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I Am In Severe Pains As My Brother And Friend Dr. Austin Nweze Finally Goes Home – Eze

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

“….Dr. Austin will be fondly remembered for the sterling leadership characteristics he exhibited in public and private life and the rich experiences of his selfless nature and exemplary way of life will be of blessed memory.”

PREAMBLE

Life, alas!, is too short.
And as the Bible puts it in James 4:14 …”for what is life? it’s even like a vapor that appears for a little time and vanishes away after a while…”
Ah! Dr. Austin Nweze has gone home.

After paying last respects to two of my very close uncles whose remains were recently laid to rest, in a sniffy I have lost yet another friend, brother and confidant, Dr. Austin Nweze whose body is slated to be lowered to Mother Earth on May 18, 2024. On this day, I am expected to join others for the burial of this vocal, humble and unassuming fellow; an international figure in his own right.

What can I say in the midst of all of these challenges, than to pray God to imbue me and those sorrowing over this loss with the stoic to bear the pains accompanying this period of intermittent grieves and grant eternal rest to Dr. Nweze and all the departed IJN.

In 1981, when activities of Students Unionism seemed to be on a downward trend in our town, Dr. Obasi Obasi, based in America together with late Dr. Austin Nweze, I, late Kosko Onu and few others reignited the fire of the Union until we were separated in pursuit of higher education. And after our graduation, we continued with the pursuit of life, striving to make impacts in society.

A handful of us, by the Grace of God are still around with Dr. Austin Nweze just leaving few months ago and will be buried on May, 18, 2024 all things being equal.

It is with heavy heart that I will be joining others to pay my last respect to this extraordinary human-being whose focus was geared towards striving to turn around the fortunes of our dear Ebonyi State.

From the records, Dr. Nweze Austin (Ph.D), a Managerial Economics and Entrepreneurship expert started out as an entrepreneur in 1990 after a brief stint with New Breed and the President magazines. For almost a decade, he published Successful People magazine, the first Nigerian magazine focused on the promotion of entrepreneurship, which contributed to the recent interest and attention being given to the subject and sector by the government, universities, NGOs, and the private sector.

For over 15 years, he consulted for organizations on organizational transformation/revitalization and developed and delivered training programs for corporate organizations and government establishments in the areas of entrepreneurship development, venture management, leadership, six sigma, media relations, finance, financial planning, retirement planning, marketing, strategy, and soft skills.

He is a workshop speaker and consultant at international conferences, seminars, and symposiums. He has varied experiences in consulting for corporate and government institutions at different levels in business process and improvement.

He is the founding President of Association of Outsourcing Practitioners of Nigeria (AOPN). He is also a member of the Africa Outsourcing Association.

Dr. Austin Nweze is self-motivated, passionate and enthusiastic and a frequent commentator on economic, business, and national issues on both radio, magazines, national newspapers, and TV. He is a panelist and anchors the popular TV issue-based program, PATITO’s GANG.

He contested the April 26, 2011 Governorship election in Ebonyi State, Nigeria, in his desire to provide leadership through service to the people and contribute towards the development and growth of Nigeria as one indivisible nation.

While alive, he taught the MSc, PGD and Seminars classes at the School of Media and Communication (SMC), Pan African University, Lagos, Nigeria. He is also the Principal Consultant, Bellwether Consulting – Training, BPO, Strategy.

Dr Austin Nweze of Pan Atlantic University in his lifetime, was a regular analyst on various radio and television stations.

DR AUSTIN NWEZE AND HIS POSITION ON SOME CRITICAL AND CRUCIAL POLICIES

1. LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AND DR NWEZE S POSTULATION

According to this Great mind, Policy Inconsistency Is The Challenge Of Nigeria’s Economy while in another development, he stated that the re-emergence of forceful change of government in Africa has revived the conversation around the suitable type of government for the continent outside democracy.

In view of the challenges facing most countries in Africa in their choice of type of government they can practice Dr. NWEZE a public policy expert, Faculty Member at the Lagos Business School and Head, Centre for Applied Economics, Pan African University, provides answers to questions about liberal democracy in Nigeria.

