate you all.

Conclusion
Permit me to quote the lyrics of a two stanza of old hymn I’ve sang many times in church.

“I don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what is ahead

Chorus:
“Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

I don’t know about tomorrow
It may bring me poverty
But the one who feeds the sparrow
Is the one who stands by me
And the path that be my portion
May be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood”

When I looked around me and see all that has happened in this 40 years of my life on earth, I lack words to express my joy and explain my gratitude.

In these 40 years, I have not slept in any hospital on admission. In these 40 years, I have not been detained in a police or any other security custody for any offense. In these 40 years, I have not visited an native doctors for any reason.

So God has kept me healthy and strong, with blessings, favors, and promotions that come from Him and Him alone. I can’t thank Him enough for His goodness and mercies upon my life.

As it is recorded in the Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NLT): “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.

God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”

Thank you and happy 40th birthday to me!

Enyinnaya Appolos, the Special Adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Media writes from Abia State

APPRAISAL OF  A QUINTESSENTIAL MAN: HON EMEKA ONUNZE

Hon Emeka Onunze, (TATA) as he is fondly called, was born in the early 70s into the family of late (Chief) Patrick Ngwunwa Onunze and Lolo (Mrs) Queen Onunze of Umuokoh in Umuebor Umunevo Ogui Nike town, Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Hon Onunze happens to be the third son of late Chief Patrick Onunze and last born of family of six.

However, Hon. Emeka Onunze got his first Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLC) from Ekulu Primary school, Enugu and later proceeded to College of Immaculate Heart Conception (CIC) Enugu, where he obtained his Senior School Certificate and other diploma certificates.

Onunze, a man with vast knowledge in business management has invested in the business of exchange of goods and services and was conspicuously flourishing on that path, and later entered transport business with several employees operating under him within Enugu State and beyond.

The transport system under his watch, has thrived even till he occupied the enviable position of LGA chairman, following his requisite skills in management and adminstration purposes.

Onunze from his humble beginning has engaged in other business empires, but choose to adopt transportation business as his mainstream of economic empowerment through which many have been able to earn a living today in our society.

As a dogged, astute and worthy son of Ogui Nike, Hon. Emeka Onunze has attracted a chieftaincy titles to himself, following his magnanimous and philanthropic programs in the society. Among these are Ezeomoge nke mbu n’Nkanu and Efi Newero Odudu nke mbu n’Nkanu Land.

Certainly, this titles came as a result of his philanthropic contributions towards the growth and development of the society, especially in the aspects of human capital development.

Hon Emeka Onunze is an ideal modern philanthropist as many call him ‘Omeogo nke mbu N’nkanu’ has in many occasions meted out love and care to his kinsmen and others in Enugu State. He has been a pivot towards eliminating and solving complex issues in many lives that comes across his ways ranging from financial assistances, scholarships, payment of hospital bills.

The indomitable leader had also in many ways showed high-level of optimisation and patriotism in all ramifications.

It is also pertinent and worthy to note that, Hon. Emeka Onunze had attained several leadership positions in various capacities before he was elected council chairperson, Enugu North Local Government Area. First, he was one time Ward councilor, a position he used to touch many lives in Enugu North LGA, Umunevo Ogui Ward 2 precisely which his achievement was very substantive, as such still paving way for him for other recommendations since he left the office.

As a proactive leader, Hon. Onunze was elected as Provost, Umunevo Town Union, a position he held until he became the Council Chairman, Enugu North LGA during the 2020 Local Government polls in Enugu State.

The amazing, lovable and caring man Emeka Onunze equally have other talented gifts apart from leadership prowess. This talent has giving him the opportunity of featuring and playing for many football clubs in Enugu and Beyond such as Vasco Dagama. Also, as a social being, Hon. Onunze had traveled and lived in several locations across the world which includes Turkey etc.

Onunze is indeed a quintessential leader and a man of multiple and credible character.

Ifebuchi, Williams Chime writes from Enugu.

