This is a special day of my life! It is a day of reflection. It is a day of thanksgiving. It is a day of appreciation.
Therefore as I thank God for my journey so far, I heartily appreciate you, for your various roles.
Looking back to where and how I started, especially the challenges overcome and the grounds covered, I realize that the essence of our common humanity is to complement each other, and also that even in our individual weaknesses there are great strengths collectively.
By God’s design, we need each other to achieve our purposes and attain greatness in life. For surely, a palm cannot make a clap. Again, I am fulfilled to learn that whatever God does not give you cannot be given by man.
To the glory of God and service of humanity, I have been a three-term Chairman of Enugu-East Local Government Area. I have represented the good people of Enugu-East and Isiuzo Federal Constituency twice at the House of Representatives. Also, I served as the Senator for the Enugu-East Senatorial District for two terms. All these opportunities were possible because God and you, the people, agreed to mandate me.
Solely this is the reason I have dedicated this day to appreciate God and you all that He used to take me this far.
Even as I don’t wish to belabour you with a very long list that could be endless, I know you all and you know yourselves the same way God knows you. Particularly, my heart goes out to the memories of the faithful departed. Among them is my beloved wife, Princess Anne Nnenna Nnaji. Though I find it difficult addressing her in the past tense, she was a pillar of support until her painful transition. And so, for all those who partook in my successes but sadly are no more here with us, may their gentle souls continue to enjoy the company of the Angels in God’s bosom till we meet again. Their labours of love will continue to encourage us, the living.
However, as I write this, there are certain peculiar incidents that keep popping up in my mind. They may mean nothing ordinarily, but they shall stick to me eternally. Indeed, there are very many of them which I hope to document for public access in future, but may I, for sake of emphasis recount just a few here.
But before that, I am persuaded to solemnly make a passionate appeal from the bottom of my heart.
According to Steve Maraboli, “the truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward”. My beloved people, it is on the strength of this that I sincerely plead for forgiveness from everyone that I have in any way offended in the past. I am deeply sorry. I am human and no human is perfect. As such, mutual forgiveness is very important and necessary for us to move on and excel in life. I have since put behind me, all the unpleasant experiences. Life is too short to dwell on things that will pass away someday. We need each other to make progress in this journey of life. So once again, let the past remain in the past for good, as we embrace better days ahead.
And so continuing, may I recall that at the build-up to my second senatorial election, the major threat I faced was that the six chairmen of the local governments making up the zone were being manipulated against my interest and ambition. It was a very serious challenge that even the Party, PDP, was full of uncertainties.
But God raised a saviour in the then Member representing Udenu/Igboeze-North Federal Constitution and to His glory today, the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Despite not being from the troubled zone, he quickly called an emergency meeting where that issue was resolved, eventually resulting in electoral victory. Concerning this and many others Your Excellency, I am eternally grateful and indebted to you.
Still on that senatorial re-election, it is my humble wish not to be elaborate for now. But in this case and with much nostalgia, I remember, just like yesterday, a solemn phone call at the dead of the night, from His Excellency, Sullivan Chime, the then governor of the state.
That was precisely at 3:03 am on Saturday, December 6th 2014. Your Excellency, though it is only God, you and I that knew the content of that conversation, I will forever treasure that wonderful gesture. Describing it as game-changing or even a lifeline, would be an understatement. Certainly for that, I owe you a lot. In the same vein, it was the same Governor Chime who weathered all the storms and made my then PA the Chairman of my local government area. The rest today is history but as long as I live, the memory shall live with me.
Again, I must confess that moving from the House of Representatives to the Senate was not a smooth one for me as ordinary eyes might believe. In 2011, the battle was so fierce that even one’s shadow was literally not trusted. But thankfully, God was at work as usual, using willing vessels both young and old, even across party lines and religions. With party primaries over and unknown to many, the real in-house battles began and shifted to Abuja. Then again, God raised a brother and friend indeed, in the person of His Excellency, Senator Ken Nnamani, former President of the Senate. Apart from leg walks, he was consistently in touch with every critical stakeholder of the Party, just to ensure that the result of the primaries and the wishes of the people were respected. Concerning this and other supports Your Excellency, you remain special to me.
