By Oketa Monday
Following the increasing interest of Ebonyi people across the globe on who becomes the next Governor of the state come 2023, TURNING POINT NEWSPAPER ,one of the leading, best selling and widely read newspapers in the state has followed the opinions, arguments and predictions of some political groups, individuals and spectators and decided to without any preference on political party, clan, qualifications,age difference or gender, unveil and present to our readers,one before the other, the leading contenders who are qualified and likely to indicate interest in joining Ebonyi Gubernatorial race of 2023.
TURNING POINT NEWSPAPER with all senses of sincerity, neutrality and unbiasness, decides to analyse, examine and evaluate their chances, strengths and weak points as prerequisites and determinant for emerging a winner of the March 9th,2023 Governorship election in the state.
It is on this premise,that we present,on this course of analysis, the profile, experiences and antecedents of the former Minister of state for power and steel,an instrumentalist and a foundamental figure for the creation of Ebonyi State in 1996- Chief Godwin Ogbaga popularly called Ezeudo 1 of Ebonyi State.
PROFILES AND SOCIAL LIFE
Chief Godwin Ogbaga was born in October 1956 to the family of late Chief Ogbaga Eke of Mbeke Ishieke community in the present day Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State. Chief Ogbaga who had a humble beginning, did not allow background limit his visions and aspirations in life.
He began his primary education in 1963, passed through many schools including St. Michael’s School, Mbeke Ishieke later got his First school leaving certificate in 1970 because of the delay occasioned by civil war of 1967–1970. His brilliance and burning desires took him to Izzi community Secondary School now Izzi High School Abakaliki where he passed out with flying colours in 1974. As the destiny may have it for him to be able to confront life challenges and change the story of his little beginning,he secured Admission into the prestigious University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-ife where he graduated with a B.sc in Agricultural Economics in 1979. He proceeded for his compulsory NYSC at Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Ibadan. In the year 1995, Chief Ogbaga also got LLB(Hons.) degree in Law at the University of Nigeria,Enugu Campus, thereafter,he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He was called to the Bar in March 1996, and qualified for legal practice as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Chief Ogbaga though,a devoted Christian,believes in social and cultural identify of his people. As a sociable being,he belongs to many social organization including Abakaliki Zonal Welfare Association (AZWA); before the creation of Ebonyi State,it was an organization of Abakaliki People in Enugu State which preserved the interest and uplifted the Image of Abakaliki People. He was actively involved in the struggle for the creation of Ebonyi State and facilitated massive employment opportunities for Ebonyi people before the state’s creation in October 1996. As a statesman who believes and promotes cultural heritage of his people, he consistently expressed delight in attending cultural functions when invited and takes pleasure in assisting people at the points of their need. His selfless services to humanity and promotion of his people’s cultural heritage has attracted him tremendous recognitions, awards and traditional tittles within and outside Ebonyi State, some of which includes but not limited to; Ezeudo 1 of Ebonyi State,Omeruoha 1of Izzi land,Ikemba 1 of Akpoha,Afikpo North LGA,Ezedioramma 1 of Ebonyi LGA,Ochoudo 1of Edda, Dike Eji Eje Mba 1 of Ijigbam by Igbos in Benue among others including several awards and honours by churches and other organizations. Chief Ogbaga as a fulfilled man,is married to Hon. Barr (Mrs) Elizabeth Ogbaga-a former member, Federal House of Representatives and currently serving as the Honourable Commissioner for culture and tourism, Ebonyi State. They are happily blessed with many Children.
HIS EXPERIENCES AS BOTH CIVIL AND PUBLIC SERVANT
Chief Godwin Ogbaga as a public administrator has served in various capacities where he distinguished himself as a noble man of integrity, transperancy, accountability and proven trustworthy.
