By Henry Ekpe
Chief (Dr) Alexander Aforkwalam Aganaganelu Andrew Obi, (MFR), the Ikemba Mbaise, was buried last Friday, February 17, 2023 in his ancestral home of Oboama, Enyiogugu, Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area, Imo State.
Obi was buried like a King, which he was. His final journey attracted who is who across all sectors of life. Politicians, Businessmen, the Clergy, Traditionalist, Artisans, Disables, Artistes, atheists even children.
This showed how the man lived his life. He was a Humanist, just as he was a Medical Doctor by Profession.
But his chosen vocation: Politics, skyrocketed him to fame, than his chosen profession, medicine, could not.
Alex Obi was a political Elephant, and acted his huge physical size, as he bulldozed his way in the political environment of Imo State and Nigeria.
The Late Obi was a State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a position he used to build the party into a collusus in Imo Politics. He later climbed to the position of member of Board of Trustees of the party.
Therefore, it was not surprising that his burial brought politicians of different hews sitting together, first time in recent time in Imo State.
His Night of Tribute attracted three former Governors of Imo State, namely Chief Achike Udenwa, Dr Ikedi Ohakim and Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha.
Then, the burial mass at the Catholic Church, Oboama was attended by the cream of the society across board.
A former President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara was in attendance. Also sighted were Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (Ihaejiagamba Ndigbo) including Imo State Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, who represented the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Chief Ambrose Ejiogu and others.
One significant thing about the Alex Obi burial was the convergence of Imo political elites under one canopy, to say final good bye to one of their own.
However, that of Obi was different as hitherto political foes met and embraced each other.
Alex Obi in death has commenced the healing in Imo, and now left for those living to complete the parley.
For those who pretend not to notice, Imo State has not been the happy and jolly State it used to be due to recent ugly developments in the State. Now the ruling class lives under suspicion with each other, which has also trickled down to their followers.
Under this scenario, every one live with furtive glances above their shoulders, since every day is unpredictable. Government has accused those described as opposition as the cause of the problem, while those being accused challenge the Governor to provide the evidence.
But Alex Obi’s burial gathering has proved that Imo people truly are not difficult and could return back to the old good days if the right plan is laid down to bring back everybody together.
In Imo today, there are various political Groups owned by the Big Wigs that control the State Politically and Economically. And you will be living in denial if you don’t agree with this.
At any given time, a certain group of personalities control a given society, both politically and economically.
There was a time Chief Sam Mbakwe, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief ID Nwoga, Chief Emeka Echeruo, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, Chief B U Nzeribe, Dr Nnanna Ukaegbu, Chief Ferdinand Anaghara, Senator Agunanne, Chief Maria Egu, Alhaji Dauda Onyeagocha, Chief Richard Onyenobi, Chief RBK Okafor, Chief Eustace Eke etc controlled Imo politics and Economy.
Today most of them are gone, while those among them still alive are slowed down by age, and now are Statesmen.
Presently, a new set of new Leaders have emerged in Imo Politics and will one day also give way to emerging young Turks.
These men today control Imo politics through their various political Groups.
Senator Hope Uzodinma, (3R) Share Prosperity Group, Chief Achike Udenwa (Redemption Group) Dr Ikedi Ohakim (Newface Organization) Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha (Rebuild Imo Organization) Senator Godwin Ifeanyi Araraume (Divine Destiny Organization) Senator Rochas Okorocha ( Rescue Mission) Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Mandate ) and Chief Uche Nwosu (Ugwumba Movement).
These are the political machines that dot Imo State today, and the various groups are strong in their own rights, and have stakes in Imo polity.
But as I had said in my previous write-ups and was threatened, each of them has one story to tell about keeping off from whatever has to do with the present Imo Government. But Leaders do not sit on the fence at the critical times in a given environment.
All hands are needed to make Imo greater than it is.
The Alex Obi funeral, where political foes ate and drank together is an indication that all these men are ready and waiting for the opportunity to embrace each other once more.
The burial reception in his palatial Oboma residence was turned to a political carnival. The Redemption Group was represented by their Leader, Chief Achike Udenwa, with his old lieutenants in toe.
From Lawmakers, LGA Chairmen and Government appointees of that era : Former Speaker Kelechi Nwagwu and his Deputy Chuma Nnaji, Charles Onyeagboko, Green Iheaka, Hon Ukaigwe, Vin Udokwu, Boni Ebili, Ben Ekwueme, Chris Okewulonu, Ken Ananeme, Osita Opara, Chris Njoku, Vitalis Ogueri, Etelberth Nwachukwu.
