April 10th, 2011
I never knew Chimaroke Nnamani until Chief
Nwobodo - the father of Enugu politics as he regards or
regarded himself - introduced him to Enugu politics in the
build up to the 1999 election. Even though the
circumstances that produced Chimaroke as the governor of
Enugu state was not a very clean one, I became less
concerned about it when within a few months into his first
term Dr. Nnamani had quarreled with Nwobodo.
The PDP primarys was held and Enugu people elected one
Prince Agu - an estate manager - as their flag bearer for
the governorship position in the then forth coming 1999
election. Chief Nwobodo had used his connection with Chief.
Solomon Lar who was then the Chairman of PDP to thwart the
choice of the people. Chief Nwobodo was one of three
governors of the then NPP. Chief Lar and Chief Sam Onunaka
Mbakwe are the other two. So that was the link that Chief
Nwobodo employed to foist Chimaroke over Enugu state then.
Prince Agu was introduced or backed by the Nwodos then. And
this melodrama was one of such several political lock jams
between the Nwodos and Nwobodos in Enugu politics.
Prince Agu – a very nice, down to earth and humble being
- was later to be rewarded with a chummy position in
Nigerian Ports Authority where I did benefit from him
because he helped me to get paid in a job NPA had owed me
for over twenty three months. Unfortunately, I have not
been in contact with him since after the payment to date, if
nothing else, so as to thank him for his help. He was
traveling abroad then and I lost my phone where I had his
I was impressed because I had all my life condemned
Nigeria’s form of godfatherism in politics where the
godfather tries to choke up his godson with excessive
demands and in the process leaves the electorate short
changed in terms of meaningful development. So, it was a
welcome development for me that a young medical doctor who
practiced in USA has - broke the jinx and - severed himself
from a political godfather who had, within a short time in
the life of the administration, imposed three most sensitive
jobs of government - deputy governor, finance and SSG - on
this young man.
I became suspicious - and my enthusiasm turned anxiety -
when within some couple of months Governor Chimaroke sacked
his own uncle who helped his administration stabilize when
he severed relationship with Chief Nwobodo ; his political
godfather. As I said earlier I had never heard of Chimaroke
Nnamani before his erstwhile godfather introduced him to the
politics of Enugu state.
In the same vein, I never knew Sullivan Chime, neither
did I know that he served under Chimaroke Nnamani’s
administration. My first knowledge of him was a few weeks
before his election or selection - as the case may be.
Till date I have not had any contact with him - direct or
I was travelling to Enugu from Lagos and when I got to
Ugwuorba - a boarder town between Enugu and Anambra states -
I started seeing large posters with a calm and composed face
reading “Sullivan Chime”. When I enquired, I was told that
he was a lawyer who was then governor Chimaroke’s Justice
Commissioner. I was also told that he had the blessing of
governor Chimaroke to run. This irked me so much that I
thundered, “what on earth can someone who had been in that
administration do for Enugu State”. Oh well, I said to
myself that if there was not going to be a selection, then
it was left for the electorate to decide.
After the (s)election of 2007 and Mr. Chime was said to
have been (s)elected, I was not boarded, not because I
approved of the circumstances but much because I had no
control. I just resigned to faith and grumbled that this
state of mine is going to be stagnant for another four
years, initially, and possibly another four years – since
nobody ever gets contented with one term.
My opinion of Barrister Chime started changing two weeks
after the so called election or selection. For the first
time he made a statement that tickled me. I read in one of
the national dailies where he was quoted as saying that the
revision of voters register was wasteful venture and would
not have been necessary if Nigeria had pushed through a
genuine national ID card scheme. I finally got hooked when
he declared that Enugu state was not really working, a sharp
contrast to the “EBEANO” slogan that Enugu was working.
those comments credited to him made a lot of sense to me and
I started having this instinct to meet him in person because
I felt that any politician who made such comments should be
associated with because he could be influenced and
accommodative when he hears beautiful ideas.