In 1981, Chief Ogbaga began his service as an administrative officer in the old Anambra State where he distinguished himself and later Rose to the Apex of the civil service as the permanent Secretary. Between 1994 and 1995, he served meritoriously as the Director General and later as liason officer in the old Enugu State covering Lagos and Abuja and later in Ebonyi State. Between 1995 and 1996, he served as the Executive Secretary, Judicial Service Commission in old Enugu State and later in Ebonyi State.Chief Goddy Ogbaga was appointed an Honourable Minister of state for power and steel, Federal Republic of Nigeria between August 1998 and May 1999, making him the ‘ pioneer’ minister from Ebonyi State. He also served as acting secretary to the Government of Ebonyi State in years 2002 and 2004; between 2005 and 2008,he served as the clerk of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, In 2008,he rose to the Apex of state civil service and retired meritoriously as the permanent Secretary of Ebonyi State schorlarship board in 2011, during his service at the board, he fecilitated several awards of state and federal schorlarship to deserving students of Ebonyi State. Chief Ogbaga since 2016 till date, remains a member of Governing council, Ebonyi State University while maintaining his position as the chairman, Ebonyi State health insurance Agency between 2018 till date.
The legacies and antecedents of Chief Godwin Ogbaga in this context, shall be narrowed down to the projects executed, projects attracted, employment opportunities felicitated, and human resources built during his civil and public administrations.
Chief Ogbaga while in civil service, attracted/ executed the construction of community secondary School, Mbeke Ishieke, Mbeke Development Centre,Eguogbala, police station,Nwori, Mbeke Ishieke, customary Court, Mbeke Ishieke, St Michael Catholic parish, Mbeke Ishieke, construction of several boreholes, Bridges and culverts within his community and across Ebonyi State.
Chief Ogbaga in a public office as a State minister for power and steel, attracted numerous community electrification projects including; electrification of Mbeke Ishieke town,Ogbala community,Iboko-Nwofe electrification,Nwofe-Mbeke electrification, Mbeke-effium and electrification of effium town,Odomoke-Ugbodo electrification,Oriuzor-Ebiaji-Achiagu electrification, installation of transformers in Abakaliki,Afikpo, Effium,ikwo and other towns in the state. Also electrification of Folk Tech College Ikwo,Akpoha Afikpo electrification and NEPA permanent district office, Abakaliki. In Enugu,he attracted the electrification of,Agwu,Akpakpaume Nze,Umuchigbo Abakpa Nike and other towns including many transformers in Trans-Ekulu,GRA,Ukehe and other towns in Enugu State. Several transformers were provided in onitsha,Nnewi,Awka, other towns including other states in South East region. In human development,he fecilitated the employment of over 500 people from Ebonyi and south east into various ministries including the then NEPA,now,PHCN.
Having brought to your reading pleasure, the profile, experiences and antecedents of Chief Ogbaga, no doubt,his chances, Strengths and weak points worth analysis as the tension of who becomes the fourth Governor of the state come 2023 gathers momentum.
Chief Ogbaga is believed to be favoured or otherwise by the chances controlled by two factors namely: Izzi nnodo interest and the political party of his choice. On the side of clan, Izzi nnodo clan under Ebonyi North Senatorial district,where the zoning formula that has sustained Ebonyi democracy since 1999 favours,will likely enjoy the collaboration of other sister zones of Ebonyi Central and Ebonyi South to support any interested person from Izzi clan including Ebonyi local Government council where chief Ogbaga hails from. On the other side of the party, Chief Ogbaga a member of the State’s ruling party,if able to win the endorsement of the state Governor or emerges party flag bearer at their primary election, will then have a higher percentage chances of winning as the next Governor of the state.
HIS STRENGTHS; As a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,one would believe that he has gannered popularity, financial Strengths, contact and connections, being farmilier with the political strategies, lobbies and strong hearts for the job, however,it is necessary to suggest that more philanthropic gestures should be displayed from now across the state to help boost up the popularity and farmiliarity to the grassroots.
HIS WEAK POINTS:
No doubt, every strong man has a weak points and every brave soldier must not play with his guns. One of Chief Godwin Ogbaga’s weak points will be traced to his clan of origin, Izzi nnodo,where many spectators believe is divided along kindred lines of Igbojima and unwuera. This dicotomy and other factors are capable of jeopardizing the success and victory of any Izzi man at the polls if not curtailed to it’s bearest minimum.
Chief Ogbaga in collaboration with other stakeholders,to achieve this success,are expected to embark on vigorous campaign of unity,oneness and progress not only in Izzi clan but across Ebonyi State as unity, proper consultation, formation and alignments are always the necessary panacea for electoral victory in Ebonyi State