I don’t know days former legislator in Imo State, Hon Nze Ray Emeana always kept in memory before now. But, definitely, from now onwards, Sunday the 18th day of June 2017, will be evergreen in his records file and mind.
Sunday June 18th, would have been Nunc dimitis for the former member of the Imo State House of Assembly who represented Owerri North 2007-2011, if the gun men who came after his life had succeeded in carrying out their ghoulish intentions.
A great socialite, humanist, writer, actor and politician, Emeana escaped what appeared more like an assassination attempt on the fateful Sunday night when gun- toting hoodlums traced him from the road to his house before encountering an unsuccessful operation.
When the news break of the unfortunate incident was made public, I was one of the early callers to his Akwakuma- Uratta country home where he narrated the chilly details of the Hollywood-like movie.
Without divorcing his traditional jocular trademarks whenever we meet, Nze Ray Emeana, fondly called Ndaa Ray by admirers, was quick to tell me when I met him after surviving the attack that “kelechi,this one is not about writing it in that your Agwodinuju and Babanababa columns,i wonder what you would have written if you came here and did not meet me again” I almost went into hysteria when the former lawmaker I regard as one of my Ogas confronted me with the expression. “Soro mu kele chineke (Help me Thank God)”
I didn’t really know about Emeana not until he was elected to be the member that represented Owerri North State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly. In the past, I only knew him then as a university teacher at the Imo State University, an actor, dancer and play writer. At the Imo State House of Assembly. He was made the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Due Process whereas I functioned as the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House. Interestingly, my boss and Speaker, Rt. Hon Goodluck Nanah Opiah, now a House of Reps Member, is Emeana’s man Friday. They have been a kind of Siamese twins since their days in the State legislature. As House Committee Chairman on Information, Emeana was my second principal. Ironically, he became my direct boss; close confidant, mentor and director more than the Speaker who appointed me his media aide. We share several things in common it would be out of place to make public.
Six years after we vacated the Assembly complex, the rosy relationship has grown beyond bounds making me to be one of the first callers to his house after the incident. And when “my Oga” asked me what would I have written if he had died in the process, I almost went down in tears and started asking “Who is after the life of Ndaa Ray?
Speaking to a collection of newsmen who also came to gain firsthand account from him, Emeana disclosed that it was a normal Sunday for him when he went out to have a clean shave in town. On discovery that he was not well dressed to go to church, he moved to Assumpta Chapel to have a private communion with God and left the place to his house later.
In the evening hours, Emeana left his house with the driver to some private social outings before retracing steps back home at about 8.30pm. On the way home at Akwakuma, he stopped over to buy fuel for the power generating set at home. An ominous sign that danger however was lurking around commenced when he approached the last Akwakuma/ Orlu road roundabout before Egbeada town in Mbaitoli. At the junction, his driver took right, a car was already waiting to follow them. According to him, they never suspected foul play not until the car still trailed them to left corner at the next junction leading to his house. Alongside the driver, Emeana disclosed that he sensed danger prompting the driver to move the car pedal forward. Due to the bumpy nature of the road leading to his house, Emeana’s 4wd utility jeep gained space advantage to move ahead.
Said Emeana “surprisingly when we tought our vehicle which is an up car had gained advantage to move on unmarked, their car managed to wriggle out and quickly came after us. This time, my driver had alerted security guard in my house to open the gate. At the gate, their speedy car made attempts to overtake and block my car from the right to stop us from entering, but my driver was smarter to find his way inside the compound. I rushed out and raised alarm that the gate should be locked and the assiliants were not part of us.
“When we drove in, my wife and my two children including the gate man were outside and it was dark. I quickly alighted from the car and carefully raced into safety in the compound. By then they had drove in, started shooting and went after me. They searched frantically but to no avail”.
Explaining further, Emeana said that gunshots rained all directions before the suspected assassins quickly made an escape without carting away any item from his house including taking his wife or any of the children hostages. Police came in later to take records of what transpired. A face cap suspected to be that of one of fleeing criminals was recovered and in police custody for further investigation.
Giving a further hint on the whole scenario, Emeana opined that he suspects assassination attempt considering that none of the items, cars and money were collected or removed. Besides, suspicion of kidnap has cannot be brought in because the wife and children were not abducted.
When asked why he could suddenly become an object of target by suspected assasins, Emeana was of the view that late encounters he has been having with some persons in the political arena cannot be divorced from the failed plot. According to the former lawmaker, he attended a radio programe during the celebration of this year’s Democracy Day where vital issues the present administration in the state, have failed to address were highlighted. “During the programe I called Archibishop Obinna, Bishop Okorocha of the Anglican and other well meaning clerics to wake up against the ills noticed at the state level of the government. I received reactions from the populace over my statements during the program”
Emeana added that the altercation in the state arm of PDP cannot be over looked in this matter since he had verbal exchanges . The lawmaker is the factional state secretary of Imo PDP. His faction owe allegiance to the Markafi group with Chief Charles Ezekwem as State Chairman. There are other groups laying claim to the party position. “I know those who are after my life. I have also told police what I am saying that those who want me to shut up are behind the Sunday attempt to silence me”, he added.
I want to use this opportunity to attract the attention of the Nigeria Police to the case of Emeana. He is alive to tell the story, but one of my late friends, Ben Onyechere, who ran for Owerri Federal Constituency ticket in 2015 and former appointee of Abia State Governor, was not lucky to tell the story of how he encountered with armed gunmen suspected to be assasins few month ago. They confronted him at Ikenegbu area of Owerri. On leaving the supermarket, bullets were pumped into his body as he attempted to enter his vehicle. Onyechere was murdered in cold blood. No statement from the deceased journalist and politician about the encounter with his killers who fled with nothing after the dastardly act.
I can’t end without repeating “who is after Emeana’s life? Because Ndaa Ray as it is said in Owerri North politics and beyond is always “ OK