THE CHRONICLE: AN ENCOUNTER WITH A MAN ON A MISSION.
We had agreed for that beautiful day, the 31st of August at 1300hrs for a lunch meet at the prestigious Lincoln Inn Bar in West London. I have never had the chance of sitting down with this man apart from running into him at the Asaba Airport sometime in 2014 while on my way to board my late afternoon flight to Lagos en route my return to the UK and he was going to board an Abuja bound flight. We only exchanged pleasantries but before then, I had in the late 2013 arranged an interview with him by the Anioma Voice News Abuja crew , though, it never worked out.
So on that lovely day , I set out to meet with him armed with some useful questionnaire, I imagined would be of use during our meeting. At exactly 12.50pm, he sent me a message on Whatzapp to know my whereabout and I replied , informing him that I was already at the Lincoln Garden opposite the Inn. He asked that I come to the gate as he was through with his other engagement. So, I went to meet with him, not even sure if I would recognize him. Right there at the entrance of the famous Lincoln Inn square, he was humbly and patiently waiting for me. To my surprise, he was the one that identified me , pleasantries exchanged and we walked into the Lincoln Inn square. He was dressed smartly in a stripped suit with a white shirt on, looking very simple but smart and neat. A first timer, wouldn’t have imagined that standing with me, looking so simple and humble is the billionaire, Hon Ned Munir Nwoko, the Prince of Anioma land. There was no air of arrogance around him, he was so simple and gentle.
He started immediately by telling me about the legal system of UK and Nigeria as also why things work in the UK but yet to do so in Nigeria. We both agreed that the Nigerian leadership needs people who know their onions, people who understand what it takes to lead and implement programmes for the people.
You need no one to tell you that this man sure knows what he is talking about. As we were taking a walk in the square, few white folks walked by and acknowledged him by his name. At this point, I was like, “So these oyibos know him and his worth too”. He took his time to respond to all greetings from passers by and he ensured he gave me full briefs on the famous Lincoln Inn. This man loves nature and tourism and he is ready to talk about it all day long. He pointed at a big tree at the square and informed me that as beautiful looking as the big tree is, that it has always been like that even from when he schooled there. He admires the white man’s way of preserving things. We both agreed that if it were in Nigeria, the tree would have long been cut down. He told me stories of his journey into law and how he fared in the UK before deciding to return home to give back to his people.
Before we left the Inn, he showed me the big dinning hall where he said that as a student of the Lincoln, you are made to eat for a good 45 times in that hall and all you are taught is table manners and how to be a noble man on the table. The man Ned explained his love for law and then we dabbled into the Paris club loan refund. He talks so much about it with so much confidence as a satisfied man who made the refund possible. Hearing him talk about the processes and what it took him to achieve result that the country and states including the LG councils are now enjoying, you will be forced to honor him. He took a risk because he wanted the best for his country. The success of that adventure for him is so overwhelming considering that he was discouraged by even govt officials who were more interested in their relationship with the foreign banks than with the citizens of Nigeria. Against their expectation, the man Ned told them that he was determined to follow the case because the interest of Nigerians matter most to him than his business relationship with some of the banks in the UK. He talked about how the dream was almost thwarted but for his conviction that there is a case to make after studying the books. Today, that risk and efforts were not in vain and this makes the man Nedu Nwoko happy seeing how the states and LGs are benefiting from that singular effort.
Agreed that he may have made good money from the whole thing , the Anioma in him pushed him into using that money to implement to a success one of the bills he had proposed as a one time House of Reps member. A National Sports University was one of Hon Ned Nwoko’s bills he proposed as a NASS member and this exactly, is what he is investing his own percentage from the Paris club loan refund case into in his native Idumuje Ugboko.
Notwithstanding the present crisis in his Idumuje Ugboko community, Hon Ned Nwoko is still determined to finish that laudable project in his community.
So from the famous Lincoln Inn, he decided that I must see where he is putting up. we boarded a black cab and drove down to Marylebourne and to Landmark Hotel. To him, the hotel means a lot because it reminds him of his passion for antiques and nature. The hotel is indeed a beauty to behold with so much history. He asked me” Akamesike, just take a look at this hotel and tell me if it is not beautiful?”. As one who is used to beautiful things, I was quick to agree with him that the place is beautiful and amazing. So as we sat on the booked table and as the waiter was taking our order, a voice sounded out, “Hon Nedu Nwoko!!!. Behold , it was the former deputy speaker Rt. Hon Chibudom Nwuche, an old friend of Hon Ned . We exchanged greetings and the man revealed another side of Hon Ned Nwoko that not so many of us know about. Hon Ned was a great footballer , in fact, a great sportsman. He was into so many sports . I was listening as Hon Nwuche was reading out the great prowess of this man in sports ,years ago. Then ,he added, looking and talking to me directly, he said ” You people are very lucky to have someone like Hon Ned from your place. Surprisingly, as Hon Nwuche was leaving , another gentleman was there, appreciating and thanking the man, Hon Ned Nwoko. The man with his accent sounded like a Jamaican and he was one of the many persons the great philanthropist and leader has helped without even knowing them. At that moment, I kept asking myself, how come this man was able to identify me. The more I thought of it, the more reason I began to understand the quality of this man who has willingly volunteered to serve our land as a senator.
Then , he said to me ” Akamesike,time has come for Nigerians to start doing the right thing by taking the right decisions at the right time. Our life and interest should be all about our land. I have seen things ,done things and understood how things should be done and so it is time for us to start doing things rightly for the sake of our land”
He believes so much that we deserve more than what we are getting now from our leaders and he cannot understand why Nigerians and indeed, Aniomas cannot enjoy most of the things the people in the UK and US are enjoying.
This took us to another lengthy discussion on his role in the glorious Paris club loan refund. Hearing Hon Nwoko tell you how he pursued this matter, you will understand his concern why Nigerians are not benefiting enough from the country. In truth, listening to Ned talk about this Paris club loan refund and the battle he wedged to see that the Nigerian poor masses were not shortchanged, Aniomas should be calling on him to become their leader.
This man is a versatile being. He is known and respected all over Nigeria. While with him , his phone never ceased to beep as he keeps taking one call or the other from different ethnic groups in Nigeria. He then explained that such is his average day. Taking calls and resolving issues financially and otherwise over the phone or booking appointments to meet with the individuals or groups. The man is one workaholic I have ever seen and guess what, it was all for national interest.
In this over 2 hours interactive session , Hon Ned Nwoko displayed a huge and excellent understanding of the Anioma people and their needs. He showed so much enthusiasm for a greater Anioma and he did not fail in calling on Aniomas to throw their weight behind their own person as governor because there is something in it for the Anioma nation . He reiterated that Anioma deserves not only to produce the governor but to also complete a second term and that Gov Okowa remains the best hand to go far in this journey.
On this note, we ended our brotherly interactive session after having a nice meal . As I stood up to leave, he said to me “Akamesike , Anioma deserves only the best”. In truth, I wholly agree with him.
- We deserve only the best.