Recent events have led to arguments that liberal democracy isn’t working in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. In fact, former President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of those who alluded to that a few months ago.

Explaining Dr nweze alluded that from inception when African nations began to gain their independence, the colonialists prepared an easy way for them to disrupt their growth. Be it Anglophone, Francophone or others, it is the same story. Democracy is alien to us. And I often say that there is a level of literacy that you require for democracy to work.

Illiteracy and poverty do not mix with democracy. If you check out nations that have evolved over the years, you will find that they were able to take care of some basic things before venturing into democracy. Liberal democracy as we know it and as it is being practiced in Nigeria, cannot and has never developed any economy. What it does is to sustain a developed economy.

It is not a means to development. It is a way to maintain already developed economies. You require a certain level of literacy to be able to run your economy. You require a certain level of literacy to understand a policy. Government communicates with the people via policies. Policymakers need to be well-grounded.

DR. NWEZE AND HIS TYPE OF EDUCATION

Going to school is not about education alone. John Adams described two types of education. The first type of education is education which enables you to make a living. The second type is the one that enables you to live. One allows you to go to school, graduate and get a job. The other type is your values, which is more critical. What we have today is a crisis in values. The second type of education that we require is lacking. It is something we need to have. We have no input in the system of government we are practicing.

2.
DR NWEZE REACTS TO THE INSINUATION OR RETHINKING ABOUT DEMOCRACY AND WHY MOST AFRICAN COUNTRIES ARE HAVING CHALLENGES WITH DEMOCRACY

On if we can have a rethink of democracy on the continent, Dr. Nweze answered, “When you are making a system of government for a people, you must consider their heritage. Their culture should be an integral part of the system of government. I will use Botswana as an example. Botswana gained independence in 1966. They had only 22 kilometres of roads at independence. What did they do? Three kingdoms make up Botswana. The name, Botswana, is derived from the various names of the kingdoms.

In history, Cecil Rhodes, who ruled Rhodesia, was a bandit. He wanted to take over Botswana but the three kings of Botswana had a friend who was a Rev Fr. He arranged a meeting to ensure they saw the Queen of England, who was Queen Victoria at the time. They travelled by ship to London to meet with the queen. They told the queen they were being proactive. They didn’t want Rhodes to take over Botswana. They told the Queen of England they wanted to be a protectorate of England. The queen agreed and said Britain would provide security for the three kingdoms.

That was how Rhodes could not conquer Botswana after conquering Zimbabwe, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Zambia. Eventually, when they gained independence, what they did was adopt the process they used in selecting the chiefs who served their communities. They infused it into their electoral process. They embedded that practice so that before you become a politician, the same process would apply. And it has worked for Botswana. At a point, recently, Botswana was the fastest-growing economy in Africa.

They had rapid development, but they still maintained their heritage. What did we do in Nigeria? We abandoned our culture and everything about us and decided to imbibe an alien democratic culture. In our villages, there was a process of selecting village heads back then.

Most of them were former headmasters and other retired civil servants. Can you imagine if that process was taken and brought into the political process? We all have different ways. They removed our culture, our heritage from our democracy. How do you expect it to work? What the colonialists did was to train those who were loyal to them, those they could use and empowered them to do their bidding.

HOW SOME AFRICAN LEADERS WERE SACRIFICED AND THE PLOT AGAINST AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO DEVELOP THEIR OWN SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE

According to Dr. NWEZE, “In The White Malice by Susan Williams, you will find how our post-independent leaders were manipulated. You would find how Patrice Lumumba became a victim and how Mobutu Sesekou came to power.

They empowered them. For $25, 000, they sacrificed Patrice Lumumba. That was what Sesekou took in addition to power. When people say we should stop blaming the colonialists for our leadership challenge, we should keep blaming them for being responsible for our woes.

They didn’t allow us to develop our system of government in line with our culture. The democracy we borrowed is without our culture and our heritage.

