Where is Chi­maroke Nna­mani?


From Tony Adibe, Enugu He is in­dis­posed now. You know he has not been well for some time, but he is mak­ing progress.” That was the re­ply in form of text mes­sage, which one of the aides to the for­mer Enugu State gov­er­nor, Dr Chi­maroke Og­bon­nia Nna­mani, sent to our correspondent. Other en­quiries from other sources close to Nna­mani to as­cer­tain the state of his health were not suc­cess­ful. Has his state of health con­fined him to his Oji-Agu vil­lage, Ag­bani in Nkanu West Lo­cal Govern­ment Area of the state? Or could it be that he is in Abuja, La­gos or flown abroad like other prom­i­nent Nige­ri­ans who usu­ally em­bark on med­i­cal tourism once they fall ill? What has hap­pened to Nna­mani’s pub­lic lec­ture series?

Chi­maroke Nna­mani, a med­i­cal doc­tor turned politi­cian served as the gov­er­nor of Enugu State from 1999 to 2007 on the plat­form of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), a party he later dumped like a used tis­sue pa­per. Al­though he once told jour­nal­ists at the Gov­er­nor’s Lodge (on the red rug) that af­ter serv­ing as gov­er­nor for eight years he would pack his bag and bag­gage back to his home­town, Ag­bani, to take a po­lit­i­cal rest, that was not to be. The nat­u­ral am­bi­tion in man kept driv­ing him on. He later won elec­tion to the Se­nate on the plat­form of the PDP to rep­re­sent the Enugu East se­na­to­rial zone be­tween 2007 and 2011. He en­joyed the sup­port of the “Ebeano” po­lit­i­cal struc­ture, which in those days was likened in some cir­cles to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Move­ment. Ebeano was loved and dreaded at the same time by some Enugu cit­i­zens. The po­lit­i­cal struc­ture was later to be­come too pow­er­ful and dom­i­neer­ing at the time that re­ceiv­ing gains of democ­racy and other things that fol­lowed would de­pend on one’s sup­port for and mem­ber­ship of the “po­lit­i­cal fam­ily.”

It would rather be un­fair not to ac­knowl­edge his achieve­ments dur­ing his event­ful but con­tro­ver­sial eight years as gov­er­nor. His ad­min­is­tra­tion built the Enugu State Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal (ESUTTH), the pop­u­lar Ebeano Tun­nel Cross­ing, ESUT per­ma­nent site at Ag­bani, the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, Ebeano Hous­ing Estate, du­al­i­sa­tion of sev­eral roads in the Enugu metropo­lis, the Nige­rian Law School at Ag­bani, the ju­di­ciary com­plex, among numer­ous oth­ers. Even till date, there is the ev­i­dence of Nna­mani’s hu­man cap­i­tal devel­op­ment in the sev­eral men and women he pulled out from the pit of poverty and ob­scu­rity and placed on the hill of af­flu­ence and rel­e­vance.

How­ever, the state of in­se­cu­rity which reigned supreme at the time, cou­pled with the iron-fisted style of ad­min­is­tra­tion he adopted, ap­par­ently to com­mand po­lit­i­cal loy­alty from those work­ing with him, al­most rub­bished the achieve­ments he recorded as gov­er­nor. Ex­pect­edly, his crit­ics have held on to the neg­a­tive part of his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

As gov­er­nor, Nna­mani spared time for in­tel­lec­tual en­gage­ments, es­pe­cially with his pub­lic lec­ture series across the coun­try. How­ever, his pub­lic lec­tures were sharp con­trast to his demo­cratic prac­tices. For in­stance, he could de­liver a pub­lic lec­ture this week on why a demo­crat should not be a tyrant or dic­ta­tor, and the next week, you could read newspaper head­lines of his high-hand­ed­ness and dic­ta­to­rial ten­den­cies. In some quar­ters, his pub­lic lec­tures were seen as “fol­low my teach­ings, but not my ac­tions.”

Early this year, it was ru­moured that Nna­mani had gone back to the PDP. How­ever, no­body has been able to con­firm that piece of in­for­ma­tion. He had left the party for the Peo­ple for Demo­cratic Change (PDC) fol­low­ing what he de­scribed as an un­ac­cept­able treat­ment he re­ceived from his suc­ces­sor.

The news of his re­turn to the PDP, how­ever, ig­nited some re­ac­tions within the party, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) and the All Pro­gres­sives Grand Al­liance (APGA), as well as non­politi­cians. For ex­am­ple, a for­mer na­tional au­di­tor of the PDP, Ray­mond Nnaji, a lawyer, had said that Nna­mani’s re­turn to the party would make the Enugu East se­na­to­rial zone for­mi­da­ble and com­plete, as well as re­po­si­tion it for the 2019 elec­tions.

