One of the major policy thrusts of every responsive government rests on its ability to create job opportunities and implement a sound justice system for all, irrespective of affiliation. It is the convergence of these two that promotes sound governance habits in the affairs of any state government.
X-raying, the life and times of Dr. Chidia Maduekwe at the age of 68 attests to an icon of ‘jobs and justice’ who has remained focused in this realm of practice ever since he graduated in medicine from the prestigious University College Hospital, Ibadan, in June 1980.
He is the managing director and chief executive officer of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC); he has proven that he is equipped to take on any lofty leadership task. He has, without exaggeration, distinguished himself among his contemporaries in upholding the mantra of jobs and justice in every leadership position he has found himself without equivocation.
He hails from Asaga-Ohafia, Abia State.
Maduekwe began his primary education at St. Thomas Anglican Primary School, Umuoso Nsulu, where his father, Rev. U. U. Maduekwe, was the headmaster. Naturally, he followed his father on several transfers and finished his primary school at St. Stephen’s Primary School, Umuobasi-Amavo.
He commenced secondary education from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Aba, before the civil war. At the end of the civil war, he obtained his O-level General Certificate of Education (GCE) while in form four attending the Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos. He proceeded to Kwara College of Technology, where he obtained his Cambridge A-level in 1975.
Dr. Chidia’s enthusiasm for impacting humanity was exemplified in his early days, shortly after his graduation in 1980 from the University of Ibadan Medical School, UCH. Following his internship at Aba General Hospital, he proceeded for the mandatory National Youth Service at Mary Slessor Joint Hospital, Itu.
Good Governance, as he is fondly called among his political associates in Abia State, had within three years, post-graduation, conceptualized and birthed the Kesandu Rural Mobil Medical (KRUMM) Scheme. He focussed on the humanitarian aspect of medical services, while creating multiple job opportunities for other fresh medical graduates who were inspired by his zeal to contribute to matters that positively influenced the lives of the commoner. The KRUMM Scheme had a multiplier effect as an off-road private primary health care/mobile clinic project within the rural communities.
Having established viable health care, which initiated job opportunities for medical and nonmedical practitioners, he delved into politics in 1990.
He amassed unrivaled experience in humanitarian, entrepreneurship and political spheres, which have contributed immensely to his ability to excel in every position that he has held.
Good Governance is a man with an embodiment of wisdom and distinctive leadership and entrepreneurship traits. To stamp his feet in the enterprise sector and demonstrate his versatility, Dr. Maduekwe established Steadydrive Petroleum Services Limited and Steadytel Nigeria Limited. The company became licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission for digital trunk radio deployment in Nigeria.
He contested and won election into the Third Republic House of Representatives; he served as the chairman, House Committee on Defence, in 1992. His foray into politics enabled him to contribute to the justice system of the nation as a member of parliament.
He has since maintained an upwardly mobile trajectory, elevating from one political office to another at the federal level with noticeable footprints as a man whose mantra remains fixated on community service.
His approach to leadership matters has always been guided by the principles of jobs and justice, which earned him the title of Mr. Good Governance.
He was driven by his passion for youths to deserve equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. At a point in time, he served as national chairman, Amalgamation of Nigerian Youths Associations (1995 to 1996); special assistant (youth development) to the Honorable Minister of Youth & Sports (1995); pioneer honorable Federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission (1995 to 2001); member, board of the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State (2009 to 2010); South-East representative, Border Community Development Agency and The Presidency; senior management staff, Petroleum Equalization Fund board (2001 to 2010).
Throughout his sojourn, Dr. Maduekwe utilized his capacities in various offices held to influence jobs for the unemployed and upheld the rule of law, fair play and transparency.