DR NWEZE ADVOCACY ON THE TYPE OF GOVERNANCE THAT WOULD HAVE SUIT NIGERIA

Dr NWEZE would have preferred Nigeria to evolve its model of governance, imbibing cultural practices that are peculiar to its own people

According to him, “We don’t need to have the same system everywhere because of cultural differences. Eventually, as we develop as a nation and become more sophisticated and cosmopolitan, we can now have a uniform system of government for everyone.

Sometimes when you meet some people from other parts of the country, you wonder if they share the same values with you. We needed to have infused our culture and heritage into our democracy. Unfortunately, we removed them and we are all learning to climb the ropes and sending our prayers to the banks.

WHY MOST COUNTRIES ARE DEVELOPED AHEAD OF OTHER COUNTRIES

According to Dr. Nweze, Barack Obama famously said Africa is a nation of strongmen instead of strong institutions. Some have argued that for Nigeria and other African countries to succeed, they should have strong men in the mold of benevolent dictators. Does that fit into the homegrown democracy you are calling for?

It is the strongmen that would build strong institutions. Lee Kwan Yew was able to do that because he didn’t abandon his culture and his heritage.

The Chinese are predominant in Singapore. There are Chinese, Indians and Malays in Singapore. Policies are made so that every ethnic group can express itself and work towards a common goal. It worked in Malaysia and Singapore. What helped Singapore was that Lee Kwan Yew borrowed some good aspects of democracy but he didn’t abandon his culture.

He infused everything into the model he created. For instance, one of the studies showed that Confucianism helped to discipline Hong Kong because Lee Kwan Yew borrowed a lot from Hong Kong. That is what people didn’t know. Hong Kong was under the British at the time.

The Hong Kong authorities had the laissez-faire system. Government involvement in business was less than 10 percent. He asked himself: Why did Hong Kong work? One of the things he learnt was Confucianism. It is known as Confucius philosophy, which implies that people should learn discipline.

They should learn to respect the rule of law. Where there is no respect, trouble follows. He also learnt from other countries as well. It was not just about the man, it was about understanding his people, not forgetting their culture and forcing them to be disciplined. When I visited Singapore, I saw all the things the man wrote in his book. I couldn’t even buy chewing gum.

All the talk about Singapore is a holistic thing. About 83 percent of the military live in their own homes. That was how they started fighting corruption. The police, army and paramilitary were made to live in their own homes. As you graduate, you have savings. He wanted them to have about 14 percent savings, but he didn’t start with 14 percent overnight.

He started with two percent. But can we do that in Nigeria? The cab driver that took me from the airport to the hotel, I told him I had heard so much about his country, what is the secret? He said ‘’we are obedient sons of Singapore.’’ When a citizen of a country tells you that, you have to understand that they built a nation. If you cannot pay minimum wage as a small business, government will pay the balance for you after an assessment.

Government did that so that the gap between the private sector and public sector earnings is not much. That is the secret of Singapore. They have strong institutions.

DO DEMOCRACY HAVE OPTION IN AFRICA DR. NWEZE REACTS

What really inspired this report is the re-emergence of coups in Africa. The consensus is that development was provoked by poor leadership offered by African leaders under the guise of democracy. So should there be homegrown alternatives to democracy?

The issue boils down to good governance. The system we borrowed is responsible for leadership failure. African leaders should go back to the basics. They should look at our culture. Most countries that have developed became what they are today because they built their military.

After building that, you now have democracy to sustain that development. There is nowhere in the world where liberal democracy as we pretend to practice in Nigeria and Africa has ever developed a nation. It breeds poverty and other forms of instability. The system that suits you should be developed. The British have a highbred system with a monarch as the head of government for their own democracy.

When America was gaining independence, Alexis Tocqueville told them not to toe the line of the British by adopting their form of government. He said they should make their constitution, place it on a gold seat and worship the constitution. That was what America did. Sweden has its brand of democracy. During the 2014 National Conference, I proposed a collegiate system where decisions are made because of the way we are in the country.