I felt that he was a genuine democrat or at least a
different one from the pack we have been seeing.
Unfortunately, till this moment I am writing, I have not met
him directly or indirectly. Enugu state visibly got face
lift - if only the road network is anything to go by -
within 300 days of his administration.
One person I was discussing with tried to convince me
that Gov. Chime is performing because of pressure - partly
from a suite filed by Bar. Okey Ezea - and that if he is
given a second chance, he would then show his true color.
But my quick response was that his reaction to political
pressure was acceptable to me when I compare this kind of
reaction with what we have witnessed in the past where
reaction to pressure would mean hounding political opponents
out of the state. We have witnessed in the past where
political opponents were hounded out of their states by
incumbents. But is it not an irony that a barrister who
served - quietly - under an administration that bungled
eight solid years without any meaningful development has put
together some evenly reasonable development within three
and half years?
As I said earlier on, his own relation - in the person
of Mr. Onyemauchu Nnamani - who helped him to stabilize
during his early days in power in Enugu state, was booted
out by Gov. Nnmamani. Gov. Nnamani became uncontrollable
and formed the “EBEANO” clan which produced and nurtured the
likes of the current senate committee chairman on
information - Chief Ayogu Eze. None of these opposition or
discord resulted in development as a way of assuaging the
electorates in Enugu state throughout the eight years of
near terror - and sometimes bullish - reign of the “EBEANO”
But let me mention here that Gov. Chimaroke’s
administration was quick at tarring a piece of road from Opi
to Nsukka town within the first 50 to 100 days of his (Dr.
Chimaroke) regime - this road was excavated during Dr
Nwodo’s administration. There was also this little other
stretch from Obollo Afor to Ogrute , Enugu Ezike. This
little gesture helped to shower up the EBANO clique’s image
in the very early stage of the administration, at least, in
the eyes of the Enugu North. It was not also clear why Dr.
Nwodo scrapped off that Opi – Nsukka town road and could
not reconstruct it until that diarchy regime was quashed.
Then there was this “EBEANO” tunnel that was celebrated
as if we were celebrating a metro system in the state then.
The then president Obasanjo had to come down to commission
it. And this is where I keep arguing that Chief Obasanjo
did not and does not actually understand what development
and human empowerment means: a man who once was quoted as
saying that “…nothing embarrassed him”.
The other things we saw that looked like development
were some erection of properties and establishment of
out-of-touch businesses with government money and
irresponsibly acquiring them by proxy. These include, but
not limited to, COSMO FM – which was a propaganda machine
(for EBEANO – Enugu is working) and which was alleged to
have been built with the transmitter taken from the former
Enugu Broadcasting Service, Ebeano Housing estate (where
the EBEANOs controlled about 172 properties), Renaissance
University and construction of roads within some parts of
A brother of mine narrated to me how - even - within
Agbani, some places are regarded as Nigeria and others as
Biafra apparently referring to lopsided development there.
Such developments only helped to create division within
societies that had hitherto lived harmoniously together.
That was the machination of the “EBANO” group.
There was also this relocation of already sited
government institutions such as the UNTH (from Nsukka to
Ozara) without justification. Whereas government is free to
relocate institutional sites, if need be, the way and manner
it was done during the terror reign of “EBEANO” clan was
akin to a post war era where the winner in the war wants to
demonstrate to the vanquished that it has the will and power
to do anything. Such moves only helped to further polarize
the constituents of the state which becomes counter
It might be instructive to mention here that it was
during the NPP administration of Jim Nwobodo that some
communities in the then old Anambra State got hooked to the
national grid for supply of electricity and some major road
constructions and rehabilitations. There was also this
botched Adada water project during that administration. It
may be difficult to assess what Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo
achieved during his era in the wawa house due to the diarchy
form of regime that obtained then. But if what Gov.
