Enugu needs Ohaa as governor — Emeka Okpara

Posted by News Express | 17 February 2022 | 1,712 times

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•Ihe Abia Organisation DG, Ichie Emeka Okpara


The Director General of Ihe Abia Organisation, a not-for profit organisation that is fully committed to good governance, transparency and accountability in government, Ichie Emeka Okpara, has extolled the leadership qualities of Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa. 

Speaking during Sir Ohaa’s birthday celebrations in Enugu recently, Ichie Okpara maintained that Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa was very capable of delivering excellent democracy dividends to Ndi Enugu; as well as moving the state to the next level, if he is elected governor of the state. 

In this interview, Okpara marshalled out reasons why Ohaa is the man good for the job as Enugu governor come 2023. Excerpts: 

Who is Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa?  

Let me use this opportunity to wish a happy birthday to a quintessential administrator, a man of the people and a man for his people, Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa. I will start talking about Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa with the profound words of Henry Longfellow which says that “the heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight but they were toiling upward in the night.” 

The above lines typify the life of Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa, Osukwu Odalije, a man who has seen it all from different shades of life; straddling the private and public sectors in his career journey. It is certainly a tough call to talk about Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa without coming out flattery because he represents and goes beyond whatever qualities that are used to describe him. 

It is not out of place to say that providence ordered Chinyeaka Ohaa’s path early in life to prepare him for service to humanity as he started his romance with leadership during his early school through secondary and undergraduate days. He has numerous educational and professional qualifications from the best institutions and professional associations in Nigeria and overseas. He has served both Enugu State and Nigeria in different capacities, including serving as the Accountant-General of Enugu state and Permanent Secretary of many ministries at the federal level.  His experiences are hands-on and cut across different strata of the civil service.  

What are the salient qualities that put Chinyeaka Ohaa above other aspirants 

A man’s worth is measured by how better he leaves a place than he met it. In this age and time what Ndi Enugu need is a man who can fall back on wide experiences garnered over many years to take the state to the next level. 

Given the challenges holding down many states in Nigeria, including Enugu State, all we need is a man who has the answers to our problems; a solution provider par excellence and not someone who is just happenstance. As Ohaa worked through the ladder of his career, providence conspired with strategic necessity and took him through the crucibles of governance and administration, arming him with the invaluable arsenals to tackle and triumph over challenges that grow more complex each passing day, even as they assume new urgency for attention.  

In his career journey, he peaked by serving as Permanent Secretary to the important Ministries of Youth and Sports, Common Services in the Office of the Head of Service (HOS), of the Federation, the Federal Capital Territory and the Ministry of Power from where he bowed out meritoriously in 2021. 

Before then, he had served Enugu State in many capacities, including the position of Accountant-General and worked in other critical and foundational ministries; garnering the wealth of experience that puts him in the best stead to pilot the affairs of Enugu State.   

As a Permanent Secretary at the federal level, he was exposed to the interplay of politics and administration as he interfaced with ministers who are traditionally politicians. With those exposures, he is able to modulate the unavoidable intrigues between the work environments of administration and politics for the excellent running of any public entity like Enugu State. What more do we need than a man who can apply this knowledge and experience in moving Enugu state forward to the next level? 

What specific work experience does he have that makes him suitable to govern Enugu State? 

Let us examine few of the experiences Chinyeaka Ohaa would fall back on to make Enugu the city and state of choice and redeem its pride of place as the center and capital of the Eastern region.  

Youth and Sports administration as a vehicle for economic development 

In the course of his career, he served as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths and Sports. As a sports administrator, Ohaa duly recognises the unifying force in sports as a human activity. 

The demographic statistics of Nigeria put the youth of 18 to 45 years of age at more than 55 per cent of Nigerian population. This represents the active and working population that grows the economy of any great nation. Getting the youth actively engaged through sports, entertainment and other relevant skills acquisition like ICT and other artisanal skills, apart from growing the economy also reduces the chances of youths becoming involved in criminality that has become the bane of our society.  

Specifically, nothing can harness the potential benefits of sports in Enugu than reviving the Enugu Rangers International Football Club. At a point in our recent history, Enugu Rangers cast its shadow over the football empire of not just Nigeria but entire African continent. What happened to that brand that made the Eastern region and Ndi Igbo proud? 

Needless to say again that the blame goes to maladministration and neglect because it is obvious. The economic gains of having a vibrant Rangers Football Club cannot be overstressed, especially now that each state is looking for ways to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), to augment whatever comes from the federal purse. 

We should not be running to Abuja every month before we can pay salaries while we have goldmines that can comfortably keep us in good financial shape and help us even save money for the unborn generations. As a premier sports administrator, I know Chinyeaka Ohaa would stop at nothing to bring youth and sports in Enugu to the center stage of development.  

