Opinion (11/8/17): Ned Nwoko: The untold story, by Chike Okolo
Prince Ned Nwoko is easily one of the most misunderstood politicians in Delta State. The reasons are not far to seek. His courage, integrity, benevolence, exposure and sophistication are virtues that paradoxically, continue to affect his public perception.
In a country where public service is largely hinged on opportunism, greed and avarice, a politician with good breeding, excellent education and the aforementioned virtues will naturally find him or herself on collision course with establishment views. This for me is the only obstacle on the way to full understanding and appreciation of this great man I fondly address as Prince of Anioma-Land.
But this misconception appears to have now gone full circle. With the changing narrative around this distinguished international lawyer, business man and politician, it is very clear now that the worst is over.
Nwoko, who is loved for his candour and amiable personality, came into active politics like a hero in Greek drama in 1999 when he was elected overwhelmingly by his people to represent Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Among many people from the constituency, Nwoko’s tenure in the Green Chamber is widely regarded as the golden era in their history of representation.
In fact, the prince made his mark and left an indelible footprint in House of Representatives. For those who still remember, the Prince of Anioma-Land inspired and sponsored 22 bills, cutting across different areas and interests in his four years stay in the Green Chamber. Today, most of these bills have already been passed into law and the impact cannot be overemphasised.
It is also on record that the former member of the House of Representatives was at the forefront in the convoluted struggle for the London and Paris Clubs refunds which today has significantly reduced the pressure of governance at all levels. Until very recently, this patriotic effort in the Paris and London Clubs reimbursement was not in the public domain because of Nwoko’s self-effacing behaviour.
But that is not all. The prince was also instrumental in the lobby that preceded the dualization of the all-important Benin-Asaba Expressway, including the Benin bye-pass. No doubt, this project has addressed considerably, the never-ending carnage that was once closely associated with that very important road.
Most followers of Delta politics are aware of his robust vision and commitment at empowering intellectually, those at the grassroots. To achieve this, he has established a world-class university where Anioma sons and daughters will receive qualitative education across disciplines, almost free of charge. And for those who may desire to further their education outside the senatorial zone, the prince already has in place, a scholarship scheme that services our people and even those outside Delta North.
The Prince of Anioma-Land has in addition, invested heavily in the area of sports development. Given our great potentials in sports, having given to the world, sports men like the late Stephen Keshi, former captain and coach of the Super Eagles; Peter Konyegwachie, Olympic medallist; Austin Jay Jay Okocha and Sunday Oliseh, among others, the prince is working with critical stakeholders to see how young men and women who are interested in sports can attain their full potential.
Conscious of his royal roots, Nwoko is a firm believer in our tradition and customs. He has invested heavily in arts and culture and he supports every venture that celebrates Anioma culture. Today, he has the biggest and best tourist centre by a single individual in the entire Delta State, a facility known as Mount Ned Nwoko and located in Idumuje Ugboko.
All these, among other things, make it absolutely necessary to celebrate a man who is worthy of our honour. Today’s politics and representation require courage, erudition, good network and proper understanding of issues, especially in the parliament where there is no room for complacency or timidity.
As an international lawyer, global citizen and a reputable member of various world organisations, we will only be putting our money where our mouths are by projecting Prince Ned Nwoko.
We can no longer afford to support bench-warmers whose actions misrepresent us as a people.
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