The Sun News

Okpara was Maitama Sule

Dear Mr. Okocha, thanks for the revelations about the pragmatic agric. revolutionary performances of Dr. M.I. Okpara through his contacts with Israelis. The Agric. farm established then in Abak Division, the famous “Obio Akpa” Farms remains evergreen and standing tall as the Faculty of Agric., Akwa Ibom State University. As kids then, we would persuade our parents to buy two or more Obio Akpa Farm eggs for us. We would mix them with the eggs of the local chicken for brooding. When they are hatched, you can easily differentiate between the Obio Akpa “oyibo” and the locals with nostalgia, fun, pride and admiration while carefully protecting them from the prying eyes of the hawks.”

  Dr. M.I. Okpara was needle clean. Like Alhaji Maitama Sule the former Federal Minister, Natural Resources, and later Nigerian Ambassador at the United Nations, they wer visionary leaders, who, before Dubai, The Emirates, Singapore, the Asian Tigers of the Koreans, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, etc. were already marshalling all the nation’s resources selflessly mobilising the people to establish Nigeria as the leading industrial and agricultural giant society for the benefit of the often disrespected African black peoples of the world.

Indeed, after the January 15 revolution, Maitama Sule who was dismissed along with the other ministers in that thrifty Tafawa Balewa’s Cabinet had nowhere to lay his head. He had no dime anywhere to pay for his transportation either by Rail or by road to Kano! After some days parambulating the streets, friends and, in fact, some officers of the army had to arrange  and contributed for the former minister to enable him pay his way and family to move back to Kano.

Dr. Michael Okpara was last week named the greatest Igbo of our time by this Column. And as if they were waiting for it ….I confess I have since been deluged and while some of the dissenters to my mere expression were cordial, others went for the vitriol and since have given me no peace. Whatever, I would want to add that as a Midwesterner, my uncle, the last and the first Premier of the Midwest, told us at Unilag [ he was the Pro Chancellor 1980s..] that if not for the kind grant of over eight million pounds to Osadennis Midwest Movement, the creation of the the Midwest in 1963 could have been a pipe dream. For those scores of callers and respondents, who saw reason and are solidly on my side, they went further to stress that Okpara’s greatness was incomparable and more of his legacies were the products of his total service to the people. He was the one who built Enugu the beautiful city that remained the heartbeat of the East. I was surprised that most of my respondents were from the so-called minority zones and states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River where the enduring farm settlements and major industries established by the legendary Premier are still breathing. He, according to the son of his Minister of Lands and Surveys, Hon. Oli, “…The premier, through my father, mapped out Achara Layout, New Havens, Independence Layout, Trans Ekulu, etc. in Enugu; in Port Harcourt, he built all the surviving industries and allocated the Trans Amadi Industrial Layout. Okpara allocated thousands and hectares of layouts and new development areas but when he died, the people were shocked he had no single plot or house of his own!’’ Friends and relations were forced to contribute money and hurriedly built a three bedroom flat and presented the house to his family before his befitting funeral.

I am on my way back to Owerri to see with my eyes the agric. programme of Governor Rochas Okorocha, as enunciated by his government. Most of you had advised against my involvement, as my name is on the test, others are afraid that Emma Okocha would, like the other members of the fragile Pen Fraternity, sell out. Whatever are your concerns, Owerri is the beginning of traveloque that would go round and, perhaps, who knows where the M. I. Okpara Agric Revolution

On Dr. M.I. Okpara …What the people say

Also for IGR Okpara had government farms in Abakaliki which grew rice for the masses and exported rice to Ghana in 1963 worth 6 million pounds Sterling!MY father W. N Okezie was His Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and was his bosom friend.

That year my parents took me as a child to visit the Abakaliki farms and we ate ‘broken rice’ in the home of the supervising office Mr. Willie Achukwu the Biafran Scientist. We haven’t even begun to speak of cashew estates in Okigwe, Palm Plantations Industry in the Rivers and Cross Rivers. etc.

Professor Okezie Consultant Gynaecologist, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospita Enugu.

 The point is simple: Okpara came to serve and better the lot of his people. That’s why he listened to his wife, planned and partnered Jerusalem (who are better), but what we have today are crooks, pretenders, block heads and self-appointed Igbo leaders without vision and conscience to think and develop Nigeria with new knowledge. Knowledge is the only wealth there is at the end, not billions, trillions in naira/dollars. Dr. Okpara seek and got new knowledge by approaching Israel and we saw the results. Eziokwu Bu Ndu. Mazi Okocha, you will live long in good health and happiness.

-Mazi Ekene Ugwu, 0803 516 6661

In the piece, entitled: The Trial of 2face Innocent Idibia, you see Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a trickster. It shows that you are not acquainted with the history of the world. Mugabe is for a nation where no man is oppressed unlike Nigeria where pro-imperialists are lording it over the people. Go and read Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa and Wretched of the Earth by Frank Fanon.

-Amos Ejimonye, Isuikwuato, Abia State

I have always wanted to read your book, Blood on the Niger, but can’t find it, kindly help me to get one. I love your incisive and intellectually stimulating articles and works. You are a gifted and inspiring writer, always putting us on edge and predictive, thanks for getting across. -Silas. Pharmacist, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada Abuja. 0703 775 3332

Waiting for the Imo story. But preferably on what you saw since you came and not what those at the burial said either in favour or against. Thank you. 0813 795 9672

Emma, I was just reading your write up today about Okpara and Okorocha’s agric. programme when I concluded that you have forgotten me. Please, send me your books direct to Port Harcourt.

-Afam Onwuegbuzia “Bonanza” 0806 535 3343

Sir, I’m not a fan of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State but I have to commend him for well-spoken words to acting President Osibanjo. He said it all. I hope other South East governors and leaders should come out and take a bold stand against injustice that has been the lot of the Igbo since the end of the civil war. -0706 165 6039

Christian Chukwu and other Rangers players were not part of the 1976 Nations Cup squad of the Green Eagles because Rangers players boycotted. Bode Ogunleye, Ogun State. 0808 536 2945

My dear Emma, reading your column always in The Sun and now trying to reestablish contact after a long time. Hameed Adio, Champion Sprinter, ex Kwara State Commissioner of Sports and NTA Director. 0806 470 3690 Abuja


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1 Comment

  1. Onyewuchi Nze 15th March 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Though I did not see your last piece, please I beg to disagree and say that Dr Okpara, great as he might have been, was never greater than Zik. Greatness is not an easy concept to measures, because it has facets too numerous to count.

    It could even be said that Zik was the greatest African ever, If one discounts those past African leaders like Chaka, Emperor Menelik, Usmanu Fodio, Asikia the Great, Mansa Musa, etc, who achieved their greatness through military Conquest.. Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkruma, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Jomo Kenyatta, Odinga Oginga and a host of other african leaders, all claimed that it was the writings of Zik that inspired them into leadership and political career.

    Nelson Mandela when he visited Nigeria went to see Zik at his home in Nsukka. At seeing Zik, he thanked God for giving him the opportunity of seeing his hero live. A girl who wrote in the eighties in an essay competition in Seychelles that Zik was the greatest Influence in the Common Wealth, won the competition.

    Dr Okkara’s influence was mainly in the defunct Easter Nigeria. I would never agree, with good reason, that either Awo or the Sarduana were greater than Zik, but I will also not agree, with equally good reasos that Okpara was greater than either Awo or the Sarduana

    . Note that no human being is greater than another in all facets of greatness. For example Zik was never greater than J. J Okocha in soccer

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