Dr. Kelechi E. Igwe: 48 Garlands to the Most Humble and Loyal Deputy Governor
By Monica Ada Chidinma Eze
Hurray! Hurray!! Hurray o!!! To the glory of almighty God my boss and friend, Dr. Kelechi Eric Igwe the amiable Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State is 48 as I plead with all my friends, fans, admirers and associates all over the world to join me to celebrate this man whose life defines what humility and loyalty is all about.
Having this unassuming, indefatigable, humble and great son of Ebonyi State in mind, one of the best Chinese philosophers, Lao-Tzu also known asLaozi or Lao-Tze credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism who died in 533 BC described the special attributes of Dr Igwe thus and I quote,”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 by my uncle and Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Apostle Dave Nweze Umahi as one of his Technical Assistants on Media in 2016 and was introduced to Dr Kelechi Igwe the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, I asked myself if someone so educated and occupy the second highest office in a State can be this humble. It was then that I took special interest on this man whose life truly redefines humility and loyalty. I can now understand why John Ruskin stated, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.”
Dr Kelechi Eric Igwe an astute and consummate politician was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on May 29, 2015. This core politician who has the trust and confidence of his boss, Governor Dave Nweze Umahi was born on June 17, 1970 to the family of Chief Francis Igwe of Onu-Nwakpu, Ndufu Alike in Ikwo Local Government. He attended the Umunneato Central School, Oun-Nwakpu Ndufu-Alike, where he graduated with First school leaving certificate and finished his post primary school at Abakaliki High 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 in Anambra State (1989-1993) and attended the Law School, Lagos (1994-1995). He further attended University of Jos where he obtained his M.Sc in Human Resources Management and in 2015 obtained his Ph.D in Law
Dr Igwe was a member of Governing Council, University of Jos between 2010 and 2011. He also served as Special Assistant, Operations and Mobilization 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 the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State. He was also the Personal Assistant to the National Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Abuja from 1998 to 1999.
He once served as Executive Director, Dr. Sam Egwu Presidential Campaign and one of the great leaders of the ruling party PDP in Ebonyi State and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Institute of Credit and Risk Management of Nigeria.
Dr. Kelechi Eric Igwe and His Journey to the Ebonyi State Government House
John Stott one of the best Philosophers of our time could be attributed to have defined the force behind the rise of Dr Igwe to his present status when he stated, “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’s stand didn’t satisfy you then listen how one of the best Philanthropists of all times, Bill Gates captured the rise and rise of Dr Igwe and where he rightly belongs, “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 act of given which is the hallmark of his boss, Apostle Dave Nweze Umahi and the partnership of this two great sons of Ebonyi is the testimony of the great feats and remarkable changes currently taking place in Ebonyi State.
The account as told by Governor Umahi and Senator Egwu of how they formed prayer quartet against erstwhile Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martins Elechi through which Dr Kelechi Eric Igwe rose to the office of the Deputy of Ebonyi State is like a fairytale account and this testimony below should truly amaze you –
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and former Governor Sam Egwu narrated how they outwitted the immediate past governor, Martin Elechi and his allies to emerge victorious in the April 2015 elections during a thanksgiving service by Egwu who is the current Senator representing Ebonyi North senatorial zone, in Umuebe in Ohaukwu Local Government Area. They stated that they formed a prayer quartet and handed over their struggle to God and the results are the current offices that they are occupying.
While Egwu, who was the first to disclose this, described Umahi as the arrow head of the struggle, “I remember a particular day, myself, Pius Anyim,David Umahi, and Kelechi Igwe sat down in the dining room of the former SGF(Anyim) and we prayed about our mission. We asked God to support us in the mission we had embarked upon. We knew it will be difficult, very, very difficult but we committed it into the hands of God. Four of us prayed that we were going by the grace of God to contest the elections; we prayed that Engr. David Umahi becomes the Governor of Ebonyi State; myself to be the Senator and Kelechi Igwe to be the Deputy Governor. Of course, Senator Anyim said he was not going for any position, but he would solidly be behind us. We thanked God for answering our prayers but I must hail Governor Umahi and Senator Anyim who was the force behind our victories and the face of the struggle in Abuja. With what God did in our lives, I must call on political office seekers to always seek God’s endorsement.
Governor Umahi, in his own remark, also narrated the struggle with former governor Elechi, even after he (Elechi) was advised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to allow Egwu and himself to contest the elections. He disclosed that after their prayers at SGF’s home, they became stronger and more determined to contest the elections. According to Governor Umahi, ” We can’t thank you enough our dear Senator Anyim; we can’t thank you enough. You got all the important personalities to help us; you also brought the funds needed alongside with your friends. At a time, we were more interested in former governor Egwu going to Senate than myself going for governorship position. I must praise Eunice Egwu for lending her support to the struggle as she was our main political consultant.
