By John Egbo, PhD
No one has ever been generally accepted as a gubernatorial aspirant in Enugu State despite not having declared an intent for the coveted position like H.E. Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in 2013.
His following was overwhelming that PDP stakeholders of the three Senatorial zones of Enugu State took turn to converge at the governor’s lodge Conference hall at the beckon of Governor Sullivan Chime and endorsed Ugwuanyi as their accepted candidate even when he had not declared his intention to run for the Governorship of Enugu State.
No surprise, the Gburugburu phenomenon became a popular cliche and a movement that coasted him to a landslide victory in the General election never seen before in the state.
There comes another quiet performer, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, a retired federal permanent secretary with both state and federal services experience. This time the clamor for him to declare his interest in the Governorship of Enugu State has overwhelmed even those who had harboured interest for the position.
The question being pondered by many is how was he able to build this following and acceptance by many across all parts of Enugu State and beyond. As the popular saying goes, charity begins at home. In igbo language, Esi nu Uno amara nma a puta iro. Unknown to many was that Sir Chief Ohaa has been serving his Awkunanaw clan as their National President and in so doing has contributed immensely to building their civic center in progress, set up a scholarship foundation that has helped record number of university graduates, helping widows, indigents families with multiple births as in twins or triplets and contributing in burial of his kinsmen etc.
At the official positions he held both at the federal and state levels, he facilitated employment and promotion of many employees under him. Hardly can anyone, who had contact with him while in service come out without a positive comment about how helpful, humble, cheerful, sir Ohaa was during their contact.
Likewise the ministers he served under in the federal service have nothing but accolades for the man Chinyeaka. Upon his retirement on February 4, 2021, it was on your Mark’s, go! for different people and organizations clamouring to host Chinyeaka Ohaa. It became a frenzy of sort. The first known around Enugu axis was by Dr. John Nwokeabia (De Man Don Come). The event witnessed a beehive of activities in Dr. Nwokeabia’s residence, Independence Layout. Within a very few months later, his kindred family unit at Obuoffia went all out to welcome their son, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa who had gone out to work, retired at the pinnacle of service and came home safely. Children, men and women dancing troupes besieged the town hall, sir Chinyeaka Ohaa built for them. Within few weeks later, came another Reception by the greater Obuoffia communities that attracted a mammoth crowd that besieged the 4 communities despite a downpour that did very little to deter all in attendance.
A day later, the Methodist church of Obuoffia followed it with another Reception welcoming a devoted servant of God to the same church, sir Chinyeaka Ohaa had contributed immensely to build. The congregation was alive with all manner of songs, praises and worship. A good son went, conquered and returned a hero and a blessing to the community.
As if the Reception galore is not enough, came the mother of all Receptions hosted by the Awkunanaw Welfare Association, being the umbrella of 21 communities in both Enugu South and Nkanu West local Government areas.
The Reception judging by its fanfare, crowd, personalities, masquerades and canival-like atmosphere rivalled major state organized events at Okpara Square. It became an endorsement Reception cum Rally for a humanitarian with a wide array of experience to declare his intent to run for the Governorship of Enugu state.
He was investitured with a Chieftaincy title, Odalije, omeru mmadu omeru maa. (A kinder to man and spirit. An experienced servant leader personified.) Several people from all the three Senatorial districts of Enugu have benefitted from Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa’s public service and their positive testimonies abound.
Lessons to be learned from the Receptions, accolades and massive following being accorded to sir Chinyeaka Ohaa are that anyone with opportunity to serve in government or non governmental positions should imbibe performance, accountability, service to mankind without an eye on reward. One should use his or her position to empower people and not to suffocate others. Develop your area of abode with public infrastructure and other areas of need that may be far away from you. The reward for a good work is more work and receptions upon retirement. Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa’s impact while in service is now being rewarded by all and sundry. Let us emulate this icon rather than dwell on mundane issues. The Gburugburu phenomenon has changed Enugu politics for good. One’s personal record before contesting for a statewide elective office should take precedence over handout when an election is around the corner.
The Gburugburu phenomenon and movement are following sir Chinyeaka Ohaa in a thunderous manner, overtly and covertly. The phenomenon has changed Enugu politics that it’s no longer an era, where a person or dark horse can be picked to mount the saddle of Enugu’s Governorship position. The Workable Partners and Gburugburu Movement have transcended Enugu politics into one, where people with integrity, record of service and humble backgrounds with peaceful dispositions have become the order of the day. Our next governor must be one who has a lot to lose should he derail in his responsibility as the Governor of Enugu State. Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa’s reputation of being humble, people oriented servant, outcome oriented Administrator, peace loving, proven servant and transformational leader fits that mould.
Hon. John Egbo, Ph.D.
Deputy Sheriff rtd.
Consultant on Security Matters and Public Affairs