The Nigerian Philosopher Who Served As Senate President

Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo was a Nigerian philosopher, academic, writer, and political scientist who served as the Senate President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2000. He was known for his opposition to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by President Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ during his time in office.

BACKGROUND

Born on 17 December 1941 in Asaba, Delta State, Chuba hailed from Umueri, Ogbunike, a town in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State. He pursued higher education in the United States, earning a Master’s in Political Science from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and later obtaining two doctorate degrees in Philosophy and Political Science in the same city. Remarkably, by the age of 34, between 1973 and 1975, he achieved the positions of Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of the District of Columbia, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Politics at both the Catholic University of America and Howard University.

From 1975 to 1978, Okadigbo served as the Director-General of the Center for Interdisciplinary and Political Studies and a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also became a professor of philosophy at the Bigard Memorial Senior Seminary under the Roman Catholic Mission in Enugu State.

In 1979, at the age of 37, he was appointed as the Political Adviser and strategist to President Shehu Shagari. During the Third Republic, he joined the Peoples Front, which later merged with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) under the leadership of Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, alongside other prominent politicians like Atiku Abubakar, Babagana Kingibe, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Sunday Afolabi, and Rabiu Kwankwaso.

He also became a member of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) during the Sani Abacha transition program. With the advent of the Fourth Republic, Okadigbo was elected into the National Assembly, representing Anambra North, and was widely considered the favorite to become the Senate President. However, due to his disagreements with the executive arm of government, Evan Enwerem was elected with the support of the executive. Nonetheless, Okadigbo eventually assumed the position of President of the Nigerian Senate after Enwerem’s impeachment due to corruption allegations.

In 2000, the Police attempted to seize the Senate Mace from Okadigbo’s official residence, but their efforts failed. However, later that year, he was falsely charged with corruption and impeached, resulting in his demotion from Senate President to senator.

In 2002, Okadigbo joined the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and became Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2003 Presidential elections, but they lost to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates, Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ and Atiku Abubakar.

Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo was married multiple times. His first wife was Miriam Ikejiani-Clark, with whom he had four children before their divorce. He then married Juliet Nwokoye, a Pediatrician, with whom he had two children before another divorce. Lastly, he married Magery Okadigbo, who later became a senator representing Anambra North in the 8th National Assembly, making them the only married couple to achieve this feat.


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