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USAfrica: Sam Okwulehie, educator extraordinaire and Umuahia’s first Mayor. By Chido Nwangwu

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Long live Sam Okwulehie, educator extraordinaire and Umuahia’s first Mayor.

By Chido Nwangwu and Sunday Ilo.

Special to USAfrica (Houston) • USAfricaonline.com • @Chido247 • @USAfricaLive

USAfrica: In the words of Wendell Wilkie, education is the mother of leadership. Fact is that very few men typified this nugget more than Chief Sam Okwulehie.

A man with the strong belief that education is the key to the economic and political emancipation of the individual and any nation.

It is this pioneer educationist, visionary, trail blazer and philanthropist that we celebrate, today in Black History month (February 16), which would have been his 86th birthday!  We celebrate a lifelong vocation of providing education to the needy and the less privileged around his environment. From several days of my interviews with him at his son Jamal’s home near Houston, I could tell that the tasking, twin challenges of age and health could not mellow the kinetic joy and electric passion he showed whenever I took him back to the highways of lighting the lamp of education in his community!

But we cannot talk about Chief Sam Okwulehie without starting from the very beginning — especially his commitment to the roles of education as the catalyst for human and civilizational growth.

Indeed, as the great sage, Chinua Achebe wrote in his magnum opus, Things Fall Apart, a chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted from the very day it hatches….

Sam Okwulehie was born in Umuda Okpuala, Isingwu, an integral part of Umuahia’s Ohuhu clan, on the 16th of February, 1932 to Chief Sam Okwulehie (Senior) Nwokeukwu and Lolo Echendu.

He died on the 30th of December, 2017.

His parents were devoted Christians who instilled in their kids the virtues of humility, honesty and hard work. These enduring virtues were to later become abidingly visible in the career of Chief Sam Okwulehie.

He started his elementary school in his village but left after two years to Umuoriehi primary school where he finished his Standard two class in 1940 after a brief interval.

His restlessness and hard work led him to Mission Hill, one of the few central schools in Umuahia, where he completed his standard three education and then proceeded to the much sought after Isingwu Central school where he secured his First School Leaving Certificate in 1947.

 

With his primary education now completed, there were so many options to advance in his career and under the counsel of his older brother, the late Rev. Appolos Sam Okwulehie, it was decided that he should proceed to a secondary school. But the difficulty then was that there was just one secondary school in the whole of Umuahia zone; the Methodist College at Uzuakoli, a challenge young Sam never forgot which inspired him to make a difference later in life.

As a result of the huge number of applicants struggling to gain admission in the Methodist College, his family decided not to take chances and he was sent to Onitsha where he got his admission into Providence High School, Onitsha.

Owing to the divine providence that accompanied him, he completed his secondary education and soon got a job at St. George’s College, Enugu, where Mr. C.C. Chiedozie served as the school principal.

For about two years, he did what he cherished, tutoring many students in geography and English language. But when his father fell sick, he was obliged as the last son of the family, to go home and look after him. Unfortunately his father passed unto glory on the 5th of May 1957.

He resumed work at St. George’s College after his dad’s burial rites with new philosophical interpretation to the transiency and ephemerality of life, he was now more than ever determined to leave his footprints in the sands of time.

He was now more than ever before committed to pursue goals far bigger than his individual ambition and he embraced this vision with the certainty of a maestro. Indeed, as divine providence will have it, he met Chief Obafemi Awolowo, then the national leader of Action Group, that same year in 1957. This meeting in Enugu in the presence of other pantheons of Nigerian politics, including Anthony Enahoro, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and a host of other southwestern leaders gave him insights on the bigger pictures of national development.

Chief Sam Okwulehie recalled nostalgically to USAfrica Founder Dr. Chido Nwangwu that “most people in attendance at the historic meeting were blown away by Awolowo’s eloquence and I was captivated by the idea that I, Sam, can make life, even more abundant for my people.”

This Damascus experience imbued in him with so much zeal that he remained unfazed to the prevailing political correctness.

