By Nick Chibunna
Meeting one and one with Chief (Dr) Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu (Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo), a prominent politician and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board Of Trustee (BOT) was like unmasking an ancestral spirit.
His is a story of life that exhibits courage, a journey through fate and God’s marvelous grace.
At his home, Orji, Owerri, Chief Iwuanyanwu in his characteristic candour spoke on diverse issues, including the state of the nation, his early up-bringing and Christian life, the place of Ndigbo in Nigeria, the last general elections and the future of PDP, and others.
On the state of the nation and the present anti-graft war, Chief Iwuanyanwu said that he was very sorry for president Muhammadu Buhari because the war would not be easy, as many including members of his All Progressive Congress (APC) would be affected.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for leading the crusade against corruption, but advised that the fight must run down the nooks and crannies, including institutions of higher learning where corruption is said to be multi-dimensional and endemic. He said that the searchlight should also be beamed on all, including the rich and the poor, as there are many poor people who are more corrupt than politicians.
Dr. Iwuanyanwu called for total national rebirth and moral rearmament, involving all, including the religious leaders, parents and others, as a way out of the present evil scourge.
Plight of Ndigbo
On the plight of Ndigbo in Nigeria, Chief Iwuanyanwu lamented that the biggest task is how to unite Ndigbo with their kith and kin in the Niger Delta area of the South-South.
He recounted his experience as a presidential candidate during one of the elections in the country. According to him, the Yoruba of Kwara and Kogi are always proud to be called Yoruba, but unfortunately, for reasons best known to them, the Igbo of Kalabari, Ahoda, Itunbuzo, Etche, Ikwerre, Obigbo and even Port Harcourt resent their Igbo identity and ally with those who divide us.
According to Chief Iwuanyanwu, this is a very big problem as it makes unity of purpose impossible, adding that if Ndigbo and their kith and kin in the Niger Delta area can unite and speak with one voice, their problems must have been half-solved.
He regretted that in spite of the brotherly love and support which Ndigbo had always extended to their kith and kin in the Ngier Delta area, they have not reciprocated. Sir Iwuanyanwu said that Ndigbo have been giving our brothers in the Niger Delta area block vote during elections, and also worked very assiduously to increase their derivation from 3% to 13%, yet our brothers have continued to avoid us. He pleaded with them to have a change of attitude. On the exclusion of Ndigbo in key political appointments as recently shown, Chief Iwuanyanwu lamented that the principles of the Federal character was not taken into consideration. He pleaded with Mr. President to make amends in his subsequent appointments.
He described Ndigbo as agents of advanced civilization and nation-builders, adding that, as major players in the political and economic development of the nation they cannot be ignored.
On the Boko Haram insurgency which has taken great toll on the Christian faithful, Sir Iwuanyanwu called for a national convocation of all Christian leaders led by the knights in the church to discuss a permanent solution to the security challenge, and not waiting until bombs begins to explode in the hinterland, as investigation has revealed that the Boko Haram insurgents have links with the ISIS.
On the rumoured pressure mounted on him to defect to the ruling APC, Chief Iwuanyanwu said that it was not true. He said that nobody has ever mounted any pressure or called him to defect to any party, adding that as a leader in the PDP, it behoves on him to remain and salvage the party.
On the last general elections and the future of the PDP, Chief Iwuanyanwu said that he saw the looming disaster, but was quick to add that; “we have learnt our lessons”.
According to him, PDP has a very bright future and would surely bounce back.
He however, lamented that what finished PDP in the last general elections was greed, arrogance and high level of corruption among some members, especially party delegates.
He said that party delegates which constituted the electoral college saw the exercise as a bazaar and solicited and received bribes from all the aspirants who willingly gave as much as N1m each.
Sir Iwuanyanwu said that such behaviour was against the principles of social justice and fair play, adding that God does not approve any form of fraud. He also blamed the awful outing on the large number of aspirants who refused to step down for one another, thereby giving their opponent victory on the plater of gold.
Imo Charter of Equity
On the Imo Charter of Equity, Chief Iwuanyanwu said that he has always been a vocal advocate of the zonal arrangement, but expressed disappointment that some leaders in Owerri zone betrayed that charter by voting for an APC candidate during the last election.
Speaking briefly on his family background, Dr. Iwuanyanwu said that he came from a humble Christian home, adding that his up-bringing was very intriguing.
According to him, his mother wanted him to be a pastor, but he veered off the pastoral calling and became a prominent personality, not in the church as a pastor but in the enterprising business world of technology, commerce, industry and politics.
The man whose philosophy in life include; “Honesty”, “Integrity ,” “Diligence” and “Industry” said that because of his initial calling, he has dedicated his entire life to the service of God and humanity. This according to him include; numerous donations worth billions of naira in provision of roads, schools, colleges, university, hospitals, scholarships, destitute homes, charity and others. Recently, he had endowed the sum of N1bn for the completion of a Cathedral Building in the Anglican Diocese of Ikeduru.
Chief Iwuanyanwu said that one striking thing about his life is that God has always ordained him to be first in every field of human endeavour, in sports and athletic, in his chosen profession, and in the award of both national and international honours, hence he always came back with laurels.
His Christian life is also very interesting, according to him. He believed in the power of God through salvation in Jesus Christ, adding that the book of Prophet Isaiah reconciled him to Christ as the Author and Finisher of his faith.
Chief Iwuanyanwu said that with his comprehensive faith in Christ Jesus, no false prophet, teacher or an evangelist could deceive him by saying that his mother, father, brother or sister is responsible for their misfortune, or kill them in order to prolong his own life. He queried: “How can one kill one’s mother, father, brother or sister, in order to prolong one’s life?
For easy reference and understanding of the scripture, Chief Iwuanyanwu said that after reading the Old Testament thoroughly, he had divided the New Testament into four sections as follows: the Gospel, the Acts, the Epistle and revelation, adding that of all the apostles of Christ, Paul remains his model, because of his courage, boldness, intellect and zeal for the work of God.
His favourite hymn
For his love of Christ, he sang his favourite hymn (Ancient and Modern 351) where it reads, “I heard the voice of Jesus say; come unto me and rest”.
A member of the noble order of knighthood of Saint Christopher, Sir Iwuanyanwu said that he was very appreciative to God and prayed that God would uphold him as a true soldier of Christ.
Born 73 years ago to the family of late Mr Bernard Iwuanyanwu and Mrs Hulder Iwuanyanwu in Umuohii Atta, in the Ikeduru local government area of Imo State, Chief E.C. Iwuanyanwu is a philanthropist par excellence, a national and international award winner, a pro-chancellor and chairman of university council, patron and life patron of many Christian organizations, sports administrator, media man and publisher of Champion Newspaper, a Knight of St. Christopher, a business mogul, conferred with national honours of OFR, MFR, CFR and many others.
He has about 30 academic and professional qualifications, 53 honours award, 45 traditional honours and many others.
Asked to advise the present leaders, especially the youths among them, Chief Iwuanyanwu enjoined them to eschew greed and inordinate ambition, adding that before he ventured into politics, he already had two jets.
The war veteran (captain) was among the selected few who assembled and fabricated the Biafra war-heads, including the popular Ogbunigwe (mass destroyer). He also counseled the youths to work very hard in order to actualize their vision in life.