Prince Ned Nwoko, left and Mr. Gabriel Ogbechie.
By Chuks Kelvin Nwaonye
Chief Gabriel Ogbechie, managing director of Rain oil,a petroleum marketing firm has in the past few weeks, caught himself in a cesspool of moral filth and web of blistering controversy.
Ogbechie‘s situation, so dire and awkward stemmed from a messy allegation of assassination plot against him by popular philanthropist and business mogul, Prince Ned Nwoko.
Gabriel Ogbechie and Ned Nwoko are kinsmen. Both men are from Idumuje-Ugboko, a rural suburb located in Aniocha North Local Government of Delta state, Southern Nigeria.
The genesis of Ned/Gabriel face-off goes thus: Idumuje-Ugboko, a calm sedentary settlement on the rolling hills of Delta North known as Anioma has been disturbed since 2017 by the twin impasse of royal kingship tussle and land feud.
Prince Ned Nwoko, generally regarded as Idumuje-Ugboko’s most prominent benefactor and patron of charity is building a university in his village, the first sports university in sub-Saharan Africa!
Set on a sprawling land mass of about 100 hectares the university is dressing up to assume iconic status, with massive academic and administrative structures rising here and there, almost kissing Idumuje-Ugboko skyline.
The proposed school aptly named STARS University is being developed with the full compliments of an international Golf course, dreamed to host legends like Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson among others.
Ned Nwoko is constructing the expansive university single handedly, next to an existing world class tourist haven, MOUNT NED RESORT, a wondrous theme park with the rarest collection of wildlife, ensconced with eye popping Arabian and African architecture.
But there is a deep damper in Ned Nwoko’s dream for his people. The land he acquired for the development of the university was DULY APPROVED by the immediate past King of Idumuje-Ugboko, HRM Obi Albert Nwoko III. But strangely, the land came under hot but needless contention immediately after the demise of the Obi in 2017.
The alleged mastermind is one of the late Obi’s sons, Prince Justin Chukwunonso Nwoko, who forcefully seized the throne and proclaimed himself king, in a calamitous royal breach.
Armed with tyranny, he is alleged to have instigated violent opposition against those perceived as non supporters, using murderous cohorts. People were killed. Others maimed. Some banished. The culmination of the mayhem in Idumuje-Ugboko today, is that the hapless people have been crying for Justice not “Justin”. Subjudice and restraint do not permit more elaborate expose of the frightening length Prince Nonso and his gang went in their alleged horrendous reign of impunity. So long on this, as the matter is now before the courts.
However, key elders, notable indigenes and Aniocha North royal fathers are rallying round Prince Solomon Nwabuokei Nwoko for recognition by the Delta State Government and presentation of staff of office as the rightful and legitimate Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko.
The people generally share a common joy and optimism that the enthronement of Prince Solomon Nwabuokei Nwoko, a worthy claimant to the throne, would bring lasting peace to the troubled community as he not only merits the crown as a sound mind but also meets all customary and age old norms required for royal ascendancy to the Idumuje-Ugboko monarchy. Prince Ned Nwoko belongs to this ideal. Gabriel Ugbechie is fiercely opposed to it. A predictable stance as Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko’s man Friday and financier of his alleged terror gang.
It therefore comes to no wonder that Ned, as he is fondly called, would pointedly accuse Chief Ogbechie of an attempt to assassinate him. Clearly because there is no love lost between both men.
In a petition addressed to the police authorities at Abuja, dated 12th November, 2020 titled: “LEAKED INFORMATION ON DANGEROUS PLANS TO ATTACK/KILL ME.” Ned Nwoko wrote:
“I was reliably informed by my wife, Regina Daniels who was also informed by one Wale Jana that the suspects who were arrested and remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center in connection with the murder case in my village are plotting to cause me harm and possibly kill me. From the information made available to me the evil plot is being sponsored by one Chief Gabriel Ogbechie. I came to this conclusion because according to the report sent to my wife by Wale Jana, it said an inmate in the same room with the suspects at the correctional facility who pretended to be sleeping heard them plotting to harm me. From what he heard, the sponsor of the planned attack owns a filling station and is in the business of oil and gas and hails from a community around. As far as I know, the only person who fits that description is one Chief Gabriel Ogbechie.”
Attached for authenticity were screenshots of the communication between Regina Daniels’ informant and the prisoner.
In a shocking twist, the man who alerted Ned Nwoko family Ossy Biose was threatened for exposing the assassination plot and few days he was found dead. Before he died he made further statements to the police and DSS specifically identifying Ogbechie as the financier of those terrorizing Idumuje-Ugboko people.
Chief Gabriel Ogbechie had since responded to the weighty allegations with a bogus rejoinder titled NED NWOKO ‘S ASSASSINATION STORY, A HOAX. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER.”
Reading through the hastily contrived rebuttal circulated in sections of the media, Ogbechie laboured in lengthy explanations to exonerate himself from the assassination plot. But every line degenerated in error and appalling sentiments, totally baseless and digressive from the crux of the matter, a serious matter – murder plot.
