Christopher Pere Ajuwa (1941-2017)

Christopher Pere Ajuwa was the first Niger Deltan to veer for the office of the President of Nigeria way back in 1993.

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Engineer, Businessman, Politician

Christopher Pere Ajuwa was the first Niger Deltan to veer for the office of the President of Nigeria way back in 1993. He was an astute businessman per excellence during the 1980s and 1990s, and was best known for his humanitarian benefactions.

Synopsis

Christopher Pere Ajuwa (1941 to 2017) hails from Gbaranraun kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He was a successful businessman, philanthropist, and politician. In the late 80s, Pere was the first Niger Deltan in our modern national history to dare the dangerous political waters of the country of Nigeria. He campaigned and advocated fearlessly across the length and breadth of Nigeria agitating for the need of an Ijaw person or a Niger Deltan to rule the affairs of the country Nigeria owing to the fact that the Niger Delta region produced a reasonable amount of revenue that sustains the wellbeing of the Nigerian state.

Eventually, in 1993 Pere Ajuwa contested the presidential primaries against Alhaji Bashir Tofa under the party platform of National Republican Convention (NRC). Subsequently, in 2003 and 2007, he contested for the seat of the president of Nigeria against President Muhammadu Buhari (2015-2019) under the party platform of All Nigeria People Party (ANPP). Though, Pere never won any of those elections, but his zeal and dogmatic spirit did pave way for many young politicians from the Niger Delta to aspire for the office the President of Nigeria. He was a man of affluence, and a benefactor to many souls from the Niger Delta and beyond. Christopher Pere Ajuwa died in 2017 in Port Harcourt at the age of 76.

His Parents and Birth

Christopher Pere Ajuwa was born on 23 November, 1941 to the families of High Chief Pa Ogongolo Vurudu Ajuwa, and Chief Ma Mrs. Rachael Diriayefa Ajuwa of Egbesubiri and Erubiri Quarters of Gbaranraun kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Surprisingly, Pere Ajuwa’s birth was closed to a mystery, if not a miracle. It was reported, that Pere’s mother fell into maternity labor while fishing, and in the absence of a midwife she miraculously gave birth to him in her canoe. Accordingly, that fateful day Rachael Diriayefa Ajuwa caught her biggest fish ever and she called her newborn son ‘Pere’ which is literally translated to mean “Wealth” in English.

Christopher Pere Ajuwa’s Education

Pere Ajuwa attended Ade Oshodi primary school in Western-Nigeria in the early 1950s and got his First School Leaving Certificate afterwards. He proceeded to Stella Maris College, Okitipupa, in Ondo Local Government Area of Ondo State in the late 1960s. Unfortunately, Pere could not complete his schooling at Stella Maris College probably due to lack of funds; he later attended Yaba Trade Centre, Lagos and Yaba Technical College where he got his City and Guide Intermediate and Advanced Technological Certificates in 1968 and 1974 respectively.

Afterwards, in the late 1970s, Pere was at Worcester University, the United Kingdom studying Structural Engineering and other engineering courses and he became British certified Technical Structural Engineer in early 1980. Then in 2006, Pere went a step further and got a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Ekiti State University.

He Played Soccer

Pere was a fine and sensational soccer athlete in his heydays. In the early 1970s he sequentially played for Western State Corporation Football Club and Research Institute of Nigeria Football Club all in Ibadan Western Nigeria. Pere was a must watch player on the field of soccer; he won laurels with those clubs.

Work/Business Life

Pere was first employed as a Technician with the Western State Water Corporation Ibadan in 1969. Then he abruptly left Western State Water Corporation and joined Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria also in Ibadan (CRIN) as a competent Engineer in charge of the Institute’s Water Treatment Plant in 1970; he worked for two years. Pere later called it quit at Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria for his educational advancement in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s.

Subsequently, he veered into private business as a Building Contractor and Petroleum Marketing from the early 1980s with a registered business name called Pere Roberto Nigeria Limited. He executed some landmark projects which include construction of the Helipad in Bonny Camp, Victoria Island, Lagos and some structures in the Petroleum Training Institute in Warri (now Petroleum University) and many other projects in the Niger Delta.

In 1986, Pere made a triumph entry into Port Harcourt city and contested for the President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Industries and won gallantly. He brought some laudable innovations into the association and it was under his leadership that the first Port Harcourt International Trade Fair was organized. Pere’s success in business did not overshadow his love for Nigeria and his burning desire to ameliorate the sufferings of the oppressed and marginalized people of the Niger Delta.

His Political Life

After a successful outing as President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Industries in the late 1980s; he launched himself into the political landscape of Nigeria when the opportunity came to fashion a new Constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria to herald the end of Military rule.

However, in 1989 he contested and won the Yenagoa Federal Constituency seat into the then constituent assembly. Pere strongly articulated positions such as minority rights, abrogation of the land use act, and resource control.

Pere Ajuwa’s escapades in the constituent assembly of 1989 endeared him to the hearts of political bigwigs in the country and when political parties were formed, he became a founding member of Nigeria National Convention (NNC). At the time, one of the notable personality that sharpened young Pere’s political reflexes in the murky political terrain was Chief Gina Yeseibo.

