His political career hit its first success in 1999 when he was elected into the Abia State House of Assembly to represent Obingwa East State Constituency. In 2003 he was re-elected and subsequently named Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly until Governor Kalu nominated him as deputy governor in 2006. He contested the 2007 Senatorial elections for Abia South Senatorial District on the platform of Progressive Peoples Alliance but lost to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in a post election legal battle. On August 18, 2010, Governor Theodore Orji again named him as deputy governor to succeed Chris Akomas. At the swearing-in ceremony, Governor Orji said he chose Nwakanma because Nwakanma has garnered a large wealth of experience as a good follower and would make a visionary and good leader.
Eric Acho Nwakanma nursed the ambition of becoming Governor of Abia State at end of Theodore Orji's tenure by 2015. Initially believed to be the strongest contender for the position, he however lost the bid to his brother-in-law Okezie Ikpeazu.
In April 2013 President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as Chairman of the Board of National Neuro Psychiatry Hospital, Enugu.
Precisely on the 26th of April, 1958 Rt. Hon. Eric Acho Nwakanma was born to the family of Late Elder Sunday Nwakanma and Deaconess Jemimah Nwakanma of Umorji Ohanze in Ohanze Autonomous Community of Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
After his primary education at St. Michael’s Boys School Aba where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1971, he secured admission to National High School, Aba for his Secondary Education and later transferred to Community Secondary School Nbawsi where he obtained his West African School Certificate in 1976. Progressing, he enrolled at Government College Umuahia for his Higher School and finished in 1978. He proceeded to the University of Lagos where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry in 1982.
After his National Youth Service Corps programme in Niger State, he continued his educational pursuit at the University of Lagos and obtained a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Biochemistry in 1985.
Young and vibrant Acho quickly got an appointment as a Graduate Assistant at the Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos from 1985 to 1986 marking the beginning of a short career in teaching. He later worked for Chemech Laboratories Nigeria Limited (now Chemiron International)Victoria Island, Lagos as a Sales Representative and later as Zonal Manager(East) from 1986 to 1989.
In his private entrepreneurial endeavours he held the following positions:Managing Director Eric-Jac Holdings (1990-1995)
Executive Director, Eric-Jac Holdings (1998-1999)
Board Chairman Acho Nwakanma Foundation (2001 till date)
Board Chairman, Crystal Kleen Integrated Agency Ltd. (2006 till 2010)
CEO Crystal Kleen Nigeria Limited 2011 till date.
His business interests spans Transportation, Real Estate, Importation, and Agriculture. He has a huge farm in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State.
He is happily married to beautiful Mrs. Joy Ezinwanyi Nwakanma and the marriage is blessed with four children, three boys and a girl.
Nwakanma is a devout Christian, a strong member and Elder in Living Faith Church International aka Winners Chapel.
He is a member of the following bodies:Ridge Club, Umuahia
Aba Recreation Club
Aba Sports Club
National High School Old Boys’ Association
University of Lagos Alumni Association
Nigeria - China Business Council
Nigerian Institute of Management.
Eastern Ngwa Country Club.
He has received several traditional titles which include the following:Dike Eji Agamba 1 of Abia State - courtesy of Abia State Traditional Rulers Council
Ugo Ngwa - Courtesy of Abia South Traditional Rulers
Anyim Ndi Ngwa - Courtesy of Ibeme Ancient Kingdom
Ifugwe of Ngwaukwu -Courtesy of Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu
Ezinwanne Ndi Bende - Courtesy of Bende Traditional Rulers
Enyi Oha of Mbala Isuochi
Ezienyi Ndi Ibeku - Courtesy of Ibeku Traditional Rulers
Enyi-ka-Nwanne of Afaraukwu Ibeku
Nwanne-di-na-mba of Item;
Ikemba 1 of Amaekpu Item;
Ebubedike of Ikwueze Okoko Item,
Agunyiriegbe of Uzuakoli Kingdom;
Ebubedike 1 of Isiala Umuimenyi Bende
Enyi eji agamba of Oboro Ikwuano;
Dike eji-ejemba 1 of Owaza/Umudobia Ancient Kingdom
Ohamadike of Umuchoko-Chokoneze, Mbaise;
to mention but a few.
