By Tosin Ajirire, Lagos
Sir Basil Maduka, the Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Group, an oil and gas conglomerate based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is an enigma.
His meteoric rise to political and economic relevance has taken everyone by storm. But Maduka enjoys his ride to fame and opulence, giving the credit to providence and destiny, which appears to be kind to the Akpodim Mbaise-born technocrat and politician.
Not too long ago, Maduka took everyone by surprise when he threw his hat in the ring to contest for the Owerri West Senatorial seat under the umbrella of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). He ran a decent campaign and emerged as the most likeable and credible aspirant whose campaign was issue-based, devoid of any political acrimony and rancour.
What the oil and gas magnate did not know was that the way he conducted himself during his tour of the Owerri Senatorial zone had endeared him to political leaders and stakeholders across the state.
Though the result of the primary election didn’t favour him as the “Nigerian factor” allegedly came to play to scuttle his ambition, Maduka was unfazed and did not challenge the primary election in any court of law.
Maduka further endeared himself to his supporters and party leaders in the nine local government areas that make up Owerri West, when he invited them to his country home to thank them for their support.
The show of gratitude, despite the fact that he was not declared the winner, made party faithful wonder what kind of a man he was.
However, at the resurgence of the Labour Party, following the emergence of Peter Obi as its presidential candidate, Maduka was sought out to be the party’s flag bearer for Imo State. But the oil magnate, known for his simplicity and calmness, didn’t give it a thought.
Politics over, Maduka dusted his shoes and returned to his business in Port Harcourt, not knowing that destiny and providence still beckon. A few weeks later, the CEO of Virgin Group went home on a weekend and he had hardly settled down when his phone rang. It was a prominent son of Mbaise, Prof TO Nwala who was at the other end. He was told that a 5-man delegation from each of the three Local Government Areas of the state was coming to visit him. This left him thinking. And when the delegation eventually arrived, Maduka was told that the Mbaise nation wanted him to run for governor.
After seeking the face of God including a series of consultations, especially with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and brother knights, Maduka accepted the call of his people to run for governor.
Knowing that Maduka has no political baggage, the leaders advised him to run on the ticket of the Labour Party whose presidential candidate, Peter Obi shares the same ideology with him. Ever since he has been waxing stronger on the political scene.
Maduka’s love for his people is unprecedented. As the chief executive officer of a blue chip company, he has used his immense contacts to bring infrastructural and human capital development to his people.
A man in love with education, Maduka has sponsored so many on scholarships for post-graduate studies in Canadian, British and American universities. He has also secured employment opportunities in such private and government agencies like customs, police, banking and public service.
Maduka’s primary concern in government is to see that he resets Imo State where unemployment and criminality will be a thing of the past. If he becomes governor, Imolites would be blessed with a man with the heart of gold, a man who believes he has all it takes to create 1,000 millionaires every month through his financial scheme that would enable traders access interest-free loans from the government.
The upwardly mobile technocrat has a dream to turn the major cities of Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri into industrial hubs, making Imo State the envy of other states in Nigeria.