They were worthy ambassadors for the country when they held public offices. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes that years after, no one has heard anything about them again.
Mike Okeke Umeh is a former vice-president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with Aminu Maigari as president. He was also the team manager of Rangers International Football Club, Enugu, as well as that of the Green Eagles (as the national team was called then). Following the vote of no confidence passed on Maigari, Umeh stepped in as acting president. He later decided to run for NFF president, but lost to Chris Giwa.
Speaking on why he decided to throw his hat in the ring, he said, “I’ve been part of the NFF executive board in the last four years which was headed by Alhaji Aminu Maigari as president.
“We are all living witnesses to the achievements of the board irrespective of whatever anybody may say against it. I was not only part and parcel of it, but contributed my quota to whatever successes the board recorded.
“So, this time around, it’s my humble desire to take up the mantle of leadership in order to continue from where we stopped under Maigari.”
Umeh, at a point in his life had problems with the Sokoto state government, but defeated his traducers right from the lower court to the apex court as the former chief justice of Nigeria, Walter Onoghen, in a judgement absolved him of all the allegations. Commenting on his ordeal in the hands of security operatives over the matter, Umeh said, “The trauma cannot be described. It is the biggest trauma in my life. I had never been to the police station in my life before. A detachment of the EFCC, about 10 of them in the early hours of the day, invaded my house in Victoria Island.
“When I peeped through my window, I saw them taking positions around my swimming pool side and surrounded my premises. It looked as if I was dreaming. “My mind skipped off. When they came, there was no resistance from my gate men. All of a sudden, I saw about four of them, four plain-cloth policemen coming toward my bedroom. But I managed to lock my door before they got there and they kept banging on my door. I was wondering if they were thieves, robbers. I was evidently frightened. But when I peeped through window and saw some uniformed policemen and their police van parked, I became calm and felt strong because I can’t be afraid as I had done nothing wrong.”
For a while now, this renowned sports administrator has been quiet.
He was the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A lawyer by training, this tall, handsome and lanky Rivers state indigene raised in Enugu state can best be described as one of the rare Nigerians born with a silver spoon. He came to limelight when the people of Ahoada East/Abua Odua federal constituency of Rivers state voted for him as their representative at the House of Representatives in 1999. His colleagues later elected him as deputy speaker of the House on June 4. While in that capacity, he chaired the Committees on the Whole House, vice-chairman, House of Committee of Selection, vice-chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution. He also led several delegations to various international summits and conferences. A community worker and grassroots activist, Prince Nwuche played an important role in the passage of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act and the Onshore Offshore Dichotomy Bill. He also set up scholarships and grants schemes for indigent students and small/medium scale business men and women in his state. He, however, failed to return to NASS after he lost the bid to Osinakachukwu Ideozu for the Senate seat in 2003.
Reacting to him, the state chairman of PDP, Felix Obua, “It is obvious that Prince Nwuche’s statement on security in the state is that of a drowning and an uniformed person, no wonder he continues to jump from pillar to post in search of political visibility after losing relevance as a result of his failure to adequately represent his people at the National Assembly and failed attempt to secure the highly competitive ticket for the Rivers West Senatorial seat in the Senate on the platform of our great party, the PDP.
For quite some time now, no one has heard anything about this former deputy speaker.
Not much was known about this former lawmaker until 1999, when he was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Anambra Central in the Senate. While in the Upper House, he was one of the vocal voices whose words made headlines, but when he failed to return to the Senate in 2003, he went into a quiet life and has not made any attempt into politics again.
It appears his exit from the Senate dealt a blow to his business empire. For instance, he was one of few Nigerians who pioneered private broadcasting in the country. He owned what was then known as Minaj Broadcasting International (MBI) which network transmitted both the radio and television signals in many parts of the country in mid/late 1990s, but had, for long, gone into extinction. Writing about this, A public affairs analyst, Ifeanyi Maduakor, said, “An Igbo man in the person of Senator Mike Ajaegbo, an Obosi man from Anambra state, used to be the proprietor of a television station known as Minaj Broadcasting International in the late 1990s which went off air immediately he left the Senate in 2003. MBI, apart from the pride and sense of belonging it gave Igbo people all over the country while it operated, 60 per cent of its staff were Igbo people. In the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999, I recall with nostalgia that MBI used to be the voice of Ndigbo and their activities. The station’s news bulletin and programmes gave ample air time to the activities of Ndigbo down to the hinterlands; sadly, MBI extinguished immediately Senator Ajaegbo who owned it and still owns the licence left the Senate. At times I ask myself if the station was set up by Ajaegbo to cover his activities while he was in the Senate. The question became necessary because immediately Ajaegbo left the Senate in June 2003, MBI signals were no longer received by those in Abuja and Lagos cities. It only operated in its Obosi station for few months before finally dying a natural death.”No tags for this post.