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|Chief C.C. Onoh Is Dead, Rest In Peace, Amen! by Ndipe(m): 12:17am On May 06, 2009|
Christian Chukwuma Onoh: His peoples champion gone
Written by Ikeddy Isiguzo, Chairman, Editorial Board
Wednesday, 06 May 2009
THEY did not call him Oka Ome for nothing – he is the one who does as he says. Christian Chukwuma Onoh, who passed on Tuesday, was many things to many people. Those who try to minimise his horizon say he is a Wawa irredentist. He would gladly accept the title.
He was the greatest champion of his people and had no apologies to make about an almost lack of concern about matter further from Enugu, except for their bearing to the affairs of Enugu people, though nothing in this meant that he was not aware of the ways of the world.
Born to wealth, yet living a Spartan live, Onoh was a moving history of Enugu, the city, the people, their culture and their lives. He lived and died for Enugu, and it was something he could never have been ashamed of, or pretend it was an unworthy cause.
Enugu and parts that finally became Enugu State should be grateful to a man whose unique politics was about the protection of his people.
You either liked his style or hated it, but there was never any doubt about where this man stood on any issue. He dared anyone to fault his arguments which he gave life by all the means available to him, and they were many, loved and hated by many, possibly in equal proportions.
Onoh was born into wealth, real wealth. At 30, he found out that he was a millionaire because his father had left investments worth millions of pound for him. The investment were willed to him, with the trustees told that the young Onoh had to be of that age to be let into the secret.
There was also a myth to the Onoh wealth. It is generally said, and he made no attempts to refute it, that he practically owed half of Enugu metropolis, no matter how you drew the map. Onoh made no attempts to deny this.
His fight about the sanctity of Enugu, many say, were about him retaining the family wealth. But he fought it gallantly, speaking times and times about the imperative of Enugu State, a part for the Wawa. The struggle took more than three decades, during which Onoh fought anyone he thought was despoiling the resources of Enugu.
He trained as a lawyer, became a politician, an author, and a very wealthy man of influence. Most of his books could not have been published by anyone, they were mostly accounts of how some governors looted Enugu State. It is a wonder that those he accused never pursued any serious legal cases against him.
No governor escaped his attacks. He was always able to get all the documents for his books, detailing the looting of Enugu State.
The many battles of the great Onoh included the ones with his fellow Wawa man, Chief Jim Nwobodo for the governor’s seat in 1983. The fight went all the way to the Supreme Court where Onoh won, only for the military to abbreviate his administration three months later.
Before then, he had one of the saddest moments of his life when his daughter who had trained as a lawyer died in the plane crash in Enugu, on her return journey from abroad. Chief Onoh was inconsolable, not even the reminder that he was the Governor could stop this public display of his affection for his daughter.
The other battle was with his famous son-in-law, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu who married his daughter Bianca, without Onoh’s blessings. The wrangle went on for years, but they reconciled with years.
A debilitating stroke slowed Chief Onoh down. His public appearances became fewer, his contributions to public debates shorter. He soldiered on, and never wasted a chance to speak up on any issue.
Chief Onoh told the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa human rights tribunal that President Olusegun Obasanjo hated Igbo. His example was the alleged importation of antiquated machines for the Enugu coalmines and the refusal to build a steel mill in Enugu though there was an agreement to that effect in the 60s.
In 2005, he rejected a national honour from President Obasanjo. His reason was piercing. He said after his fight that resulted in the democracy that Obasanjo was enjoying, Obasanjo could not have awarded him a lower honour than the military officers he gave higher honours. According to Onoh, the military that he was against should not be so honoured, especially above him.
Chief Onoh was brutally frank. You were never in doubt where you stood with him, and he was one to find a peg for his reasoning, something that only a fecund mind like his could sustain.
When the former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani sought his support for his second term agenda, Chief Onoh was said to have told him to return to Government House Enugu and see if anyone from Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to then had served a second term. Nnamani got his second term and their relationship was never the same again.
Yet we would see all manners of people assembly at his funeral – some to resurrect their political lives, others to wax lines with barely veiled references to the fact that they were on line to succeed a man whose shoes were not just too big, but who made sure that nobody knew the size of the shoes.
Chief Onoh would be greatly missed. He was around long enough for the Wawa people to relish his leadership, his unflagging support for the cause of his people and the promotion of the Wawa in all that he did.
His demise further fragments the numbers of those who fought for the country’s independence and lived through Nigeria’s decline from the high hopes to today’s wishes for another set of leaders who can dream and have thoughts for the good of their people.
|Re: Chief C.C. Onoh Is Dead, Rest In Peace, Amen! by chisomquee: 12:04pm On May 07, 2009|
great man,may his soul rest in peace.
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