By Fred Akpewe
For about a year or so there has been raging media campaign by detractors of Prince Ned Nwoko in an attempt to diminish his towering stature and to present him to the world as a cruel land grabber who is terrorizing his community by forcibly taking their lands from them.
At the centre of the menacing media campaign is Prince Ned Nwoko’s legitimate acquisition of a 90 hectares of land in his community for the development of a Sports University and an international golf course. His detractors tried several means – print media attacks in form of newspaper advertorials, electronic media attacks, social media attacks, including a recent facebook encounter in which a social critic, Deji Adeyanju was engaged to cast aspersion on Prince Ned Nwoko’s integrity. When all that failed, a more audacious assassination attempt was allegedly orchestrated to silence him, a plot that also failed woefully.
The most notable of Prince Ned Nwoko’s traducers are Prince Nonso Nwoko and Gabriel Ogbechie who allegedly organized and funded the 2017 mayhem in Idumuje-Ugboko ostensibly because of Prince Ned’s refusal to support Prince Nonso’s inordinate kingship ambition. The alleged major culprits of the 2017 mayhem are being tried for murder and terrorism in an Abuja court and instead of concentrating on their defense, they have gone to town blackmailing Prince Ned Nwoko that they were being prosecuted because of their opposition to Prince Ned’s land acquisition. Their prosecution at the Federal High Court has absolutely nothing to do with land. This most vicious and malicious propaganda against Prince Ned by Prince Nonso and his cohorts will go down in history as the most inhuman behavior of man to man. Prince Ned Nwoko’s traducers also failed to prop up their self acclaimed traditional ruler, Prince Nonso Nwoko as Obi. Their failure followed the popular proclamation of a new Obi as heir apparent to HRM Obi Albert Nwoko who died in 2017. The new Obi, HRM Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko has since assumed the throne of his forefathers.
In the meantime, these aforementioned malicious and baseless allegations have been effectively debunked. The IGP’s team of investigators who were dispatched to verify the petition written by Christ Aligbe against Prince Ned Nwoko carried out their investigations and found them to be completely false. As a matter of fact, Christ Aligbe and his cohorts are being charged for giving false information.
Again, the former Local Government Chairman of Aniocha North Local Government had initiated an investigation into the land acquisition saga in Idumuje-Ugboko and completely exonerated Prince Ned Nwoko of blame having acquired the said land legitimately through painstaking deliberations and resolution by the Land Allocation Committee headed by the Iyase, Chief Chris Ogwu and the eventual stamp of approval by the late Obi, HRM Albert Nwoko III. There is also the Chief Edwin Uzor report on the Idumuje-Ugboko crises which completely exonerated Prince Ned Nwoko of complicity in the crises and also exonerated him of allegations of undeserved land acquisition. Chief Edwin Uzor is the Special Adviser to the Delta State Governor on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution. The question on the lips of many is why this Anioma Prince with an uncommon pedigree will be so vilified and hunted by some mischievous people. Since the marriage of Prince Ned Nwoko to Princess Regina Nwoko, which makes them easily the most celebrated couple in Africa, his traducers have not slept well. Also, since Prince Ned visited the Antarctica, they have upped their ante in an attempt to silence him either through the media or through outright assassination. Prince Ned Nwoko is not taking the assassination story lightly and has taken legal steps to make sure the culprits are brought to book.
THE TRUE FACE OF PRINCE NED NWOKO
Prince Ned Nwoko, a scion of the famous Nwoko dynasty of Idumuje- Ugboko, an agrarian community in Aniocha North Local Government Area is a man of many parts. As a politician, he distinguished himself as the member representing the Aniocha South/Aniocha North/Oshimili South/Oshimili North Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives from 1999 – 2003. As a philanthropist, he is involved in charity works through his Ned Nwoko’s Foundation where he has given scholarships worth millions of naira to deserving students in secondary and tertiary institutions as well as empowerment scheme for thousands of people. As an environmentalist and tourism exponent, he has carried out vigorous campaigns for the improvement of the environment and has, through his famous MOUNT NED worked hard for the preservation of our cultural heritage and the exploitation of our tourism potentials. Apart from Mount Ned which is already a government approved tourist site, Prince Ned Nwoko had sought to convert about seven (7) natural springs in his community to be developed into waterfalls, but his efforts were hampered by community strife, petty jealousies and hatred for development by some persons. These springs – Iyi Nzia, Iyi Tom Tom, Iyi Omelu Ebele, Iyi Enu and Iyi Ugo amongst others are potential tourism sites if fully developed.
