Who is Chief Leonard Ndujekwu Nsoedo ( Ide Nnewi)?
When the Story of Nnewi is told, the name Chief Ndujekwu Leonard Nsoedo, popularly known as “Ide Nnewi” must be mentioned.
Chief L.N.E. Nsoedo (KSM, Ide Nnewi) was born in 1924 to Ikefenwa and Nwamgbafor
Nsoedo. Even though he was born into a family that practiced Traditional Religion, Chief L.N.E. Nsoedo grew to become a devout Catholic.
The Maternal side of his Family from Awka Etiti was instrumental to his early indoctrination into Catholicism and Christianity in general.
On Dec 27, 1947, Chief Nsoedo performed the customary marriage rites and church wedding at St Peters Claver’s Catholic, Otolo Nnewi.
Ide Nnewi as he is popularly called was blessed with children, grandchildren, and great-grand-children before his demise in 2006.
However, before his demise, Chief achieved a lot , he was a philanthropist and someone who didn’t only invest in educating himself, he also invested in the education of others.
Driven by his passion for education, Chief Leonard gave N21,000 loan towards the building of a Teacher’s College at Okofia which is currently used as one of the residential halls of Nnamdi Azikiwe Medical school, Nnewi. He was also instrumental to the completion of Girl’s Hostel at Maria Regina High School.
The first bank that established in Nnewi was African Continental Bank, which was in the 1950s and Chief Leonard Nsoedo was one of the key influencers that made sure it came to fruition.
Chief Leonard Nsoedo’s contribution to the Otolo Nnewi and Nnewi, in general, cannot be overemphasized , Speaking about Chief Nsoedo with Nostalgia , Obi Umuenem and Egbu, Chief R. Afam Obiekosi recalled thus, “I lack the words to describe the immense contribution Ide Nnewi made to the development of Egbu, Umumenem, Otolo, and Nnewi in general , Ide Nnewi has the Wisdom of Solomon and was even ready to lose his life for Uzukpe land to come back to Umuenem…” (Nnewi in History, 1924-2004, p. 71).
Chief Championed the cause of his Egbu-Community, he also held many leadership positions in his lifetime.
In the area of Community Leadership
1. 1965-1967: Secretary under the Chairmanship of Chief Z. C. Obi for Nnewi Royal Cabinet that
conceived the idea of moving the main market to Okpuno-Ebenato in Uruagu Nnewi.
2. 1970: Treasurer; Nnewi Central Market allocation.
3. 1970: Treasurer; Nnewi Development Layout Account.
4. 1970: Chairman; Finance Sub-Committee of Nnewi Development
5. 1971-1994: President General; Otolo Development Union.
6. 1972-1985: President General; Umuenem Family Union.
7. 1977-1985: President General; Nnewi Youth League (NYL).
In Respect to Political Leadership, Chief Leonard Nsoedo was equally active
1. 1955: Councilor; Nnewi Community Council.
2. 1958: Elected Councilor; Onitsha Southern County Council.
3. 1979: Chairman; National Party of Nigeria (NPN) for Nnewi Local Government (Comprising
Nnewi North LGA, Nnewi South LGA, and Ekwusigo LGA).
4. 1979: State Vice Chairman; National Party of Nigeria (NPN) for Anambra South Senatorial
Zone (Old Anambra State).
5. 1983: Council Chairman; Nnewi Local Government Council (Comprising Nnewi North LGA,
Nnewi South LGA, and Ekwusigo LGA).
In Business, Chief Nsoedo was also actively involved ;
1. 1959-1967: President General, the Eastern Nigerian Traders’ Association (Civil war outbreak).
2. Founding Chairman: Onitsha Amalgamated Traders Association 1967 (before the war).
3. Chairman: Patent Medicine Dealers Association till 1967 (before the war).
4. 1967: The Pioneer Bank Established in Nnewi; Ide Nnewi ( As Chief Nsoedo is Popularly known ) persuaded the African Continental Bank to establish a branch in Nnewi by giving them six-months rent-free in his building at Nnobi Road, Nnewi.
5. 1974-Till End of Price Control: General President; the Anambra and the Imo States Liquor Distributors and General Wholesale Association.
6. Chairman: Nnewi Chamber of Commerce.
Like we previously highlighted, Chief Nsoedo was a man who loved Education thus invested in the education of a lot of people.
1. Numerous Scholarship Awards for Students at both Tertiary Institutions and Secondary
schools. Some of the awardees studied in foreign institutions.
2. 1972: Chairman, Board of Governors; Maria Regina High School.
3. 1972: Chairman, Parents Teachers Association (PTA); Maria Regina High School.
4. 1979: Endowment/Construction of High Voltage Building; Faculty of Engineering, University
of Nigeria Nsukka.
As a devout Christian, Chief Leonard Nsoedo didn’t fail to make his impact felt in the religious circle.
1. The activities of Chief L.N.E. Nsoedo (KSM, Ide Nnewi) were too numerous to count both at
the Onitsha and Nnewi Diocese.
The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Most Reverend Paul Odili Okeke wrote in the Nnewi in History: Portrait of Chief L.N.E. Nsoedo (Ide Nnewi, KSM) 1924-2004 “the story of Central Church in Nnewi cannot be complete without Chief Nsoedo’s contributions.
Indeed, he could be called the father of Nnewi Central Church which has now become the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption”
(Chukwujindu, Nnamdi and Nsoedo, Emmanuel; 2004).
2. 2nd, June 1952: Chairman of the Council; St Peter Claver’s Catholic Church Otolo Nnewi. He
was elected in absentia.
3. 1966: Chief Leanard Nsoedo ( Popularly known as Ide Nnewi ) went to Rome for the ordination of the late Rev Fr Professor Ikenga Metuh. He provided full sponsorship for some people to travel to Rome to witness the ordination.
4. 1966: Ide organized for the purchase of a vehicle for the newly ordained Rev Fr Ikenga
Metuh. During the discussion with the committee for the purchase of the new Volkswagen Beetle, the idea for Nnewi Central Community was germinated and gained currency till date.
Since then till date, the purchase of a car for newly ordained priests became a tradition in Nnewi
5. Chief L.N.E. Nsoedo was a principal anchor for the realization of our dear Parish, St Felix
Egbu Umunem Otolo.
6. Knight of St Mulumba: The Church initiated him as a member of the KSM order.
7. 2006: Cardinal Francis Arinze held unscheduled requiem mass for Chief Leonard Nsoedo at the Nnewi Cathedral prior to the day of his burial to honor his immense contribution to the propagation of the Catholic Church.
Credit: Bulk of the information was gotten from an Article Authored by Mr. Ezeakwukwu Emmanuel Nsoedo