By Fred Ezeh
Years of bickering, anger, accusations, verbal and media attack among politicians in Imo State took the back seat when they gathered in Abuja to celebrate one of their political godfather, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, who clocked 75.
The main auditorium of the International Conference Center (ICC) Abuja, venue of the lavished party was filled to capacity, as his political godsons gathered to rejoice with the elderstatesman.
It was an impressive convergence of friends, family members, political protégés, sportsmen and women, diplomats, international business community, and media professionals, who have benefitted from the celebrant in one or two ways to celebrate the 75 years of amazing testimonies.
One after the other, the guests arrived in different gorgeous attires. But the arrival of the celebrant alongside former first ladies, Patience Jonathan, Prof. Uche Azikiwe and Mrs. Victoria Aguyi-Ironsi, lit up the auditorium, heralding the commencement of the event.
The occasion, surprisingly, provided opportunity for political foes to possibly mend fences ahead of political chances ahead. It was also an opportunity for some others to strengthen existing friendship and perhaps make new ones, exchange smiles, hugs, contacts and other useful experiences.
The culture and tradition of the Igbo was in full display, as suggested by the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who was also the Chairman of the occasion. Nwodo, mobilized an intimidating delegation to celebrate Chief Iwuanyawu, who he described as a foundation on which Ohaneze Ndigbo was built.
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who arrived in the middle of the event with his entourage, however confessed that, if not for the personality of the celebrant, he couldn’t have sat side-by-side with his predecessors and other political bigwigs from the state, because he sees them as his political foes.
Okorocha, however, recognised the great contributions of the celebrant to the peace and development of the state. He appealed to aggrieved sons of the state to disregard party differences and interest, and join him to make Imo a delight for all, so that posterity would be happy with them.
The celebrant, in his remarks, expressed profound gratitude to God for such a privilege to live a little above three scores and half, a feat, he said, was only achievable by the grace of God.
He appreciated God for giving him the wisdom, resources and good health to be a blessing to, not only his immediate family, but to people outside his family, putting smiles on their faces via one deed or the other. He equally thanked his friends for honouring the invitation.
When the floor for goodwill messages was opened, dignitaries, one after the other, recounted their first meeting with the celebrant and how he contributed immensely to the success they recorded in their career, business, politics and family lives.
Former governors, Ikedi Ohakim, Achike Udenwa; Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha; Senators Ifeanyi Ararume, Hope Uzodimma, Samuel Anyanwu, Kema Chikwe, and other dignitaries used different adjective to describe the personality of the celebrant as well as the good things he had done in their lives.
The eldest daughter of the celebrant, Nwadiuto Iheakanwa, thanked God for the life of her father, who she described as “Cat with nine lives”.
She was grateful to her father for giving her and her siblings the best of what life could offer. She prayed that God will refill his strength and vitality so he could live more longer in good health and enjoy the fruit of his labour.