Chris Anyanwu

Christiana Anyanwu
Senator for Imo East
Incumbent
Assumed office
29 May 2007
Preceded by Amah Iwuagwu
Personal details
Born 28 October 1951 (1951-10-28) (age 59)
Ahiara, Imo State, Nigeria

Christiana 'Chris' Anyanwu MFR (born 28 October 1951) is a Nigerian journalist, publisher, author, and politician, hailed as one of the female pioneers in Nigerian journalism and broadcasting. She was elected Senator for the Imo East (Oweri) constituency in 2007.[1]

Contents

Early life/career

Anyanwu was born Christiana Ngozi Ukah in Ahiara on 28 October 1951. She attended Owerri Girls Secondary School before moving to America, where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Mass Communication from the University of Missouri and Florida State University respectively.[1]

After graduating, she returned to Nigeria, and worked for the NTA and the Imo Broadcasting Corporation as a newsreader and reporter. In 1987, she was appointed Imo State commissioner for Information, Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Welfare under Imo governor Amadi Ikwechegh.[2] Following her tenure as commissioner, Anyanwu became publisher/editor-in-chief of TSM (The Sunday Magazine), a weekly publication which focused on political issues as they affected the country.[3]

Imprisonment

In May 1995, Anyanwu was arrested following the publication of a story about a failed coup d'état against the government of Sani Abacha - whom she had refused to endorse as president - on 1 March; she and several Nigerian journalists were accused of being "accessories to facts of treason".[4] Anyanwu was prosecuted in camera by a military court and sentenced to life imprisonment on 4 July 1995, later reduced to 15 years in October 1995 following pressure from national and international human rights groups. While being held in deplorable conditions in Gombe prison, she went partially blind; doctors warned that she was in danger of losing her sight completely if she failed to receive medical attention.[citation needed]

Shortly after her imprisonment, she received the International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award, making news around the world. Anyanwu, then held in solitary confinement, passed a note that read, "Some women in America are giving you a prize. The world is watching". Anyanwu later told the IWMF that receiving the award had buoyed her spirits while in prison. ("Yes! Somebody must understand or else they wouldn’t just give out an award like this...I was very much encouraged and strengthened by it. And it made me confident and determined not to cave into pressure.")[5] Two years later, the Committee to Protect Journalists named Anyanwu winner of the CPJ International Press Freedom Award, and in May 1998 she was awarded UNESCO's Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize[6]

Post imprisonment

In June 1998, following the death of President Abacha and several protests from human rights groups worldwide, Anyanwu was released by Abacha's successor General Abdulsalam Abubakar on health grounds. She embarked on a two-year break in Virginia where she wrote the book Days of Terror, based on Nigeria's struggle during dictatorship.[4] A televised version of her now defunct publication TSM Show was aired in 2001.[7] In 2005, Anyanwu opened her radio station Hot 98.3 FM, based in Abuja. Anyanwu was featured in the PBS Frontline production titled NIGERIA - The Road North in 2003.[8]

During the Nigerian general election, 2007 Anyanwu was elected to the Senate on the platform of the People's Democratic Party as a representative of Owerri Zone, Imo State, Nigeria.[9] After taking her seat in the Senate she was appointed to committees on Women and Youth, States & Local Government, Millennium Development Goals, Health, Environment and Defence & Army.[1] In a mid-term evaluation of Senators in May 2009, ThisDay noted that she had sponsored bills on Occupational Health and Safety and to Criminalise and Punish Discrimination and Segregation against Nigerians, and had sponsored seven motions. The report described her as an engaging contributor to debates in plenary who was active in the committees.[10] Anyanwu was a successful contender to be reelected as Senator for Imo East on the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) platform in the April 2011 elections. The PDP declared that they would contest the result, claiming that voting was marred by violence.[11]

Personal life

A devout Christian, Anyanwu is married to Casmir Anyanwu; the couple have two children.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Sen. Chris N. D Anyanwu". National Assembly of Nigeria. http://www.nassnig.org/senate/member.php?senator=71&page=1&state=18. Retrieved 2010-06-08. [dead link]
  2. ^ Augustine Adah (22 November 2009). Amadi "Ikwechegh is Dead". Newswatch. http://www.newswatchngr.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1540&Itemid=48 Amadi. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  3. ^ ISMAIL OMIPIDAN (August 13, 2007). "I didn't get to the Senate with bottom power, declares Senator Chris Anyanwu". Daily Sun. http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/abujareports/2007/aug/13/abujaroport-13-08-2007-002.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  4. ^ a b Peggy Simpson. "Fifteen Years of Courage: Chris Anyanwu". International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF). http://www.iwmf.org/article.aspx?id=394&c=carticles. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  5. ^ "Chris Anyanwu, Nigeria". International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF). http://www.iwmf.org/article.aspx?id=585&c=cijwinner. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Nigeria at UNESCO / UNESCO Awards to Nigerians". UNEXCO. http://www.unesco.org/delegates/nigeria/unescoawards.html. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  7. ^ "Profile". Chris Anyanwu. http://www.chrisanyanwu.org/pages/profile.html. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  8. ^ "NIGERIA - The Road North". PBS. January 2003. http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/nigeria/voice02.html. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  9. ^ "2007 senatorial campaign web site". chrisanyanwu.org. http://www.chrisanyanwu.org/. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  10. ^ "An Improved Senate, But Some Uninspiring Senators...". ThisDay. 24 May 2009. http://allafrica.com/stories/200905250350.html?viewall=1. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  11. ^ "PDP rejects NASS election results in Imo". Vanguard. APRIL 12, 2011. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/04/pdp-rejects-nass-election-results-in-imo/. Retrieved 2011-04-21. 

External links

ACN: Action Congress of Nigeria - ANPP: All Nigeria People's Party - APGA: All Progressives Grand Alliance - CPC: Congress for Progressive Change - DPP Democratic People's Party - LP: Labour Party - PDP: People's Democratic Party
See also Members of the Senate of Nigeria in the 6th National Assembly (2007-2011)

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