MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Odoalu Dialoke
In his autobiography, Beckoned To Serve, Nigeria’s former President Shehu Shagari (now late) opined that resilience and youthful vigour are some of the essential ingredients of effective leadership. Shagari who started his political life as a youth, rising from the post of Parliamentary Secretary in the First Republic to the pinnacle as President in the Second Republic knew the value of youthful energy
Shagari understandably appointed quite a number of youths into his government least of them Audu Ogbeh, Maitama Bello Yussuf, John Nnia Nwodo and Olu Awotesu. Shagari’s military successor as Head of State and currently Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari who first ascended the summit of power as youthful Army officer no doubt
appreciates the essence of having youths in government. As current President, Buhari has a mixed bag of a cabinet with some youths in tow notably among whom is Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, a lawyer and current Minister of State for Education.
An erudite legal mind, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba commenced his law studies at Imo State University, where he bagged a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree, before he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar in 1989. He started his legal career as Managing Partner at a law firm known as Ayodeji C. Emeka Ibrahim & Co in 1991.
However, his thirst for more legal knowledge saw him enrolling for a Masters degree in law at the University of Lagos where he bagged his LLM. He capped it with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in law at the University of Jos.
Nwajiuba was an elected member of the Federal House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. Within this period, he served as Chairman, House Committee on Land, Housing and Works. A United Nations Democracy Study once rated him the best legislator in Nigeria.
The politician in him saw to his becoming a foundation member of the uncommon alliance of hitherto disparate parties that later metamorphosed into the All Progressive Congress (APC). Nwajiuba served as the Secretary of the Constitution Drafting Committee that produced the Constitution of the merger committee to form the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2013.
He left APC briefly to Accord Party on which platform he contested and won election into the House of Representatives to represent Okigwe North Constituency in the 2019 poll. No sooner had he taken his seat, once again, in the hallowed green chambers that President Buhari named him a minister.
Prior to his ministerial appointment, he served as the Chairman of TetFund Board of Trustees, for about one year. Under his watch, TetFund’s main objective of building new infrastructure in institutions of higher learning such as Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education was given greater impetus.
As Minister of State for Education, he was one of those instrumental in containing the Covid-19 pandemic for school students. He was a near constant feature in the almost daily briefings of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19. His office and that of the Minister of Education worked in sync and created measures for students to return safely to school, putting policies in place to make sure the schools adhere to the safety measures.
All the information was mostly relayed through the briefings of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, he was in effect, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education in the briefings.
Not a newcomer to political contestation, Nwajiuba aspired to be governor of Imo State in 2003 and 2007 on the platform of APP and in 2011 on the platform of the defunct CPC. Ironically, both All Peoples Party (APP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) merged with other like minds to form the ruling APC. From his antecedents, and giving his verve, acumen, industry, resilience and patriotism, the indications are that the nation will hear more from Nwajiuba in the not distant future as it is hoped that he will join hand with his other compatriots to build a better Nigeria. *
*** Dialoke, a Lagos based public policy analyst, is a researcher on transformational leadership.