2023 Orlu Senatorial Seat: Charles Ahize Whom the Cap Fits
By Collins Mbakwe
Only those that are not resident in Imo State may be forgiven if they say they have not seen the man or heard about the name, Chief Charles Ahize, because the name for good reasons, have been ringing bell. Recently, in an attempt to get to know him the more, I interviewed some of his those closer to him than me. One of those I interviewed is an Ugbelle-born youth development expert, philanthropist and well-traveled, seasoned businessman, Mr. Kingsley Mbakwe, popularly known as Kin-Gaza. While fielding questions from me about Chief Ahize, he waxed lyrical and narrated what transpired at Chief Charles Ahize’s residence in 2021 and many other things.
According to him, Chief Charles Ahize invited many community leaders in various local governments to his house on 28th August 2021, to discuss modalities on how to empower many young people and sponsoring many abroad.
“Why have there been no benefiting programs for our youths? Why have the individuals we elected not been able to attract federal presence to help construct our roads like that of Orlu-Akokwa Road and many other roads in the zone that have become death traps for our people? What has been happening to our slots for federal government jobs? Why have we not actualized Orlu or Njaba State? Why are our able-bodied youths mostly okada riders when they can better be equipped through wonderful initiatives by those whom we voted to represent us at the Senate?” Those were some of the thought-provoking questions Chief Charles Ahize, an Ihioma-born billionaire and philanthropist asked at the meeting at his residence on August 28th, 2021.
One of the interesting replies he provoked was from Amb. Henry Ogudo, a renowned diplomat, administrator, and social crusader. “We, your people, are here! We know your capacity. We have followed your philanthropic gestures and capacity-building programs for the youths with keen interest. We know your passion for the progress of our youths and the generality of our people. We have watched disappointedly those we sent to represent us in the Senate, ended up representing themselves and their families. We want you to run for the Senate. Effective representation has eluded us for too long. We are tired of their bare-faced lies. We no longer want those time-honored and conventional politicians whose only reason for the inordinate quest for political positions is to keep enriching themselves at the expense of the masses. Most of our leaders in corridors of power have failed to deliver qualitative representation and attract infrastructural developments to ease the suffering of our people, instead of showing us human face and being our ‘walking stick’ they prefer to be thorns and pitches us dishonestly. They used our national cake and fund meant to improve the people’s lots to instigate miserable state of confusion and crisis among us to achieve selfish political interests. We want this quagmire to end by calling on you to lead us to the promise land full of milk and honey. We have the brain and all. But here is the “but”– we have no thugs and no certified poll riggers like them. However, we will put our lives on the line to protect our votes.”
Everyone agreed. It was a remarkable moment. They were honest submissions. Chief Ahize beamed broadly. The surprise was writ large on his face. He least expected the call for him to run. His reason for that meeting was to discuss other measures to empower the youths.
My prayer that night was for him to consider the call seriously because he is one man I know that share my plans and vision for our youths. He has on several occasions spoke passionately on how he wanted our representatives to take seriously the agendum of the creation of Orlu or Njaba State. I knew he has the wherewithal to run for such a position. He has been a billionaire for decades. He has invested much in human capital development. His philanthropic work, vision, and fellow feelings have been out of this world. But I had one fear after that day. And that is, will he one day accepts to devote more of his time to political matters?
Chief Charles Ahize, an intellectually mobile gentleman, a go-getter, and an embodiment of humanity is one of those who rose from nothing to glorification, by dint of hard work. He is one of those few Nigerian billionaires who have also made others become billionaires through legitimate businesses.
Chief Ahize has over the years given scholarships to many indigent students up to the university level. He has set up businesses for thousands of Nigerians, assisted many widows with cash gifts, empowered youths of all categories, and sponsored many abroad.
One of the many things that stand out from many others is that he is a natural philanthropist. He gives without expecting anything in return. Long before now, he never wanted to stand in an election because of how desperate and dirty many Nigerian politicians can be to get to power and how infamous most Nigerian politicians have become as a result of their premediated failed promises to the people who voted them into office.
Knowing the kind of personality Chief Ahize is, renewed my hope that our dear Orlu zone will be better again. Every progressive-minded person can attest to the fact that I have in several ways demonstrated my passion for the empowerment of our youths. Nothing gives me joy than seeing the youths doing well in their chosen fields. And over the years, I have committed my time and little resources to that course.
For the first time since 1999, I have seen a man who sincerely has good plans for the youths. The firm belief that he will give us effective representation is palpable considering all he has done for decades having positively affected the lives of people. Unlike those political desperados, Chief Ahize is the only candidate vying for the senate to represent Imo West, who has been committed to lift our teeming unemployed youths off the street. All Chief Ohizu needs is a better platform such as the senate, to bring our share home and increase his philanthroc-characteristic disposition of giving back to the society.
The exchanges at the meeting that day 28th August 2021 were no laughing matter. It shows the obstacles stacked against honest people with the capacity to make a difference in their country but who have to be consigned to political irrelevance on account of lacking the triune factors of godfatherism, bare-faced lies, and electoral manipulations.
Orlu youths had for long waited with bated breath to see Chief Charles Ahize, a man who is not a traditional Nigerian politician, declare his interest to run. From all indications, we the people of the Orlu zone are fed up with those politicians who would preen for recognition after diverting funds meant for the development of our zone to their pockets.
The prevailing new political phenomenon which saw the youths ready to participate actively in politics with a view to retiring those political leeches who have been a clog in the wheel of our progress, coupled with Chief Ahize’s committed interest to assuaging suffering from the zone, spurred him into declaring his interest to run for the Senate under the Labour Party. His emergence as the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Imo West has since then restored hope to the youths of the zone and the generality of the people.
After his emergence, he disclosed to me his plans on how he would ensure that Orlu State creation is a reality, if given a chance to represent the zone at the senate. Presently, a committee has been set up to oversee modalities to get many Ideato youths youths to be sponsored abroad.
I decided to pitch my tenth with Charles Ohizu, because long before he ever thought of serving his people through the platform of the senate, he has been empowering youths, and his vision to make creation of Orlu State a reality, has always been there.
It gladdens my heart that the youths have since then thrown their weights behind him having known how selfless and passionate he is in seeing that similes return to the faces of the people of the zone. It is about time we dethrone those who have for years withheld our supposed shared prosperity. We, especially the youths and the less-privileged must turn out enmass and vote Charles Ahize come 2023, without being sentimental about political affiliation or family ties. A vote for Charles Ahize is a vote for youths empowerment, for employment – a vote for liberation.
Let’s all join hands to revive, renew and rehabilitate Orlu zone. Chief Charles Ahize is the Josiah of our time!