By Lady Monica Chidinma Eze,
I join the indefatigable, the Peoples Governor and the future of a better and greater Nigeria, Engr. David Nweze Umahi and the entire associates and friends of Nigeria most humble and loyal Deputy Governor in the annals of governance in Nigeria, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe to celebrate the birthday of this great son of God on this auspicious day 17th June 2021 as he celebrates his 51st birthday
Having monitored this enigma for aome years, I must confess that I envy his sense of humility and commitment to the greatness and betterment of Ebonyi State and her people. This is a man whose life defines humility and loyalty.
As if describing the special attributes of this unassuming, indefatigable and humble son of Ebonyi State, renowned Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu (533 BC), credited with founding Taoism, noted: “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others, and you can become a leader among men.”
When I was appointed Technical Assistant on Media in 2016 by the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Apostle Dave Nweze Umahi, and was introduced to Dr Kelechi Igwe, the deputy governor, I wondered how someone so educated and occupying the second highest office in a state could be so humble. It was then that I took special interest in him and found out the traits that separate him from his peers. I began to appreciate the words of John Ruskin, when he stated: “I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.”
Dr Igwe, an astute and consummate politician, have being the Deputy-Governor of Ebonyi State since May 29, 2015 when he was first sworn in. This politician who enjoys the trust and confidence of his boss, Governor Umahi, was born on June 17, 1970, to the family of Chief Francis Igwe of Onu-Nwakpu, Ndufu-Alike in Ikwo Local Government Area. He attended Umunneato Central School, Oun-Nwakpu, Ndufu-Alike, where he secured his First School Leaving Certificate before he went to Abakaliki High School (former Presbyterian Secondary School, Presco) in 1988. He obtained both the General Certificate of Education (GCE) and Senior Secondary School Certificate same year. An alumni of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State (1989-1993); from there he attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos (1994-1995). He went to University of Jos where he obtained an M Sc in Human Resources Management, and in 2015 he obtained Ph D in Law.
Dr Kelechi Eric Igwe was a member of Governing Council, University of Jos, between 2010 and 2011. He also served as special assistant, Operations and Mobilisation to the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Presidential Campaign in 2007; special assistant to the Minister of State for Industry between 1999 and 2002; Principal Partner, Kellys Chambers, from 2002 until his election as Deputy-governor of Ebonyi State. He was also personal assistant to the National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abuja from 1998 to 1999. A member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Institute of Credit and Risk Management of Nigeria, Igwe also served as executive director, Dr Sam Egwu Presidential Campaign. He is married to elegant and beauiyful Lady Nnenna Igwe, and they are blessed with children.
JOURNEY TO GOVERNMENT HOUSE
John Stott, one of the known philosophers of our time, could be attributed to have defined the force behind the rise of Igwe to his present status. He said: “The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love; not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.”
But in case Scott didn’t satisfy you, see how renowned businessman and philanthropist, Bill Gates, captured it: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Thousands of Ebonyians who have benefitted one way or the other from this child of God could attest to the fact that Dr Igwe lives and loves the art of giving, which is the hallmark of his boss, Governor Umahi. The partnership of these two great sons of Ebonyi is the testimony of the great feats and remarkable changes currently taking place in the state.
He has represented his boss and the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Umahi on different foras and events creditably and professionally.
UMAHI, IGWE AND 2019 PROJECT
Contrary to the experiences of most Deputy-governors, both in the past and present in Nigeria, on how they are treated shabbily and reduced to nothingness; but, in Ebonyi State, the story is totally different. In this regard, Umahi, the wonder working governor of Ebonyi, in support and approval of the inputs of his supportive deputy have declared to the entire world, that he is happy with his deputy, Kelechi Igwe; and would pick him as his running mate during the 2019 gubernatorial elections.
Explaining further, the people’s governor – during a civic reception to honour Igwe organised by the people of Ikwo-Noyo, Igwe’s home clan at Onuebonyi Echara in Ikwo Local Government Area – described Igwe thus: “Igwe has been very special; he has been extremely loyal and honest. He has assisted me greatly within these three years in office. I am lucky to have Igwe as deputy,” adding: “His position is not negotiable, and by God’s special power, both of us will continue together beyond 2019.”
The governor who can be described as the modern Emancipator of Ebonyi – considering his relentless efforts to develop every area of the state during the event – stated: “In Dr Igwe’s honour, I shall extend the 18-kilometre road that traverses the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), to the rice mill in the area. Work has already commenced on this project since March, 2018.”
The Governor also appealed to Ikwo people to re-elect both members of the Ebonyi House of Assembly from the area in 2019, saying that both had garnered useful experience that would help the lawmaking process.
The governor was given the traditional title of Okwuoha I (peoples’ benefactor) of Ikwo, in addition to a bus, a horse, several tubers of yam, among gifts during the reception.
Dr Igwe, an astute and charismatic politician and a seasoned administrator with an amiable personality, is a phenomenal reformist whose cult-followership stature among the youth and God-fearing people puts him as a leader to be admired, watched and associated with. Indeed, he has become legendary for showing limitless benevolence to the downtrodden, associates, colleagues and practical display of immense love and compassion to everyone that has crossed his path in life. I thank God for allowing me cross the golden path of this great son of Ebonyi State. I will like to conclude this by quoting Rick Warren: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.” And John Maxwell, posits that “Authority is not the power a boss has over subordinates, but rather the boss’s ability to influence subordinates to recognise and accept that power.”
As you celebrate your birthday today, I pray God to continue to guide, guard and grant your more fruitful years for better services to humanity
Happy birthday, your Excellency,
Happy birthday, most humble and loyal deputy-governor in Nigeria!
Happy birthday to one of the most educated Deputy-Governors in Nigeria.
God bless you for us and grant you better and greater years ahead.
Lady Monica Ada Chidinma Eze Ex TA on Media to Governor Umahi and President of DUNAETA and could be reached thru email@example.com 09155563484