Chudi Anyaeji: Light Dims on a Goodman

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By Tony Nezianya

Too bad that Mr Chudi Anyaeji has passed. It was flashed in the NAN forum and I saw a bit of eulogy by Vin Okwor but when I went back to read the comment, it had disappeared. I was afraid of asking Okwor for a reconfirmation, in a way, I did not want Him to confirm the obvious.

I was close to Chudi; he was my senior at Ajasa Street, Otu Onitsha. He lived at No 5, Ajasa. It was derisively known as No 5 Anyike (Axe), because of an incident in 1965, when one of their neighbours used an axe 🪓 to kill his wife, who it was said used to bully the man.

The man as a firewood seller used to sharpen his axe and all took it for granted and did not know he harboured a grudge until the fateful early hours of the morning when he hit the wife with an axe that gut stick there on her head.

It took cries from her Children, particularly the first son, whose name I have forgotten to shout out that our father has killed our mother with his axe.

People trooped to No 5 Ajasa (Anyike). The man came out after the heinous act to take a seat in front of the room to be consuming snug until the police landed to take him away.

Our family house was 12 Ajasa, the immediate past Governor of Anambra, Chief Willie Obiano lived with his parents.

His father was probably the best-known face on the street as. Great Teacher at Holy Trinity Primary School and a Scout Master.

He was an embodiment of discipline. Every child in school held Teacher Obiano in awe. He could work with your parents to ask that you be released to him to be enrolled in a school.

In my case, I enjoyed more privileges as he would carry me on his bicycle to school and back.

The incentive was not only because he was a bosom friend of my father but he disrupted my education in Christ Church Primary School, Onitsha to move me to the Roman Catholic school.

This was also because he facilitated my baptism and those of my two big sisters Mrs Ngozi Chukelu and Late Mrs Pauline Chuke, wife of our colleague, Mr Louis Chuke.

Back to Chudi Anyaeji, he liked me a lot and would not hesitate to ask me to run his errands. Then the big boys showed you love when they send you on errands – go buy cigarettes or go call me that girl.

After the civil war, we did not see much as we changed to another family house at No 2 New American Road, my paternal grandmother’s house. it was at this place that my part crossed Gov. Peter Obi’s family, then lived at No 3, New American Road. My bestie in the family has been Damian, the immediate senior to Governor Obi. who remains my friend to date.

Me and Uncle Chudi lost touch until three great colleagues Mr Thompson Chatta, Mr Isaac Ighure and Mallam Isa Hussaini talked about him and I told them I am familiar with the fellow.

I mentioned the beat about our famous Ajasa Street, Onitsha.

When I was finally engaged and sent to Minna I was informed that he worked at NAN Minna, then in Kuta Road.

I was informed he transferred his services to the Nigeria Security Organisation (NSO) now Department of State Services (DSS), after being previously known as State Security Services (SSS).

On my arrival in Enugu, Chudi was told I had assumed duties as Zonal Manager of the South East, he was there to welcome me to the famous Coal City, Enugu.

Shortly after my retirement in NAN in 2016, and Gov. Obiano invited me over to Awka to work with him, Chudi got wind of it and was again available to acord me a welcome.

We kept our interaction via phone and as a senior, ensured to ask after me.
I will miss Uncle Chudi.

He hails from one of the neighbouring towns to Onitsha – Okija in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State but not many knew this as he spoke impeccable Onitsha dialect, just like Gov. Obiano. Both grew up in Onitsha made friends in the town, and were emershed in its culture and politics.

We the Onitsha treated as indigenous to the commercial city without discrimination. In Chudi, a good man 👨and an outstanding journalist is gone!!!

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