ENUGU@29: History, Leadership, Good Governance and Consolidation of Democratic Gains, by Rt Hon Chima Obieze

Enugu State with an estimated population of over 3.8 million people covers an area of 7,161 km2 (2,765sq mi), and ranks 29th out of the 36 States of Nigeria in terms of land area.

The word “Enugu” (from Enu Ugwu ) means “the top of the hill”. The first European settlers arrived in the area in 1909, led by a British mining engineer named Albert Kitson. In his quest for silver, he discovered coal in the Udi Ridge. The Colonial Governor of Nigeria Frederick Lugard took a keen interest in the discovery, and by 1914 the first shipment of coal was made to Britain.

As mining activities increased in the area, a permanent cosmopolitan settlement emerged, supported by a railway system. Enugu acquired township status in 1917 and became strategic to British interests. Foreign businesses began to move into Enugu, the most notable of which were John Holt, Kingsway Stores, the British Bank of West Africa and the United Africa Company.

From Enugu, the British administration was able to spread its influence over the Southern Province of Nigeria. The colonial past of Enugu is today evidenced by the Georgian building types and meandering narrow roads within the residential area originally reserved for the whites, an area which is today called the Government Reserved Area (GRA).

From being the capital of the Southern Provinces, Enugu became the capital of the Eastern Region (now divided into nine States), the capital of now defunct Federal Republic of Biafra , thereafter, the capital of East Central State, Anambra State, (old) Enugu State, and now the capital of the present Enugu State through a process of state creation and diffusion of administrative authority.

Enugu State was formed on 27th August, 1991 when it was split from Anambra State with Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo as the first democratically elected Governor in January 1992 to November 1993 under the auspices of NRC (National Republican Convention). At the birth of the 4th Republic- May 29th, 1999; Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani was sworn in as Governor under the umbrella of PDP(People’s Democratic Party). Barr. Sullivan Chime is the immediate past Governor succeeding Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani. Barr. Chime served from May 29th, 2007 to May 29th, 2015.

Then, the people of Enugu State came out in their droves to elect the most popular Governorship Candidate in the Country during the 2015 General Elections as the product name “Gburu Gburu” resonated across the length and breath of Nigeria.

Gburu Gburu became a household name in the country that it took some time for a good number of people to learn that the real name of the Enugu State Governor sworn into office on May 29th, 2015 is Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi as he took over the reign of Government when Enugu State was 24 where he boldly and unequivocally declared that Enugu State is the Hands of God during his inauguration.

As we celebrate Enugu State at 29, Governor Ugwuanyi has been consolidating Democratic Blueprints and Exploding Democratic Dividends in form of opus for the people of Enugu State who Gburu Gburu refers to as Ndi Enugu.

The people again, showing great confidence in Gov. Ugwuanyi’s leadership, turned out again in 2019 to elect him for a second term.

It is note-worthy that this article is panegyrical of Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s feats in office.

During the recent inauguration of a Bailey Bridge across Nyama River, linking various communities in Enugu, the former Governor of Old Anambra State, said that Gov. Ugwuanyi has wiped away his tears by building the bridge for his community after decades of neglects. Well, the truth remains that Gburu Gburu is not only building physical bridges, he is also building bridges between the Government and the People as he is always accessible, he listens and serve the people to his greatest abilities.

In addition, he is building bridges the Leaders of the State- Political, Religious and Traditional Leaders alike. This was confirmed by Sen. Ekweremadu that “there are no bickerings or quarrels amongst the Leaders of the State”. Truly, Gov. Ugwuanyi is bringing everybody together irrespective of Political affiliations thereby treating everybody with utmost respect, equity, fairness and justice.

One of the biggest achievements of the Gov. Ugwuanyi led adminstration is that Peace, Security and Political Stability is now synonymous with Enugu State.

This has also driven up investment rates, rapid development and economic growth leading to Job Creations, Massive Employment and prosperity for Ndi Enugu. In addition, prompt payment of workers’ salaries cannot be over-emphasised as the State’s labour force is highly motivated with diverse incentives as well as payment of new minimum wage before each month end with 13th Month payment.