In 1992, there was restructuring of the political formations in Nigeria that eventually gave birth to the National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Pere eventually became a founding member of the NRC and supported Chief Rufus Ada George to emerge as the Governor (January 1992 to November 1993) of old Rivers State.

In a deliberate mission to contribute his quota to the development of the country, he strategized and reorganized his political structure. This time, he fixed his attention on the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Pere’s reinvigorated political outfit in 1993 embarked on a massive political mobilization programme across the length and breadth of this country preaching the gospel of the benefits of electing a president from the minorities in the Niger Delta region to address the political and socio-economic problem arising from the imbalances of the Old political tripod.

This message was widely and popularly received by the people of Nigeria and in 1993, Chief Christopher Pere Ajuwa contest the presidential primaries against Alhaji Bashir Tofa on the party platform of National Republic Convention (NRC) and became the first runner up in Port Harcourt.

He Agitated for Niger Deltans

Pere Ajuwa by this singular feat became the very first Niger Delta minority leader that dared the political intrigues of majority ethnic group in the country. Chief Pere Ajuwa was an epitome of doggedness and resilience in fighting for justice. This hero in 1994 began a new crusade to arouse the consciousness of the Izon nation to embrace unity of purpose in the pursuit of our common goals and aspirations. Today, the Izon nation in particular and the entire Niger delta region are better for it. Under the auspices of Ijaw National Congress (INC) and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC worldwide), he became unstoppable as his political appetite grew daily.

The political whistle was blown again in 1998 and Pere became a founding member of the All People Party (APP) which late metamorphosed into All Nigerian Peoples party (ANPP). His presidential ambition rekindled and he contested the ANPP primaries against current president Mohammadu Buhari and lost in 2003 and 2007 respectively. He later, flagged of as presidential candidate and contested the presidential election in 2003 and 2007 on the party platform of Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria (LDPN) and Alliance for democracy (AD) respectively. In 2011, he contested to fill the Bayelsa Central Senatorial seat on the platform of ANPP and lost to the ruling PDP candidate.

At some point, Pere Ajuwa’s No. 1 Sani Abacha road Port Harcourt residence was a Mecca of sort for political office holders and seekers from across the political spectrum. He was apolitical when it comes to assisting a good candidate to succeed. Many of today’s political top brass passed through his tutelage and beneficiaries of his generosity. Needless to say he had a fair share of being betrayed, but in all he took it with equanimity and even assisted those to victory.

Honours/Awards

In April 1995, in recognition of his untiring efforts in educational development, the University of Calabar awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc) Degree (Honoris causa) in Business Management. His philanthropic wavelength cut across ethnic boundaries when the people of Enugu Uku rolled out their festive drums in celebration when they conferred on him the IKEMBA OF ENUGU UKU. Pere brought tremendous educational and community development to Gbanraun hence the paramount ruler in council, King E.G Ojogbo and all relevant stakeholders conferred on him one of the highest chieftaincy titles in the kingdom; Egbesu XVI of Egbesubiri in 1986.

Family life

Pere was a man of many parts. He was a manifestly strong disciplinarian and he imbibed in his children the tenants of hardwork and obedience to constituted authority. Despite his sojourn abroad and varied exposure to other influences, Chief Pere Ajuwa still stuck to the tradition and culture of his Izon kinsmen. He was married to Mrs. Helen Ajuwa in 1972 in his youth and this marriage is blessed with strong and brilliant children. His married life was tremendously successful and nonetheless he had more twenty children to his name (children from other women).

His Humanitarian Services

Christopher Pere Ajuwa freely gave to the needy without expecting a reward. He contributed in various forms to education and religious causes. He awarded several scholarships and bursaries to the needy from Niger Delta. One of such benevolence was on December 18, 1992, when he launched an educational foundation at Ukubie in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and proceeds were used to award scholarships to deserving indigenes from the area to advance the course of education.

Pere’s Faith

In youthful years in the late 1960s, he was christened in the Catholic faith. He later got converted into the Pentecostal faith, and became a member of Christ Apostolic Church, and later Deeper Life Bible Church at Rumuodara town, Rivers State in the early 1980s. From the early 1990s, he later became a foundation member of the Redemption Ministries and worshipped there until his death. His practice of Christianity was generally characterized by acts of philanthropy. Pere loved praise and worship so much that he kept his own praise and worship band that constantly praised God as a way of glorifying Him. It was even reported, Christopher Pere Ajuwa reaffirmed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior before his death in 2017.

When He died?

It was reported Christopher Pere Ajuwa took ill briefly. The fighter had disappeared and he was hardly seen at public functions. Pere actually died on 31 January 2017 at his No 1 Sani Abacha GRA phase 3 residences in Port Harcourt after making peace with God. His last words were “Jesus have mercy on me” and slept peacefully. He was 76 years.

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Abalijay
On this platform (timeless persons), I only publish biographies of great minds so you don't forget your good past. Besides, I am a web developer and data analyst. I can render such services with ease, if you need me, contact me: abalijay@gmail.com

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