As a result of his support for the development of sports, the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) honoured him with the award of Best Football Promoter of the year 2003. Other recognitions are:
Rotary International Club of Ogbor Hill Aba (District 9140) Award of Excellence in 2009. In 2011, The prestigious Gold Award from the Aba Sports Club’1926. Outstanding Legislator, by ABIA FORUM; Partnership Merit Award for Outstanding Contributions by the Abia State Secondary Education Management Board; Great Leadership Award 2010 by ICON’S FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL; ICON OF GOVERNANCE by SUG ABSU in 2011. Award of Excellence in “Humility to God and Service to Mankind” by Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria. The Patron Bible Society of Nigeria
"The Acho Nwakanma Foundation 1991-serving people"
Founded in 1991, The Acho Nwakanma (TAN) Foundation has been disbursing financial grants to indigent women to help them start businesses and be self-reliant. He has donated several motorcycles, tricycles and vehicles to a good number of Abians. He has helped set up and resettle sixty-one NDE grandaunts. Through the Foundation, he has built houses for some widows in various parts of the State.
He is a natural lover of sports and has taken joy in sponsoring sports events in the past decade and a half. He donated a trophy for an Annual Inter Community Football Competition in Obingwa LGA. The Acho Nwakanma Foundation has also over the years been a consistent driver of Sports development in the state and led to the discovery and promotion of many sporting talents who now ply their trade in Spain, Israel, Ukraine, South Africa, and in professional field and track events across Nigeria. He has also been the major non-government sponsor of the Abia Comets Football Club and his joy has been seeing the club rise from little beginnings as an amateur side to becoming a professional team in the Nigeria Football League. He has also sponsored the Women Public Servants Soccer Tournament in Abia State.
He has on record over thirty University scholarships which are running at all times. He has at various times donated educational materials to primary and post primary schools in Obingwa LGA and beyond. In 2012 he organized a statewide free-medical scheme.
Nwakanma says he has lived most of his life on the principle that the value of a person’s life can only be measured by how much one has touched the lives of people around. This principle motivated his pursuit and the realization of the 13 kilometer Acho Nwakanma Bypass, a wide road built with stone base and nylon-tar which connects Amuzu Ohanze-Ntighauzo-Ibeme in Obingwa Local Government Area and serves as a major route for travellers between Akwa-Ibom State and Abia State. This road amongst other achievements dwarfs the achievements of his contemporaries.
He is currently championing better rights and living conditions for mentally ill persons through his Foundation. He seeks to push through a legislation to protect mentally ill and the destitute at the National Assembly
Nwakanma contested for the position of Local Government Council Chairman of Obingwa LGA Abia State in a transition that was scuttled by the military. In 1998, he became one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and in 1999, he got elected into the Abia State House of Assembly to represent Obingwa East State Constituency. He was re-elected into the Abia State House of Assembly for a second term in 2003.
While his membership of Abia Legislative House lasted, he held various House Committee positions which included;Chairman Finance and Economic Planning Committee
Chairman, Boundary and Security Committee
Member Agric and Rural Development Committee
Member Lands, Survey and Urban Planning Committee; and
Member Public Accounts Committee.
As a result of his outstanding performance as a Legislator, he was elected the Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly a position he held for some years before being nominated as Deputy Governor of Abia State in March 2006 by former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.
He ran for the Abia South Senatorial District Election in 2007 but lost the somewhat controversial election to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe. He was not deterred but rather chose to remain credible and loyal to the party and leaders of Government and the State.
This and more culminated in Eric Acho Nwakanma being nominated again as Deputy Governor of Abia State in August 2010 by incumbent Governor Chief T.A. Orji. He served out as deputy governor for the remainder of the first term of Theodore Orji as governor, leaving office on May 29, 2011