… An ode to the man who housed Nelson Mandela in Nigeria while the Apartheid regime was after him
A consummate Nationalist who can be described as the last of the titans from this part of the country, Chief Mbazulike Ameachi was born on June 16, 1929 at Ukpor in today’s Nnewi South LGA of Anambra State.
You have not only paid your dues in the service of our dear country, beginning from her journey to independence, but also showed the world how hospitable we can be as a nation when you housed the late Nelson Mandela in your private home after he came in search of refuge in Nigeria during the apartheid regime in South Africa.
That singular gesture brought to global attention, your life as a justice crusader and commitment to Pan Africanism.
Your immense contributions to the independence struggle defines you as a Nation builder. Little wonder you subsequently emerged Nigeria’s premier Aviation Minister. It was gratifying that you went on to lay solid foundations for that important sector.
That your voice has continued to be heard resoundingly on matters of national importance cum nation building to this day is an affirmation of your ardent believe in the Nigeria project, even when we are not where we ought to be at the moment.
As a Community Leader, you thoughtfully chose to retire to your village to be with your people. And for over forty (40) years, you have effectively operated from your Amihe – Ukpor country home in Anambra State. We cannot thank you enough for your worthy example and for showing the way.
If only today’s leaders will borrow a leaf from your retirement example and be more circumspect while in position to impact, they will be challenged to strive to leave their environment better than they met it.
As an old war horse who represented our federal constituency at Federal House of Representatives in the First Republic, you remain a source of inspirations to your successors including my very self.
I have always drawn inspiration from your fatherly advice and suggestions on how best to go about certain issues as it concerns my representation of our people.
It was therefore such an honour and privilege when I was beckoned upon last year to Chair the planning committee of your 90th birthday anniversary. And I thank God that the anniversary was successful through the effort of many great Nigerians.
During that 90 years anniversary celebration hosted by the Imo state government, I saw Ndigbo and Nigerians from all walks of life assemble in Owerri, the Imo State capital to celebrate one of their best, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi. It was such a beauty to behold; indeed, ‘The ‘boy’ is good!’
To most people, you are like a bank in which the currency domiciled is Nigeria’s political history; a bank that some of us approach to ‘cash’ ideas and directions. A bank that always respond to my request for its inherent ‘currency’!
I must confess that tapping from your fountain of knowledge has always been a privilege to me. Whenever I visit you or call you on phone, I end up getting further enriched from your wisdom bank and experience.
Your exemplary sense of contentment represents a model for our generation.
You are not only one of our constituency or Ndigbo’s best export to the world, but an emphatic statement that ours are a people with courage to do the right thing.
I cannot think of a better way to conclude this ode to our living legend at 91 than to sign off with the quote below attributable to the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe:
“No matter how old an individual may be, no matter if he is young or old, if he thinks in accordance with the times, he is immortal.”
Dara Akunwafor, indeed, you are immortal.
Happy Birthday Chief Mbazulike Amaechi!
Happy Birthday Dara Akunwafor !!
Happy Birthday ‘The Boy is Good’!!!
Engr. Chris Emeka Azubogu
Member, Representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South & Ekwusigo Fed Constituency