Ned Nwoko’s Obsession For Community Development

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Honourable Ned Munir Nwoko has served as the Chairman of the External Committee of Vision 2010 and the Project Tourism Nigeria. A strong advocate of Malaria eradication in Africa, his quest for the development of his zone in Delta State is exemplary. The former lawmaker was however in a war of words with Governor Nyesom Wike recently. ROLAND OGBONNAYA writes

He may seldom hug the media headlines for negative reasons, but one glaring thing is that Hon. Ned Munir Nwoko’s passion for the development of his community, State and Nigeria is very exemplary.

The former House of Representatives member and Prince of Udumuje Ugboko in Delta State have many projects that can be attached to him. The tourist site that consists of a museum, farm, zoo, fishponds, poultry and a 9-hole golf course is one of them. Through his foundation, Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation, he has contributed to the empowerment and education of youths of his constituency, senatorial district and state. Prince Nwoko popularly known as Ned Nwoko is a Nigerian lawyer, politician and philanthropist. He was a member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003 representing Aniocha North-South and Oshimili North-South.

In January 2020, he made headlines again for undertaking a symbolic expedition to Antarctica to flag off a malaria eradication project. Nwoko began his legal career as a prosecutor for the crown and qualified as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He worked at Kumars Solicitors and Pascaldiers & Co Solicitors before establishing Ned Nwoko & Co Solicitors in London. Within the period he was the secretary-general, of Nigerian legal practitioners in the UK and was visiting adviser, Citizens’ Advice Bureau, based in London and received an Honorary Doctorate degree in Letters (D.Litt.) from the Commonwealth University College, Belize and an honorary doctorate degree in science from the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Delta State.

A man with a huge appetite for education, he also proceeded to Keele University and Kings College London where he received an LLM in Maritime and commercial law and was subsequently called to the English bar, at Lincolns Inn. Nwoko returned to Nigeria in December 1998 to contribute to the enthronement of a viable democratic institution in the country following the military disengagement from power, after long years of military dictatorship.

Nwoko made a remarkable entry into Nigeria’s political scene when he contested and was elected member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. He represented Aniocha/ Oshimili Federal constituency, making an impressive showing in the legislative house.

As a legislator was part of those instrumental in the initiation of the London and Paris Club Loans renegotiation with Nigeria. He authored the reports that led to the Nigerian government’s discontinuation of monthly deductions from states’ allocations and commencement of refunds to States. Through his Law firm, Ned Nwoko Solicitors and his Company, he investigated the multinational creditors and discovered discrepancies in loan repayments, and this resulted in the refund of the first tranches of loan during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration. He also charged the Federal government to court on behalf of 774 Local governments for the refund of illegal deductions and obtained a judgment of $3.2 billion for the local governments.

As of today, the federal government has refunded all the monies in line with the court judgment of 2013. Nwoko also served on the Vision 2010 Committee and is a member of the capital market. He served as Chairman of the External Committee of Vision 2010, Chairman of Project Tourism Nigeria and Malaria eradication in Africa.

The lawyer who represented the Southern Cameroonians in the United Kingdom during their early struggle for independence equally became the first black man from Africa to hoist Nigeria’s flag at Antarctica. As a lawmaker Hon. Woko moved several motions and sent in over 34 Bills some of which were adopted and many passed and charged the Federal government to court on behalf of 774 Local governments for the refund of illegal deductions and obtained a judgment of $3.2 billion for the local governments. The Federal government of Nigeria has refunded all the monies in line with the court judgment of 2013.

Through his foundation, Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation, he has contributed to the empowerment and education of youths of his constituency, senatorial district and state. In 2019, he donated $273,000 (N100M) for the rehabilitation of failed portions of the road linking South Eastern Nigeria to the nation’s capital, Abuja.

However, the former member of the House of Representatives was reportedly lambasted by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State after he was not picked as the running mate to the former Vice President and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar because Wike is a “trouble maker.” Wike had after the interview taken on Nwoko, whom he allegedly accused of marrying young actress Regina Daniels and other young wives, and therefore has no moral right to criticise him.

Ordinarily, there is no need to run commentaries or take sides when two ‘big men” fight on social and conventional media. Hirelings and self-acclaimed experts take sides while unbiased critics take time to rehearse and find merits in such controversial issues without necessarily adding words that could instigate hatred and further stir the polity.

In the spat, and missiles thrown by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike at Hon. Nwoko’s, many felt Wike was overbearing, uncouth and unnecessarily loud on his attacks by delving into the private lives of people and Ned in particular. In all these Nwoko has never sounded worried nor displayed any sign of being harassed. “Oh, how do I lose sleep over Wike? You know he can talk and talk and he is talking, but I made my points known and they are verifiable facts.

Nwoko would rather allow his works to speak for him. The PDP Senatorial flag bearer for Delta North no doubt has many interesting achievements that cannot be waved aside or rubbished despite all stones hauled at him.

Nwoko’s BBC interview has raised dust in many quarters. The Delta North PDP senatorial candidate also came under criticism for saying Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi cannot win the election because he does not have the structure required to do so “Gov. Wike should not act as a saint, his rascality and verbal attack on party leaders is unbecoming of him.”

“We are most disappointed and saddened and therefore condemned the unworthy statement made by Wike. He had boasted of his political weight as he’s always quick to point out and claim to be the only one capable of winning elections for PDP in the country.

“This unruly statement by the Governor of Rivers State only goes further to buttress Ned’s political view about him, and why nobody would want to pick him as a vice-presidential candidate or be taken seriously. Why can’t Gov. Wike express his own political views without lashing out at people’s personal life,” the group asked recently

“This same Gov. Wike went to Anambra State and told PDP delegates to their face that, one of their own, former governor Peter Obi cannot win the primary election and that they should vote for him. Did anybody attack him or his private life for expressing his political conviction? The answer is No. He even said he will flog the former governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu and sometimes ago asked, who is the father of the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki. That’s stooping too low for a sitting Governor.

“Governor Wike should not forget that Ned is a Muslim and as such is entitled to marry four wives. His statement could be misinterpreted to mean an attack on Muslims and men that marry more than one wife. Why not just debunk their claims or political views without extending them to people’s personal lives? We, therefore, urge Governor Wike to desist from this unruly behaviour; else we shall not fail to ask the party’s disciplinary committee to invoke the party’s code of conduct against him.

“It’s also very imperative at this point for us to apologise to Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko and all other PDP chieftains for all the unprintable statements Wike has made about them,” the group emphasised.

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