Date Published: 12/06/09
Ararume at 51: Salute to a dogged fighter
Do an internet search on the name Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume, the researcher is very likely to be confronted with over two hundred thousand materials in one single domain name made up of features, news, editorials, commentaries and even culled stories drawn from several Local/International Newspapers and Magazines with interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. A visit to the said site will show that in the last two years that is since 2007, not less that two million people made up men, women, scholars, students and biographers have visited this site either from Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas including people from the Pacific. But Araraume’s location in the world wide web did not come easily, it came through planned voyage, uncommon and painstaking strategies and this is salutary especially because the path to making history all over the world though strewn with thorns and thistles has a small space for a few who are brave and courageous to dare the plunge and in the process command heights they do today.
The first part of information about his person states that the man of the moment was born on December 16, 1959 at Isiebu in present day Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. He thereafter attended a Catholic Primary School located within his hamlet. College Education took him to Dick Tiger Memorial Secondary School, a foremost Government owned mixed secondary located at Amaigbo. He thereafter attended University of Benin for his First and Second Degrees in Political Science. While in school in Benin, Araraume found time to do little business specifically trading, an incursion that gave birth to what is today, the Exclusive Group. According to the research, it would amount to stating the obvious if one says that Senator Godwin Ifeanyi Araraume is indeed a study in hard work, creative ingenuity and doggedness just as his achievements to date in business represent dividends to visionary entrepreneurship. In Benin where he found home after graduation, the research further work stated that Araraume followed the natural order of climbing the corporate leader of life from the bottom rung rather than beginning from the topmost rung as several of our young men do today. Undoubtedly this climb to the crest of success took the young man over three decades of struggle anchored on diligence, determination integrity, doggedness, humility and honesty. Counting therefore on the above accomplishments, it would not be out of place to state that the man Araraume carved a niche for himself as a respectable, talented and accomplished investor with extensive business building and wealth creation experience within and outside Nigeria.
Another interesting aspect found in the research work is his philanthropic acts which stated that the man has in over three decades actively supported initiatives that profoundly impacted on the society whether where he lived or where he was born. For instance, the University scholarship scheme he began way back in 1985 which targeted children of the downtrodden has today produced several graduates in fields of Law, Teaching, Engineering and Medicine. His companies and other organizations where he has interest thereafter provided a landing haven to these teeming graduates. That is not all, a socially responsible Araraume has built schools and health centers and further provided infrastructures like pipe-borne water, electricity and feeder roads in most parts of Okigwe zone and this has earned him chieftaincy titles from communities within.
His voyage to the National Assembly of the Federal Republic in 1999 to represent Imo North also makes an interesting reading on the site. Here the research records him as one who not only swept the pools to emerge the Senator but ensured that Okigwe zone which had been an appendage of some sort to Owerri Zone got their independence with his emergence. He again repeated the feat in 2003 by trouncing his opponents including people sponsored by several Governors. At the Senate chambers, Araraume was recorded as Chairman Southern Senators Forum, a great supporter of Dr. Chuba Okadigbo who was Senate President and for his rabid agitation for creation of an extra state as well as additional Local Government Areas in the South East. He was credited with the agitation for improved road network across the country and used his Vice-chairmanship of NDDC to ensure that the Niger Delta region of which Imo State is one got tremendous package from the centre. He was also credited to have religiously attended to his Committee work and was his best in oversight functions winning several awards.
Perhaps the most interesting information on the web is that which had to do with the Senators’ desire to Govern Imo State in 2007. In this section alone, there are over 100,000 materials which had to do with the PDP Primaries in Imo State, the court cases to establish the rightful candidate of PDP in Imo, the court cases relating to both April 28 and April 14 Governorship elections and other cases. The research dwelt extensively on the conspiracy of a cabal in the Presidency and PDP headquarters then led by Olusegun Obasanjo which did all it can not to clear him to run despite the fact that he had no negative police or security record, but the man overcame the man made hurdle and joined the race and despite opposition and the disadvantage of coming from Okigwe zone which had few delegates, Araraume still coasted the victory but enemies would not hear of it and a second primaries was rescheduled a week later, still Senator Araraume trounced his opponents which included Hope Uzodinma, Festus Odimagwu, Tony Ezenna, Kema Chikwe, Charles Ugwu and several other too numerous to mention. Now using the platform of PDP, his traducers made moves to ensure that Araraume’s name was nor forwarded to INEC but the Senator according to the report approached the courts to prevent lawlessness in the land. But the courts including the Supreme Court ruled that Araraume remained the PDP candidate. His traducers according to the research work defeated on this scale then flooded Imo State with soldiers and policemen on election day such that the former out numbered the later still Imo people queued behind Sen. Araraume and gave him overwhelming mandate the type only the likes of Nelson Mandela and Barrack Obama received. Again not a man to be put down especially by a bloody civilian” his traducer instructed Chief Iwu Maurice the INCE chairman to announce a fellow who on a good day cannot successfully win a councillorship election in his home local government area of Isiala Mbano as Governor, hence the unending political squabbles in Imo state .But Senator Araraume convinced that he won both elections then approached the judiciary but the Tribunal and the Appealed Panel unfortunately fell prey to predatory acts of dark men to arrive at a travesty of justice anchored on weak garland of arguments. Besides the position of both courts on the matter can be aptly described as a towing the vexed route of Ancient Common Law which had a reputation for mechanical justice that prefers the mighty to the downtrodden. Interestingly the matter at it concerns the issue who actually won the governorship election in Imo State have refused to die three years after as the Court of Appeal in Abuja is set to deliver judgment in the coming weeks on the legality of April 28 election which INEC used to pronounce Ikedi Ohakim as winner. Arguments which appear validly profound is unequivocal that INEC disregarded a Federal High Court order and brazenly held the election of 28 April 2007, counting on this score, nobody is sure again which direction the Lord Justices will look at but definitely about the flawed April 28 again.
As Senator Araraume marks his birthday this week along side the likes of Gen. T. Y. Danjuma, Chief Frank Kokori and former Governor Felix Ibru, we his admirers are summoned to the words of Alex Simmons, a foremost playwright which states “A man is nothing without struggles, nothing without daring an unprogressive law and nothing if does not in his little way attempt to point the way forward in his society” .We say it here that but for Senator Araraume, many who are Governors, Senators and Assemblymen across the country today would not have been if he had shied away from injustice and man made high handedness. Instructively the question which has remain a puzzle in the minds of political analysts today is whether Senator Araraume may soon join the ranks of men like Jacob Zuma, Nelson Mandela, Kenneth Kaunda, Jomo Kenyatta and other notable Africans who suffered state induced harassment on account of their doggedness, principle and popularity and still made it to office. Happy Birthday Distinguished Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and as our people would say: “Ya gazie nwoke oma ndi Imo”.
Maximus Uba lives in Mbaise Nigeria.