It was an evening of conviviality and cheery-hearted conversations about life, politics, economy, family and Anambra as the Senator representing Anambra South, Senator Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah hosted myself, Sir Willie Nwokoye, Francis Okoye and a few others at his Abuja home on Saturday night.
Senator Ubah and I had flown on the same Airpeace flight to Anambra a little over a week ago and as we touched down in Anambra, we had a light banter. I praised him for his courageous interventions in the security architecture of his native Nnewi community which has become a model many are now saying should be adopted all over Anambra state and beyond. We both agreed to continue our conversations when we returned back to Abuja.
It was in that true Anambra spirit of politics without bitterness that I picked up Sir Willie Nwokoye from his hotel, former Principal Secretary to Governor Willie Obiano, an APGA chieftain in Amawbia, who is visiting Abuja, and alongside my brother Francis Okoye (Oyi Umunri), of the APC just like myself, we stormed the Maitama mansion of Senator Ubah who is of the YPP.
Over choice drinks, native abacha salad and left-over of well garnished Salah meat, Senator Ubah, son of a Missionary teacher, regaled us with tales of his life. From his days growing up at Nnewi as an active Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) goalkeeper, to his days as an apprentice ‘Boi-Boi’ to a tyre merchant at Enu-Owa street, Lagos. He spoke from the heart as according to him, he was truly in the spirit and had not shared some of the stories with anyone before. He talked about his maltreatment at the hands of his ‘Oga’ over his bright business acumen and prospects, and how a chance meeting with some Malian traders who regularly bought tyres from him changed his life fortunes and trajectory.
Abandoned, stranded and chased away by his ‘Oga’, Senator Ubah resorted to ‘Igba oso afia’, the practice by Igbo traders who have no shops of their own. He would later migrate to Ghana to continue the tyre trading business, and later to Gabon where he made his fortune trading in commodities and other mineral resources. It was enthralling and inspiring listening to his rags -to- riches story. A story of doggedness, hardwork and God’s grace.
Continuing, Senator Ubah spoke about his ongoing academic endeavours. He is currently pursuing a Post-graduate programme at Baze university, and plans to enrol for a doctorate on completion. His brain was sharp and his spirits lifted as he narrated his life story to us. He would get animated sometimes, and pause intermittently to take incoming calls from his colleagues in the Senate and others. One call came from a Deputy Governor from one of the South-East states praising him for his courageous eye-balling of the security problem in parts of Anambra state.
Senator Ubah spoke like a passionate man would. Some of his ideas for regional economic development and integration are worth taking forward but being his original ideas, I won’t bother repeating them here. Let them come from him directly at the appropriate time. He shared with us a June 2023 – dated court settlement agreement reached between his company, Capital Oil & Gas, and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) signifying a near – end to this long drawn-out issue.
On the issue of security, Senator Ubah said that he wasn’t done yet. He promised that his intervention was a life-long commitment, plotting the nexus between a safe Nnewi and economic prosperity. He shared with us invoices worth almost $2M of additional security equipment he had ordered to help strengthen the work of the Nnewi vigilante.
It was indeed an enchanting evening and journey into the mind and life of this enigma and patriot who has been largely misunderstood in the public space. His winning Nnewi Senatorial seat twice with a relatively unknown political party -YPP is no mean feat. Ebubechukwuzo Nnewi is a true Onye Anambra in the truest sense of that phrase. One that his political stock is surely on the ascendancy.