Late Senator Annie Clement Okonkwo was a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who represented Anambra Central Senatorial District in the Upper Legislative Chamber between 2007 and 2011 in the 6th. National Assembly.
He was of a devoted catholic christian background, a visionary quintessential leader cum International Businessman who successfully built a vast business empire that spans from telecommunications, oil and gas, manufacturing, export, import and real estate.

The holy bible reminded us in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 verses 2 and 8 a time to be born and time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to love and a time to hate; a time of peace and war”.

Fondly called Annie by his numerous admirers or Agunaechemba Ojoto meaning (Lion that guards the town).
Senator Annie Okonkwo transited in far away the United States of America USA on June 7th. 2023, significantly- just a few days to the inauguration of his son, Honorable Uchenna Harris Okonkwo into the 10th. National Assembly as a Lawmaker representing Idemili North And South Federal Constituency.

Late Senator Annie Clement Okonkwo was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to the family of late Chief and Lolo Stephen Aniagbaso Okonkwo who hailed from Ojoto, in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

After series of concerted efforts for this exclusive interview,
understandably so- due to the exigencies of the Office of the Chief of Staff, our media team were able to eventually secure an appointment for an exclusive interview which took place on 15th. August, 2023 with one of late Senator Annie Okonkwo’s cousins: in the person of Chief (Sir) Sylvester Okonkwo who incidentally is also the Chief of Staff to the Senate President: Distinguished Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio ‘CON.

Chief Okonkwo is apparently a soft spoken, calm and well composed trained lawyer, administrator, industrialist and technocrat.

Sitting relaxed in his office with expected frequent phone calls which kept punctuating our formal introduction and exchange of pleasantries, he asked us to sit.

Chief Okonkwo needs no much introduction in the business world and political land scape of Nigeria; having been at different times a gubernatorial as well as a senatorial seat aspirant in Anambra State who indeed had a very close relationship with Late Senator Annie Okonkwo his cousin.

In this interview, with strong emotion and intermittent pauses full of reflections and deep breath he tried to describe his late cousin- recounting how devasted he felt when he learnt about his sudden demise.

He equally recounted some wonderful and impactful moments they both shared together.
This exclusive interview with Okwuluora as he is also called promises to be every reader’s delight, so relax and read on!

Excerpts .


Good morning Chief Okonkwo, please what’s your relationship with Late Senator Annie Okonkwo?

Chief Okonkwo:

Senator Annie Okonkwo was my cousin, we were from the same kindred and he was my friend, my school mate and at the same time, we did school SAT together, we have done a lot together, he was my brother and my very close friend.


How did you receive the news of his demise given the fact that he was seemingly hale and hearty and was physically present in the country during the last general election and fortunately witnessed the victorious emergence of one of his son’s- Honorable Uchenna Harris Okonkwo as an elected Federal Lawmaker?

Chief Okonkwo

Well, it was first with a lot of pains and shock that I received the news, I just received news first that he was ill and all of that and I kept in touch then until the day it happened: you know the speed of news circulation in this days of social media, so somebody called me and said oh what was it that happened to Annie and I then put a call to the younger brother of Annie; Tony and he said yes that Agunaechemba has gone to join his Creator and it hit me like a thunder bolt!

It was one of these news you hear and you feel like your soul has gone out of your body!
So it was a very difficult one because Annie was somebody that has been part of my life and a friend and a dependable ally and it was very devastating to hear that he has died at a very tender age of 63, because if you see him you wouldn’t believe he was up to sixty; you would believe he’s in his fifties so it’s very very painful, but like we say it’s with total submission to the will of Almighty.


Senator Annie Okonkwo was once a Senator of the Federal Republic and a great businessman of international repute and at the same time a very influential public figure who has no doubt impacted so many lives, given your close relationship with him and your position as well now as the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, his son is also an elected member of the House of Representatives at the moment, his former colleagues you know by implication; a lot of lawmakers and other top dignitaries will be trooping down to Ojoto, Anambra State for Late Senator Annie Okonkwo’s burial rites, given the security challenges we have almost all over the country what security arrangement or measures are in place to encourage guests to visit without any untoward incident in Anambra State?

Chief Okonkwo

Well, I am happy that you said almost all over the country and I also know that the fact of going to someone’s burial was not because of the rice and the drinks and because of the people you see but as it touches you and so as many people as Annie has affected I know they will like to come to Anambra State and I know that the Governor of Anambra State and couple of communities in Anambra State had done so much and particularly Ojoto, in the past seven months we have never had any incident, any security breach in Ojoto, Ojoto community has done so much, first we set up Ojoto security fund and all of that in which a lot of us made contributions and have tried to fortify our local policing.

I will tell you that sometime two months ago one of our illustrious sons also buried his mother- Chief Frank Okafor (Igwurube Ojoto) and people who came from far and near across the whole country were there and they stayed almost three to four days in Ojoto- so Ojoto was a peaceful community and Ojoto people were all committed to giving Annie a befitting burial.

And so his friends from far and near, we knew that they were coming and we were making all arrangements to make sure that they were well received and entertained within the short time that they will be with us and bury Annie.

And I knew that even the people on the other side, the underworld they must also have blood in their veins; this was a man that have been part of society, he helped so much in building the Anambra State, Ojoto and Igbo Community, the Igbo society by employment of thousands and thousands of youths from all over in his several companies, so the least we can do was to ensure that he was given a befitting burial and I do not have doubt that Nigerians will come; Senators, Governors, Presidents, but we assure them that there was no issue of security that will stop them, there will be no incident.


Finally, owing to the fact that death was one of those inexplicable mysteries of God and that it’s intended that by it (death), we the living should have a deep sense of sobriety sometimes in our daily living, now can you in a few sentences recount some fond memories you had with your beloved departed cousin in the person of Senator Annie Okonkwo who was popularly called Agunaechemba and Okaaka Ojoto and what will you sorely miss about him?

Chief Okonkwo

In all honesty there was no moment that was not special with Annie, recounting a moment or moments of happiness, excitements and joy with Annie would be like asking somebody to write you an encyclopedia!

And so all I can tell you was that the opportunity I had in my life having Annie as my brother was one I will cherish forever, by having Annie as somebody I stayed with- running his business was something I cherish forever and we had wonderful time doing politics together, so no moment was not so special.

It’s a difficult thing sometimes to really believe that you will not see Agunaechemba again, it’s such a difficult thing.
But I think what it has done to me in particular was to remind and tell me that we were all mortals, there will be a time you will be no more, I repeat no more and I know that until death hit you that’s when you will realize what death was, so this was one death that has hit all of us and so the issue of the special memory; everything was so special with Annie!


Thank you very much Chief Sylvester Okonkwo (Okwuluora) for your time.

Chief Okonkwo

It’s my pleasure, thank you.

By George Ozalla
Kayode Lawal
Olukotun A.

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