On June 16th, 1929 Ukpor birthed a son and gave him to the world for the good of mankind and service to humanity. His name is Mbazulike Amechi – the man who staked his life so that Zik of Africa could live. It is this uncommon act of bravery that earned him the name THE BOY IS GOOD from Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. And the name stuck since then to date.
This year’s June 16th marks 91 years of active service to humanity, his continent, nation and community by Dara Akunwafor – octogenarian, living legend, and former Minister of Aviation.
On this your birthday, the world celebrates you – as a precious gift from Ukpor – a town on the hills.
From the top of the hills of Ukpor shines this ray of light that helped subdue and completely cast out the colonial shadows from Nigeria.
Chief Mbazulike Amechi, Dara Akunwafor, foremost pre-independence activist and one of the Nigeria’s Founding Fathers that contributed to the freedom of Nigeria from the oppressive hands of the British imperialism and helped end colonial rule in Africa.
At Maryland lodge in Amihe, Ukpor – a calm, cool and tranquil environment –you will meet the 91 years old strong, articulate and sound Dara Akunwafor who had for the past four decades retired into that fortress as his base station from where he has been transmitting sound knowledge, unmatched experience, courageous advocacy, enterprise, traditional cum cultural preservation and philanthropy to near and far ends of the world.
Maryland lodge, Ukpor, a fortress inside which the Great Nelson Mandela took refuge in Nigeria at the heat of the anti-apartheid struggle in 1961. For six months inside that fortress, Chief Mbazulike Amechi and Nelson Mandela affirmed their strong love for humanity and freedom of the oppressed people of the black race, went into a marriage of interest; and the two like minds went to bed, had an intercourse of ideas which birthed varied strategies for activism and freedom fighting that liberated not only south Africa from apartheid rule, but other African nations under the suffocating hands of the imperialists.
At the fortress, you will meet
-the only SURVIVING Federal Minister of the First Republic– who served as the maiden Minister of Aviation at age of 26, under whose supervision Nigeria Airways was established .
- The only SURVIVING inaugural cabinet member of Nigeria’s Independence
- The only SURVIVING National Officer of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) that later become the National Council of Nigerian Citizens
-The only SURVIVING Zikist of the Zikist Movement who together with other members like Kola Balogun, M C K Ajuluchukwu, Mokwugo Okoye, Nduka Eze, Ogedemgbe Macaulay(son of Sir Hebert Macaulay), Raji Abadallah, Mbazulike Amechi, Ikenna Nzimiro(later Prof Nzimiro), Magaret Ekpo, Zana Bukar Dipcharima from Northern Nigeria, Fred Anyiam, Osita Agwuna, R B K Okafor, etc took an oath never to marry or plea of leniency or show any sign of regret for fighting for the freedom of the nation when arraigned until Nigeria was totally liberated from colonialists
… And the only LIVING LEGEND and HERO of Nigerian Independence.
Ukpor stands avid, tall and proud to celebrate this rare gift to humanity Chief Mbazulike Amechi – a light lit on the hilltop that shines upon mankind.
Let’s pause the hands of time momentarily to celebrate this Spartan Zikist, trade unionist, foremost nationalist, judicious administrator, hefty politician, educationists, and elder statesman, national icon, remaining national RESERVE of Nigeria’s political history and seminal events, veteran author and orator, evangelist of Aku Ruo Ulo and Anya Ruo Ulo, and protective custodian of customs and traditions at 91.
With 91 happy cheers, Ukpor celebrates one of her most refined national export – Chief Mbazulike Amechi (Dara Akunwafor, The Boy is Good), a man who is adorned at home, celebrated nationally and venerated globally.
Happy Birthday Dara
PUBLIC LIFE OF THE SAGE.
.Immediately after acquiring the Cambridge School Certificate, young Mbazulike Amechi reached out into the world of work as a Clerk in Armels Transport Limited, Benin-City from 1948-50. It was during this period that his political career was ignited when he became one of the youngest members of the Zikist Movement and its Assistant Secretary, Benin Branch, 1948-50. The period of political apprenticeship and tutelage had begun and appointments followed thick and fast.
1949 – 53, Secretary General, Armels Transport Workers Union
1950 – 53, Secretary, Benin-Warri (Bendel) Council of Labour.
1953 – 55, Secretary, Lagos and Colony District Public Utility Technical and General Workers Union.
1950 – 55, Deputy Secretary General, Nigerian National Federation of Labour.
In those days, as today, there was a thin line of separation between trade unionism and politics. Young Mbazulike expectedly metamorphosed into a full-blown politician.
From 1950 – 55, he became the Secretary-General NCNC Youth Association. From 1955 60, he became the Principal Organising Secretary of NCNC.
From 1957 – 60, he was elected a Councillor in the Niger County Council and from 1956-57 he was a Councillor, Onitsha Southern District Council (the present day Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ihiala and Ekwusigo Local Government areas).
The natural corollary of politics is board appointment. From 1957 – 60, he was appointed a member of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Board. In 1959, Chief Mbazulike Amechi was elected an Honourable member of the Federal House of Representatives (1959- 64). From 1960-62 he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information, a natural outcrop of his earlier Board membership. He was re-elected to the Federal House of Representatives in 1964 in the turbulent election of the UPGA experience.
At that point in time, Chief Hon. Mbazulike Amechi had become a top NCNC chieftain and consequent appointments gave expression to that. He was the Secretary, NCNC Federal Parliamentary party, 1964-66 and the National Publicity Secretary of the NCNC, 1963 – 66. From 1964 – 66 he, with Chief Bisi Onabanjo of the Action Group (former Governor of Ogun State), became the Joint Coordinator of Political Strategy for the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA).
But the high water mark of Chief Hon. Mbazulike Amechi’s political career was his appointment as the Hon. Minister for Aviation 1962 – 66. During his tenure as Minister (and reminiscent of Dr. Okechukwu. Ikejiani’s management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation) Chief Mbazulike Amechi undertook a marketing expedition of Nigerian air bus to the United States of America, an exploit known as “Operation Fantastic”, to popularize Nigerian Airways.