Making of the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo president
With his emergence as the new president-general of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, all is set for Chief John Ogbonnia Ugwuamakofia Nwodo (Ike Ukehe) to justify the implicit confidence reposed in him by the Igbos.
There is no doubt that his emergence came at a time, the Igbos are seriously in search of a leadership direction, considering the challenges confronting them in present day Nigeria.
He is a scion of the great Nwodo political dynasty that comprises of first civilian governor of Enugu State and former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo as well as the former presidential aspirant of the National Republican Convention (NRC) during the botched Third Republic, Dr. Joe Nwodo.
Nnia needs no introduction in the country’s socio-political space. From the onset, he has been a player in the polity, having held several public offices, played prominent roles and vied for the presidency of the country.
He was born in December 11, 1952 into the family of Igwe John Ugwuamakofia Nwodo, Okwulora of Ukehe, a former Eastern Nigerian Minister of Commerce and Industry and later Minister of Local Government and Mrs. Josephine Nwodo. Nnia’s birth coincided with his father’s foray into partisan politics.
It was for this obvious reason that his father did not stop at giving him the name John; he went on to confirm and certify his conviction with the second name Ogbonnia – the father’s namesake.
Having lived up to the expectations in his various endeavours before now, many are of the view that Nnia presents a serious specimen for a genetic study as to whether a father’s occupation at the time of his child’s birth predetermines the occupational disposition of the child on attainment of maturity.
Saying that he is on a familiar terrain with his emergence as the new president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is like stating the obvious because of his antecedents.
Nwodo, a devout Catholic and a Knight attended St. Patrick School Iva Valley, Enugu, then run by His Lordship, the late Bishop Emeritus Michael Eneje. Between 1961-1962, he was at Holy Ghost Primary School, Enugu and St. Mary’s School, Uwani, Enugu in 1963. For his secondary education, he attended the prestigious College of Immaculate Conception, (CIC) Enugu from 1964 to 1970, where he bagged his WASC.
He later gained admission into the University of Ibadan in 1971. While at University of Ibadan, he became the first non-Yoruba student to emerge Students union president between 1974/75 at the age of 22.
In 1980 and at the age of 28, he was appointed Personal Assistant to then President Shehu Shagari; the first to have such appointment from the South East zone. Following his outstanding performance, he was appointed Minister of Aviation at the age of 31.
With the collapse of the Second Republic, he left for the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London from 1984-1987. He returned in 1988 and attended Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos, after which he was called to Bar.
Between 1982 and 1998, he travelled to over 20 countries on international conferences and related official functions. He has authored several publications and delivered many erudite lectures and has been honoured by different organisations .
He was married to his Lordship Hon. Late Justice Regina Oby Nwodo of the Federal Court of Appeal, Lagos, a union blessed with five children.
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