Acknowledged today as a cerebral thinker and a man with multiple talents, Chukwuma Constantine Chinye, came from very humble beginnings. But whether it was where he spent his holidays as a farm hand or labourer at construction sites or assisting his mother’s kerosene sales and bean cake business early in the mornings before school and on weekends, he was determined to change the status quo for his family. Today, he has lived and surpassed expectations as a consummate lawyer, astute philanthropist and even a Knight.
A motivational speaker, public affairs commentator and skilled writer, he is the author of the best-selling socio-political satire “The Nigerian Factor” 2005, and the widely acclaimed Compendium of Nigerian Laws on Corruption, Economic and Financial Crimes, 2013. A committed defender of Human Rights, with a passion for social justice, he once secured the release of over 150 awaiting trial inmates from the Calabar, Uyo and Abak prisons. ‘Pro Bono’.
Beyond this, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that he initiated the Chuma & Oke Foundation in partnership with his wife to reach out to the less privileged in our society and within the past 10 years, this foundation has impacted lives in prisons, hospitals, orphanages and old people’s homes
Onicha-Ugbo, now a budding township perched on the Benin-Asaba expressway in Delta State was a little red-earth village without any medical facilities in the defunct midwest region of Nigeria when Chukwuma Constantine Chinye was born at a native maternity home, six decades ago, on Sunday, the sixth day of October, 1963.
Chuma, as he is generally called, is the first of six children between the late Sunday Godson Chinye, a police officer and Esther Ndidi Chinye, a grade II teacher. His father had three other children from his first wife. From very humble beginnings, Chuma spent his early years in his birthplace, Onicha-Ugbo.
He is the typical example of “Do not despise these humble beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” as quoted in Zechariah 4: 10 NLT. After brief stints in Enugu and Benin with his itinerant police father, he attended primary and secondary schools in Onicha-Ugbo where most of his holidays were spent as a farm hand or labourer at construction sites.
Chuma also assisted his mother’s kerosene sales business and sometimes hawked Akara early mornings before school and on weekends. Whilst Chuma was pursuing advanced level studies at St. Patrick’s College Asaba, tragedy struck as his father, then 53 years old took seriously ill and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a disease he battled with for four consecutive years before he died the rather early age of 57 years at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
Sadly remarkable were the unfortunate facts that Chuma’s father read his letter of admission to study law at the University of Benin in 1983 at a University of Benin Teaching hospital bed, and he died in the same hospital just a couple of days after Chuma completed his four-year undergraduate programme.
Today’s celebration is therefore, significant not only for Chuma and his immediate family but for the larger Sunday Godson Chinye family because, Chuma who was prematurely thrown upon the saddle of family leadership has not only surpassed his father’s age, he has by the grace of God enjoyed good health and has so far lived to witness the graduation of three of his four children two of whom already have masters degrees. To crown it, his siblings who were mostly teenagers and infants at the time of their father’s death in 1987 have all turned out well and are successful in their rights. This celebration is partly sponsored by them.
Making of a Home-Grown Lawyer Chuma attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos from 1987-1988 and was thereafter, called to the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He served the National Youth Service Programme in Calabar, Cross Rivers State in the private law office of Nta & Ita Legal Practitioners.
On completion of his service programme in 1989, Chuma began his legal practice career with the same firm as Counsel in Chambers.
Due to sheer diligence, determination and excellence, he became the head of litigation and a partner in the firm by the end of the first year.
The firm was restructured a year later into Archibong, Nta & Ita Legal Practitioners and Charles Archibong, now a retired Judge of the Federal High Court became the head of the law firm.
In 1993, Chuma in partnership with one of his former bosses, now Justice Eyo Effiom Ita (Rtd), started a law firm known as Ita, Chinye and Associates.
He was Head counsel in the Lagos office, whilst Ita held sway at the Calabar office. Public Service Career By the end of the year 2000 and after years of very fruitful partnerships in his private legal career, Chuma decided to forge on independently.
He also began to nurture interests in public policy conceptualization and development, thus C. C. & C. Legal Practitioners and Public Policy Consultants was birthed with Chuma as Managing Solicitor.
He however remains indebted to the founding partners of the law firm of Nta & Ita Legal Practioners, Calabar which served as the incubator that nurtured his legal career and set it off on the right course. Chuma’s new firm served as consultants to the Government of Cross Rivers State on Local Government Affairs as well as the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, (ALGON) and as strategists and policy advisors for numerous government agencies and public office holders. Chuma’s interest in public policy led to an extensive and rewarding career in public service.
Some of his notable accomplishments in the public sector include being a Resident Consultant, National Secretariat of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) from 2001 – 2004; Senior Special Assistant to the National President of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) from 2004 – 2005; and Senior Assistant to the Governor of Rivers State from 2008 – 2011.
Others include state Coordinator SERVICOM, Rivers State from 2008 – 2011; Director, Finance and Administration Rivers State Election Campaign Council, 2010-2011; Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation, 2009-2010; Legal Adviser and member of the Board of the Federal Inland Revenue Services and Joint Tax Board, 2009-2010. He was also Commissioner, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Rivers State 2011-2015.
Chuma became the first non-indigene to be appointed Commissioner in the State, and indeed in the South-South and South-East geo-political Zones; Special Assistant to the Hon. Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs 2015-2017; Principal Secretary to the National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), 2018-2021; and Deputy Director General Rivers State Governorship and General Elections Campaign Council, 2019-2020.
Moulding a Legacy A committed defender of Human Rights, with a passion for social justice, he served as the coordinator, Legal Services, (Eastern zone) of the Civil Liberties Organization (C.L.O) from 1989 – 1993, during which period, he secured the release of over 150 awaiting trial inmates from the Calabar, Uyo and Abak prisons. ‘Pro Bono’.
He was also the Convener of People Against Corruption, a non – non-governmental anti-corruption organisation initiated in 2005 to herald an anti-campaign in our nation and demand accountability from public office holders.
A philanthropist, with a large heart, he initiated Chuma & Oke Foundation in partnership with his wife to reach out to the less privileged in our society. Within the past 10 years, this foundation has impacted lives in prisons, hospitals, orphanages and old people’s homes. Acknowledged as a cerebral thinker and a man with multiple talents, Chuma is a motivational speaker, a public affairs commentator and a skilled writer.
He is the author of the best-selling socio-political satire. “THE NIGERIAN FACTOR” 2005, and the widely acclaimed COMPENDIUM OF NIGERIAN LAWS ON CORRUPTION, ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES, 2013. Chuma is an avid table tennis player and enjoys writing, debating and listening to indigenous music. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership in the United States of America, Chuma is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.
On the social side of life, he is a long-standing member of the African club, Calabar. Chuma is a devoted Christian and in 2012, he was recognised as a trailblazer by the kings of the nine towns in Ezechime Clan with the honorary chieftaincy title of OBUZOR I of Ezechime Clan.
In recognition of his zeal and commitment to the body of Christ, Chuma was knighted by the Bishop of the Diocese of Uyo as a Knight of Saint Christopher (KSC).