My Election: A Blessing to Umuopara

-Chief Dr. Smart Nwokorie (Eziokwu bu Ndu)

Chief Dr. Smart Nwokorie (Eziokwu bu Ndu), Executive Chairman, Umuopara Council of Chiefs


My Election: A Blessing to Umuopara
-Chief Dr. Smart Nwokorie (Eziokwu bu Ndu)

The election of Dr. Smart Nwokorie (Eziokwu bu Ndu) as the first executive chairman of Umuopara Council of Chiefs evokes resounding euphoria

Chief Dr. Smart Onyekachi Nwokorie (Eziokwu bu Ndu) needs no introduction in Abia State.

The popular, young, handsome, amiable, dynamic, visionary, forthright, eloquent, quintessential educationist and legendary philanthropist is the new executive chairman of Umuopara Council of Chiefs in Umuahia South local government area of Abia State. His inauguration has continued to receive resounding kudos from far and near.

According to the people his emergence is divine and prayer answered because of his overwhelming popularity, unprecedented philanthropy, proven track record of selfless service in various positions he has occupied as well as his enormous contributions to peace and development of Umuopara.

They described him as an inspirer and a model servant leader whose actions and encouragement motivate others to bring out the best in them adding that with him in the saddle the reality of their dream of a stable, transparent and purposeful leadership of Umuopara Council of Chiefs would come true.


In this exclusive interview with Jideofor Ugwanyi, Signal Publisher, the illustrious son of Dim na Opara autonomous community, Ogbodiukwu, Umuopara in Umuahia South local government area of Abia State described his victory as a call to serve.

He expressed profound gratitude to God and all those who contributed in one way or another towards his emergence as the new executive chairman of Umuopara Council of Chiefs and promised to work assiduously in collaboration with the executive, traditional rulers, stakeholders and the entire people of Umuopara to actualize set objectives. Excerpts.

Sir, let us meet you.
I am Chief Dr. Smart Onyekachi Nwokorie, Eziokwu bu Ndu of Dim na Opara autonomous community (July, 2023), Eziokwu bu Ndu of Nkporo autonomous community (November, 2021) and Onyinye Chukwu Nyere Dim na Opara autonomous community conferred on me by Nollywood, Actors Guild of Nigeria, November, 2022. I am also as a recipient of African Leadership Award presented to me by Hall of Fame, Abuja. Presently, I am the Pillar of Culture in Abia State and by virtue of our inauguration today I am the first elected chairman of Umuopara Council of Chiefs.

How do you feel about your swearing-in today as the first elected chairman of Umuopara Council of Chiefs?
There is no way eloquent enough to express my happiness. You know whatever comes from God must be something that makes one happy. By virtue of human choice I may not have been the most qualified person to occupy the position because there were oppositions here and there. Actually, it is the normal thing as far as election is concerned. There must be different parties with different interests. So the diverse interests created a lot of differences among us. But my joy is that today we are united. I equally see it as a selection by God and what He gave me right from birth, which has manifested today. In my own judgement I may say that those that contested with me and those that did not participate in the election are equally better than me but the way I see it, it may be that God did not activate their mind to even pick the form. Even myself, I never picked the form by myself. It was my community that actually picked the form for me and told me that they wanted me. The election has come and gone. And we thank God that there was no problem after the election. In some places after election there would be litigations here and there. But ours was actually a situation that there was hugging here and there, togetherness, love and things like that. So I am happy to be sworn-in today as the executive chairman of Umuopara Council of Chiefs. Really, I do not know how to express my joy than to say to God be the glory.

What should the people expect from you?
If I say that I do not have any plans, it means that I am an aimless human being. But I think I will ask for God’s wisdom to enable me succeed. There are some lacunas here and there – abnormal things that are truncating and bastardizing the chieftaincy institution. It is not everybody that calls himself a chief that is actually a chief. So I am going to redefine what it means to be a chief so that people would understand who is a chief and what it takes to be a chief. The honour inherent in being a chief is nowhere to be found again. Chieftaincy is an institution of high moral standard and integrity. But today people are just answering chiefs without doing what chiefs are supposed to do. So I am sent by God to tell the world what it takes to be a chief. A chief should live by example and what a chief should do definitely should be the best. So many of us are not doing it. We are not even doing the good let alone the better. A chief is not supposed to be somebody people need to start correcting in public rather he should be someone that wherever he goes he should command respect and followership. So I have really come to set matters aright in the chieftaincy institution. If you do not know where you are coming from you would not know where you are going. So one of my top priorities is to make sure that I restore the lost glory and dignity of the chieftaincy institution that had been missing. We want to bring it back and make sure that it is revived, retained and sustained. Again, I discovered that my place is underdeveloped. We have rich people but how would they bring out money and hand over to those at home to execute projects where there is no trust, transparency and honour. So by the time honour is back people would start trusting you and when people begin to trust you, people in the Diaspora would be able to push in money and tell the people at home to use it for one project or the other. We are not supposed to suffer. In my place we are blessed with a lot of rich people. Many things ought to have happened but there is no trust, integrity or moral standard. People behave anyhow they like. But life is not like that. So I have come to set matters straight and I would do that with the last drop of my blood even if it is what I would do to die and before I die I would say that I died a very good death.

What is your charge to Umuopara Council of Chiefs to ensure that you realize your laudable objectives?
I want to tell them that the journey has started. I would do my best by meeting with them from time to time because I know that it is by such gathering that we would begin to right the wrong. The mistakes of the past would be exposed. And if it is not exposed there would be no forum to correct it. So through frequent interactions we would begin to refine and redefine who we are and by so doing people would begin to trust us and the honour that had gone would come back and that is my primary aim.


What are your parting words?
I want to acknowledge the support of HRM Eze Engr. Wisdom Ekueku, the Ohazurume 1 of Dim na Okpara/chairman, Umuopara Council of Traditional Rulers and currently the vice chairman, Umuahia South Council of Traditional Rulers and assure him of our unalloyed allegiance and cooperation. No chief will challenge a traditional ruler in our place no matter what. Even if what the traditional ruler is doing is bad. There is no chief that did not receive his chieftaincy title from a traditional ruler. A king is a king and a chief is a chief. They are not the same and can never be equal. So I want to use this opportunity to inform HRM Eze Engr. Wisdom Ekueku that we have started the journey and I want to appreciate him for his magnanimity during our inauguration. It shows that he is going to be the driver that would drive whatever agenda we have to the Promised Land. We thank him so much and urge him to keep reorganizing, synergizing and energizing the chieftaincy institution. We are his royal strength just as we know that he is our royal father. We cannot do without him. There would be close contact between us this time and definitely his kingdom would be better placed now. I also want to say that culture is immortal while man is mortal. Culture is transmitted from one generation to another. People who actually practiced culture in the past are no more. But the culture is still with us. So it does not die and since it is something that does not die that means it is our lifestyle and we should exercise it in a way that there should be freedom. So I call on all the chiefs from Umuopara to teach their children our culture so that they would be able to acquire it. The problem we have is that when a chief dies, since he did not hand over our culture to his children definitely the culture dies. But if they begin to transmit and acquire it when they die their children would continue from where they stopped. So many of us who are chiefs are no longer proud to be chiefs today. By the time we begin to readjust and redefine ourselves those who have actually gone out would try to return and by so doing the institutionalization of chieftaincy would be a thing that anybody would be proud of anywhere in the world.