DR NWEZE SUGGESTS COLLIGATE GOVERNANCE AS A WAY OUT FOR NIGERIA POLITICAL QUAGMIRE

In a collegiate system, the six regions can form a government. All the parties should have the same number of persons contesting for a position. These six people are the ones that will become President and Vice. All will contest and win the election, when you win, you decide among yourselves who should take the first shot. And you all have a six-year tenure.

If you take the first shot and do one year, you will hand over to the next person without any ceremony. Others will become ministers. The one who will become President for that one year handles the military. It can be scaled down to the state.

The collegiate system will work for us. We can give it a try without forgetting our culture because the selection process is more important than the position you occupy. The process that brings you to power must be excellent if you must be called “His Excellency.’’

Obasanjo’s postulation on the perceived failure of liberal democracy was cited earlier. Former President Goodluck Jonathan also followed suit last Tuesday, blaming post-independence leaders for failing to build a nation…
When things happen, you must begin to think deeper to find out not the symptoms but the root causes. Nigerians made fundamental mistakes. Our people didn’t allow the British to stay with us and inculcate in us some of those values required to build a good civil service system. We were in a hurry to throw them away and we ended up throwing the baby and the bathwater away.

That was a fundamental mistake. We were even lucky. In Algeria and Tunisia, the French burnt the files they used in governing them. They did it so that Africans wouldn’t have records of anything. We can blame our past leaders, but what lessons are we learning? What are we going to do today? Is it too late in the day to go back to the fundamentals? If it is not, let’s start with our culture.

NIGERIA MISSED HER OPPORTUNITY TO BE GREAT:

We had an opportunity in the last elections, but we missed it. We wouldn’t be discussing this today if we didn’t miss the opportunity the elections presented. Unfortunately, we missed the opportunity by allowing questionable characters to take over power.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DEATH OF THIS GEM AND PREPARATIONS FOR HIS BURIAL:

According to the report titled, “Managerial Economist, Nweze Passes Away” published by the New Telegraph of May 14, 2024, “The family of Osuji Nweze Njoku of Umu Orji Etiti, Amemu Ubusu in Ohaozaza Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has announced the passing of their son, Dr. Austin Nweze. He passed away on January 2. Dr. Nweze was a renowned managerial economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who made significant contributions to the development of entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

The family has announced that burial rites will take place on May 17, 2024, with a Christian Wake by 2pm at Dr. Austin Nweze’s compound, at Onu Mmaliegu, before PrimeGate Hotel, Amata Uburu while on saturdy, 18 May, 2024, the body will leave Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki for his country home, Amemu Uburu.

His family, friends, and colleagues will celebrate his life and legacy on May 17 and 18, 2024, as they lay him to rest in his hometown, Amemu Uburu. Funeral services will take place at 10.am at Central School, Amemu Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government, Ebonyi State.

TRIBUTES BY ASSOCIATES

(1)

Farewell Dr Austin Nweze by Deborah Movoriq

“When I first began my MSc studies at the School of Media and Communications, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, I had very little interest in Financial Journalism.

I wanted to delve into other journalism beats. I didn’t really like numbers, statistics, and neither did I have the passion for interpreting them into news stories that the public can easily digest.

Dr Nweze noticed this and made me the course representative for my class stream. I had to ensure our Business/Financial Journalism assignments and paper works got to him on time.

I also had to ensure we successfully hosted our field trip and news talk show event, which were crucial to our program.

By the end of my studies, I could unpack Financial reports, spot issues, draft questions, and conduct interviews on them.

He made Financial Journalism feel like a walk in the park 🙌

Dr Nweze made me feel proud of being a Financial journalist and I went on to conduct my thesis on the Gender Gap in Financial Journalism Reportage in Nigeria.

My career journey in the financial newsroom will not be complete without mentioning Dr Nweze.

Thank you for being an amazing teacher.

