The greatest want of the world is the want of men; men who live by the truth like the rudder on a plane; men who do not falter from the path of integrity, even though the heavens fall; men who would stand on their feet and defend the glory of the defenseless even when they are threatened to the brim; men who look at tempest and never get shaken when the interest of the masses is at stake. Hon. Chief Tobias Onyemaechi Michael Idika fits in among such men—men of valour and strong willpower.
Born on 27 October, 1962 into the family of the late Chief Michael Uke Idika (Agwara 1 of Amuru Abam) in Arochukwu Local Government Area, Abia State, Onyemaechi Idika started his primary education at Amuru Abam Community School in 1968. Upon completion of his primary education in 1974, he proceeded to Onyerubi Commercial School in Abiriba, a neighboring town of his home town.
In 1979, Idika who could not further his education owing to the poor background of his family, left the shores of eastern Nigeria to Kano state where he ventured into business. For about one decade, Idika made waves in palm oil business, from where he ventured into Auto-spare parts business in his bid to search for greener pastures and as well, liberate youths in his community, many of whom were brought to Kano and were introduced into the booming spare parts business at his instance.
In 1992, Idika had made fortune out of life. He had been able to empower a number of his younger ones economically. To actualize his dream of attaining a certain standard in western education, Idika enrolled into International Correspondence Institute (ICI) based in Brussels, Belgium from where he studied General Education and bagged Associate of Art Degree. He also did a certificate course in Theology, also in ICI and was awarded a certificate in Theology.
Over the years, Idika progressed in politics and public life. When he came to Kano in 1979, he joined the youth-wing of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Also, in 1992, Idika was elected Kano state Assistant Secretary of National Republican Convention (NRC), making history as the first non-indigene to occupy such a high political position. Despite the tribal sentiments inherent in Nigeria’s politics, Idika was able to break another ground in NRC as he was later appointed Secretary, State Legal Committee of the party. In 1998 in the wake of the fourth Republic, Idika joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he played a major role in the election of Governor of Kano state, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. At the last lap of Kwankwaso’s first term administration, Idika was appointed Secretary, Security/Reconciliation Committee, Fagge Local Government, Kano state.
He was made chairman, state Appeal Panel of the PDP in Kano state; a position ordinarily reserved for retired High Court Judges, but Idika sat over lawyers who were members of the committee, during which he delivered 48 verdicts within 24 hours. He was finally made a Board Member, History and Culture Bureau in Kano state by Kwankwaso administration, where he also served as acting chairman of the Board for six months.
Onyemaechi Idika who holds the traditional title of Atumah Na’ Eri Ibeya (the shark that devours other sharks) is a devoted Igbo community leader. He is among the red –cap chiefs who played a major role in the restoration of peace and order in Igbo Community Association (ICA), Kano when some bad elements tried to deform the image of the Igbos in Kano. He served as Secretary, Concerned Igbo Peoples Forum (CIPF). Also, Idika was among men of integrity who formed the Igbo Patriots, a platform he served as chairman. Idika was also the Secretary-General of Igbo Welfare Union (IWU). Atumah Na’ Eri Ibeya was one of the Special Advisers to Eze Ndigbo in Kano, Chief John Chiejina Nnaji, Eze Di Ora Mma IV, (Agu Na Eche Ibe 1 of Neke, Onyedu Ndu Ndi Igbo I in Kano).
Idika used his time and resources to fight for the socio-political liberation of non-natives living in Sabon Gari, Kano. He was among the frontline Community leaders who agitated for the creation of more wards for Sabon Gari in Fagge L.G.A, Kano. During this cause, he was arrested by state authorities and detained for days, but he was not deterred as his unbending struggle saw the creation of East and West Wards in Sabon Gari. An author of several pamphlets of philosophical and general quotations, Idika is a prolific writer and a friend to news hounds. Along with some visionary leaders, he fought and brought Maikwantashi secondary school to Sabon Gari, Kano, a secondary school solely meant for non-indigenes in Kano state.
It was Chief Tobias Michael Idika who designed the first and only Sabon Gari map, a tool which is used by security agencies today to combat crime within the Community. Tourists and visitors also fall back on the map to move around the enclave of non-indigenes in Kano.
Before his death, Chief Tobias Michael Idika was the President-General of Leaders of Ethnic Communities Resident in Kano and President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano State Chapter.
Hon. Chief Tobias Michael Idika’s incomparable contributions to the cause of humanity and growth of the society are not unappreciated as he was recipient to numerous awards including Nwanne Ka Ibeya (2004) given to him by Abia state Community in Kano; Peace Merit Award (2008), an exceptional honour bestowed on him by Kano state Government at the instance of the Special Adviser to former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau on Inter-Community Relations; prestigious African Ambassador for Unity Award (2009), given to him by African Unity Forum. In July, 2011, Idika bagged Distinguish Leadership Merit Award by Christian Democratic Journalists of Nigeria, in appreciation to his contribution to the wellbeing of Christians in northern Nigeria.
Chief Idika is a devoted Christian. He was an ordained Deacon of the Good News Bible Church International Incorporated. He was happily married with four children.
The long clutches of death gripped Chief Idika on Monday, 13 January, 2014, at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia state, where Doctors battled to save his life. According to Chief (Ichie) Uche Megwalu, chairman, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders’ in Coulcil, Kano chapter, who is also the Chief Mourner, the late Chief Idika would be honoured by all sons and daughters, friends and well wishers of Ndigbo in Kano on Saturday, 15 February, 2014 at Ohanaeze Ndigbo secretariat located on No 2 New Road, Sabon Gari, Kano. Chief Idika will complete his final journey on 1 March, 2014 the day he will be committed to mother earth in his hometown in Abia state, South East Nigeria.