“Nna­mani’s re­turn is the tonic the PDP re­quires to win elec­tions in Enugu State. He has re­turned to the party, which he helped to in­sti­tu­tion­alise in the state. He ac­tu­ally re­turned to the PDP a long time, but we de­cided to make it a se­cret. Sul­li­van Chime, the im­me­di­ate past gov­er­nor, re­alised that Nna­mani had re­turned and de­cided to quit. This is be­cause he can­not face Nna­mani in the party,” Nnaji had said.

A chief­tain of the APGA, Jude Uwaoma also said, “For­mer Gov­er­nor Nna­mani is not new in the pol­i­tics of the state. He is also not new in the pol­i­tics of the PDP. He met his po­lit­i­cal for­tunes be­ing a mem­ber of the PDP, and if he has de­cided to re­trace his steps, I see it as a healthy devel­op­ment. You must bear in mind that in all these years, he has kept his po­lit­i­cal fam­ily, ‘Ebeano’ in­tact.”

Fur­ther­more, chair­man of the APC in Enugu State, Dr Ben Nwoye said, “I think it is part of the free­dom to ex­er­cise his right, but he has con­tin­ued in the path of mis­take when he founded a one­man party, the PDC. That mis­take took him out of the Se­nate.”

“When ev­ery­one is sound­ing the alarm that the PDP is dec­i­mated, he is ýtak­ing the other path. Where peo­ple are com­ing out from is where he is rush­ing to. It is his po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion, but it is ab­so­lutely no threat.

“If the for­mer gov­er­nor wants to go on and join a po­lit­i­cal party clearly not in ex­is­tence, it is his own business. But again,

Also, his PDC has not even won a lo­cal govern­ment elec­tion in Enugu State since it came on board

our doors are widely open if he changes his mind.”

How­ever, it is said that pol­i­tics is not on his mind for now as he is still re­cu­per­at­ing.

Ob­servers still be­lieve that the for­mer gov­er­nor shot him­self in the foot po­lit­i­cally when he dumped the PDP, a party that cat­a­pulted him to lime­light. He has con­tested two un­suc­cess­ful elec­tions on the plat­form of the PDC. In 2011 and 2015 re­spec­tively, he vied for the Enugu East se­na­to­rial zone on the plat­form of the PDC and lost.

One of his po­lit­i­cal ben­e­fi­cia­ries, Gil­bert Nnaji of the PDP, who oc­cu­pies the seat cur­rently, de­feated him in all the elec­tions. Also, his PDC has not even won a lo­cal govern­ment elec­tion in Enugu State since it came on board.

Re­cently, the Deputy Pres­i­dent of the Se­nate, Ike Ek­w­ere­madu, al­luded to the fu­til­ity of jump­ing from one party to an­other when he chided Chime for leav­ing the PDP for the APC. Ek­w­ere­madu had said: “Chime’s problem is in­ex­pe­ri­ence. He has failed to learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of for­mer governors from the state who aban­doned the po­lit­i­cal party that gave them promi­nence for other smaller par­ties and are re­gret­ting it till to­day be­cause they can­not re­cover from the mis­take.”

In Septem­ber 2015, Nna­mani lost his beloved wife, Nnenna Agnes, 47, to the cold hands of death.

Nna­mani was born on May 1960. He is a med­i­cal doc­tor and Nige­rian politi­cian from Enugu State. He was Gov­er­nor of Enugu State from 1999 to 2007 and rep­re­sented the Enugu East se­na­to­rial dis­trict in the Na­tional Assem­bly, from 2007 to 2011.

Al­though born in Port Har­court, Rivers State, Nna­mani at­tended Methodist Pri­mary School, Enugu, and Col­lege of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion (CIC), also in Enugu. He is a grad­u­ate of the Col­lege of Medicine, Univer­sity of Nige­ria (Enugu Cam­pus). He had his post­grad­u­ate train­ing in the State Univer­sity of New York and the In­ter-faith Med­i­cal Cen­tre/ Down State Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Brook­lyn, New York (Ob­stet­rics and Gyne­col­ogy).

For now, no one knows what would be the for­mer gov­er­nor’s line of ac­tion when he re­cov­ers from a yet-to-be dis­closed ill­ness. How­ever, it is be­lieved that he would bounce back to ac­tive pol­i­tics since his Ebeano po­lit­i­cal struc­ture is still alive.

How­ever, his pub­lic lec­tures were sharp con­trast to his demo­cratic prac­tices. For in­stance, he could de­liver a pub­lic lec­ture this week on why a demo­crat should not be a tyrant or dic­ta­tor, and the next week, you could read newspaper head­lines of his high-hand­ed­ness and dic­ta­to­rial ten­den­cies

Dr Chi­maroke Og­bon­nia Nna­mani

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