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Preserving relics of the good old days

A generation of Nigerians, including those born in the ’80s, may not know that there was a time life was enjoyable in Nigeria. This set of people see the current situation in the country as how it had always been. So, for them, “there’s nothing wrong about the prevailing culture of anything goes.”

But, a group, Awka Museum Foundation (AMF), believes that things should not just be allowed that way. They insist that concerted effort should be made to preserve relics of the good old years, including documenting them.

Last week, some members of AMF visited former governor of Old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, at his Amechi Awkunanaw, Enugu country home, where they disclosed that they would be exhibiting the elder statesman in the museum.

Leader of the delegation, Arthur Harris-Eze, stated that their mission “is to build a befitting museum in Awka to mentor the young ones to know that at one point or the other in this our society, this our country was great, because unfortunately, most of the generation they now refer to as G-zs or something, people who were born after a certain time have never experienced Nigeria.

“They don’t know that this country was at a time lending money to the World Bank. They don’t know that at a certain point our money was greater than dollar.

“They don’t know that this country at a certain time sat down and had a development plan for 10 to 20 years. So, we need to mentor them that there was a point when this country was great and there must be a point where it becomes great again.”

Noting that Nigeria’s history is replete with heroes and heroines, Harris-Eze spotted Nwobodo as one of the exemplary leaders of Nigeria.

He said that there had never been any governor who was able to leave legacies during his tenure as Nwobodo.

He said: “No governor has put on ground the number of industries, the number of academic institutions like he did. Unfortunately, the Nigerian factor has made it impossible for these things to thrive, they’ve all gone.

“So, we need to mentor the young people to leave all these mkpuru mmiri (methamphetamine), to leave all these yahoo, to leave all these fast-money and go back to the drawing board. I know that there is a history for them to learn from and move on.”

The group said that they intend to write an authorised biography of Nwobodo which will cut across everything about him, his family, his early days, his governance, philosophy, his leadership style and all he put together, as a sportsman, as a man at the helm of affairs, at every point Nigeria achieved all sorts of glory.

Responding, Nwobodo said he was very proud of the name Anambra State because the state he governed was an outstanding one in many ways even up till the moment. He declared that the state had everything going for it, including major personalities in Igboland.

“The great Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe was not the Zik of Anambra, not the Zik of Nigeria, but the Zik of Africa. Everybody knew Zik and when Zik spoke, everybody knew that Zik was very educated, a decent man.

“I got close to him that whatever I’m today was as a result of my study and closeness to Zik. He was a unique man. Zik suffered, studying in an African university, at Lincoln University and he went and took the best out of the university.

Nwobodo revealed that because of where he hails from, some people doubted he would perform as governor in 1979, saying that but with people like Zik who believed in him, he was able to achieve what people now refer to as his legacies.

The former governor urged the group to ensure that they assembled enough artifacts to equip the museum. “I like what you are doing and I encourage you to continue. I admire what you are doing and I would like you to continue,” Nwobodo said.

Members of the delegation, including veteran journalist and columnist, Maxim Uzoatu, all relived their memories of the time Nwobodo contested elections, won, ruled and was reportedly rigged out in the 1983 second term election.




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