Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, An Emerging Igbo Leader
The Igbo today are political orphans. They are as scattered as the Jews were and rudderless without a rallying point in the form of an emblematic Igbo leader. Since the departure of the charismatic Igbo leader to the place yonder, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, the vacuum of leadership of Ndi Igbo has been left unfilled. Some Igbo personalities have since been jostling to win the hearts of the Igbo people by exploiting their vulnerabilities. But their attempts have always failed as their reputation precedes them. Ndi Igbo can see through their grandstanding, sophistry and ego nationalism.
With expurgation of marginalia, and without sounding controversial, the Yoruba have a leader in Bola Tinubu, the Hausa/Fulani have a leader in Muhammadu Buhari. Who is the Igbo leader? This is perhaps a question that will result in a profusion of mental elasticism and summary disagreement as many pretenders to Igbo leadership will come to the fore. It is important to state that the lack of a leadership figure for the Igbo is to a large extent not their fault; rather it is the fault of the Igbo leadership pretenders who are propelled by greed and ego. The Igbo people are yet to find a worthy successor to Ojukwu.
The situation is worsened by Igbo leaders who are poised, prodded and buoyed by their selfish interests. The collective interests of the Igbo are hardly an issue of consideration for those who are seen as Igbo leaders. This underscores the failure of the Igbo to mushroom, groom and grow an Igbo political party of national importance and reckoning. Inter alia, the Igbo have been unable to appropriate any major political party in Nigeria just as the Hausa and the Yoruba have appropriated the PDP and the APC respectively. By appropriation, I mean converting an existing political party and making it their own. The failure of this as well is as a result of the selfish interests of Igbo leaders. I wish to make it clear that my use of “Igbo leaders” is blanket, and not that the Igbo have endorsed any leader.
However, the wide discourse of who emerges the “Igbo Leader” is far too large for me to make anything like a comprehensive taxonomy and most of the recent attempts to do so by most prominent Igbo writers have not done it well. I do beat my chest that I have something to say on the matter of who emerges the Igbo leader after the demise of great Odumegwu Ojukwu. I will base my opinions on the arguments, advanced by various prominent Igbo figures and media houses about the most qualified to take up the mantle of Igbo leadership and advance the course of the Igbo agenda. Of the various names on this category, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah has the strongest argument, so it would be cool to start with him.
Just like Odumwgwu Ojukwu, Ifeanyi Ubah started displaying his concern for the Igbo agenda at a young age. Measured by any yardstick, Ifeanyi Ubah is a resounding Success both as a man, as a leader, businessman and a politician. Though like a lot of Anmabrarians, he started with nothing, but from an early age, he was never afraid of taking on the odds.
Born on September 3, 1971 to the humble, working class family of Mr. & Mrs. Alphonsus Ubah of Umuanuka in Otolo Nnewi. Being born to parents who where both teachers, it would be easy to assumed that his puritanical attitudes were as a result of his parents conducts as he was raised on a steady diet of maxims, grounded in strong evangelism that guided his conducts.
It’s no longer news that Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah is quintessential philanthropist, a true patriot and a reliable democrat.
As a philanthropist, driven by a desire to give back to society, he established the Ifeanyi Ubah Foundation, which gives students free university education, drills boreholes for communities, installs electricity transformers, repairs and constructs roads, provides free fuel to the popular “Okada” riders and bus drivers every Monday in all his filling stations.
He is building an ICT Centre for the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and has built and donated a student hostel at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He has built and fully equipped with state-of-the-art tech a 160 seating capacity ICT centre for the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna. He is also building a 3,000 seat Catholic Cathedral for the Nnewi Diocese. He was a lead donor in refurbishing St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Umuanuka Otolo, Nnewi, his home church, and has generously donated N60 million for the acquisition of the Bishop’s Court for the Anglican Diocese of Awka. He has also materially sup- ported bishops and other clergymen of various religious denominations across Anambra State. He has distributed kerosene to all the regions of Nigeria - including areas in turmoil – in order to alleviate the plight of the poor masses, who would have no access to these products otherwise.
As a true patriot, we cannot forget in a hurry the uncommon patriotic act of Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah during the recent fuel strike when he decided to put the nation above self, when he decided to sacrifice profit in other to alleviate the pains and sufferings of millions of Nigerians, when he stood in the gap against the wishes of his co-marketers even if the heavens tooter and the earth reels. He reborn the hope of Nigerians and renewed her dream again with an uncommon disposition and rare patriotism.