Dr. Maduekwe, through his political and personal contacts, has been instrumental in attracting some federal institutions to Ohafia. One of such is the Federal Government College at Eben, Ohafia, which has trained several prominent sons and daughters of Ohafia in Abia State and others from contiguous states of the federation; the NFC cinematography centre at Asaga-Ohafia, the first of its kind in the entire South-East; the K’Anyi Kesandu Multipurpose Cooperative Society – (Nkaa G’eme), through which Dr. Maduekwe has trained and signed up over 5,000 farmers as potential beneficiaries for a planned CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Federal Government, which he is committed to attracting for Abia state.
Going by the saying that one tree cannot make a forest, it is imperative to acknowledge that Dr. Maduekwe has contributed to the emergence of some successful political heavyweights in Ohafia LGA. He also made available scholarships and employment opportunities to several persons from Ohafia LGA and NDE empowerment placement programmes to several persons in Ohafia LGA.
Dr. Maduekwe’s enthralling exploits at various leadership levels culminated in his appointment as director of media, Buhari Support Organizations (BSO & BSGC) in 2014 by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was, at that time, one of the presidential aspirants in the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Dr. Maduekwe wasted no time in deploying his wealth of experience to conceptualize and supervise the execution of a practical media management blueprint for His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).
The media campaign focused on winning a presidential campaign by deploying global media best practices based on the theme: SECURING OUR NATION, PROSPERING OUR PEOPLE.
By 2015, he was appointed by the DG of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, H.E. Rotimi Amaechi, as an active member of the media committee of the APC Presidential Campaign.
The contributions of Dr. Maduekwe paid off to rightly justify his political sagacity and strength. The party won the election in 2015, and its candidate, Buhari, was subsequently sworn in as Nigeria’s democratically elected President.
In 2017, Dr. Maduekwe was rewarded with an appointment as the managing director/chief executive of the Nigerian Film Corporation and was recently re-appointed to the same position for another term of four years by the President and C-in-C.
Inspired by his jobs and justice mantra for good governance, Dr. Maduekwe has since gone ahead to champion several innovationss and immeasurable changes that positively impact Nigeria’s film industry and its frontiers, domestic and foreign. These are being achieved through the incredible display of administrative, business and leadership skills and experience acquired during his over 35 years of diligent public service.
Under his watch, NFC has witnessed massive rebranding and development. It now has a payoff line of “Powering Possibilities,” arising from the aggressive desire to strengthen its operations and deliver on its mandate. Also, under his design and supervision, the NFC has acquired the first-mobile film school, MAV-01, as part of the six for other geopolitical zones. This consists of an articulated 40-foot expandable audio-visual training platform, designed and equipped with modern film training and production equipment capable of being deployed to remote areas nationwide for massive entrepreneurial and youth training programmes.
Equally, in line with his quest and determination to energize the operations of the NFC and remove it from the shackles of huge indebtedness, Dr. Maduekwe spearheaded and secured office accommodation nationwide that was nonexistent in some states and zones, starting with a new NFC zonal office space at Phase 1, Federal Secretariat, Abuja. Other achievements include the relocation of the National Film Institute to its permanent site in Jos, on a 183-hectare piece of land at Nukpis-Flamingo, Plateau State.
Maduekwe has, within a few years, initiated and actualized a collaborative partnership with CNC, the French counterpart of NFC, which resulted in signing the first audiovisuals co-production MoU between Nigeria and any foreign country. Furthermore, AFD, a French funding development agency, is set to provide physical film infrastructure and training equipment at the National Film Institute, Jos. The value of the project is estimated at tens of billions of naira.
Other achievements include the creation of offices in Asaba, Umuahia, and Yola as centres of revenue generation; the creation of the first NFC cineplex at its Lagos office; expansion of the activities and equipment base of the National Film Video & Sound Archive in Jos; the commencement of complete digitization of archival footages starting with the film, “Shaihu Umar”; the introduction of master’s degree programme in Film Culture & Archival Studies at National Film Institute, while PhD programme is upcoming.