Then of a truth, it was possible for my political ambition and public leadership to have begun and ended within Enugu State. In this regard, I lack words to describe the very good hand that God used to build the pathway to the higher platform. His Excellency, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani unarguably has a place in the hearts of every Enugu State post-1999 politician. He is not only a leader but a maker of men. God called and commissioned him solely to liberate the captives and help destinies. I am a proud beneficiary of this divine arrangement! Your Excellency and my boss, Ebeano, I am sure you still remember everything and know how I cherish all the magnanimities. But once again as ever, I shall not forget, and what I owe you is immeasurable.
Undoubtedly for every accomplished individual, there are always days of little beginning. In 1991 and at a very young age, I was priviledged to become my local government secretary of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, under the political tutelage of His Excellency, Okwesilieze Nwodo, the first elected Governor of Enugu State. He helped in preparing me for leadership. He was highly instrumental to my subsequent election in 1997 as the First Executive Chairman of Enugu-East Local Government, under defunct United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP. And even to date, he is still a supportive brother and leader. Your Excellency, you have a place in my heart.
In life, some friends are more than relatives. His Excellency, Ike Ekweremadu, the former Deputy Senate President, is one of such rare souls. Right from the moments our paths crossed, he has proven to be a dependable ally. I have uncountable pleasant encounters with him as I climbed the ladder of political leadership. Ikeoha, our relationship has gone beyond politics, and I am pleased and equally honoured to have you share in my today’s thanksgiving to God.
And in a very special way, I recognize the man that God in His mercies and wisdom, appointed to prepare the way and raise leaders even beyond our dear Enugu State. His Excellency, Jim Nwobodo, the first civilian Governor of the old Anambra State, is a living legend. Apart from my encounters with him which offered me beneficial opportunities, the entire present-day Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra states celebrate him as a trailblazer.
I can go on and on, but because our people believe in their leaders and mentors, may I passionately plead that this special recognition and greetings may also reach them through you, my lords and masters. It is extremely difficult for me to reach them individually but that does not mean that their respective roles in my life are being taken for granted.
Therefore my highly-respected leaders and our people’s representatives, please do me the favour of accepting my esteemed regards and assurances of continued love on their behalf. They mean so much to me. And God willing, yet another opportunity will come for me to indeed celebrate them.
Meanwhile my fellow travellers in this journey of life, as I conclude this goodwill message, permit me to leave you with these two pieces of writing that I came across and enjoyed reading, which in turn enriched my moments of reflection. I could not identify the authors but I consider them worth sharing with great minds like you.
One of them is:
“NEVER EVER FORGET THESE POINTS!!
Ø Always remember that you can grow without destroying others.
Ø Always remember that while others are rising, you can also rise.
Ø Always remember that finding satisfaction in the pain of others will never bring you true happiness.
Ø Always remember that what you wish others is a prayer for yourself.
Ø Become the good fire that genuinely lights up others, not one that ruins the joy, goodwill, and expectation of others”.
Then the other is:
“NOBODY IS YOUR ENEMY BECAUSE
Ø ANYTHING THAT ANNOYS YOU is teaching you patience and calmness.
Ø ANYONE THAT ABANDONS YOU is teaching you how to stand up on your own feet.
Ø ANYTHING THAT OFFENDS YOU is teaching you forgiveness and compassion
Ø .ANYTHING THAT YOU HATE is teaching you unconditional love.
Ø ANYTHING THAT YOU FEAR is teaching you the courage to overcome your fears.
Ø ANYTHING YOU CAN’T CONTROL is teaching you to let go.
Ø ANY PROBLEM YOU’RE FACING is teaching you how to get the solution to problems.
Ø ANY ATTACK YOU GET is teaching you the best form of defence.
Ø ANYONE WHO LOOKS DOWN ON YOU is teaching you to look up to Almighty God
SO ALWAYS LOOK OUT FOR THE LESSON IN EVERY SITUATION YOU FACE IN EVERY PHASE OF LIFE.”
Then in all these and being my conviction, may we always remember that WHEN JESUS SAYS YES, NOBODY CAN SAY NO!!
Thanks and God bless you as you join me in marking my birthday.
Senator (Prince) Gilbert Emeka Nnaji