Charles Okonkwo

My hands have been heavy to write about the satanic verses of Chief Nnia Nwodo, which he rendered at a Labour Party governorship campaign somewhere in Enugu State a few days ago. How do you intervene without telling a 70 years old man (in Asari Dokubo’s voice) that he has become an unrepentant Okenye aruru ala, having shown that he wouldn’t mind dividing and setting Enugu State ablaze in his desperate bid to impose his son-in-law, Chijioke Edeoga, as the governor of Enugu State?

According to the septuagenarian, the old Enugu State was made up of Enugu, Nsukka, and Abakaliki zones. With the creation of Ebonyi State and departure of Abakaliki zone, we now have the old Nsukka zone, comprising the present Enugu North and old Isi-Uzo LGA where Edeoga hails from, and Enugu zone, comprising what is today known as Enugu East zone and Enugu West zone. But as far as Nnia Nwodo is concerned, Enugu West and Enugu East senatorial zones are one and the same zone and have produced two governors, in the persons of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani and Barr. Sullivan Chime. Therefore, in his view, the old Nsukka zone must have another eight-year tenancy at the Lion Building to balance the equation. How more weird can an argument be?

However, this bizarre argument by the Nwodos is not new, only that it has refused to resonate with Ndi Enugu. Former governor Okwesilieze Nwodo mounted the podium to spew the same nonsense in Igbo-Etiti during the February 2022 council election campaigns. It is also for the reason of this warped logic that although Edeoga’s Isi-Uzo LGA is in the present Enugu East zone, he has never pretended that he is running on behalf of the Nsukka zone, the very reason he picked his running mate from Enugu West instead of Nsukka zone/Enugu North. In other words, he wanted the PDP gubernatorial ticket, which was zoned to Enugu East district so he could become governor on behalf of old Nsukka zone/Enugu North, which is completing eight years as governor through Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. What a strange political calculation.

But it is not the first time the Nwodos would constitute themselves into a stumbling block to the aspirations and good of Ndi Nkanu. Nnia Nwodo in particular envies, loathes, fears, antagonises, and subverts Nkanu simultaneously. Once it is about Nkanu interest, he goes all out to the bottom of his political chicanery and props up divisive characters to try to thwart it. At any altar where Nkanu man’s interest is to be served, Nnia Nwodo employs the highest rank of political voodoo, he propounds weird theories, and conjures all the malevolent spirits from the pit of hell to bring him down. He is so bitter as if an Nkanu man ever took his betrothed or stole his yam or cocoyam. The hate is so hot it could cook a tuber of yam and so tangible it could serve as a pestle to pound it into poisonous morsels in the covens of the Ukehe tin god.

Just as recently as 1999, the Nwodos did everything under the sun to stop Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani. Today, history is repeating itself in the deployment of odd logic to whip up sentiments against Dr. Peter Mba and Nkanu’s ambition to return to the Lion Building in line with the zoning formula. And to think that an Nkanu man and Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani’s uncle, His Lordship, Justice Augustine Nnamani, slumped and died a mysterious death while reading the funeral oration of Igwe John Nwodo, the patriarch of the same Nwodo dynasty, leaves one wondering if it is not high time the people of Nkanu dragged the Nwodos to the village square to explain to Ndi Enugu what really happened to one of their most illustrious sons.

Ironically, when the likes of Nnia Nwodo preach their own form of equity for Nsukka zone, one is compelled to wonder whatever happened to coming to equity with clean hands or with charity beginning at home. The Nwodos are known to have had more than their fair share of whatever comes to Enugu and Nsukka zone. Their father, the late Igwe John Ugwu Nwodo was a Member of the Eastern State House of Assembly from 1952 to 1966,
Minister of works in the defunct Eastern Nigeria from 1957 to 1958, Minister of Commerce and Industry in the same region from 1959 to 1961. And Minister of Local Government 1961 to 1966. He was later crowned the Igwe of Ukehe.

