NWOKO: THEM AN WHO‘ ENDED’ NIGE­RIA’ S RE­CES­SION

THISDAY - - EDITORIAL -

When the mil­i­tary mid­wifed the cur­rent civil­ian dis­pen­sa­tion in 1999, Prince Ned Nwoko, a Nige­rian-born but United king­dom- based mar­itime and hu­man rights lawyer, was among top Nige­ri­ans who won elec­tions to sit at the Na­tional Assem­bly.

Nwoko blazed the trail be­cause amongst the rank­ing hu­man rights cam­paign­ers who fought for the emer­gence of democ­racy after over four decades of mil­i­tary in­ter­reg­num, he was one of the few who de­cided to take the bull by the horn by ven­tur­ing into the arena of par­ti­san pol­i­tics. But at the back of his mind was to ren­der self­less service to his father­land and his peo­ple and not for money mak­ing. He gave his all to win the cov­eted po­si­tion to sit amongst the na­tional leg­is­la­tors to build the demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions that would be­come leg­endary in bring­ing about pros­per­ity to the peo­ple.

Ned Nwoko’s po­lit­i­cal tra­jec­to­ries can be likened to a beau­ti­fully pack­aged jour­ney whose des­ti­na­tion has a very lib­er­at­ing and an in­spi­ra­tional mind­set.

He was amongst the Nige­rian le­gal minds who helped shaped global nar­ra­tives dur­ing the mil­i­tary regimes that won some mileage for the coun­try to an ex­tent that the then mil­i­tary ruler Gen­eral Sani Abacha was per­suaded by su­pe­rior logic to set up the Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis- sion in con­form­ity with the Paris prin­ci­ple and in­deed best global prac­tices.

Dur­ing those pe­ri­ods when the coun­try faced sanc­tions for fail­ing to em­brace democ­racy, Prince Nwoko who was do­ing very well as a le­gal prac­ti­tioner in Great Bri­tain, vol­un­teered to speak for the in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est of cor­po­rate Nige­ria. He did vir­tu­ally on pro bono ba­sis be­cause of his love for father­land.

His for­mi­da­ble back­ground may have formed the ba­sis for his pos­i­tive and in­deed im­pres­sive per­for­mance as a leg­is­la­tor rep­re­sent­ing his im­me­di­ate con­stituency of Delta State at the Fed­eral House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He has a mon­u­men­tal leg­isla­tive record be­fore re­turn­ing to his first love which is in­ter­na­tional prac­tice.

But many years after he left the po­lit­i­cal ter­rain, Nige­ria has now for the umpteenth time gained a lot from his as­tute­ness in such a way that he played piv­otal role in ne­go­ti­at­ing for the pay­ments to Nige­ria by Paris Club of the debts re­fund which in­vari­ably has fi­nan­cially sta­bilised our coun­try to a sub­stan­tial level.

We are speak­ing about bil­lions of United States dol­lars. For this hu­mon­gous amount to be brought into our econ­omy that was at its low­est per­for­mance in­dex, is to put it mildly, lib­er­at­ing. That Nige­ria has been in eco­nomic melt­down is a no­to­ri­ous fact.

Em­manuel On­wu­biko; www.huriwa@blogspot.com

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