A well-known Nigerian Primary Health Care practitioner in the United States, Dr Joy Chizobam Aninwene-Ahanonu, has assured Nigerians that former Power Minister, Prof. Bart Nnaji “will excel if voted into office next year as the next Enugu State governor”.
Dr Aninwene-Ahanonu , former President General of NkanuUSA, gave the assurance in an interview from her base in Maryland, United States, while commending Nnaji for accepting to contest on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform, the 2023 gubernatorial position of the state after a group of persons across Enugu State bought and presented to him the nomination and expression of interest form on Sunday, April 3.
“Professor Nnaji has the capacity and vision to make Enugu compete effectively within a few years with neighbouring Anambra State in development of facilities and human resources”, the family physician said.
“After all, he is among the four federal ministers from Nkanuland, and each of them has a sterling record of accomplishments and became a pride to the one million Nkanu people”.
The first minister, according to her, was the late Dr Augustine Nnamani whom she described as an exceptionally erudite legal scholar and jurist.
Dr Aninwene-Ahanonu , who was years ago bestowed with the title of Ada Nkanu Gburugburu in appreciation of her immense service to the Nkanu community in the United States, noted that “Dr Nnamani was the first attorney general in Nigeria’s history to be made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and remains to this day the only member of the Nigerian judiciary to wear the silk for legal excellence.
“It is tragic that his early death denied Nigeria the opportunity of having someone like Dr Nnamani the country’s Chief Justice”.
Dr Aninwene-Ahanonu stated that Nkanu’s second son to become a minister, Professor Nnaji, left no less impressive record in office, first in 1993 when he was appointed the Minister of Science and Technology at the age of 37 and 18 years later when he became the Minister of Power.
She argued: “Nnaji, who had already become the first Blackman to be named Distinguished Professor of Engineering in America’s history, revived, within only three months he was in office, the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“He did such a splendid job that the ministry has not been abolished since then, a radical departure from the practice when it was appearing and disappearing”.
The Nkanu leader praised Nnaji for leaving an unbeaten record in the Ministry of Power, even though he was there only from July, 2011, to August, 2012.
“During his time”, she recalled, “Nigeria was able to generate, for the first time ever, up to 5,000 megawatts, a leap of over 1000MW, and all the power was put on the transmission network which was able to wheel the entire output to the distribution network.
“Some parts of the country had no power outages for over a month when Nnaji was in the Ministry of Power.
“During this time, world-class companies like General Electric of the United States, Siemens of Germany, Manitoba Hydro of Canada, Esse of India and others from places like Israel were competing among themselves to participate in the Nigerian electricity supply industry”.
Dr Aninwene-Ahanonu, who was also the leader of EnuguUSA Women Affairs, commended the third Nkanu minister, Chief Jim Nwobodo, for “etching his name in gold when he served as the Sports Minister.
“It was during his time that Nigeria won the Mother of all medals in Olympics.
“No Nigerian can ever forget how the Flying Eagles won gold in football at Atlanta 1996, beating teams from Argentina and Brazil in style.
“No Minister of Sports has equaled this record”.
She also spoke with nostalgia about the performance of erstwhile Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Special Duties and Youth Development, Frank Nweke Jr, who later became the Minister of Information and Communication in the second term of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 2003 to 2007.
“A brilliant and proactive young man, Nweke is one of the few persons to serve as the Minister of Information and still retain personal integrity.
“He approached his duties with a profound sense of balance”.
Dr Aninwene-Ahanonu said Prof Nnaji’s record as a two-time minister and exploits in academia and the energy industry where he built Nigeria’s first independent power plant in 2002 in Abuja and the Aba Integrated Power Project in Abia State which will be commissioned later in the year, “demonstrate that he will take Enugu State to radical heights in development.
“Anambra people have got it right with leadership by overwhelmingly electing Professor Chukwuma Soludo, a former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor who is also an internationally recognized economist.
“It now behooves Enugu people, under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s leadership, to also get it right this time.”