SENATOR NED NWOKO: LONG WALK TO POWER.
By NORBERT CHIAZOR
Like Nelson Mandela,like Ned Nwoko. Fortune indeed favours the brave.Madiba rose from struggle to kill apartheid. Ned came through tussle to surmount his inhibition.Both men, different circumstance,same universal story of glory.Won with guts not guile.
In 1994,Mandela walked Pretoria Freedom square,with destiny smiling at him as first black President of the rainbow nation of South Africa. 2023, Ned Nwoko braced forward holding honour as Senator. It is a long and laborious walk.
Memory is like a fading flower,fickle to the finish. Only the time-conscious can accurately follow the anecdote of Ned. His political allegory. For a man who reached his apogee in British clime as best black lawyer of African descent,by international rating, Ned Nwoko returned home to shape Nigeria’s future,when Africa’s most populous nation needed the eyes and ayes of its finest patriots to have a clear vision.
In 1999, a troubled nation was emerging from the throes of military turbulence, compelling Prince Nwoko, London returnee,then in the bloom of 30s to roll up his sleeves and help midwife democratic government.He took stead with one of the political parties, People’s Democratic Party,PDP, formed in 1998 by a broad -based coalition of eminent Nigerians known as G-18 and G-34.
When PDP was forming national government for the Fourth republic, with Olusegun Obasanjo as President,in 1999, Hon. Ned Nwoko ,a partaker- stakeholder arrived the new parliament as Member,House of Representatives,Aniocha/Oshimili Federal constituency.
By the time he was exiting the red chambers of the National Assembly in 2003, after serving only one term to relinquish office voluntarily like Mandela, Nwoko had in his kitty, a record -breaking 22 bills,setting a precedent in the annals of legislative adventure.
Beyond leading in making laws for the good governance of Nigeria, he left indelible footprints elsewhere.The now famous Asaba -Benin expressway, Asaba international Airport, preliminary works on the proposed Ogwashi -Uku Dam, NTA Asaba to mention a few, are all part of his flagship legacies as Federal lawmaker.
He made a giant leap for Delta North senatorial seat in 2011 but victory was deferred. In 2019, he launched a comeback ,his efforts foreshadowed by political subterfuge.
Then came 2023,the year of divine timing….
That Ned Nwoko was rewarded about 23 years after his sojourn at House of Representatives ,with his election by Anioma people as Senator representing Delta North senatorial district is just a curtain raiser to his thrill – a page story, never truly or excellently told.
Not many people are aware that Anioma agenda- a well known euphemism for political advancement of Delta North towards governorship of multi -ethnic Delta was championed by Prince Ned Nwoko. After Professor Eric Opia from Ndokwa axis of Delta North first took a shot as gubernatorial candidate under the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC,in 1993, and lost to Chief Felix Ibru of the Social Democratic Party,SDP, It was a bold Ned that stood for Anioma in fierce governorship contest in 2003, through the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA.What set Ned apart on higher ground,miles ahead of his fellow Anioma compatriots was courage under fire.
A lion by heart, he exhibited rare bravery contesting against then incumbent governor, Chief James Ibori of Urhobo stock ,at a time it was almost an anathema to challenge the status quo. Nwoko did not win the election. But he won the battle. He gave Anioma pride, as a people worthy of voice and verve ,in a state where ethnicity is so pronounced. He would earn the respect of the sitting governor, who saw in him an audacious fighter ,after an enervating no holds barred combat. The details of that awesome governorship encounter, uncompromising in execution and gripping in pursuit,are best left for an epic movie.
So telling that another Anioma good son, intrepid Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa would finally consummate the protracted search for Anioma – born governor of Delta state, on history day, May 29, 2015.
When Prince Nwoko looks back as he receives Certificate of Return ,Delta North Senator-elect, the euphoria could be both eerie and eclectic. It bears superhuman spiritual recompense and salutary self -fulfilment for a man tirelessly and restlessly on the trenches to empower and please Anioma and the larger family of humanity.
Guess who is coming to be a Senator ?
The epiphany of Ned Nwoko is a lengthy reel of reaches and riches.Founder of the first Sports university in Saharan Africa, established in his Idumuje -Ugboko country home, first black African to tour the icy land of Antarctica, in symbolic global campaign for Malaria eradication, doyen of the biggest black law firm in England in the I990s, initiator of London-Paris Club Loans refunds which ended Nigeria’s recession,cultural connoisseur of Mount Ned, a wonderland of palatial architecture and rarest wildlife, benefactor of a thousand students, the needy ,widows and more. A weighty man,wealthy in possessions and personality, intellect and integrity.
Not many people know this: The in-coming Senator,Prince Ned Nwoko’s grand father the late HRH Obi Nkeze Nwoko was a very prominent member of the Western House of Chiefs, Ibadan in the 1950s. The revered king actively participated in the historic London constitutional conferences that eventually led to Nigeria’s independence on October 1, 1960. He was reputed to have married 33 wives and had 167 children and numerous grand children. Amongst the grandchildren are Senator -elect ,Prince Ned Nwoko,Dr Michael Nwoko and Major General kingsley Nwoko amongst others. Hon. Ned Nwoko an accomplished father is happily married with wives and children. Dotting husband of beautiful Regina Daniels Nwoko, talented darling of Nollywood.
Basking in the honour of senate 2023, an elated Ned Nwoko, a prodigious Prince has earnestly pledged “excellent representation”
For Anioma people, a blessed generation with pride and purpose, a new dawn beckons at the senate- the distinction of Prince Ned Nwoko.
CHIAZOR is a veteran journalist/ media scholar.