Succinctly, the Score Card shows very high bars in aggressive Rural Developments, untiring Urban Renewal, excellent Healthcare Delivery evident in the fight against COVID-19; improved Basic Education, rapid Infrastructural Growth making Enugu a conducive Business Hub and also Business & Agro Development/Support Scheme and many other feats by the Governor.

Besides, Gov. Ugwuanyi has shown great leadership and courageous steps in keeping Enugu State relatively safe from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world. Ndi Enugu can also testify that there has been a huge recovery in the robust economy of the State as the Governor advises all to adhere to the COVID-19 safety guidelines continually.

And to those who are yet to appreciate the Leadership of this gentle Lion-Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, I assure you you will miss him when he is gone. The air of peace, security, love & unity we enjoy today in Enugu has never been the same.

Just yesterday the Remodelled Enugu International Airport was reopened for operations. While we thank President Buhari for releasing the funds for this project and thank Igbo leaders who followed through to remind the President the importance of this one International Airport in the Southeast, may we appreciate the Governor who went out of his way to see and deal with this project as if its a State Government project. Providing the FG, the Contractors and FAAN all necessary assistance to ensure that the Airport is completed and up & running. This is because, Gov. Ugwuanyi understands that being the Governor of Enugu State is being incharge of the Capital of the entire Eastern region.

Again, for the first time in the politics of Enugu State, youths are beginning to have an inroad into governance. Gov. Ugwuanyi has provided a platform for mentorship for future leaders of the State by bringing them closer to the Seat of power so they can see for themselves how things are done and to prepare them for the future as it is clearly visible that there is transference of leadership qualities from the Governor to his protégées which some of us are privileged to be.

Furthermore, very worthy to mention is the cordial working relationship that Gov. Ugwuanyi has established between the three Arms of Government in the State- Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. These working relationship has translated to speedy delivery of Democracy Dividends, Equity, Fairness and Justice for all.

As Enugu State hits 29, it is imperative to note that the Governor is not resting on his Laurel as he has vowed to continue working tirelessly for Ndi Enugu, thereby taking Enugu State to Greater Heights.

Therefore, through the tacit permission of Our Governor, I Rt. Hon. Chima Obieze, Member; Representing Ezeagu Constituency at the Enugu State House of Assembly, hereby enjoin the great people of Enugu State to keep their hands on the plough without looking back as we all in unison drive this great State led by Rt. Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Lawrence Ugwuanyi to increasingly greatness because we all are “Enugu “(city on the hill).

Rt. Hon. Chima Emmanuel Obieze, is the member representing Ezeagu Constituency in Enugu State House of Assembly. He writes from Enugu.

EDO 2023: I endorse Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, by Peter Agba Kalu

There’s something fundamentally wrong with the way we play politics in Nigeria. We play politics without principle and I think that’s why our society is like this and, that’s equally why our politicians take us for a ride. We need to grow above this if in the real sense that we thoroughly want to liberate ourselves from the shackles of these politicians.

We’re equally their political tugs without knowing it. While the other touts carry guns and dagger to bully, destroy and kill, we pick pens and data to do same here.

Just few months back, I personally and several others were routing for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the PDP candidate, while condemning the present Edo State governor Obasike, because he was in APC. Few months later all that changed because both crossed party. We forget character and individual values, we forgot all that we have said. We lambaste APC for turning anyone into saint once he joins them. We’re equally guilty and showed evidence that we will do same if we’re in their position, when Gov. Obasike too, that we have been lambasting over the years became Saint Godwin once he joined PDP. All the video of Oshiomhole lambasting Osagie Ize-Iyamu, which we all understood why it happened, and knew it was normal in politics, just like American politicians lambast each other and later come together to work for party interest. We became even worst than Oshiomhole, while still lambasting him for not being a steady soul and for eating his words. Yet, all of us attacking the former Edo governor jumped ship from supporting Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to supporting Governor Obasike just because he changed party. We didn’t see anything wrong in our attitudes, but see everything wrong in Oshiomhole doing the same thing.
Our society is like this because we allow ourselves to be used to play ludo by these politicians.

