BY SAMUEL OLOWOOKERE
The cry of a bouncing baby boy greeted the serene environment of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Umuahia, Abia state, on January 29, 1965 announcing the arrival into this world of a baby who, today, is the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
At the time of his birth, nothing was known about his future. Perhaps, his parents had an inkling that a great son, who would bring blessings to his family, his state and the nation at large, had been born and his father, late Elder Joseph Wogu of blessed memory, named him “Chukwuemeka”, which, literarily translates to “God has done marvels”, thereby expressing his immense gratitude to God for the gift of the baby boy, Emeka Wogu. Today that hunch of his Farther has manifested beyond any reasonable doubt.
Like a popular Igbo adage which states that (translated) “A journey of 10000 miles begins with a step”, so did the journey into greatness begin for Emeka Wogu, today recognized both nationally and internationally: after being successfully weaned by his mother, late Mrs. Nnennaya Wogu of blessed memory, Emeka took the first steps, toddled, walked and then ran to school, the first of which was primary school which he left in year 1975. After that initial taste of formal education his zeal for more of it caught on and he moved to the level and graduated with Division One from Ngwa High School, Abayi in Aba, Abia state in 1980.
His tertiary level education was preceded by a post-secondary education in the Federal School of Arts and Science Aba, between 1981 and 1982, and proceeded to the Imo State University, now Abia State University, in 1986 where he bagged L.L.B (Hon.) in 1986.
Thereafter, he he was admitted into the Nigeria Law School, Lagos and finished in 1987. Not relenting in his quest for knowledge, he proceeded to obtain Masters Degree in Public Administration (2004) and Master of Science in Political Science-Public Policy Analysis (2011) from University of Calabar and Nasarawa state University respectively; which he iced with a Certificate in Benchmarking Emerging Markets (2008) issued by S.P Jain Institute of Management, Singapore.
Still determined to get to the peak of academic excellence Chief Wogu is presently pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Political Science (part time) at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. A tale of His contributions to the academic arena would not be complete without mentioning his many well researched academic lectures including a Guest Lecture at the Nigerian Defense College (NDC), University of Nigeria Nsukka, University of Ibadan, and various other institutions in the country.
This intimidating academic profile prepared the honourable gentleman for the exceeding exploits he has recorded as a professional lawyer, a technocrat and an astute politician.
Chief Wogu started his political career with a popular election as the Assistant Legal Adviser of the defunct Liberal Convention in the old Imo State in 1989.
His sterling performance on that post led to his election to a higher post in 1991, as the Vice-Chairman of the Aba South Local Government Area of Abia state, under the defunct National Republican Convention, soon elevated to be the acting chairman between March and early June, 1993 and within the same month he was made the Chairman of the Local Government Council, a position he held until the military intervention in November 1993.
With the return of politicking in 1998, he was elected a member representing Aba North and South Federal Constituencies in the House of Representatives on the platform of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), and in 1999, he was appointed the first Political Adviser to the then Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu.
Still on the rise on the political ladder, he was appointed the Abia State Federal Commissioner, at the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), in July 2000 where he left an enviable record as one of the longest serving Commissioners of the Commission having served two full terms of five years each before being appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in April, 2010.
Perhaps what many people do not know about Chief Wogu is that he is in his best mood when decked in his spotless white traditional attire, specked with special buttons and a red cap to match. It is also not commonly known that he is a traditional family man, gender sensitive and a lover of children. No wonder he is happily married to Oyabebefa Anita, and blessed with four children Ola, Zara, Ama and Chidiadi.
Sir, as you celebrate your 49th birthday today, the entire staff of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity joins your family and well-wishers, within and outside the country, to wish you a happy birthday and many more years of political exploits ahead. Happy Birthday, Sir!!!
*Mr. Olowokore is a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity