A crusader, organizer, activist, revolutionary, hero, strategist, and above all else, a passionate human being, Chima Ubani died in the struggle for the enshrining of true democracy in our dear country.
It does not make sense at all to write about the great one in the past sense for he is destined to live eternally.
Yes, Chima died aged only 42, but he recorded enough achievements that could last others for two lifetimes.
He died in a problematic motor accident around Potiskum, Yobe State, on Wednesday, September 21, 2005, alongside the deputy photo editor of the Vanguard newspapers, Tunde Oyeleru.
Chima was on his way to Yola from Maiduguri after a hugely successful rally staged to protest the fuel hike by what most Nigerians then felt was “the anti-people Obasanjo government of the time’’.
He had the option of travelling in a plane but Chima, characteristically, selflessly gave up his seat to the then labour leader Adams Oshiomhole who would later become Edo State Governor and chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Chima ended up traveling in labour leader’s marked jeep, only for stories to emanate that an accident had claimed the lives of the committed one and the photographer.
It suffices to say that Chima did not die in vain for he put his heart and soul in the struggle, and died for others in the spirit of “what is not worth dying for is not worth living for’’.
Chima was without a shadow of doubt the greatest strategist in the Nigerian league of activists.
It was Chima who initiated the 5-million-man march that dimmed Daniel Kanu’s One-million-man march for General Sani Abacha’s self-perpetuation in power.
The activists of the military era such as Olisa Agbakoba, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Alao Aka-Bashorun and so on were always beholden to Chima in the marshalling out of strategies for the struggle.
He joined forces with comrades such as Olu Oguibe and Emma Ezeazu to rouse the hitherto sleeping campus.
He gave revolutionary impetus to the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and sundry activists organs.
He upped the ante of the struggle when he joined the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and rose to become the body’s Executive Director.
He matched eloquent theory with effective praxis. He was slight of build but what he packed inside of him moved mountains.
He was a born leader whom all followers were compelled to listen to.
He never disappointed in all his callings, and his passing was a deathblow to principled struggle in the country.
If he had been alive today, some of the clowns prancing around as democratic leaders would have been put on the run for their dear lives.
The ill-assorted assemblage of pretenders can only have very sleepless nights in their pathetic prancing.
Chima in his life never suffered such fools gladly. General Ibrahim Babangida, for instance, cannot forget the name of Chima Ubani in a hurry.
The SAP riots during his regime as military president owed all its success to the input of Chima Ubani who liaised with committed comrades across the nation to put the fear of God into the very heart of the military dictator.
Not even being jailed by the Abacha junta could quench the fire of Chima Ubani. He was captured and dumped in the dungeon but he at no time betrayed his comrades.
He came out to restart from where he stopped. He lamented that the struggle should not just stop in sacking the military. It was his idea that the opposition must get organised to take power.
It was in his determination to seize the power game that he formed Democratic Alternative (DA).
He felt that it was the complacency of the truly progressive revolutionary forces that has left the conservatives to play tango with the destiny of the nation.
His Marxist grounding informed his astute understanding of society, and his life’s ideal was to see labour topple capital.
He left a young wife and young children behind when dastardly transition took the light of struggle away.
The sad dimension is that I am writing this piece on Chima Ubani in Nigeria’s sad season when death has just taken away spirited comrades Innocent Chukwuma and Yinka Odumakin, two great stalwarts of the struggle to set Nigeria free. There is little more for me to write save to end with these sterling words of Chima Ubani: “Revolution is inevitable in Nigeria’’.