By Owenna Owenna
In the year 2001, the then Chairman of Aniocha North Local government area, addressed a press conference where he said that Aniocha North students in tertiary institutions received bursary from the local government.
It was on the news and many parents heard the news as reported but it was not true. Check out what five thousand naira would have done in the life of a student in 2001, most parents did not send money to their children after hearing that news, they felt that Government had given them temporary relief.
Interestingly, I was a student of Delta state university, Asaba campus and I fell into the category of those whose parents were relieved by the news of that bursary. We waited to see if the Chairman could communicate to us or at worst debunk the report but to no avail.We engaged the chairman peacefully via series of dialogue yet we could not get anything positive from him neither did he debunk the report.
Trust students! On that good day, we mobilized ourselves under the aegis of Aniocha North students in Asaba campus of DELSU and stormed Issele-Uku, the Headquarters of Aniocha North LGA and straight to the chairman’s office in protest to demand an explanation from the chairman and to prove a point to our parents that no such money was paid to us.
Every effort we made to see and speak with the chairman was resisted but we also refused to succumb to threats from him, even when the DPO led a team of policemen to chase us away, we stood our ground. The entire secretariat was tensed but like the biblical pharaoh, the Chairman’s heart became hardened the more, he insisted that he was not coming to address us, we also refused to go without seeing him face to face to express our grievances, though we did not take laws into our hands.
Suddenly we sighted a very sizeable convoy of cars and we suspected that a high government functionary was coming around, we intensified our protest as the convoy approaches. Behold, a man alighted from the black SUV, dressed on white native attire with our traditional red cap and walked down to where we were.
He was the member representing Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Ned Nwoko.
When he approached us and tried to make us listen to him, we refused because we had made up our mind that all of them were the same.
Little did we know that an Angel could be found among evil politicians in Nigeria and Delta state in particular. He joined us in our aluta songs and made few dance steps to demonstrate to us that he shares our feelings with us.
Thereafter, he asked that we should explain to him what the matter was, we stated our case to him. He asked, ” what did the chairman say”? He refused to see us! We chorused. Hon Nwoko said and I quote, ” I am going to make sure that the Chairman comes out to address you guys now”.
He did not stop there, he asked how many we were that embarked on the protest? we counted and found out that we were forty(40) students. Instantly, he pledged to assist all of us to pay our school fees for that session. One Mr Nwandu was ordered to put down our names and the communities we hail from.
Nwoko walked into the chairman’s office and immediately came out with the chairman to address us. Hon Ned Nwoko did not just make the pledge, he fulfilled it. I got my own cheque, it was the defunct Hallmark Bank, they had no branch in Asaba, we cashed the money at the Onitsha Branch.
I decided to bring up this event that happened in 2001 because of the attitude of today’s politicians. If the guys we have in various elective offices today render any kind of help, some of them go as far as photocopying cheques, some take snap shots, others video such help for records and put them in handbills purposely to seek cheap popularity for next campaign. I doubt if Hon Ned Nwoko could still remember if he met forty students that came to protest in 2001.
That is how you know a man that does things not for you to pay him back. I was opportuned to be in his campaign train in 2003 and 2011, there was no place where he made reference to this particular help he rendered to us neither have I seen it in any of the publications about him.
That tells me that there are countless good deeds of this great Anioma son that people are not aware of till date. He does good not because he need something from you but because it is in his nature to do good.