One of the cognoscenti, politician, and lover of books, who played a key role in forming government policy on peace in rural areas and environment in Imo State.
Sir Chukwuemeka Samuel Nwelue, who has died at 77 years, was a politician. He served locally, from his town to local government level, but was a formidable intellect and displayed impeccable timing when intervening in policy.
Sir Nwelue was born in Ezeoke Nsu, on January 27th, 1945, the son of Thompson Nnadum Nwelue and Esther Nwanyianyanwu Nwelue.
Their son was described early in his career as one of the brightest men of his generation, attending St. Paul’s School (Ezeoke Central School) graduating from Okigwe National Grammar School, Umuna, in Arithmetics and Social Sciences, amongst other subjects, including French.
He then moved to Jos, in the early 70s, where he worked at George Wimpey & Co Nigeria Limited, a construction company as Cashier/Wages Supervisor. Returned to Ezeoke, to become 2-time Chairman of the Umunwelue Community during which time, amongst other achievements, he spearheaded the construction of the community’s modern town hall from a mudhouse. Served on the five-member committee of Oyibo Development Centre led by Barrister Jerry Egemba. Twice held the office of Councillor in Ehime Mbano Local Government during the Military regime of Governor Tanko Zubairo.
He also served as Executive of Ward/PDP Chairman in Imo State. Served as Treasurer of the St. Paul’s Cathedral Church, Ezeoke Nsu, before he was honoured as a Knight of St. Christopher.
As a young student, it was living with Irene Ugwu, sister to Mr. Lawrence Nwachukwu, that Sir Nwelue became close friends with Gilbert, a brother to Lawrence Nwachukwu. It was his love and skill at soccer that endeared him to Gilbert. In those days, Gilbert took the young Sir Nwelue to fill in for school football teams during competitions. So versatile was the athletic Sir Nwelue on the football pitch that it didn’t matter whether it was the role of a striker, midfielder or defender that was needed of him at any point. Through the influence of Gilbert, Sir Nwelue played for almost all the schools in Okigwe.
Sir Nwelue was also a business man. While in Jos, he ran a record shop/business until he decided to return home after the death of his first child. Back home, he ventured into the hospitality business, setting up Nsu Motel which became widely known in its heydays. This enabled him to set up The Nwelue Trust.
Sir Nwelue was bestowed with the Chieftaincy title of Ezechinyere 1 of Ehume/Umunachi by His Royal Highness Eze R.E Adindu, made possible by the nomination and sponsorship of Chief Chidebem Nwaebube (Ogbuhurouzo 1).
It was in Pankshin that he worked for PWD company as a cashier; he was Captain of a football club owned by a Mr Cunningham.
Sir Nwelue met his wife, the social scientist, Catherine Ona in Jos. Ona was raised in an aristocratic family. They got married in 1980.
In the early 80s, he began to travel the world, visiting Rome in Italy, to India, the United States and was on his way to the United Kingdom, to visit his third son, Professor Onyeka Nwelue, who is a professor at the University of Oxford, before he transitioned calmly to the great beyond, on 14th August, 2022.
He is survived by his wife, six children, Mr. Chijioke Nwelue, Mr. Odinaka Nwelue, Dr. Onyeka Nwelue, Ms Nkechi Nwelue-Munonye, Mr. Ebere Nwelue and Mr. Ifeanyi Nwelue.
Also survived by his three grandchildren, Onyeka, Nkechi and Chinedu.