From Abuja Master Plan to New Enugu Master Plan 

Abuja is reputed to be one of the ten fastest growing cities in the world, even as it keeps expanding to the amazement of many. When policy initiatives are hatched at the ministerial and political level, the burden of implementation rests squarely and solely on the administrative section of the ministry headed by the Permanent Secretary. 

In that regard, it is evident that Ohaa, having served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory, is one of those who made Abuja what it is today. What else do we need than a man who can replicate the wonders of Abuja in Enugu State. 

Enugu’s natural beauty given it by its undulating and hilly landscape deserves a great touch and plan which would give rise to a New Enugu Mega City to the envy of many states and cities. Few years ago, the centenary of Enugu city was celebrated with fanfare but we must admit that the city needs a new face as well as a new phase.  

Ohaa has the capacity to deliver this having done it on a bigger scale at Abuja. Going further, as the one who oversaw the implementation of the Federal Character principle in the workforce of the FCT, he clearly understands the concept of “enye ndi ebaa, enye ndi ebaa” in any multicultural political setting. Now that each zone is calling for equity in representations in the workforce of Enugu state, Ohaa is able to create a harmony that would completely eliminate agitations in Enugu state work force.  

Steady power supply 

Steady power supply is one of the biggest cogs in the wheel of development in Nigeria. By any stretch of imagination, we are recording little wins in the power battle and Chinyeaka Ohaa has been part of this success story having served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power in the recent past. 

Because of the powerful interests involved in the power sector in Nigeria, serving as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Power and coming out unscathed can be likened to surviving in shark-infested water.

Even as power remains the exclusive preserve of the federal government, there are certain latent opportunities embedded in the sector and available to states and private operators which are known only to insiders.  Enugu needs steady power supply to function maximally even as it would be a selling point to numerous investors who are interested in coming to Enugu but are held back because of the perennial lack of power in the state. In addition, the steady supply of power would scale up the small and medium scale enterprises and businesses that are the major economic development plank of the Ugwuanyi administration.  

Investment in social and human capital 

As a true man of the people, Sir Chinyeka Ohaa has invested heavily on social capital by providing to the needy and empowering the youths in his immediate community and beyond. Many indigenes of Enugu state and the South East that are working in the Federal Civil Service owe their employment to his intervention. As a community man, he has identified with his people wholly in all facets of life, no wonder the Methodist Church of Nigeria found him worthy to be knighted as a Knight of John Wesley, a testimony to his unflinching support and defense of the church, community and society in times of need.  His Shelter-Gives-Dignity program which has received nation-wide acclaim is designed to help the indigent members of his immediate community secure decent accommodation. 

This clearly underscores the premium he places on shelter, one of the basic needs of mankind. If he can provide shelter in his private capacity, I cannot fathom why he would fail to address the accommodation needs of Ndi Enugu when he becomes governor.  So has he also invested in education by giving out numerous scholarships to indigent students of many clans in Awkunanaw and neighbouring communitues. 

I have opened a little window into the experiences and capabilities of Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa, a man who has been ordained by providence to serve his people. 

As we march slowly and steadily to the next governorship elections, we owe ourselves the duty to choose right. Our circumstances in life are dependent on nothing but the choices we make. Today we are presented with choices that border on performance and non-performance, experience and inexperience, boldness and docility. There is an aphorism in politics and political science which says that a people get the government they deserve. What this simply means is that we should choose right and save ourselves the embarrassment of afterthought.   

There are agitations by other zones to have the governorship instead of Enugu East where Ohaa comes from 

It is normal in every political setting for people to aspire to political offices. It is their electoral right to vote and be voted for. It is one of the democratic principles we all subscribe to. But we also have to understand that we live in multi-ethnic and sub-national groups. 

The essence of zoning is to allay fears of domination and marginalization. So far, Enugu state has been running smoothly on the principle of power rotation among the three zones since the inception of the Fourth Republic and anybody that wants to truncate this process is simply not in love with the state. The rotation has gone round the three zones and it is naturally fair and equitable that it starts again from where it all began. This is a relay race and it starts from back to front and not from back to back or back to middle. Ndi Enugu understand this principle very well and I am very sure they would do the needful.  

Is anybody sponsoring Sir Chiyneaka Ohaa? 

This question belittles the high quality profile of the man I have been talking about. This is a man that braved the odds and declared his ambition when many are still looking for endorsements here and there. Of course it is natural that people would support him. It is not something he would do alone. He has the support of many stakeholders both within and outside the party because he has also contributed in very many ways to the sustainable peace we enjoy in Enugu State by the brand of politics he plays. What Ndi Enugu need to do is to separate the chaff from the wheat and see the quantum leap Enugu would record once Ohaa assumes office as governor of Enugu state.   


Source: News Express

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