Look at this video and tell me what what’s different with what APC and Oshiomhole is doing today. This was less than one year ago, November 2019. Those PDP members here were telling the world that Obaseki failed woefully and here is our own Dan Orbih making it clear. From this you will come to the realization that all politicians are the same. Their support is down to selfish reasons not for anything that will benefit the people. They have been heavily influenced with the state fund and we pick our data to finish their work for them. Just like we mock the touts and ask them if any of them can see the politicians children carrying guns to fight. It’s the same thing with us. Can you see any of the politicians children on social media ranting about their parents political opponents. No! You won’t. They are busy studying and living the good life in overseas.

After watching this video, I realized how foolish we have been while pointing accusing fingers at the other side as being foolish.

We all understand the circumstances behind Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu joining APC, but because of our dislike for anything APC, Buhari or Oshiomhole we pretend not to know. During the last Edo State governorship election l supported Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, because after checking on the top two of the candidates, I knew he’s a far better and refined person that will make a better leader. But once he joined APC, like many other people, I became blind to all those facts and started behaving like Oshiomhole that I have been busy mocking for not being steady.

All these political parties are the same, forget it! What really matters in Nigerian politics is individual values and vision. There’s no single political philosophy behind these parties. Some PDP governors are just empty, while some APC governors are delivering. So based on this particular statement of mind, I decided to review my stand on Edo State politics based sincerely on individual values and characters, not party affiliation or interest.

Based on the the above stand, I have the courage to step out and endorse Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. This does not change my view about APC and Buhari’s government. I just want to be liberated from the shackles of these politicians who have no single interest for the people. I want to set this example and hope my action will help lots of people to wake up and together, we will look beyond party and look at individuals values in supporting our politicians. Only this will make them sit up.

Peter Agba Kalu is a Nigerian journalist.

Sir Chinyeaka Christian Ohaa (CCO): An Outstanding Leader, a Son of Awkunanaw

Hon. Chinyeaka C. Ohaa is no doubt, a man passionate about life’s endeavors. A man who has devoted his time and resources towards rebuilding our society, Sir Ohaa is also an impeccable leader with conspicuous integrity, whose interest for life gears towards ensuring people around him feels the impact and blessings that comes from God and humanity.

He is an epitome of human kindness and meekness, a rare philanthropist and an astute leader par excellence. He is indeed, one of the modern days politician and a renowned administrator.

He is also a devoted and ardent follower of Christ, who had attained the priestly ordination of a Knight as a member of Methodist Church of Nigeria. Sir CCO has raised men and women within our society, through his philanthropic gestures and other humanitarian services.

Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa was born into the family of Chief Ohaa Owo in Obuoffia community, Nkanu West local government area of Enugu State, and is married with children.

A Capital territory Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka started his educational ambition by attending Community Primary School Obuoffia and graduated in the year 1960 with excellent grades.

He proceeded to obtain his High education qualification as follows; General Certificate Examination(GCE) in (1979), West Africa Senior Certificate WASC (Division 1) in 1980.

As a prudent and financial administrator he did acquire vast knowledge and academic qualifications in different fields of studies from renowned and prestigious institutions. For instance, in (1985) he obtained Higher National Diploma in Finance, and later moved to acquire his (PGD) in Accountancy & Finance in (1990) which gave him a firm opportunity of obtaining his (MBA) in Banking and Finance in (1992).

Ohaa was first appointed as a Bursar (1986-1989) in Enugu State Education Commission. Again, he later became Accountant general at Vanguard Industries Limited, Enugu State in (1992-1993). In 1996-1993 Chinyeaka also became sub treasurer at Treasury Headquarters office of Accountant General Enugu State, and also, Sub Treasurer, (Lands) office of Accountant General Enugu State in 1996-1999.

Furthermore, by (1999-2006) Sir Ohaa was also elevated to the position of Accountant General Of Enugu State and later nominated as Honorable Commissioner for Agriculture in (2006-2007) under the administration of His Excellency, (Barr), Chime Sullivan, the former Governor of Enugu State.