Then it was almost a crime for an Igbo man to associate with the Action Group but together with other like minds, including their leader, the famous S.G Ikoku, they built the pioneer political structure for his new party in Enugu. Their bravery did not go unnoticed at the party headquarters and soon Sam and his two other comrades were offered party jobs with irresistible salaries. In fact, it was thrice his then salary at St. George’s College. Given that his main drive in life was how best to help his people, it fell on Mark Nwobiala from Umuahia, to prevail on him to accept the party job, and soon they proceeded to the Action Group Summer School in Western Nigeria for a six month leadership training after which he was posted back to Umuahia to open up more branches of the Action Group.

He went about his new  party job which so much missionary zeal and devotion that he soon attracted the attention of the then Premier of Eastern region, Dr. Micheal Okpara of the ruling NCNC.  After extensive interactions with the great Okpara, it became so clear to Sam that “the most effective way to accomplish his selfless service to his people was through the only party with a real chance of controlling the instrument of government in the eastern Nigeria.”

Ever so pragmatic and sophisticated, Sam switched to the ruling NCNC and became head of the secretive intelligence unit, office of the Premier of Eastern region, where he again demonstrated his leadership skills. He was soon selected as the NCNC electoral candidate for Chairman of the old Umuahia local government council, which he won repeatedly in 1961, 1962 and 1963. He lost his re-election in 1964 but as a dogged and battle hardened fighter he reclaimed his seat in 1966.

For Sam, politics was not just about political position and thus right from his first tenure as council chairman in 1961, he envisioned and built a modern Timber market in Umuahia with unprecedented lock up shops etc. He leveraged on the friendship with Micheal Okpara to attract the provision of pipe borne water and tarred roads to his community. But his eyes were fixed on providing accessible and quality education to his rural community and so in 1962, through the help of his friend, Micheal Okpara, he got approval to build a pioneering private secondary school, the old Crusader Secondary School, Umuahia.

A feat he achieved from his own pocket at the age of 27!

Thus fulfilling his long held desire to educate and emancipate his people. This school  taught and continues to teach so many generations of students remains a testament to the enduring legacy of Sam Okwulehie. He advocated for healthcare services; and was later to become the first Nigerian to serve on the governing board of Umuahia’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Without a doubt, the soft spoken gentleman left indelible marks and worthy memories reflecting strategic thinking, swiftly animated and fulfilled through action, versatility, industry, diplomacy and tact.

As my Aro elders would have told Mazi Okwulehie: may your lineage endure!                 •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; served as adviser to Houston’s ex Mayor on Africa business and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. He’s completing the 2018 book, titled ‘Mandela & Achebe: Footprints of Greatness.’                                                     +1-832-45-CHIDO (24436}  –  Chido247@Gmail.com

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USAfrica: Petition to rename street opposite Trump Tower the Barack Obama Avenue inches to target

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Evidently, “the thorny, combative paths of incumbent President Donald Trump and those of his immediate predecessor Barack Obama will not only cross but may, soon, permanently face each other”, writes USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu, a few minutes ago Saturday January 5, 2019.

This is as thousands of people continue to sign a new petition to rename part of New York City’s Fifth Avenue after former President Obama.

MLKmandelaachebe.com 

The coordinators of the popular online petition, which has more than 12,414 signatures (as at this Saturday morning), states “We need 15,000” for the renaming of the block between 56th and 57th Streets in Manhattan “President Barack H. Obama Avenue.”

They referenced a recent renaming of a stretch of highway in downtown Los Angeles after Obama, the 44th U.S. president.

“We request the New York City Mayor and City Council do the same by renaming a block of Fifth Avenue after the former president who saved our nation from the Great Recession, achieved too many other accomplishments to list, and whose two terms in office were completely scandal free.”

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Nigeria’s ex-President Shagari, overthrown by Buhari, is dead at 93

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Nigeria’s former president of Nigeria (1979-1983), Alhaji Shehu Shagari, has died at the the age of 93, his grandson Bello Shagari confirmed on Twitter, today Friday December 28, 2018:

“I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after brief illness at the National hospital, Abuja.”

Shagari, elected sixth president under the banner of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was overthrown in a military coup which imposed incumbent/current leader of Nigeria, then Brigadier-General Muhammadu Buhari, as a draconian dictator. By Chido Nwangwu @Chido247

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USAfrica: Buhari-‘Jubril from Sudan’ line on tonight’s U.S.A SNL show

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By Chido Nwangwu @usafricalive @Chido247

The #1 weekend show in the United States of America, Saturday Night Live, has broadcast a humorous news update on Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that he is Buhari and not someone from Sudan.

