Amidst the political players within NdiIgbo and Nigeria’s political firmament, the name Nnamdi Emmanuel Uba remains a household one, reverberating political undercurrents within our nation’s political sea.
Born on the 14th of December, 1958, in Enugu State to Nze Philip Uba and Dame Chinwe Uba, Andy as he was popularly called had his primary and secondary education in Enugu.
Like his namesake, the Zik of Africa, Nnamdi Uba travelled under the most stringent of conditions to the United States of America in search of a university degree.
In no distant time, Uba established himself as a decent Nigerian residing within the United States. His home then became a place of succour for visiting Nigerians, who till today speak volumes of Uba’s magnanimity, one should note that it was in Uba’s house that the late former First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Stella Obasanjo stayed in, when she fled Nigeria during the dark days of General Abacha’s tyrannical rule.
As a Senior Special Assistant for Special Duties and Domestic Affairs to then President Obasanjo, Uba helped shape the presidency that Obasanjo and other members of the government accorded him immense respect. It was then said that he had the ears of the president, who largely relied on Uba’s counsel on delicate matters. However, unlike the emblematic type of public servant, who then sees such opportunities as one to deify himself as a tingod and sometimes an equal to the almighty God, Uba carried himself with ample humility and diligence that for the first four years of the Obasanjo administration, the mention of his name evoked little or no response, it was indeed a
marvel that a Nigerian could have so much power and yet exercise immense restraint. That was Andy Uba for you.
By 2007, Uba was already warming up to run for political office, the Anambra State Governor’s Office was his next port of call. Assembling one of the best campaign teams in Anambra to first of all slug it out with the known political timber and caliber, here was an Uba pitched against a number of veteran politicians and a political class who did not seem to like him, owing to his undying loyalty to Obasanjo. Not surprisingly, he beat a number of these aspirants to pick the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party, haven campaigned hard and around the state. Not one to take chances, Uba again campaigned vigorously in the entire state, taking cognisance of the challenges besseting Ndi Anambra and mapping an agenda that was to return the state to her lost glories.
Anything short of victory then would have put political pundits to shame, as all indicators pointed towards an Uba win, and win he did, sweeping the polls massively and ensuring an unprecedented win never witnessed before in the annals of Anambra politics.
The events that followed shortly after his win were to test Uba’s strength of character. First was the Supreme Court judgment which ruled that in the light of the fact that the tenure of any governor was a stipulated four years. This meant that though an Uba had won the 2007 election, the election ought not to have been conducted. This raised fears amidst the past occurrences in the state perpetuated by Anambra’s enfant terrible, Chris Uba, younger brother to Andy, that an Uba might not give in easily and that the state was in for another baptism of smoke and fire as it had been in the days of Ngige. Citizens of the state became weary, after all Andy Uba was a sibling to Chris, he would surely be no different from the former.
Uba’s actions proved otherwise, his countenance alone when the judgement was announced to him showed that he was a firm believer in the rule of law. He betrayed no emotions as well as called for calm amongst his teeming supporters who wanted to resist the judgement, displaying an act of statemanship rarely found within the nation’s political actors and with such action he proved naysayers wrong.
Uba immediately moved on, becoming a Senator twice in a row, where he has continued to legislate for the good of his people in Anambra South. An avid worker, Uba’s bills and motions rank him as one of the nation’s foremost legislators. He enjoys the confidence of his colleagues as well as the leadership of the Senate, simply put, Uba’s input in the 8th and 9th Assembly is breathtaking.
However politics isn’t Uba’s only passion, he does not only reek of the game of numbers and the power play that follows it, no, Uba is also a humanist at heart, using his office and high standing in society to reach out to a number of persons majorly the downtrodden.
Uba’s charity which is massive when measured in its scale as well as width has a number of programmes for a variety of people. For the past 15 years, Uba has awarded scholarships to 400 indigent students yearly all over the nation. His foundation, The Philip Uba Foundation, named after his father, Philip Uba also undertakes hospital outreaches where the medical bills of numerous Nigerians are catered for. What however remains outstanding of such gestures is that they are largely done without the theatrics that other Nigerians seem to attach to them, this is definitely not Uba’s style.
At 59, Uba can be said to have lived a much fulfilled life, this is true with his numerous accomplishments in life, matter of fact , his days of glory haven’t all come and Ndi Anambra and Nigeria should still be expectant as this man is not the type to go out without a blaze of glory.
Igboeli Arinze Napoleon writes from Abuja.
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