At no time did he make even the faintest attempt to deny the charge or clear his name, he claimed had been dragged in the “mud”. All he did from the beginning to the end of his rambling epistle was hollow rhetoric, raising spurious posers on the identity, location and whereabouts of the informants who reportedly implicated him. He has a lot of questions to answer.
Faking his submission, Chief Ogbechie said he was “NEVER arrested” on the 4th of December 2020, over the attempted murder. But he was not truthful enough to tell the world that he was indeed detained, quizzed and later released on bail. The documentary evidence is readily available. The matter is under investigation. Subsisting until every motive is established and justice served.
Facing Ned, he prattled further in base innuendo: “ I understand his family is in the show business and it is necessary they remain in the news to maintain the smoke screen of media hype. However, I urge him to keep me out of his social media antics and refrain from using me as content.” This one obviously “pepper” Gabriel Ogbechie! How childish and immature.
Oh yes Ned Nwoko’s family, his beautiful wife, Ragina precisely, is in show business. She is the undisputed queen. The light of Nollywood. A star who rose in infancy, still shining in the bloom of youth, now so radiant in full moon – a mega star, role model quintessence, life style pacesetter and proud super mum to a princely son, born to Ned Nwoko.
Contrary to the puerile tantrums of Ogbechie, Regina Nwoko does not require an Ugbechie or a hideous assassination plot to make a movie and go show biz. Her theme is far loftier, socially didactic and more colourful, away from vile tendencies. Ugbechie should stop gloating that Nwoko’s family is hugging the spotlight. It is a free world. He is at liberty to close his filling stations and enroll his entire family in Nollywood industry class. Regina the empress of Nollywood will offer them some free useful lessons.
For Ned Nwoko, Chief Ogbechie can never reinvent the wheel. An international brand who stands on a global canvas can never star in a local cocoon. A world class attorney, legendary lawmaker, initiator of London-Paris Club loans refund to Nigeria and African anti-malaria ambassador has no need for “drama” as painted by Ogbechie.
On the home front, Ned is fixated with the idea of STARS University Idumuje-Ugboko not the dubious distractions of a petroleum marketer turned antagonist. Chief Ogbechie noted glibly in his publication “ I am in support of the university….The community is happy to host the university.” The first statement is false, the second true. You cannot support what you plot to destroy. How hypocritical.
In another breath, Ogbechie stated that Ned cannot have “his unrestrained way in the community,” his offense being the development of a university for his people! Who can trust a man of duplicity? Thankfully the collective will of the people will ever triumph against individual machination.
Gabriel lies about the Idumuje-Ugboko mayhem of 2017. He keeps denying what happened, his role in the violence and seeks justification for it. He allegedly organized and funded the crisis and continues to fuel it, to no end. He harbours the evil that tore the community apart, with fear and uneasy calm stalking the land till date.
In an earlier article, tilted “The Quest for peace In Idumuje-Ugboko: My perspectives,“ published in Vanguard newspaper of May 21, 2020, Ogbechie had tried to extricate himself from the gory events that engulfed his community. But the widely circulated publication was a feeble attempt that amounted to nothing as it proved insincere and unconvincing. He further entangled himself when he openly admitted in the publication that he “made an effort in December 2019” to secure the release of the four key suspects that unleashed terror on Idumuje-Ugboko. What is Ogbechie’s alliance or sympathy with merciless hoodlums?
Prince Ned Nwoko is trained and tested. He can decipher friendly fellowship and bare faced adversary. Crocodile tears are ever fake. No matter the pretense, they come sly, dangerous and manipulative. The ultimate intent unabashedly ugly and destructive.
Like the double faced Greek Janus, infamous for spewing cold and hot at the same time, Ogbechie concluded his deceptive publication with a laughable take:
“My lawyers have written to Ned Nwoko demanding a retraction, apology and payment of damages for the scurrilous statements and publications made by him and very soon, he would have his day in court.” This is what happens when a poor actor tries to play a clever victim. Good enough, Prince Ned Nwoko is a lawyer. He will surely match ahead of Chief Gabriel Ogbechie in the legal field .
Ned by nature and exposure is certainly not a crude warlord. But he is a wise warrior stout in heart and footing.
A man who has spent so much energy and resources promoting sustainable development in his community can only be a pacifist and pathfinder. Ned is both a son and sun of Idumuje-Ugboko. He is striving not for personal gain, but for community, legacy and posterity.
At 60 with a billionaire stature, he is a consummate human. Blessed with divine gifts and glory, both visible and intangible, all priceless. He has nothing more to gather but much more to give. And he is doing it with the best passion of philanthropy and service to mankind.
His “brother” Gabriel Ogbechie has only one course to thread now. He must shun bitterness and bickering, retreating in restitution to join Prince Ned Nwoko to bring progress and international limelight to their Idumuje-Ugboko home land.
Enough of distractions. Let Ned be. Let Idumuje-Ugboko grow.