Sullivan Chime achieved within his 100 days in office should
be used as a yard stick, one would be tempted to conclude
that Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo did not perform reasonably,
although there could have been issues that were not apparent
to most of us during that diarchy regime.
From the look of things, now, it seems that Governor
Sullivan Chime (who was also within that “EBENANO” clan) was
really not within their flock. “EBEANO” was another subtle
name for “crush ‘em”. Any opposition should be crushed and
that was what we witnessed throughout the eight years of
“EBEANO” cult in Enugu State. It could also be argued that
Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani became what he turned out to be due to
terrible pressure. For the first time, in recent history,
we saw the duo of Nwodos and Nwobodos joining forces to
persuade Governor Chimaroke Nnamani’s administration to
change tactics or to accommodate them in the scheme of
Certain things are discernible in Enugu state today.
There seems to be a very acceptable agreement, within a
larger segment of the electorate, that Gov. Sullivan Chime
has performed or is performing and will do more if given
another opportunity. There is also this notion that there
is comparative peace and tranquility as opposed to what
obtained during the “EBEANO” era. I have not carried out
any opinion polls but tendencies gyrate towards the zone
that Sullivan Chime would get higher votes out of all the
other governorship aspirants: Dr. Shere of CPC, Bar. Oke
Ezea of Labour Party, etc.
I do not want to give Gov. Chime a clean bill, and he
has not even asked me to do so, but I want to say that if
what we have seen on ground, so far, in terms of road
network development is anything to go by and if his reaction
to political pressure and opposition is to develop the
state, giving him a second chance will not be a bad idea at
all. All we need to do is to mount more political pressure
and opposition if he emerges again so that he will develop
the state more.
It is in this wise that I intend to mention some of the
things that will need to be corrected - and this will be in
addition to many more viable empowerment schemes - in case
Governor Sullivan Chime is re-elected into office in the
April general elections and that is if Prof. Jega and his
INEC will accede.
Taxi Service and other related empowerment projects: The
concept of this scheme is nice but the implementation is
mere slavery in nature. I do not know how majority of these
drivers who operate this scheme feel but the few I have
interviewed feel so bad but do not really know how to
explain their feelings. These cabs were, in most cases, not
leased directly to the drivers and this is wrong. Secondly,
the cabs get to the drivers at an exorbitant rate – up to
N2.7m in most cases – and this creates a tough situation for
beneficiaries. I do realize that bulk purchase by government
should bring down the prices. I also realize that insurance
companies have what is called fleet discount. The company
that sold these numbers of cars should have not less than
six months to one year subsidized maintenance. Various state
governments could join forces to do more purchase. All
these should translate to cheaper prices directly to these
young men. And so should other similar empowerment projects
and schemes at both state and local government levels.
Empowerment should not become impoverishment to these
Lighting: There is not much gain from street lighting -
that is powered by diesel generators - as establishment of
schemes that will empower the youths. We have not come to
the point where street light will become valuable. It could
be argued that it helps in security issues but I think that
the best security is to engage youths - that will become
potential security threat – in meaningful employnents.
There is also not reasonable value to traffic lights within
in the civil service: Efforts should be made to have a very
balanced distribution of civil service positions within the
senatorial districts of the state. This will assuage cries
and hues about marginalization which I heard was part of Dr.
Okwy Nwodo’s grouse with the governor.
empowerment: The government can look into establishment of
agric settlements where our teeming youths could be
encouraged to take up jobs. Government can also establish
food processing zones within the state which will absorb
educated and skilled youths.
I am tempted to ask other governorship aspirants from
the Enugu North zone to collapse their political structures
in favor of Gov. Chime and work out a deal that will enable
them secure the slot to this zone in 2015 so that if Senator
Ayogu Eze brings Adada state, as he is now promising, it
will be an Enugu North indigene who will supervise the
carving out of that state from the current Enugu state.
Enugu – Nigeria.