Magnus Eze, Enugu
Second Republic Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, has the traditional title of ‘Anyanwunagbara Oha’, translating to ‘the sun that shines for the people’; which he highly cherishes.
But, recently, he got another chieftaincy title, Eziokwu Bu Ndu, meaning “Truth is life.” The former Minister of Sports already has a basket filled with titles, yet, he indicated that he would always treasure this latest one because of where it came from and what it connotes.
The chieftaincy title was conferred on the elder statesman by the traditional institution of Amurri ancient kingdom, in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, during the last Ofala festival of Igwe Charles Nwoye.
Since Nwobodo could not attend the event because it coincided with the Ofala of his own traditional ruler, Igwe Nwoye’s emissary, led by the Crown Prince of Amurri kingdom, Dr. Ben Nwoye, along with three cabinet chiefs, on June 22, presented the title to the octogenarian at his Amechi, Awkunanaw country home, in Enugu South Council Area.
The highly elated, Jim as he is fondly called by admirers, expressed appreciation to the Amurri monarch for the honour done him, stating that the title truly reflected what has been his guiding principle in life: “I’ll continue to cherish and value this recognition, because truth remains life indeed. And it’s coming from a nice and well-respected traditional ruler in Enugu State.
“I will continue to stand by the truth all the days of my life, because that is life. I thank Igwe Nwoye sincerely for this honour”.
Nwobodo used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to follow the path of truth by allowing the Igbo produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.
According to him, as a nation standing on a tripod arrangement of North, South and East, it would be proper for other segments of the country to throw their full weight behind the zone in its quest to occupy the highest office in the land, because it is the only geo political zone that has not had its own fair share of the nation’s governance.
“For the interest of justice, equity and fair play, the South- East geo political zone of the country deserves to produce the next president that would succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, in the next political dispensation.”
A founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Nwobodo, insisted that political parties, electorates, and various parts of the country should look the way of the zone during the election: “Ndigbo are not joking about 2023 Presidency; It’s the turn of the Igbo, Nigeria is a tripod so let it be so. They are relegating Ndigbo and we can’t accept it.
“I was in APC but had to leave and go back to the PDP we formed, where I am well recognised. But that doesn’t mean that I have anything against the APC, so, people could remain in whichever parties they belong but what is important is that we all work towards the actualization of a president of Igbo extraction in 2023. We pray that God keeps us alive to witness it.”
He posited that anyone who do not believe in the Igbo presidency project come 2023, do not wish Nigeria well, “so am calling on other parts of the country to support the project.”
Presenting the title certificate and other regalia attached to it to Nwobodo, Nwoye said the recognition was attracted by the recipient’s contributions to the development of the state, including his community during his days as governor, particularly in the areas of education and youth empowerment.
He recalled how the Nwobodo administration established community secondary schools, and especially promoted girl child education with girls’ secondary schools too.
He declared that the Amuri community holds Nwobodo in very high esteem going by his antecedents. He also recalled the elder statesman’s word on the marble in 1983 when the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) snatched his re-election victory as governor.
According to Nwoye, as the matter progressed in the election tribunal, Nwobodo had reportedly insisted that “Ezi okwu ga aputa ihe” (Truth shall prevail), and it did not take time before a military coup came and swept away the second republic.