State of Origin: Imo Local Government Area: Obowo Village/Town: Avutu Late Chief Dr Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe popularly known by his numerous admirers and supporters as Dec Sam(Uncle Sam) was born in 1920 in Avutu Obowo Local Government Areaof ImoState.Hewasa seasoned lawyer, grassroots'politician, crowdpuller, great motivator, charismatic leader and a great achiever. He wasthe first Executive Governor of the Old Imo State who was respected and admired for his great pace and achievement for his people within the time heserved. Even his opponents admitted ChiefMbakwe's great success and achievement as a Governor and Politician. He had a very wonderful sense of humour and could evendiplomatically win the sympathy of his opponents. He was a man of great emotion and compassion who would easily burst into tears openly when he saw his peoplesuffer. Thus he was nicknamed 'the Weeping Governor' because of his soft heart and emotion. He knew how to turn such 'taunting from critics intoa weapon of achieving his goal. Hewasa greatand wise man who would remain indelible in theannals of history of Igbo Nation. He was a true patriot. Fie led the crusade against the injustice done to Ndigbo in Port Harcourt, concerning theabandoned property and put upa gallant fight for thecreation of Imo State, and pursed thecase of exercising Obigbo to the present Rivers State. Aone time Administrator of Okigwe Zone and a Military Colonel in Biafran Army. Education • Avutu Primary School • Obowo Primary School (passed his Standard Six there) • Awka College • Fourah Bay College Freetown. Sierra Leone. 1952 - 1953 • University of Manchester 1953 1956 • University of Hull 1956 1958 • School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London, • Inns of Court, School of Law, London 1958 1959 • Called to the English Bar, at Lincoln Inn 1959. • University of Nigeria Nsukka 1984-1987 He acquired the following academic qualifications • B.A (Hons) LLB (I Ions). BL. M.Sc and PhD. Job Experience Director. Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation 1962 1966 • Chairman. Star Printing and Publishing Company Ltd • Chairman. Monier Construction Company (MCC) • Private Legal Practitioner. Port Harcourt/Aba. • Member. Constituent Assembly 1978 • Elected First Executive Governor Imo State 1979 underthe Nigerian Peoples Party(NPP) Re-elected for the second term in 1983 but this was short lived when the army struck again. • Was elected Senatorof the Federal Republic representing Okigwe Senatorial Zoneduring the Abacha Regime. Awards Too many chieftaincy awards and accolades in his life time because of his numerous achievements. Prominent among thetitles are: Aha-eji-aga Mba of Igbo Land; Ochi Ora of Imo A few remarkable achievements of Mbakwe's Regime • The Old Imo State University. Uturu Okigwe • Extensive Rural Electrification Water projects state-wide, that is the 169 regional water Project he initiated during his tenure as the Executive Governor • Construction of roads. • Master Plan of Owerri Capital City The First Slate Airport in Africa built byLocal Community Effort- The Owerri Airport. now Sam Mbakwe International Airport, renamed after his death in his honour. His Excellency Chief Dr Sam Onunaka Mbakwewas real Excellent and a Great Igbo Leaderwho commanded the respect and love of the Igbo. He wasa greatmanwhowas humbleenoughto return to study for doctorate degreein the university after he had served as a very populargovernor. That single act of humility made him shine like an ICON he was. Fie made the Igbo believe that no situation should be seen as an obstacle to success and greatness. Hard work and determination made the difference. He stood out as a true Igbo man who loved the Igbo and served with commitment and dedication. He was a man that would never be forgotten in Igboland
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