 By raising the fictional and false rumor last week, Buhari extended the mileage of the tale.

IPOB’s leader Nnamdi Kanu who has championed and focused on the fictional tale that the ‘real’ Buhari had died has millions of Nigerians wondering who to believe in the cascading currents of propaganda.   *Chido is the Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks Houston. 

  

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Exclusive: Court nullification of APGA Senate primary, Chidolue tells USAfrica it’s “a great day in Anambra against impunity.”

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The Senate seat for the Anambra State South zone took a new twist in the Abuja high court, earlier today. 
The billionaire businessman who bagged the All Progressives Grand Alliance ticket through the controversial primary elections, Nicholas Ukachukwu, has seen his electoral plans nullified, unless he secures a favorable appeal.

The court’s decision is in response to the lawsuit/pleadings to the court by one of the APGA candidates for the Senate seat, attorney OJ Chidolue (Oduma Nnewi, the 2nd).

In an exclusive chat with USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu, the plaintiff Dr. Chidolue called it “a great day for justice and democracy in Anambra against impunity. You already know my position remains that  everyone must follow the rule of law in order for us to have a better society. Also, this court, this judge reinforced my confidence in our judicial system.”

The Judge condemned what he assessed to be unethical conduct by the party leadership for giving Nicholas Ukachukwu the certificate of Return dated October 3, 2018 —which was the same day of the alleged controversial, violent and disputed  APGA primaries.
Chidolue,  former executive director of operations and regulatory services (south east – south south zone) of the Nigerian Ports Authority, is from a lineage of public service, successful businessman and a forensic accountant.*For the purposes of full disclosure, since 1994, attorney Chidolue has been a member of the editorial Advisory board of USAfrica The Newspaper and USAfricaonline.com

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USAfrica: Buhari to debate Atiku, Moghalu on January 19; rising Sowore not listed

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@Chido247

As the countdown to the February 2019 presidential elections in Africa’s most populated country continues, Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) have announced the “names of political parties” that they have pre-qualified to participate in the 2019 vice presidential and presidential debates.

The Executive Secretary of the NEDG, Eddie Emesiri, listed the parties as the following: Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

The Presidential debate will hold on Saturday, January 19, 2019 while the VP debate will be in Abuja on Friday, December 14, 2018.

President Buhari, a retired army general who does not warm up to contrary even if helpful views, USAfrica notes, will have the opportunity of counterpoint exchanges with his 2015 former ally Atiku Abubakar, and especially from the  former deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. 

Significantly, the debate excludes Omoyele Sowore, the activist-journalist and young candidate who is among the top canvassers and most travelled candidates (inside and outside Nigeria) in search of votes. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica [Houston] and USAfricaonline.com

https://usafricaonline.com/2018/05/19/usafrica-why-saharareporters-sowores-disrupt-the-nigerian-system-message-is-gaining-momentum-by-chido-nwangwu/

 

 

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Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt among the worst hit.

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The Global Terrorism Index for 2018 has been released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which recorded 3 African countries of Nigeria, Somalia  and Egypt among the worst hit. Iraq’s almost daily blasts placed it at the top, followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan. 

The GTI found that “the global impact from terrorism is on the decline, it also shows that terrorism is still widespread, and even getting worse in some regions.”

The United States is at number 20. 

The Index ranked 138 countries based on the severity of terror attacks throughout 2017, and found that “The total number of deaths fell by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria. The overall trend of a decline in the number of deaths caused by acts of terror reflects the increased emphasis placed on countering terrorism around the world since the surge in violence in 2013.”

“In the Maghreb and Sahel regions of Northern Africa, there has been a resurgence of terrorist activity in the past two years, most notably of al-Qa’ida. As of March 2018 there were more than 9,000 members of terrorist groups active in the region, mostly concentrated in Libya and Algeria,” it noted.

The GTI assessed the total global economic impact of terrorism at almost $52 billion.

USAfricaonline.com notes that the attacks by Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its affiliates mainly in the north east and exponential rise in the violence unleashed by the Fulani herdsmen negatively affected the country. By Chido Nwangwu @Chido247

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