Emeka Ihedioha was there with his troop, representing the Rebuild Imo Group.
Since politics is fluid, most of the old Redemption members have since dove tailed into the Rebuild Imo and participated in the Seven Months old administration of Ihedioha. Anyway, Redemption Group has survived since 1999.
The Ihedioha people present include Ben Mere, Kelechi Nzewuihe, Dr Perry Njoku, Nkeiru Ibekwe, Bar Ndukwe Nnawuchi (SAN), CJ Njoku, Henry Ekpe, Chikere Okereke, Engr Austine Okeke, Isaac Anyim, Lady Vivian Dimgba, Chinemere Madu, Macdavis Chidubem (Ajanso) Mrs Esther Aguwamba, Lady Ngozi Oguike, Mrs Ngozi Orubele etc.
Even though Okorocha did not attend the burial, but his men were also sighted as the political class mingled, jollied and celebrated the life of the Iroko, Alex Obi.
Some of the Rescue Mission members also came as entourage of the Redemption Group. I saw Mrs Josephine Udochi and Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Njoku, Chief Chidi Ibe and others.
The Araraume Destiny Group was also there, but not in there great numbers, obviously caused by the absence of their Principal.
The Ohakim Newface Organization was also there, even though most of them have joined the present Government. Prof Jude Njoku and Dr Etelberth Okere were there.
Unfortunately, the Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku who represented the Governor and the 3R Group left from the church.
Certainly, if the D-Gov had visited Alex Obi’s residence, he would have participated in the embraces, and would have also let his Boss know that Imo State is one, and only needs a healing balm applied to the dislocated joints
Assuming Gov Hope Uzodinma attended that burial, would he not have sat on the table reserved for his Excellencies, where sat former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara, Chief Achike Udenwa, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Chief Charles Ugwu, the present Imo PDP Chairman, and former Minister of the Federal Republic and others?
Would the Governor not have embraced his predecessor Ihedioha, or would Ihedioha not have welcome his visitor attending his Brother’s burial?
Those who benefit from the beef among these Big Men are those firing the embers of discord. One particular Government Writer does not sleep any day without insulting highly placed Imo citizens.
He must realize one day that only interests separate politicians, as they are not eternal enemies.
The Leader of Divine Mandate, Senator Samuel Anyanwu was not there, but his Director-General, Hon Ngozi Ogbu was there.
The candidate of Labour Party for Owerri Senate, Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi was also there.
The APC candidate for Owerri Senate, Prince Alex Mbata also came with a deluge of APC chieftains, including Hon Goddy Dikeocha and Chief Henry Njoku (Harritex).
I saw how Dikeocha went for his brother Emeka Ihedioha and embraced him. And I asked myself “were these not brothers they say are enemies?”
Imo PDP State Working Committee led by the Deputy Chairman, Chief Martin Ejiogu was not left out. Hon Ray Emeana, Greg Nwadike and Mrs Maria Mbakwem were present.
Present also include the Mbaise Nation. Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) Chief Hon Oliver Enweremem, Chief Paschal Madu, Nze Charles Onwunali, Chief Cyril Anyanwu (Ezeruzezu Mbaise President) Chief Alberth Agulanna, Prince Amuchie, Hon Eddy Obinna, Comarde Lambert Opara, Hon Mike Ihenatu, Hon Alex Emeziem (Phd), Tana Bladuo and Law Biaduo.
Other personalities present were Hon Jerry Alagbaso, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Rt Hon Okey Dike, Arch Okolie etc.
The crowd was teaming, as the disciplined Security Operatives were civilly and did their jobs. Those I could not mention their names should forgive me.
The Event Planner was class, while Burial Committee, chaired by Rt Hon Chuma Nnaji with Hon Alex Emeziem as Secretary were marvelous. Kudos to Works Chairman, Mike Ihenatu, Security, Boni Ebili, Protocol, Law Biadu and Publicity, Henry Ekpe.
And Special Thanks to Oga Joe Ehioma, the ageless Broadcaster and Media Guru.
Then, Chief Achike Udenwa, and Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha for their fatherly Rules.
Adieu, Dr Alex Obi, the Man whose death was a first step to reconciling Imo people. Good Bye.