Some other remarkable achievements recorded within his first four years as the chief executive of Nigeria’s flagship agency for the development of the film industry include the acquisition of a film scanner, which is an essential requirement for the digitization programme being embarked uppn by the corporation, the development of robust inter-agency collaboration and partnerships, including that with the Nigerian Defence headquarters on the need for the proper representation of Nigerian armed forces in Nigeria and the exponential production of Nigerian military action-packed movies, the collaboration with National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the comprehensive first-of-its-kind study and analysis of the film industry in Nigeria, the reintroduction and rebranding of Zuma Film Festival, Nigeria’s foremost film festival, after it had not held for close to five years, and making it an annual film festival as against its biennial status. It successfully launched in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the development and processing of a National Film Archive Policy for Nigeria that is targeted at preserving the nation’s rich audiovisual cultural heritage, and the National Policy on Data Tariff and Content Distribution as reflected in the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy recently cutting tariff by 50 per cent. He also upheld the continuity of the Nigerian Film Corporation’s Annual Film Essay Competition.
Through re-energizing institutional collaboration and partnership processes, Dr. Maduekwe, on behalf of the nation, signed Nigeria’s first film co-production agreement with France in January 2020. Others under processing are the Republic of South Africa, Morocco, Israel, South Korea, India, Argentina, Brazil and India. The NFC has established a sustainable relationship with Google to address content creation and distribution of audio-visual production using digital platforms such as YouTube.
Maduekwe recently opened up a conversation with Netflix, another established and fast-growing digital exhibition platform, for content distribution and academic sponsorship of film students. This is focused on how the Nigerian film market can seamlessly increase in quality and monetization benefit.
Not soft paddling on his zeal to revolutionize the NFC, Dr. Maduekwe’s foreign partnership efforts paid off as French development partner AFD has commissioned its intervention in Nigeria’s Film Institute infrastructural development programme.
A primary scorecard recorded by Dr. Maduekwe is the fruition of the partnership between the NFC, and the German government and its institutions, as nine students of the National Film Institute were selected as beneficiaries of a master’s degree scholarship in film culture and archival studies, under the German scholarship programme.
Taking a cumulative outlook at Dr. Maduekwe’s soaring profile, it is not a hyperbolic expression to assert that he is needed for more leadership positions, particularly in his home state, Abia. The ‘Jobs and Justice’ narrative is not limited to just baseline employment but the creation of solid infrastructures for roads, education, energy, health, agriculture, etcetera; this will undoubtedly create direct and indirect jobs for the masses.
The leader who will also lead with the rule of law, equity and justice will also strengthen the delivery of justice to provide the needed healing in the land. This also includes the empowerment of security agencies in that regard.
Currently, in Abia, the economic and infrastructural status of the state is at its lowest ebb. The current government’s policies, rather than enhancing the state’s economic development, have worsened the decay in the state’s infrastructures.
Maduekwe’s experience is no doubt needed to turn around the fortunes of Abia State for good. His jobs and justice ideology is definitely what a state like Abia requires to rescue it from its state of decadence and make it more economically viable, similar to neighbouring states such as Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and even Imo State
To further drive his principles on jobs and justice, Good Governance will in the nearest future be launching the ‘Nkaa G’eme, K’Anyi Kesandu campaign in Abia State. ‘Nkaa G’eme is the platform on which Abians are to harvest for the very first time good governance deliverables denied them by previous administrations in the state.
Good Governance is a man with an embodiment of wisdom and distinctive leadership and entrepreneurship traits. Dr. Maduekwe has undoubtedly proved himself worthy as an astute, charitable, and generous leader who is always conscious of prolificacy at every opportunity given. He is undoubtedly a man to bank on for effective leadership, which calls for a higher level of public service.
As birthday wishes pour in torrents for the MD/CEO of NFC as he turns 68 on October 15, it is safe to state the celebration is indeed a call for more responsibilities.
•Nwanpka writes from Abuja