The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) has mourned the sudden departure to eternity of the Chancellor of the Eastern Mandate Union (EMU) and the National Vice Chairman of NADECO, Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo, who died last Saturday at the University Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu.
A press statement, which was issued yesterday by the Secretary General of NADECO, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, described Nwankwo as a role model to young activists, “because of his courage, consistency, ideological clarity and intellectual prowess and above all, a patriot in words and deeds”.
The group lamented: “When shall we have another Arthur Agwuncha Nwakwo popularly called Chancellor?”
The group said the deceased was an activist and a national icon for decades who represented a genuine voice for ideological and intellectual interrogations of critical national issues and events.
Nwankwo, according to the group, also proffered actionable solutions that were usually ignored by Nigeria to national detriment.
“NADECO has indeed lost a rare gem, a pearl whose conscience could not be bought. NADECO commiserates with his immediate family and other living NADECO leaders and members for the painful exit of our comrade. May his soul rest in peace.”
As an “activist Nwankwo, a popularly successful publisher was a torn in the flesh of various wrongly headed and or misguided military and civilian’s national and particularly state leaders who were called out for their corrupt activities. He was vilified, oppressed, detained and molested severally. Readers will remember his encounter with one of the rulers of the Igbo Nation in the Second Republic when Nwankwo was charged with sedition and the State High Court got him convicted and imprisoned.
“On the appeal filed on his behalf by the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr.Olu Onagoruwa, the conviction was quashed and he was discharged and acquitted at the Court of Appeal,” Opadokun said.
NADECO noted that Nwankwo, through his Fourth Dimension Publishing Company, published several academic books and journals thereby assisting many to reach their academic height without the usual stress and undue delays.
“He further established the National Outlook Newspapers when the military led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) staged another insurrection against President Shehu Shagari’s government on December 31, 1983, and continuously utilised the paper’s pungent editorials and informed columnists’ commentaries to speak truth to power at great price and discomfort to himself and business interests.
“He suffered several deprivations, including arson on his publishing firm and the unfortunate and heartless assassination of his junior brother perhaps to silence him. But he remained unbowed”.
“Activist Nwankwo later on enlarged his activism reputation when he set up the Eastern Mandate Union, EMU with younger and vibrant ideologues to sensitise, inform and conscientise and mobilise Nigerians, and the Igbo nation in particular, to join forces with NADECO for a credible campaign against the annulment of the presidential election victory of Bashorun MKO Abiola at the June 12,1993 election and for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to discuss and resolve the Nigerian national question once and for all times,” Opadokun said.
The statement said that when Nwankwo was elected the National Vice Chairman of NADECO in 1997 in Enugu, he exhibited a rare bravery and courage when he toured several states in North America to speak authoritatively to a variety of town hall audiences about the credible campaign for a restoration of democracy to Nigeria and the necessity for national restructuring.