Ngige: A Giant Standing On Giant Shoulders @ 60

by Odimegwu Onwumere

August 8 each year means a lot to Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige and his
followership. This is the day the dude was born. As a man who is seen by
many as a classic in the political hemisphere of Nigeria, without doubt,
Senator Ngige has fought many political battles that earned him a classic.
As far as politics in Nigeria is the issue, where majority of the
politicians rent crowd that cheer them up in any given occasion, Senator
Ngige has an immeasurable crowd of followership that follows him naturally.
They love him, because of his mettle, dexterity and sagacity, to good
governance. A corn-seller would prefer to stop selling her corn on hearing
that Ngige wanted to pass by and cheer him up. This is the same with the
groundnut seller, the doctor, mechanic, okadamen, nursing mother, all and
sundry. Ngige has got the charisma and has always stood to defend the
rights of the people.

Senator Chris Ngige as an administrator has performed excellently as once
Anambra State governor. He spent only 33 months as Governor, amidst
political recklessness from some quarters against him. But he surmounted
all that. He is representing Anambra Central Senatorial district at the
Upper House of the National Assembly, and he is again proving that dull
moment is not his at 60. Popularly called Onwa – meaning moon – the title
that the entire Anambra people and by extension, the Igbo race unanimously
gave to him, Ngige remains a symbol of change and the oracle for the
emancipation of a better Nigeria and the world. His efforts however have
not been tended with favouritisms from a particular quarter – political
demagogues. They do not want to hear anybody saying that Ngige is a mighty
man in battle when it comes to the development of Anambra State during the
period he held saddle as governor. Notwithstanding, he is a leader who has
much faith in himself and is willing to be charged with almost anything
positive as a leader. He is not just a leader, but an intellectual variety.

Born on 8 August, 1952, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige graduated from the
University of Nigeria-Nsukka in 1979. He is a medical doctor by profession,
and served in National Assembly and State House clinics at different times
as a civil servant, and retired in 1998 as a Deputy Director in the Federal
Ministry of Health. He was governor of Anambra State from 29th May 2003 to
17th March 2006 with records of indelible footsteps on the soil of Anambra.
Between 1999 to 2006, Senator Ngige was a member of the ruling People’s
Democratic Party (PDP), which he was a founding member, and as well the
Assistant National Secretary and Zonal Secretary of PDP in the South East
in 1999.

Ngige had an estranged “political godfather” in one Chief Chris Uba, who on
10 July 2003 tried unsuccessfully to illegally remove Ngige from office
through a fabricated letter of resignation which the state assembly
accepted. According to reports: A former Assistant Inspector General of
Police, now late Mr. Raphael Ige, abducted the Governor on July 10, 2003
with full detachment of Police and forced his resignation which was upheld
by the Anambra State House of Assembly thereby swearing-in his erstwhile
deputy, Mr. Okey Ude, as a governor. It was a clear failure for the
constrictors of this plan. With an unrelenting zeal the Federal Government
under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo took the matter further to the Supreme Court
on March 28, 2004 asking the court to declare the arrival of Ngige to the
Government House as illegal, null and void. It went further to withdraw the
security details of the Governor challenging the credibility of the Chief
Judge that swore-in the Governor in the first place.

A mighty man in battled that Senator Ngige is, on December 12, 2003 the
supporters of Chief Chris Uba engaged the security details of the then
Governor Ngige in a shoot-out at both the Michael Okpara square and at PDP
South East Zonal Congress meeting at Enugu in which he was humiliated. By
November 29, 2004 an assassination attempt was made on the life of Ngige,
which failed. Ngige was reported to have another shock of his life when his
convoy was involved in a ghastly motor accident along Adazi-Ani-Nnobi-Nnewi
road though the Governor escaped, narrowly. On November 14, 2004 and
December 4, 2004 the convoy of Chris Uba challenged the Ngige’s pathways
and the he again escaped another assassination attempt, which put the
Government House in ablaze along with other Government edifices,
respectively, and colossal lost of property and valuables were recorded.

The Supreme Court on Friday May13, 2005 ruled in favour of the then
Governor Ngige that he did not resign after all. According to the highest
Court, the document allegedly signed by Ngige as a resignation letter dated
July 9, 2003, was a false document and hence null and void. With virtually
only the commoners to hold onto, Ngige severally suffered the blows of the
Aso Rock steam under ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, the striking
tempestuous lash of Ngige’s estranged godfather and nervous betrayal of his
then party (PDP), went through the valley of perseverance of severance and
came out nearly intact without a bold scar of submission.

By 15th March 2006, the Federal Court of Appeal affirmed the nullification
of Ngige’s purported 2003 election victory. This followed after a lower
election court (election Tribunal) led by Justice Nabaruma had in August
2005 nullified his 2003 victory. Mr. Peter Obi, candidate of the All
Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was declared the bonafide winner of
that election. But before this time, Ngige has spent 33 months in office
with skyrocketing profile.

The nullification could not diminish him. Ngige accepted the court ruling.
Support was given his traducers by the then Obasanjo-led federal
government, which was why Ngige accepted the court ruling to save the state
further crises from arising. Independent National Electoral Commission
[INEC] conducted ‘Governorship election’ in the state in April 2007
frustrated his ambition in complicity with the federal authorities through
a dubious ‘disqualification’ even after a Federal High. Precisely on 7th
July 2009, that frustrated ambition in the 2007 elections, was scuttled by
the members of the Action Congress (AC) of Nigeria, as Senator Chris
Nwabueze Ngige was endorsed to contest the 2010 gubernatorial election in
Anambra State, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Avenue in Anambra State capital, Awka,
exactly at Tourist Garden Hotel.

His endorsement was, without surprise, witnessed an unusual traffic jam as
a man loved by his people but always on the altar of unloving critics.
There has not been any politician in this country that has enjoyed the
love, and support of the masses like the former governor Chris Ngige.
Vehicles could not move during his endorsement. People left their homes,
offices, stores and whatever they were doing to catch a glimpse of this
great son of Nigeria. A stalwart of ACN once said. That tells the people
that Ngige worked for the people and that is why the people have embraced
him. He even carpeted Professor Dora Akunyili in the 2011 Anambra Central
senatorial election because of his people-oriented profile. It is so joyous
that Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige was born, because he brightens lives and
fills them with joy with yesterday’s memories, for today’s joys, and for
tomorrow’s dreams.

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