Posted by Bilesanmi Olalekan on
Sam Egwu, governor of Ebonyi State, is like the biblical David who from obscurity became King of Israel. At the time he went into partisan politics, particularly between 1997 and 1999, he was not in the political calculation of his state. But......
Sam Egwu, governor of Ebonyi State, is like the biblical David who from obscurity became King of Israel. At the time he went into partisan politics, particularly between 1997 and 1999, he was not in the political calculation of his state. But prior to his becoming the governor, he had received messages to that effect.
Faith is an essential ingredient in Christendom, this Sam acknowledges. What weakened his faith then when messages had been given? His reply: “I am from a minority group in the state. I was not a professional politician, that is, I was not known like the established politicians. The money for electioneering was not there because I was a civil servant as a lecturer. So, I was not in the reckoning in the political calculation of the state”. At what point in time did it dawn on him that the messages were real? “ That was when Ebonyi was created because the messenger had said in his message that Ebonyi would be created.
He specifically mentioned Ebonyi”, he replied. He continued: “In fact, a book is coming on that very soon. But it all started with one Brother Festus who told me that I was going to be made a commissioner in a new state and I would be made governor but in between being commissioner and when I would be governor, something would happen but I should not feel discouraged, I should still go on.
The first time I saw him was on a Sunday, shortly after church service. I was in the car with my wife, one of our church members was christening his baby and so we wanted to go to his house and celebrate with him. At the gate, this man waved me down and asked if I was Dr. Egwu. I said yes. He then said he had a message from God for me. He said God asked him to tell me that I should get prepared as Ebonyi State would be created and I would be the first governor.
He specifically mentioned Ebonyi. So, I said thank you very much, because for me I thought he was just stationed there to collect money from people. But what surprised me most was when we drove to our friend’s house and we jokingly told him our experience with Festus, he attached much importance to it saying that if indeed the message was from God, it would come to pass. We had forgotten about the prophecy completely until some years after, in 1996, Ebonyi was mentioned as one of the states created . At that time, most of us never had hope of Ebonyi being created in the first place and that was when I remembered the man and we started looking for him . After some weeks, we found him through people whom we had told.
When we saw him, the first question we asked him was how did it happen? He said he was Anglican but he was told by God that he should go and tell me the message. But he asked God how would he recognize me since he had never met me before? He was told I had a red Mercedes Benz so that as we were driving out, he saw the red car. So, it was not necessarily because I was the one in the car but because it was a red car. At a point he said he refused to deliver the message because, according to him, he could be seen as a mad man but he had to deliver it because he said God told him that his request would not be granted if he didn’t go to deliver the message.
He told me I would be made commissioner in the new state called Ebonyi. It sounded like fairy tale but it happened that when the new military administrator for the state was appointed, the leaders went to him and told him that they were the leaders in the state and that when it was time to appoint commissioners, they would be willing to help because they knew everybody in the state, people were moving around with their C.Vs. One of the leaders came to my house and requested for my C.V. and I told him I had none, he said I was the first person who had no C.V. That night I went to my office to type out my C.V. for him. The same administrator met the traditional rulers and asked them to give him three names as commissioners, my name was among the three names submitted to him, he met the council chairmen for names, my name was also on the list. Eventually after the list was submitted, it was taken to Abuja(for verification) and it took a long while but while the announcement lasted, Festus came to me and told me that before that same week runs out, the list would be released because, according to him, he was in a dream and saw a hand carrying the list and my name was on the list.
He told me this on Tuesday and by Thursday, the announcement was made and my name was on the list!!. Before Brother Festus came into the picture, there was a widow, a praying partner with his wife who told Eunice, Sam’s wife that her husband would be made commissioner and that she saw him emerging as a leader after an election and that he saw me moving in a convoy with a lot of policemen. "Her prophecy confused me", she said according to my wife, that I would be made commissioner and would later emerged as a leader after an election.
So, it became a closed matter because I was not appointed commissioner in Enugu. But when Festus prophesy came, it was very blunt, it was much more later that my wife was telling me the woman probably was talking about Ebonyi but because of our spiritual limitation, we could not understand it”, he said. Obinna , his son, had also told him almost the same thing but he rebuffed him. “ We call him pastor, he is 11 now but he was still in primary school then. He slept shortly after he returned from school, when he woke up, he said he had a dream that we were living in Government House. He said he saw mummy coming out and there were so many policemen around her but they didn’t shoot her. So, all these had been foretold, that is why I am in government for an assignment. I was not here by calling or anybody but by God”.
If there is anything you cannot take away from Eunice, it is her beauty! She is not looking like a mother and wife of 23 years. Of course, she has royal blood flowing through her veins. How did he meet the princess? “The family of my wife is a very big one, her father was the king of our place, he was one of the prominent kings in the old Abakaliki during the colonial period. He was so prominent, that during the colonial days, he was one of the few even amongst the whites that had electricity in his house, but he was a polygamist. Of course, you know that at that level of his, as a royal father, he must have more than one wife, he was known every where in the area. I was in secondary school, one day I saw one of the wives of the king coming to the school with a little girl, that was my wife. She was brought in for registration but one year after, she left for another school, a pure female school because ours was a mixed school, so I never saw her again.
As I went into the university, one of the Operation Feed the Nation of the Obasanjo military programmes, I was posted to my place as a volunteer. One evening, I was moving with a colleague when I saw my mother-in-law who was a worker in the local government and I enquired of her son who was my fiend. I told her to inform him that I was coming to pay him a visit at home. But on that particular day when I got to his house with my friend, Brown was not around but I met my wife, his sister. By this time, she was already grown and looking beautiful. We started chatting with her and I was so amazed about her level of intelligence. As we were going back with my friend, he said that girl is a wife not a girlfriend, the statement immediately stuck in my heart. Then, next time we went again looking for Brown but I made up my mind that even if Brown was not there, his sister would be there and that was how it all started”.
Would he consider his marriage to Eunice as his happiest moment? “ Not really. It is a happy moment but not the happiest, I think that should be when I had my P.hd and may be when I won my election because there was something spectacular about it all considering the normal political calculation. My zone happens to be a minority in terms of population, I was a new-comer in politics, I didn’t have enough money even though Festus had told me then that I would not lack money to execute the election and I never really lacked. In fact, you know, I bought a car out of what was left of the money after the election because people were coming forward with all manner of assistance”.
Left to Sam, is there anything he would really love to do which his office is an hindrance? "Yes, of course, a lot”, he replied. “ I missed that simple casual life, meeting and playing with people because as you are here, there is everybody(aides) monitoring your movement, how you eat, what you eat. I want to be able to go to the street there and buy corn to eat, I want to go to the field and watch football. I don’t want people to be starring at me— that is the governor. I want to walk into a place without being noticed, it is better for me. I like driving my self around. There was a day in Lagos, I took an Okada before the aides could follow me I had disappeared. I wanted to know the impression of the Ebonyians living in Lagos on our free education policy because that was when we just started the programme and many people never believed it, they didn’t believe it could work out but thank God today, it is not only successful but it is still running”.
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