IN NAWGU, Dunukofia Anambra State, the body of Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Chiaghanam will be interred today. Chief Chiaghanam was an exceptional icon. His name stood out among promoters of the common good for all. In every capacity God had privileged him to serve, he had always humbly contributed to the well-being and advancement of the people, sometimes at his own discomfort.
Afulukwena Nawgu as Chief Chiaghanam was traditionally recognised, remained so passionate about the purpose of advancing the cause of humanity. Often he had been misunderstood, maligned, and fought against in a glaring effort that will usher in desired change by those opposed to his straightforward approach to issues, other times, his influence or charisma too enormous for some people to stomach. Nevertheless, he strived to bequeath legacies that will make his constituency celebrate the essence of life.
Chief Chiaghanam was born on Sunday, 22nd February, 1942, in Nawgu, to Chief Onnokusie Ngene Chiaghanam and Madam Mgboye Chiaghanam of Isiagu kindred, Akamanator Village, Nawgu, Dunukofia Local Government Area, Anambra State.
In an era where western education was uncommon, his father sensing his desire for education, enrolled him at St. Michael’s Primary School, Nawgu, now known as Community Primary School, in 1954. He finished his primary education at St. Raphael’s Primary School, Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area, obtaining his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) in 1959.
His thirst for further education took him to St. Augustine’s Secondary School, Onitsha, in 1960. Young Emma Chiaghanam was active in the school’s Drama and Literature Club, often taking up roles in Shakespeare’s presentations.
Due to paucity of funds, he couldn’t advance farther in his education and joined the Nigeria Police after his secondary school education in 1964. After his training at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja, Lagos, he was posted to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. He was with the Nigeria Police when the Nigerian Civil War broke out in July, 1967.
After the war in 1970, he was transferred to Ilorin, Kwara State, and later to Kanji, in present-day Niger State, in 1971. Convinced beyond any doubt of a great future outside the force, he voluntarily retired from the Nigeria Police in 1977.
On retirement, he settled in Jebba, Kwara State, venturing into business. He majored in building construction and supplies. He had his breakthrough in business during the construction of the Jebba Hydroelectric Dam, where he undertook some projects.
His contributions to the welfare of ndi Igbo in Jebba, didn’t go unnoticed as he was elected Chairman, Igbo Community in 1980. His selfless service endeared him to the people that in 1984, they crowned him EzeNdi Igbo, Jebba, until 1993 when he relocated to Anambra State.
A man with a genuine heart to serve, he was elected the President-General, Nawgu Development Union (NDU) from 1993-1997. The Nawgu electrification project started during his tenure, removing the reproach of the town not having an electricity supply.
His efforts led to the town obtaining three 33kv electric transformers for the town in 1996. He was instrumental to obtaining electrical poles and erecting them from Ezi-Nkwo Awkuzu through Ukwulu Town to Nawgu, which was erected in all the villages of the town in 1996.
Still under his tenure, the town’s Postal Agency was elevated to Sub Post Office and later upgraded to a full-fledged Post Office in 1997. As the town’s PG, his leadership acumen was instrumental in Nawgu having two political wards in 1997.
Even in his capacity as President-General, Chief Chiaghanam was elected Councillor of Nawgu Ward. As an elected councilor, he was made the Supervisory Councillor for Works and Housing, Lands, and Surveying in the old Njikoka Local Government Area in 1996.
In 1997, under the National Consensus Party (NCP), he was elected the First Executive Vice Chairman of Dunukofia Local Government Area. He was in that capacity until 1998 when that political process was truncated.
Chief Chiaghanam was the President of Rural Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd, Anambra State, in 2008. He was the Chairman of Nawgu FADAMA Users Group.
In Dunukofia, he served as the Vice Chairman for Dunukofia LGA in Omabala Union and also the Treasurer, Old Njikoka People’s Assembly Anambra State until his departure to glory.
He also served as Vice Chairman, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dunukofia LGA. Until his death, he was a representative of Nawgu Town in the LGA’s Traditional/Cultural Council. He also served as a member of the Dunukofia LGA Leaders of Thought.
Before he was elected Nawgu’s President-General in 1993, he guided the affairs of Akamanator Village as its Chairman from 1972-1997.
While in the Nigeria Police, he was the Secretary-General, Igbo Community Kainji, from 1971 until his retirement.
Always sought after for his peaceful disposition towards issues, he served as Secretary in the Reconciliation Committee set up by the NDU in July 2007, when the community was engulfed in crises and was amicably settled.
He also served as Chairman, Peace Committee set up by the community when the town boiled with religious crises in December 2007.
In December 2008, Nawgu community appointed Chief Chiaghanam as Chairman of the Peace Committee to resolve the town’s union election crises. The election couldn’t be held because of two court cases. The committee resolved the issue and an election was held.
In 2019, he was appointed Chairman, Peace Committee to resolve the election crises that rocked the NDU. A Caretaker Committee was set up by the Anambra State Government in the interim. The Peace Committee settled the matter amicably and an election was held. Chief Chiaghanam was till death, the chairman Nawgu Stakeholders Forum.
Chief Chiaghanam was happily married to Mrs Nmaegbunam Chiaghanam with children among.