Finally, Senator Anyim said, I am elated because our prayer for Umahi to become the Governor of Ebonyi State, Kelechi Igwe as the Deputy Governor of the State and for Egwu to become a Senator was answered by God.
Governor Umahi, Dr Igwe and the 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, Gov. David 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, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, and would pick him as his running mate during the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Ebonyi State.
Explaining further, the peoples Governor during a civic reception to honour Dr Igwe organised by the people of Ikwo Noyo, Igwe’s home clan at Onuebonyi Echara in Ikwo Local Government described Dr 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, declaring that his (Igwe)’s position was “not negotiable and by God’s special power, both of us will continue together beyond 2019.”
Governor Umahi who can be described as the modern Emancipator of Ebonyi State considering his relentless efforts to develop every area of Ebonyi State during the event further stated and I quote, “In Dr. Igwe’s honour, I shall extend the 18km 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 preoject since March, 2018.”
He directed the Council’s Chairman to “rehabilitate” those that defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC), “so that they will appear differently after defecting to the People’s Democratic Party”. The Governor during the reception 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 law making process.
“I will be here, again, to beg you to return Chike Ogiji (PDP–Ikwo South) and Humphrey Nwuruku (PDP—Ikwo North), because I want the House of Assembly to be intact beyond 2019,” he said.
Chief Austin Umahi, the PDP South-East Zonal Vice Chairman, in his remark, urged the governor to listen to the clarion call of the people and seek re-election in 2019. “I am a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and will not allow it assign you greater roles in 2019 because Ebonyi people need you more,”.
While Sen. Obinna Ogba (PDP—Ebonyi Central) promised that national assembly members from the state would support the governor’s re-election bid in 2019, saying that they were all proud of his achievements.
Also speaking, Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, the State’s PDP Chairman, said that the governor’s good work had endured him to the people, making his re-election bid easy.
The governor was given the traditional title of “Okwuoha I’’ (Peoples’ benefactor) of Ikwo, in addition to a bus, a horse, several piece of yams, among others during the reception.
Ebonyi State Politics in the Eyes of Dr. Igwe
One could captures the mind of this great son of Ebonyi State on what he thinks about the future of the State when he opened up on why Ebonyians embarked upon massive rallies in almost all the Local Government Areas of the State and according to him, “The rally evolves from the people of the state to show solidarity to the state governor, Chief Dave Umahi for the good works he is doing in the state and also support the construction of that ring road. The ring road is very important for an Ebonyi man; whether you are from the Central, North or South because that ring road is a key to unlocking the economic potentials of the state. People have been clamouring and calling on the governor that we learnt that some people went to court to challenge the effort of the government to reconstruct that road and people of Ebonyi are saying ‘Governor, please make yourself available, we want to show you solidarity, we want to show you support.’ Unfortunately, the governor was not around. He has travelled for a meeting with Mr. President. The people are saying that they want to converge at the local government areas to demonstrate their support for the construction of the ring road and we cannot stop them. What we can do as government officials are that if we have the time, we will go to various local governments and see what the people are saying, to see whether they are speaking from their mouth or they are speaking from somewhere else”.
On the allegation that the Ebonyi State Government is borrowing money to fund its 2019 general elections, Dr Igwe said, “Anybody who is misleading you with false information that the Ebonyi State government is borrowing for the forthcoming general election is really an enemy of the government and the people of Ebonyi state. Some persons made no investment to ensure that this government came to be. Some persons feel that we removed food from their table because it was like ‘come and chop’ for them.
Government and governance was ‘come and chop’. They felt they needed to fight back and return to power so that Ebonyi State can be looted once more, so that this government can have nothing to show for. Knowing that if the ring road is completed, added to the newest project that the state government has constructed, it will be a very tall order for anybody to rise up and say he wants to contest for the office of the governor of Ebonyi State. In knowing that, they think that one of the strategies to confront them will be to raise a campaign against the approval of that fund”.
When the news about this great and tested leader’s birthday got to me on my sick bed, I asked the Pneumonia attack that kept me hospitalised for two weeks to step aside so that I could put my thought about this man on paper.
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 youths and god-fearing people puts him as a leader to be admired, watched and associated with.
Indeed, Dr. Igwe 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 and 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, “Authority is not the power a boss has over subordinates, but rather the boss’s ability to influence subordinates to recognize and accept that power.
Happy Birthday my boss! Happy Birthday the most humble and Loayl Deputy Governor in Nigeria!! Happy Birthday to one of the most educaed Deputy Governor in Nigeria!!! God bless you for us and grant you better and greater years ahead!!! In Jesus Name!
Finally, Dr Igwe is married to the Amazon and elegant Nnenna Igwe and are blessed with three children.
- Monica Ada Chidinma Eze is the President, DUNAETA & Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi and can be reached through: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org