Prince Ned Nwoko is also an international lawyer who obtained his first degree at the University of Keele, Staffordshire, UK and at Kings College, London, where he obtained an LLM in Maritime and Commercial Law. He was called to the English Bar at Lincolns Inn and started his law practice as a prosecutor for the Crown and qualified as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He initially worked at Kumars Solicitor and Pascaldiers and Co. Solicitors before establishing Ned Nwoko and Co. Solicitors.
Prince Ned Nwoko played a remarkable role in the Paris Club refunds to Nigeria that helped many state and local government councils to defray several backlogs of workers’ salaries. For that fact, he is often regarded as the man that ended recession in Nigeria in 2018. More remarkable is the several exploits of Prince Ned Nwoko in his trip to the Antarctica, the coldest region of the world in search of scientists to produce a vaccine for the dreaded malaria scourge in Africa. In continuation of his rid Africa of Malaria project, he has visited the National Assembly leadership, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health and some state governors to seek their support and collaboration for the ambitious malaria eradication project.
According to Prince Ned Nwoko, “Most health challenge suffered by Africans including death, organ failure and other physical and mental impairments are directly or indirectly traceable to malaria. Today, my foundation begins an audacious journey towards a malaria free Nigeria and Africa”. The zeal, passion and commitment to the free malaria project put Prince Ned Nwoko far ahead of his time. The exploits of Prince Ned Nwoko have not gone unnoticed as he has secured several awards and recognition from Nigeria and abroad.
Some of the notable awards are as follows:
Honourary doctorate degree in letters (D.Litt) by Commonwealth
University College, Belize.
2018 – Africa Value Award
2019 – Peace Achievers Award
2019 – Anti Corruption Crusaders Award
2019 – J-Star Award for Tourism development in Africa
Jose Foundation Team Award in recognition of the frantic efforts and sacrifices being made by Prince Ned Nwoko to restore the glory of Sports in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Honourary doctorate award of media and innovation by the Delta State University, Abraka on the 3 rd October, 2020. In presenting the award, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Andy Egwuyenga stated: “Till date no single individual has demonstrated extra-ordinary commitment to the education of youth, women and sustainable development as Prince Ned is engaged in Africa”.
1.Honourary doctorate degree award by the Federal University of
- UNN Arts Faculty Award for ICON of philanthropy.
- Africa community impact award “to appreciate the support to the
entertainment community in Africa
- Edo Union of Journalist award to honour a supporter of NUJ
- Prime Magazine award – Man of the year
- Abegon – grand Patron honour.
From the foregoing, it becomes very evident that those who have labeled Prince Ned Nwoko as a land grabber do not know him as they are just willing tools in the hands of people who are desirous of denigrating the hard earned name of the Anioma Prince. However, the good news is that with the dark era gone in Idumuje-Ugboko and a new Obi, HRM Solomon Nwabuokei Nwoko in the saddle, Ned Nwoko is poised to rekindle his developmental projects in the community without any hindrance. We recall that some time ago, the missionaries wanted to establish a missionary hospital at Idumuje-Ugboko but certain anti-development people frustrated the effort until the missionaries relocated the hospital to Ogidi in Anambra State now known as Iyi-Enu General Hospital, Ogidi named after one of the springs at Idumuje-Ugboko.
These types of hindrances actually dragged development backward in Idumuje-Ugboko and no one in his right senses will support an indolent person who frustrates development in his own community.
Fred Akpewe is a public affairs analyst and commentator