Upon his resignation from the prestigious position of Honorable Commissioner, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa immediately shifted his selfless service to humanity from state level to the Federal, where he later served as deputy director in various ministerial offices including Ministry of Defense, where he served in the office of Audit and Account department.

He was later moved to the Ministry of Water Resources in (2013) where he continued his excellent services till 2016, when the administration of His Excellency, President Mohammed Buhari (GCFR) appointed him as Federal Capital Territory Permanent Secretary, under the Ministry of Youths and Sports in the Federal Civil Service Commission.

Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, a worthy son of Obuoffia has indeed rendered several humanitarian services both to those around him and beyond. As a philanthropist, Ohaa awarded scholarships to many indigent secondary and university students across his community.

Accordingly, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa also assisted over one thousand (1000) youths to secure resourceful job opportunities that today, the these youths are happily making their living with ease.

His heartfelt desire towards the empowerment of youths in our society equally necessitated his quest to always support and host football competitions in order to discover hidden talents of our youths for onward empowerment and career building.

Sir Ohaa has also demonstrated an apt leadership prowess and statesmanship by erecting and sheltering many homeless families who were without a place of abode within and outside his community as a man that believes in the principle of looking after the needy and the downtrodden.

Furthermore, he has in several occasions attracted whopping governmental projects to his community which includes accessible roads networks, pipe borne waters, modernize health care for health quality assurance, and electrification for an enhanced economic growth etc.

Without mincing words, it is also on record that, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa has been providing food for his people during the ember seasons, as cows, rice and other food condiments and presentation of cash gifts since 1999 till date. Hon.

Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa is also the current President General, Awkunanaw Welfare Association.

Conclusively, sir Chinyeaka Ohaa is one in a millioan, who has touched several lives unconditionally in Enugu State and Nigeria. As FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Ohaa has been able to secure good numbers of Job opportunities to many, especially to the Youths, for social and political growth. Sir Ohaa is also patron to many Youths political, social and welfare organizations across Nigeria. His quest for good governance and leadership inclusiveness is quite overwhelming.

Chime Ifebuchi Williams writes from Enugu State.

The Unshakable Personality of Prince Lawrence Ezeh, by Ifebuchi Williams

Obviously, Engr Ezeh is an unshakable personality which I may not be able to elucidate further on, as most of the evidences abound around us.

It is also crystal clear that, Engr Lawrence Ezeh, the five star Prince of Mburubu town, in Nkanu East Local Government Council of Enugu State is an unshakable resource person following his unpretentious and unprecedented track records.He is a man whose heart is open and ready to give back to the society at all costs, despite having little at his disposal without minding what society can do for him.

Engr Ezeh, who is also known as’ Agu di Ebube nke mbu n’Nkanu, CEO, Buzuzu Construction Company and Chairman of Prince and Princess Lawrence Ezeh’s Foundation, Deep Well Technical Ltd to mention but a few, is a servant leader, who practically understands the possible solution towards salvaging sociocultural, economic and political issues with moral and ethical principles of leadership.No doubt, Engr Ezeh, the illustrious son of Mburubu, born in the family of His Royal Majesty, Igwe E. M. O Ezeh (JP) Eze Ozulumba nke mbu na Mburubu Kingdom is a bridge builder who has friends and wide contacts across the globe as a detribalized man and astute leader cum business mogul.

Ezeh is also a servant leader who understands the problems, with a willing heart towards providing the needed remedy.

Ezeh for ages now has been providing the needed approaches in other to fix difficulties in his community, local government as well Enugu State, even at the national level of Nigeria Government.

Most recent of this is his goodwill towards alleviating hunger among his people, especially to the vulnerable ones in his town following the outbreak of coronavirus also known as covid-19.His efforts have indeed attracted awards, loyalists, friends, who have had his generosity etched in their minds.

