Happy Birthday To Uche Anichukwu – The Original Backroom Boy

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Happy Birthday To Uche Anichukwu – The Original Backroom Boy

By Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, MNSE, COREN

On 24th September, 2016, when I got an appointment letter from Senator Ike Ekweremadu, then Deputy President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, as his Senior Legislative Aide, his instruction was specific and definite, as the lawyers would say – “Work with Uche Anichukwu”

29th December, 2023 marks the birthday of an enigma and a workaholic; Mazi Uche Anichukwu, my direct boss during my spell as Ekweremadu’s aide. Since we were at the Enugu State University of Science & Technology (ESUT), Enugu around the same time, it implies this his anniversary is either his golden anniversary or a year short of it.

Two things are remarkable about Uche. Firstly, his work ethics is phenomenal! From working with him, he appears to sleep and wake on his laptop. 24/7; Uche is always on top of his game, never ever dropping his guard or ‘loose guarding’, as it is described in Naịja street parlance.

If you want to see the machine in Uche at work, then, be involved in a project with him. He shall call you at any time of the day or night and if you meet him, you will find out he is firmly hooked on the job at hand.

The second thing that struck me about him was that he is an ‘original backroom boy’. According to my senior colleague in the service of Ndigbo, Chief Echezona Tony Okeke-Ojiudu( ÍdèjíÒgwùgwù n’Alor), Chairman, Zodiac Hotels Ltd, Enugu;“Backroom boys are those content to stay in the background without publicity and make things happen”

From my days with Ikeoha, I realized that Uche was an original backroom boy. Yes, his designation was Special Adviser, Media to the Deputy Senate President. However, in practice, he was much more than that. Anyone who was close to Senator Ekweremadu (our boss) or who was one of his aides would realize that Uche was much more than a media Adviser.

Owing to his calm and genial nature, Uche has this uncanny ability of ‘passing under the radar’. Outsiders looking for power points in Ekweremadu’s inner circle would never look his way. Yet, he did so much, albeit quietly.

One thing that endeared him to Ekweremadu was his intellectual prowess. Uche always wears this calm smile on his visage but beneath that ‘deceptively calm’ mien is a strong character and a goal getter.

Thinking of Uche Anichukwu, this anonymous quote comes to mind, “Hardwork spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their nose, some don’t turn up at all”.

For Uche, he always turns up his sleeves and cuts any job at hand like a farmer would cut grass. Oftentimes, he doesn’t just turn up his sleeves. No, he pulls off his shirt and confronts the job at hand squarely.

In the years I have worked with him, it has been an ‘impossible task’ to find out when he goes on a binge. It appears ‘Oringo’ or ‘flexing’ has no place in his vocabulary.

Again, Confucius, the Chinese philosopher said, “The expectations of life depend upon diligence. The mechanic that shall perfect his trade must first sharpen his tools”. That describes Uche Anichukwu. He enjoys work. In fact, to him, work is fun and his job gives him satisfaction. As such, he and his job match one another and march on seamlessly.

When I learnt of his appointment as Peter’s Special Assistant,External Affairs, I laughed in Swahili. Due to His Excellency’s rapport with Ikeoha, I knew Ikeoha would ask him to take Uche as a ‘prized asset’. As such, I knew his designation was a ‘mere designation’, that the Uche Anichukwu, I know would do much more for His Excellency, the Enugu State Governor, beyond being an SSA, External Affairs, whatever that was meant to be.

So far, I have not been disappointed. As an original backroom boy and SSA, External Affairs to His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State, I have seen quite a few good things in this Government that bears his imprint. Yet, he remains in the background, calm, unseen and effective.

Also, he has loyalty and courage in abundance. These qualities really endeared him to Ikeoha, far beyond his fertile pencraft.

I wish to reassure our boss- Ikeoha Ndigbo that in line with his instruction, I’m still working with Uche Anichukwu.

“Oke madụ, djaama ụtụtụ! Mee sa ị bịa Avọ Emudo, sa ayị taa Jaki”

Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Ọjị, MNSE, COREN


Publisher, hoo!haa!! Newspapers

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