I first came in contact with Professor Edward Oparaoji in a hotel in Washington DC during the Peoples Mandate Party breakfast meeting addressed by Dr Arthur Nwankwo, the Chancellor of Eastern Mandate Union and Peoples Mandate Party presidential candidate in 2003 Nigeria elections. I have followed Professor Eddie’s antecedents as a silent admirer, and also a student of Nigeria’s socio-political history. Undoubtedly, he belongs to the few remaining crusaders for justice, rule of law and enthronement of democratic ideals. His social activist lifestyle has today helped in changing the Nigerian social and political scene.
Ordinarily, his professional career as a medical scientist seem to have been overshadowed by his political engagement as Chairman Diaspora Nigerians Network (DNN), Chairman Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC) – an influential Nigerian Think-tank in Washington D.C, Chairman Eastern Mandate Union (EMU) Abroad– a pro-democracy and human rights group who played pivotal role in ushering in Nigeria’s current democracy and a Chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) who alongside other patriots fought and dismantled Nigeria’s military dictatorship. His avowed ideals which have remained fervent over the years has in recent times been anchored in his leadership role in Imo Global Alliance for Good Governance (IGAGG) – a group that mobilized human and financial resources and instituted a Voters Protection Squad that ensured the emergence of the first Imo Governor of Mbaise extraction in the 2019 gubernatorial elections.
This cerebral social critic and his struggle anchored in equitable society and against injustices in the Nigeria system has caused him his freedom countless times. Professor Oparaoji was declared enemy of state by the late Sani Abacha junta regime, which prevented him from attending his father’s burial.
He represents an excellent advocate of the triumph of good over evil. Over the years he appeals to many, as ever ready to endure official harassment, intimidation, blackmails, and threats to his life.In his philosophy of life, he holds strongly to never ‘stoop to conquer’ and admonishes that you must proclaim your existence to be accorded legitimate status. Precisely stated in the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
The Amuzi Mbaise born leader, from 1998 till date has remained one unrepentant advocate of the position that for “Nigeria to move forward, the country must be restructured into a true federal state. Onwazuruoha, Ugwumba Mbaise, you have put your life on the line, that we may live and have a society anchored on justice and the rule of law. I celebrate and salute your prolific contributions. Happy Birthday.