As a certified Engineer, Prince Ezeh has demonstrated a huge contribution in the service to humanity by embarking on several roads and bridge construction in Nkanu East LGA, of which his community and other nearby towns in Nkanu East LGA can testify to, as the direct benefactors and recipients of such a favor and unprecedented service to humanity.

May God bless the founder of Aka Ekpuchi Onwa Political Organization. Prince (Engr) Lawrence Ezeh, a man with an incorruptible spirit who is ready to tender himself as a sacrificial lamb for the continuity of Enugu State leadership prowess at all levels.

This is to say that, Ezeh as an unshakable personality, is among the top personalities that has the requisite skills, ability and liberal mind to deliver true and passionate democracy in Enugu State if giving such privilege and opportunity come 2023.

Ifebuchi Williams Chime, a youth leader, writes from Enugu State.

The Simple Agenda Recipe For Fire Disaster And Housing

By Don Osehobo Ofure

My mailbox is full with many questions from eager Edo people, who want to know the specific plan the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s Manifesto the Simple Agenda for fire disaster. There are others who want to know about his plans for low cost houses.

Let me start with the Fire Service. I am aware because I have read about it as item (C) under the second letter of the Simple Agenda which is ‘Infrastructure Development and Urban Renewal’, that the incoming APC governor of Edo state has a Fire service policy.

Very recently, Pastor Ize-Iyamu commended the Federal Government for donating a very sturdy Fire Service vehicle to Edo state. The donation was the high point of the disaster and embarrassment, the Edo State Fire Service has become under the present government.

The very bad situation was summed up by the Nigerian Conference of Fire Service Directors who lamented the ugly state of the Edo fire service at its recent conference when it said, fire-fighters and equipments for quick response to disasters, are absent in Edo.

The body called on the State government to expedite action in approving the urgent recruitment of more fire fighters as those in the state fire service have become old hands as well as provide it with adequate funding for training and purchase of new state-of-the-art fire fighting equipments.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu is, “… seriously concerned about the Edo Fire Service responses to critical fire incidences, particularly within our major cities. The Uwelu Spare Parts market, Oliha market, Santana market, Osa market, and the Urhokpota fire disasters all within eight months have exposed the terrible state of our fire service and the government’s disdain for the common man hinged on her failure to respond and prepare for future incidences”.

As a result the Simple Agenda has a plan to ” modernize, scale up and enhance the capacity of Edo State Fire Service to respond effectively to critical fire incidents within 30 minutes in our cities”.

Also, “Every major market in the state will be reformed to accommodate a fire service unit. These units will serve as a branch of the state fire service”. This will be in addition to his government setting up, “dedicated water reservoirs in some areas of the state for the refill of water tanks of fire service trucks”.

On the subject of Housing, it is also a critical part of the Infrastructure development and Urban Renewal plan of Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s Simple Agenda, and is labelled (D). But let me digress a little.

The housing deficit in our country is put at over 20 million units. It is also estimated that more than 60% of Edolites live in substandard housing. Nigeria’s National Housing Policy (NHP) came on stream in 2006 as a solution to a growing and recurring problem of housing shortage.

It was in 2013, that the Federal government commissioned the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), a private sector-driven mortgage refinancing company with the public purpose of promoting home ownership for Nigerians while deepening the primary and secondary mortgage markets.

The Simple Agenda plans to addressing housing by encouraging, ” the Public-Private-Partnership initiative in the provision of decent housing units for people in the state”. To do this, the, “Government will supply quality housing through a policy for social housing for the poor and the vulnerable, and develop affordable houses for workers in the state”, as well as allow the public, ” access to affordable mortgages at single-digit interest rates”.

New Government Reservation Areas (GRA) are also planned and this the Simple Agenda hopes to actualize, ” by allocating land, providing infrastructure (including road networks) and inviting reputable developers to take over such areas at reasonable cost to government and the affected communities”.

The beauty of the policies and plans for the Fire Service and Housing in Edo state by the incoming government of Pastor Ize-Iyamu is that, they, ” would lead to the creation of additional jobs in the economy”.