Rest in Peace, sir! ” Deborah Movoriq

(2)

Austin Nweze: The passion of a Patriot By Prof Patrick Okedinachi Utomi

In many ways he is the renaissance man that sought knowledge to use it to serve. Serve he did all the years I knew him with his signature smile that proclaimed the inner peace from which his sense of service derived.
The news of the passing of Dr Austin Nweze came as a shock to many partly because he had done so much giving and so little taking it was natural to hope for a long life to receive recompense. But Heaven has rewards we cannot even contemplate.

I have known Austin for decades. When we first met he was navigating the Journalism and Publisher phase of his career. Then there came the years of Personal Financial Planning. Working with the iconic executive Felix Akpe he helped many, including me, to learn from the richest man This would prepare the path for the public intellectual.
When I initiated the TV series Patito’s Gang 25 years ago Austin was a section Anchor, moderating the Parliament segment. He would become one of the consistent faces on the Gang all through these 25years.

He would join me at the Lagos Business School when I was Director of the Centre for Applied Economics, as Administrator of the Centre.

Grit flowed from him as he worked tirelessly at his many pursuits. You could count on his locality and honest patriotism at every point.
In his closing chapter we worked together in the Bug Tent to set a compass for Nigeria’s political journey.
Austin meant many good things to many people.

May the Angels of God escort him to paradise.” Patrick Okedinachi Utomi
Utomi, a Professor at the Kagos Business School, is Founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership, Convener of The Big Tent and Chairman of the NCFront

(3)
Dr Austin Nweze was indeed all these and more. Like the bright burning candle he was, he regrettably burnt off too early. But , he who God loves most, he soon calls home. Otherwise Austin shouldn’t leave so early. But smile on with easy strides towards heaven, saved from the stress that this world was becoming more for you. Rest in great peace, dear Austino. Till we meet to part no more, for ever; in due time.

(4)
.Tribute to Dr. Austin Ogi Jones” Nweze By Ikechukwu Kalu

In the quiet moments of reflection, we remember a man of exceptional virtue, Dr. Austin Nweze, whose life’s work at the Lagos Business School and Pan Atlantic University has left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of many.

Dr. Nweze was not merely an academician; he was a cornerstone of wisdom, a mentor who nurtured countless minds, and a friend whose warmth and generosity knew no bounds. His contributions to the field of education and his dedication to the evangelism department of our church are testaments to his profound character and commitment to service.

Our paths crossed in the sacred halls of worship, blossomed into a friendship that spanned over three decades and grew into a bond akin to family. Side by side, we embarked on life’s journey, celebrating marriages, sharing our first year of wedded bliss under one roof, and supporting each other through every triumph and trial.

Ogi Jones, as we affectionately called him, was a man of great faith and love—a brother not by blood but by choice. His departure leaves a void that echoes with the laughter and lessons of a life well-lived.

As we bid farewell to a soul so deeply interwoven into the fabric of our lives, we take comfort in the cherished memories and the legacy of kindness he leaves behind. Dr. Nweze’s spirit will continue to guide us, his wisdom will remain a beacon, and his memory will forever be a treasure in our hearts.

Rest in peace, Ogi Jones. Your absence is felt, but your presence will always be a guiding light in our lives. We will miss you dearly, but we find solace in the fact that you are resting in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(6)

Tribute to Dr. Austin Nweze, Editorial Board Chairman of Accomplish Magazine By Remi Diagbare (Mrs.),

Dr. Austin Nweze was a remarkable man. He took me under his wings at a critical time – shortly after I floated the idea of a media-based business website. His selfless counsel and guidance were, simply, outstanding!

He was my lecturer in one of the business courses at Pan African University (PAU), where I was pursuing a Master in Mass Communications degree programme. It was during one of his lectures that the seed to establish an online magazine was nurtured.

I shared the idea with him with enthusiasm later and he was pleased to offer counsel on several issues pertaining to establishing the online magazine and the things I should look out for in order to succeed, based on his hands-on experience as a publisher.

