By Barr. Ejeh Josh
I’ve momentorily lacked the exact expression to qualify the character and nature of my brother, ezigbo nwannem na Nomeh, Hon. Uche Anichukwu, since the news of his birthday broke out.
Uche Anichukwu, Onyeishi Okanga, as he is fondly called by his friends, and “Otiagbala” by his inner caucus, (laughs, winks, smiles), if I should be allowed to use those local but metaphysical adjectives to qualify him, has proved his mettle of friendship, dynamism, loyalty, dedication, resilience, and discipline.
It doesn’t matter where the sojourn has taken him to. It doesn’t matter the direction. It doesn’t matter the path taken. Anichukwu remains a man that can be predicted on his stand and standard. He is such a refined personality that could be reassuring as a pillar of support and trust. I share his experience. He is a good man.
My meeting with Anichukwu, before providence would finally bring us into the same fold, had always been a mile apart. I read him. Outstanding. Brilliant. Superb. But I avoided him for the simple reason of an elder brother operating from Olympian height. But that wasn’t the reality. It was a mere perception.
In those days, Anichukwu’s name was a household name in the media. The former Deputy President of the Senate, His Excellency, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, would not attend any function without Anichukwu staying around. He transmuted from an aide to a family member of the Distinguished Senator. That’s what loyalty, hardwork and trust could earn.
Anichukwu, lettered, or call him a media veteran, had worked as an aide to the then President of the Nigerian Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ken Nnamani. He did prove his uncommon intellectual sagacity in the media space, even to the point of becoming critical of instruments, including budgets, presented for consideration by the presidency or the federal government. A lot were uncovered. The nation was saved on occasions from the now known infamous padding. He served the National Assembly with expertise, and on the wall of the senate, written with his ink, a defining moment of true service to humanity.
With Anichukwu joining Senator Ekweremadu, he continued on the voyage of emancipation of the country through critical assessments of projects and scorecards of the executive of their performances vis-a-vis their approved budgetary allocations. On the global plane, the good colours of Nigeria were flown despite the negative impression about the country. With his pen, he joined in the journey of redeeming the image of our dear country. I salute his the audacious belief that Nigeria could always be great with all hands on deck.
Over the past one year, I met Anichukwu where we worked together to recreate Enugu State of our dreams through a common project, the cause which we were convinced, not on the altar of clannishness or selfish drive, but on the general assessment that such project would mean a new dawn for the people of Enugu State. A project, which if missed, could take the state over a century to get it right. We saw it coming. It was like the journey of the Magi where T.S Elliot wrote about the coming of the Messiah.
We set out, galloped through the rough terrains, where hostile Herod and his men laid landmines, ambushes and launched missiles from all cylinders to extinguish the mission. However, the prophecy foretold would come to fruition. With Dan Nwomeh, Uche Anichukwu and myself, journeyed through the harmattan season, our hope was clad in a new season of a redeemed Enugu State. Then also came Reuben Onyishi. Far from the end of the tunnel, together, we had already seen the light, permeating. Beyond the Magi’s experience, we got a generation of electorate yearning to join the search, and with Governor Peter Mbah in the picture, the electorate exclaimed, “We have found him.”
Anichukwu would be categorised as a “big guy” in terms of the wherewithal as a foremost consultant for reputable bigwigs and international organisations. But humility would not allow him to display even a modicum of his “big boyness”. That’s a lesson to us that it pays to be humble regardless of economic and social status. I’ve learnt that from him.
I’ve also learnt and added to my stock, how to be proactive and disciplined to achieve my goals. Anichukwu embodies that zeal to work and deliver within time. It’s an indelible experience working with Anichukwu as a Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Enugu State on External Relations. He does his work with respect and equanimity. All thanks for your understanding.
As you add another year to your age, Onyeishi Okanga, may the Almighty God continue to strengthen and bless you exponentially.
Happy Birthday, my brother, and as that civil defence officer would add, “my oga at the top”. Many more years of God’s goodness and mercy. Congratulations.