There was a hypothetical character called Hyman Angles in the 18th Century England. He established a foundation for the less privileged and left it into the hands of James White, who managed and doled out funds to hundreds of people who needed help. Angles was a businessman with interests in maritime, metals and rubber, so he had little time to visit the foundation which he founded and funded.
Because Angles was not physically present, rumour mongers ran to town with a story of his uncle in one Eastern Europe committing millions of dollars into the foundation. One Chris Hibrow wrote in his column that Angles was a front for his uncle who was a drug dealer. Several news organisations weaved lies about the 47-year-old millionaire and his foundation because no one told how much he was sacrificing to sustain the foundation.
One day, Angles friend, Charles Winmer, picked up a pen and wrote in a newspaper opinion article that the millionaire had sold three of his choice properties to sustain the foundation. More so, he had willed 60 percent of his wealth to it and also helped 1,234 less privileged people around him.
The stories written and told about Ugwumba Uche Nwosu are all like that. They have been centred around his affinity with His Excellency Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha, his father-in-law, and how the governor plans to impose him on Imo people. But nobody has taken time to investigate and interrogate Nwosu’s antecedents and capacity to lead Ndi Imo. Many are not looking at his manifestoes and what he has already sacrificed to make life meaningful for others.
Little wonder Olu Fasan, international trade negotiator and visiting fellow at the International Relations Department of the London School of Economics (LSE), wrote in his recent column in BusinessDay, “Every election, newspapers and commentators advocate ‘issue-based campaign’. They call for messages containing ideas that the candidates want the voters to support. Yet, just…days before Nigeria’s election, the ideas ..… are hardly the subject of media analysis or public discussion.”
Fasan’s masterpiece was on the presidential election, but it is as relevant to gubernatorial as it is to local government elections.
Ugwumba Uche Nwosu rose from grass to grace without help from anywhere but God. An illustrious son of Umunwokwe, Eziama-Obaire in Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State, Nwosu was born on the 8th of August, 1975, into the family of late Rev. Daniel Nwaobi Nwosu and Mrs. Jemaimah Nwosu.
Young Uche had his primary education at Shehu Sanda Kerimi Primary School Maiduguri between 1982 and 1988. This was followed by his secondary training at the Government Secondary School, Gubio, Borno State, and Comprehensive Secondary School Eziama-Obaire, Nkwerre, Imo state (1988-1994). He finished the WAEC School Certificate in flying colours.
The death of his father in 1983 and that of his elder brother, who was the benefactor of the family, made life very unbearable for young Uche. He then had no choice than to relocate to Aba in Abia State where he lived with his elder sister and six other people in one room apartment. He hawked oranges and local ice water in all the nooks and crannies of the city in order to feed.
Being traumatised by the death of her elder son after losing her husband, his mother later asked him to come back home and stay with her in Eziama Obaire where she was doing the work of a hired labourer in order to make ends meet.
While in the village, Uche did menial jobs like serving as a labourer in construction sites, from which he managed to make some savings. Determined to further his education against all odds, Uche struggled to seek admission into the higher institution. In the face of hardship, Uche through her mother’s counsel remained resolute and faithful to God exhibiting high level of honesty, character and above all, love for mankind. As a boy, despite not having anything, Uche gave all in his possession to his friends which earned him the nickname “Onyeoma” the good one among his peers.
In 1995, he secured admission into Imo State University, Owerri, where he studied Urban and Regional Planning. He pursued his studies at the university with zeal and commitment from 1995 to 2000 when he graduated with a B.Sc second class honours degree. His capacity to lead and think creatively was tested many times in school and he never failed the tests.
During his time in the university, he passionately played active roles in the Students’ Union politics, culminating in his being elected the first Students’ Union Government (SUG) Director of Transport in IMSU. During his time as the Director of Transport, he played an outstanding role towards the uplift of that section. Subsequently, he became the Secretary of SUG Caretaker Committee and later Secretary of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Imo State Chapter.
After he failed to obtain scholarship to study abroad, Uche was thrown into the labour market and subsequently he was identified by Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Uche was a hard worker dedicated to the fullest and that won the admiration of his employer as Nwosu possesses competence, hard work, attentiveness to detail and strength of character which would always warm him into the hearts of people who come across him.
In all the positions Uche worked on, he exhibited the attributes of a good leader with honesty and integrity as his watch word. He inspired anyone who came across his path, a good listener, slow to anger, a humble man who never forgets where he is coming from.
Uche brought nearly 50 Ezes His Royal Highnesses in Imo State to tears in a recent gathering when he recounted his past and asked them if in their hearts they think any Governor in Nigeria including His Excellency Governor Rochas Okorocha will allow a man without vision and character to marry his daughter. He begged them and indeed the larger Imo voters that he has come to serve and that he has the right qualities to move Imo forward.
In recognition of his hard work, diligence and sense of responsibility, the Governor of Imo State in April 2012 found him worthy to be appointed an Honourable Commissioner. He was charged with the responsibility of overseeing the tough and challenging Ministry of Lands, Survey, and Urban Development which is his area of training.
As Commissioner in charge of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Nwosu performed creditably well and brought numerous innovations to the ministry, top of which were the re-certification and digitalisation of certificate of occupancy (C of O). He opened numerous layouts in the state and created Imo Lands and Lands, among others.
He boosted workers’ morale to enable them perform excellently through special welfare packages and incentives. He carried every worker along, irrespective of level and positionand introduced a training program to ensure workers are kept up to date with local and international best practices. These and many more brought normalcy to land administration in the state. Imo State can today comfortably boast as the state with the highest number of layouts in Nigeria, all courtesy of the pragmatism of the young, vibrant and dynamic Nwosu.
While serving in different capacities and as a result of his outstanding performance as noted above, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu has won many awards including the best commissioner in urban development in Nigeria in 2014.
As a result of his outstanding performances noted above, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha (OON) considered him as a suitable candidate and appointed him his Chief of Staff on June 2015 till September 2018.
Uche has set up different charitable organizations and is interested like no other in the training and uplifting of the girl child.
Nwosu’s rise to stardom mirrors William Shakespeare’s words in his ‘Twelfth Night’: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
The progressive and sustained rise to stardom of the Eziama Obaire-born hard worker, humanitarian cum politician is purely as a result of the combination of the above factors. Ndi Imo understand this and are ready to look beyond the tell-tales of affinity to interrogate the capacity of a man that has all the attributes of a great leader.