Seeing how important my success was to him, as he was norm with other students, I decided to invite him to chair the editorial board of the magazine and he gladly accepted. He told me that serving in that capacity would enable him to see the idea blossom truly.

Unfortunately, the online magazine did not take form until last year, but he never lost faith in the project and kept encouraging me not to give up on my dream. Alas, when the magazine was launched in July 2023, he was elated and immediately agreed to come on board as its Editorial Board Chairman.
His contributions were invaluable and his advice, during our monthly Editorial Board Meetings, has been the fulcrum on which Accomplish Magazine exists, as a magazine of excellence for discerning and accomplishments-driven individuals.

Team Accomplish, as we call our close-knit team is already missing his wise, knowledge-based counsel. Personally, I will miss his smiles and assurances when nothing seems to be working.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Remi Diagbare (Mrs.),
Publisher, Accomplish Magazine.

DR AUSTIN NWEZE IMMORTALIZED

To the Glory of our Great God it gladdens my heart to announce that Dr. Austin NWEZE have been immortalized

According to Dr. Joseph C. Ibekwe the President of Fled Institute, “In Memory of Dr. Austin Nweze, Fled International Leadership Institute, Abuja has renamed one of it’s Centres to be called:

*Dr. Austin Nweze Centre for Business & Social Entrepreneurship* .

The memory of good people must be preserved.

Further report on
Fled International Leadership Institute

Training & Nurturing Africa’s Public Leaders.

Austin Nweze CentreHome>Austin Nweze Centre

Austin Nweze Centre for Business & Social Entrepreneurship

The Centre
The Centre for Business and Social Enterprise Development, CBSED, at Fled International Leadership Institute is renamed as Dr. Austin Nweze Centre for Business & Social Entrepreneurship – ANCBSE.

It is in memory of late Dr. Austin Nweze, who before his death in January 2024, was an advocate of entrepreneurial leadership in Nigeria, even while he lectured at the Lagos Business School of the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria. He was also a visiting Faculty member at Fled Institute.

Activities
The Centre promotes entrepreneurial education and the development of social entrepreneurship.

The Austin Nweze Centre hosts training programs, workshops, seminars, and trade shows to empower small business and promote social entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

It carries out research in support to MSMEs, Non-governmental Organizations, and the Social Sector.

It engages in public discourse on the challenges of small businesses and how they contribute to social-economic development of communities.

The Austin Centre is one of the five existing Centres at Fled International Leadership Institute.

Funding Support
Support for the work at the Centre comes from private donors, Fled Endowment for Leadership Education, and consultancy services it renders to the public.

Individuals and organizations that wish to support the Centre, please contact:

The Director

Dr. Austin Nweze Centre for Business & Social Entrepreneurship

Fled International Leadership Institute

Plot MF 57 Cadastral Zone

Karu Site, Abuja – Nigeria

Tel/Whatsapp: +234-708 015 7176

Email: austincentre@flededu.org

ABOUT US
FLED International Leadership Institute delivers quality programs through our experienced multidisciplinary team of international faculty.

CONCLUSION

It is not easy writing on an international figure like Dr. Austin NWEZE because you may not know what angle you will pick as his case is like that of the proverbial elephant with the seven blind men. Blind Men Touching an Elephant is an ancient Indian proverb that is well known in China. Make an overall judgment of something on the basis of one-sided viewpoint; take a part for the whole; a blind man feels an elephant, only touching some part of it, and concluding what the elephant is like.1 Dis, 2023

As I bid my brother and friend goodbye, I pray God to grant his gentle soul eternal rest, I wish to thank family members, associates and friends who have done all that was possible to accord this departed giant a befitting burial.

Adieu Austin as we will surely meet again not to leave ourselves anymore.

Rest and continue to o rest with our Lord

Dr. Austin will be fondly remembered for the sterling leadership characteristics he exhibited in public and private life and the rich experiences of his selfless nature and exemplary way of life will be of blessed memory.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Port Harcourt based Media Consultant & can be reached on: ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com or 08022049770.

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