As a reliable democrat, he stood by his country and by the president, the then President Goodluck Jonathan. It is democratic to support the president insofar as he efficiently serves the country. Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah stood by the President because he believes that the president stood with the country which is true.
As the peoples General, he led the biggest movement to carry on the transformation gospel by forming the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN
That singular act of forming TAN was highly democratic and patriotic of a Nigerian who believed and stood by his President. He has indeed set the stamp for the future of the Nigerian democratic elections. Recall that before the advent of TAN, no group of people with a singular purpose, unflinching conviction, unwavering passion and an indomitable will, have ever come together to form a national alliance and drumbeat for either transformation or change. It would also be worthy to note here that the Change Ambassadors of Nigeria, CAN was also a model after TAN.
Nigeria is much more than a geographical fact; it is a political and moral fact. As a man of high morals, who believed that “all must be secured if any is to be preserved”, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah is a countrys-Keeper, a reliable democrat by all standard. The difference between him and most other stakeholders is that while he is proud of Nigeria for what he has done for Nigeria, most stakeholders are proud of Nigeria for what Nigeria has done for them or made them to be.
The question is: if Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah is a countrys-keeper, why won’t the Igbo give him the chance to become the Igbos-keeper? However, above are some of his strong points which made him impeccable and to a great extent the most qualified to lead the Igbo agenda but the media is still agog with so many scandals about the person of Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah which he is yet to offer a comprehensive defense or valid explanations to them.
Various media houses has alleged that Ifeanyi Ubah is amongst the men who are sitting on stolen money as wealth; parading themselves as successful entrepreneurs and acquired chieftaincy titles to create an appearance of nobility to cover their criminal paths. They alleged that Capital Oil and Gas Company, Ifeanyi Uba’s company defrauded the Federal Government of Nigeria of the sum of N23bn by pretending to have imported and sold 538, 74 million liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) during the 2011 fiscal year through 26 transactions. This fraud of a great magnitude was discovered by the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payment Auditors and consequently reported to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) for investigation; a decision which has gotten Ifeanyi Uba a convenient home in Police custody at the Ikoyi prison in the past couple of days.
In another development, most media houses alleged that Ifeanyi Ubah is involved in an act of economic sabotage that has resulted in huge loss of public revenue because there have been several questions about his pedigree as a ‘Businessman’ and available answers have suggested that he is a Scammer wanted in Congo DRC for fleecing the late President, Laurent-Désiré Kabila to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. This might appear unverifiable, but his modus operandi as a ‘Businessman’ since he suddenly surfaced on the Nigerian business landscape has made positive consideration of this submission reasonable and also judging from the fact that his 40th birthday was lavish as over 200 pages of adverts worth millions of naira heralded the celebration when his indebtedness to Nigerian banks has grown to about N70 billion and his name has featured prominently on the list of major loan defaulters who almost crumble the Nigerian financial services sector.
In yet another development, is the fact that so many other prominent media including ThisDay Newspapers has alleged that Mr. Cosmas Maduka has lost a whooping some of $130million to his antics. Ifeanyi Uba reportedly went to the Coscharis Motors boss, dazzling him with a fake business deal in the oil industry. Cosmas Maduka fell for the deal, approached a bank for $130million loan and gave it to Uba. Cosmas is biting his fingers now as Uba has blow all the money. We learnt that Cosmas has also taken his case to the police Special Fraud Unit. Given to vagaries of life, Ifeanyi Uba acquired for himself a Private Jet (Embracer Legacy 650) valued at about N4.8b when his debts to the Banks are still outstanding. To many, this did not make any economic sense, but for Uba’s intent of eliciting societal acceptance and validation, projecting pseudo-wealthy could be positively rationalised.
The recent development and allegation to the person of Dr. Ubah which he has not duly refuted was the case of massive rigging he carried out in Ihiala during the last National Assembly election for which the people of Ihiala trying to express their anger, carried a mock coffin with an inscription “Ifeanyi Ubah is dead” round the streets of Ihiala chanting the war songs with palm fronts.
Though all these are allegations but Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah has not had any comprehensive defense for them and one wonders if he will be accepted by Ihiala people who claimed he is dead.
However, juxtaposing his positive achievements with his negative allegations, its left for the true sons of the Igbo land to dig the truth of Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah as in my view, he should emerge as the new Igbo Leader.
Chibuzo Ikwuka, Writes from Okija