Okwesilieze Nwodo served as the first democratic governor of old Enugu State, the first National Secretary of the PDP, and went on to become the National Chairman of the PDP before Nnia Nwodo caused his unfortunate downfall in his craze for power and affluence. Not only was Nnia Nwodo taking car and house “gifts” left and right, he even got into a domestic struggle for the Enugu North senatorial ticket with Mrs. Dorathy Nwodo, wife of Okwesilieze Nwodo. At the same time, they didn’t want Chime to taste a second term in office. Even when the likes of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Senator Ike Ekweremadu did everything humanly possible to let Okwesilieze Nwodo reconsider that odious stand, it was Nnia Nwodo who greedily stood as a stumbling block and also insisted on the expropriation of virtually all the National and State Assembly tickets by the Nwodos. That greed and obduracy caused Okwesilieze’s downfall. And he is doing exactly the same to Edeoga whom he propped up to stand against Mbah against the currency of political sentiments that power should rotate to Nkanuland. Worse still, Edeoga made the volt-face after he personally issued a statement endorsing Mbah after the primary election and enjoining his supporters and Ndi Enugu to line up behind Mbah.

In the same Nwodo’s house, Nnia himself has served as Minister of Aviation in the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government and Minister of Information in the General Abdulsalami Abubakar military junta. He later became the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo when the office rotated to Enugu State in 2017. Their sister, Grace Obayi (nee Nwodo) held numerous positions in addition to serving as Commissioner for Education. Besides, they always try to expropriate and dole out every opportunity, big or small, to their minions, in-laws, and relations. That was how Chijioke Edeoga became Chairman of Isi-Uzo LGA in 1997 and got the Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency ticket in 1999 while Okwesilieze Nwodo was National Secretary of the PDP. And most recently, Mrs. Nkechi Ugwu-Oju was offloaded as Council Chairman of Igbo-Etiti to accommodate Ikenna, son of Okwesilieze Nwodo, to appease the implacable tin gods of Ukehe. How greedy can a people be? Yet Nnia Nwodo is preaching a weird equity.

Meanwhile, the other question is, are the Nwodos really of Nsukka ancestry? Everyone knows they are of Ojebe Ogene descent just like Eke, Okpatu, Aboh, Ukana, Umulumgbe, Akpakwume, Ugwunye, among others. When Nnia Nwodo plies his political greed under the guise of protecting Nsukka interest, he feels that every Nsukka man is so stupid to have forgotten that his great grandfather only embraced Nsukka to avoid the wrath and influence of Onyeama N’Eke, but rather than show appreciation, the Nwodos overpowered and dominated the owners of the land and Nsukka people, commandeering all the good and opportunities. That is why the Nwodos and the Itanyis don’t see eye to eye till date. Good enough, Nsukka people have wised up and the children of the oppressed are beginning to ask questions.

I won’t bother so much about Nwodo’s tagging of Pinnacle Oil and Gas successes as “Ego Ndi Enugu” or his relentless attacks on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for standing on the side of equity and justice rather than Nnia’s selfish plot to impose his son-in-law as his successor. The arrogance and envy of the Nwodos and their penchant to always keep the poor in their poor estate is legendary. Julius Caesar is very mistaken by thinking that only men that wear lean and hungry looks like Yond Cassius are dangerous and too envious to behold a better than themselves. But Caesar’s experience and the ways of the likes of the Nwodos have taught us that even fat and sleek-headed men like Brutus and Nnia Nwodo could be more envious and more dangerous.

To this end, Nnia’s alliance with Okey Ezea to stop Ugwuanyi’s journey to the Senate is only true to type and traditions of the Nwodos. It is known in Nsukka that but for providence and destiny, Ugwuanyi would not have amounted to anything politically, as the Nwodos have always sponsored and supported a candidate against him in all the offices he has run. That this mindset has continued even after all the contracts for roads and development projects in Nsukka, which Nnia refused to execute, and despite all manner of patronages and making Nnia the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo when the office rotated to Enugu, shows the kind of stuff the Nwodos are made of. It also shows that whatever you do, a man who hates you will continue to hate you. He only bids his time for an opportunity to undo you.

As for Mbah, the mere fact that an unassuming young man from Owo in Nkanuland has worked himself and Pinnacle Oil and Gas to the number one position in the downstream oil subsector by dints of hard work, integrity, vision, and innovation such that he is now celebrated by the President himself and walks in and out of Aso Rock every now and them, coupled with the fact that the same young Nkanu man is now set to be governor of Enugu is a punishment worse than the hottest part of hell to Nnia and his cohorts

Yet, man no be God. A silo-full of Nnia’s satanic verses can never stop Dr. Peter Mbah or son of David Nwugwuayi, Udulekeenyi of Orba in their forthcoming general elections or ever after.

Okonkwo writes from Enugu

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