Apart from the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, one of the other surviving stakeholders and active politicians that began the current democratic dispensation in 1999 is Senator (Dr.) Chimaroke Ogbonnaya Nnamani, former Governor of Enugu state. Nnamani is like a cat with nine lives because when it looks as if he has been swept off the political steam, he emerges like a colossus. For almost eight years (2011-2018), not much was heard about him until he resurfaced on the nation’s political map in 2019 returning to the Senate for the second time in twenty years.
It is indisputable that Nnamani as governor of Enugu state for eight years ignited the light of good governance through his political dynasty “Ebeano”, literally meaning ‘where we are now’. In other words, Ebeano was a political philosophy that signified good governance, courage, political sagacity, hardwork and industry and of course humility. The former governor as an individual exuded high level of intellectualism and introduce scholarship into governance only comparable to the likes of the Great Zik of Africa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Golden Voice of Africa, Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Michael Okpara, all of blessed memory. It is a historical fact that no serving elected official in contemporary Nigerian politics has delivered the number and quality lectures than Nnamani. As governor, his pen was fluid, his thoughts were nationalistic and actions betrayed unity of purpose, love for humanity and passion for quality leadership.
A medical doctor turned politician, Senator Nnamani engineered the Ebeano political family, which metamorphosed into a strong political philosophy that he used in grooming and producing leaders, who have impacted positively on the state and the nation at large. Ebeano was indeed a big umbrella that accommodated a lot of interest yet maintained its core value of good governance and commitment. It is therefore not an accident and it is to the credit of Senator Nnamani that the Ebeano family was able to produce both a senate president and the deputy senate president. Former Senator Ken Nnamani and the longest serving deputy senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu are all products of the Ebeano Family. Of course, Nnamani’s successor former Governor Sullivan Chime, is also an offshoot of the Ebeano family and most importantly, the current Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is also a student of the Ebeano political dynasty. This means that even when Nnamani was off the political ladder, the political philosophy he initiated and sustained reigned supreme in the state.
As a medical doctor, Nnamani is not oblivious of the fact that education and health are key to the development of man and the society. It is therefore axiomatic that Nnamani’s eight year reign at the Lion House revolutionalised education in the state. He built a modern Teaching Hospital with state-of-the-art facilities at the Enugu University of Science and Technology, completed the school and moved the university to its permanent site at Agbani. In the area of infrastructure, Nnamani made great strides building schools, roads, markets and expanding the economy of the state.
After his eight years as governor, he was elected into the Senate. With just four years in the Red Chamber, Ebeano showed the stuff he is made of and shone like a million stars. As it is customary with politics in our climes, where beneficiaries of one’s political benevolence always turn back to fight him; Nnamani was also not spared as people he brought up and ensured that they ascended certain powerful offices in the state and beyond fought him tooth and nail, all in an attempt to wipe him off the political map of the state and the nation. But being an excellent student of politics, Nnamani was able to come out unscathed after suffering some incredible losses between 2011 and 2015.
A humble man to the core, Nnamani has acknowledged the contributions of Gburugburu, who is also a beneficiary of his political group in giving him a lee way to return to the game. Before his heroic return to the Senate, Nnamani was hosted to a dinner at the Enugu Government House by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. In his characteristic humble style, Nnamani thanked Ugwuanyi for “giving me a second chance,” explaining that the governor had “wiped my tears.”
Showering accolades on Ugwuanyi, Nnamani described him as “a great man, a man of inestimable greatness and tremendous humility. He is a man of grace, a man of honour, a man of uncommon valour, a man of uncommon humility and a man of God. I am very grateful. I am thanking all of you and the governor who made this possible. I am very surprised with level of reception I am getting. The reason why I said I was surprised is that this is the 12th year since I last stepped into this Government House.”
I believe the people of Enugu East Senatorial Zone made the right decision to bring back Senator Nnamani to the upper chamber. There is no doubt that he will make the red chamber vibrant and put the leadership on its toes. I believe he will fight not only for the people of Enugu East, but all Nigerians who are being deprived of the dividends of democracy. He has the experience and the wherewithal to contribute positively to the growth and sustenance of our democracy.
Of course, his lectures will be rejuvenated at a time Nigeria is in dire need of unity. There is no doubt that these lectures would play an indelible role in uniting the nation and giving every Nigerian a sense of belonging. To many, who did not understand what Ebeano stands for, it is not a cult; it is an intellectual power house of social political and economic development of our people. Welcome Ebeano! Welcome Senator Chimaroke Ogbonnaya Nnamani!
Ose writes from AbujaNo tags for this post.