Mercurial Second Republic Governor of old Anambra State, Senator Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo, has added one year to the octogenarian mark.Senator Chief Nwobodo,was born of a humble Igbo parentage in Mafia present day Nasarawa state on May 10,1940.
Jim, English major graduated from the University of Ibadan into teaching at the highbrow Kings College, Lagos. He later for greener pastures at the Shell oil company from where he left to start his own business concern.
He floated and ran the Jimson Commercial and Industrial Company that was engaged in auto replacement parts and accessories. Nwobodo also owned the Link Group International; a multifaceted company primarily engaged in science and hospital equipment supplies, as well as other businesses. He was to later veer into publishing where he ran the Satellite Group of publications. Nwobodo later acquired and ran the Savannah Bank until complications arising from politics during the Obasanjo era caused the demise of the bank.
However, Jim, as he is fondly called to this day, is better remembered for his single term stint as governor old Anambra which incorporated present day Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi. He founded the first university of technology which today has bludgeoned into Enugu University of Technology, Enugu Ebonyi State University and Anambra state University.
Jim also established Africa’s first UHF TV channel, ATV 5-0, now Enugu TV, ETV. He also set up the first 5 star hotel east of the Niger; Nike Lake Resort Hotels Enugu as well as other landmark industries.
He was much loved by all especially the hitherto marginalized WAWA people of old Anambra whom he greatly emancipated even as opposition opposed for dichotomy. However to this day,his regime is still used along with that of Dr M I Okpara as reference points in outstanding development. He was among those jailed by Gen Buhari for reported corrupt enrichment in 1984.
Nwobodo later served as Minister under the military and won Nigeria’s first Olympic gold among other laurels.
At renaissance of democracy, he was in the vanguard for the formation of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He was later elected into the Senate after a failed presidential bid He has the PDP a couple of times to actualize his presidential bid which never materialized. Nevertheless, even as the vim in Jim seem to have dimmed considerably, he still remains poignantly relevant as a political power broker, at least in Enugu and within the PDP.
As a long time acolyte of the legendary Owelle, Rt Hon Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe,Jim like his mentor married twice. His first wife, Mukosolu had four issues with him; three boys and one girl, while, Pati, his long term chum who followed him through many detention centres to later win his love and eventual marriage in an epic high society wedding with Abubakar Rimi as his best man, and the creme de la creme in attendance.
As he celebrates his new age, the manner he handled the burial of his medical doctor son, Ifeanyi has caused many eyebrows to be raised by his kinsmen and erstwhile congregants of the Anglican Church which later dumped for the Catholic Church. Nwobodo at 81 remains an enigma and an undying story retold in good governance. Bon Anniversaire,Anyanwu!